“It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon …” So starts many a tale from Garrison Keillor, and many times I have been tempted to lift that line in prelude to a blog entry that, like a Wobegon story, gradually reveals events that are anything but quiet.
Here in the desert I can feel the energy ramping up. While the polar vortex captures the attention of those in the north, we have our own sort of vortex which re-directs RV travelers to Arizona right around February every year. First it’s the annual migration to Quartzsite, where thousands of RV’ers congregate for cheap camping and flea-market shopping every winter. Now Alumafiesta has entered the picture in a small way, bringing our Airstream friends from all over the country to Tucson for a week or two of warm weather and camaraderie.
I can tell by many signs that the Airstreams are approaching. The most obvious sign is the mail piling up in our front hallway. Several friends have asked if they can have their mail forwarded to our house, and of course we always agree because it’s the right thing to do for fellow Airstreamers. When we were full-timing we often were helped by people along the way who received mail for us, so this is a sort of “pay it forward” gesture. Looking at our hallway right now I see three boxes, two large flat envelopes, and four other large boxes that contain Alumafiesta supplies sent by Brett. My email inbox contains a bunch of tracking numbers for additional packages to arrive this week.
Another sign of the impending aluminum invasion can be seen at our friend Rob’s house, not far away. He has a bit of acreage and a few hookups, and the word got out, so now he has four RVs camped by his house, one of which is waiting to attend Alumafiesta. On the southwestern side of Tucson there’s a bit of BLM land that allows free camping, called Snyder Hill, and the first Airstreams have appeared there as well. Over at the Alumafiesta campground (Tucson/Lazydays KOA), I can see a few glints of silver starting to take over. In nine days, about 110 Airstreams will be camped there.
Last week I started getting emails from people who are on their way. One photo came from Rockhound State Park in Deming, NM (at left). Other emails have come from central California, Texas, Florida, and a few from frigid parts of the north country.
Everyone wants to get together, of course, because Airstreamers are generally social types and we see many of our good friends only once a year or so. This year it’s a little frustrating because we are deeply engaged in getting ready for two major events (Alumafiesta and Alumaflamingo) and about six weeks of Airstream life/travel between here and Florida. Eleanor has been working on a new food demo that she’s going to do at both events, and I’ve been trying to get the Summer 2014 magazine at least 70% done by February 1. Plus, Emma has been working toward a higher rank karate belt and so we’ve been taking her to practice five nights a week. It’s really a drag when work and school get in the way of having a good time.
A few days ago I pulled out the “Safari Departure List” that I maintain for pre-trip preparation. This list has checkboxes for about eighty things that we need to do before we head out on a multi-week trip. It covers everything: what to pack, taking care of the house and utilities, prepping the Airstream and car, and various notifications we need to make. Completing this list takes about two weeks if I don’t rush, so every day I’m trying to check off at least five or six items. Lots of them are easy, like filling the car with fuel and updating our mail forwarding order, so it’s not terribly hard, and having the checklist means I don’t have to try to remember what’s next—which is good, because with everything going here I can barely remember what comes after I put toothpaste on the brush.
With all the activity comes a certain amount of excitement. Great things are about to happen. We’ll see lots of Airstream friends, travel cross country, present talks and demonstrations, tour Tucson and Sarasota, lead a ukulele band (at Alumaflamingo in Florida), and then hit the beach on our way home for a bit of vacation. It’s hard to complain; Airstreaming is fun.
The anticipation keeps us energized. Some would say “stressed” but I prefer to think of it as all positive energy. A hundred+ Airstreams parked together will raise the temperature of Tucson and make everyone smile. All these people coming to town with great intentions, friendly faces, and interesting thoughts to share, will infuse us and give us the boost we need to get it all done. So I say, “bring on the aluminum energy!” The fun is about to begin.