Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Preplanning Payoff

At the second rally I ever attended, Hunt Jones was asked to say the prayer before dinner. His words were the most poignant words I had ever heard. I was very deeply moved by them. "If there is only one word you say for the rest of your life, may it be 'thanks'." Maybe you need to read that again so you can digest it... "If there is only one word you say for the rest of your life, may it be 'thanks'." I hope to someday live up to that. If it not by my word, let my actions lead me to "THANKS"

On Tuesday morning the little red rooster crowed the day. He was not the lazy one in the Howlin Wolf song, that rooster knew it was time to get busy.

For months we had been planning what needed to happen, how it needed to happen, and even a little what to do if something happened that we had not planned on. It was time to put action into motion.

The entire field was empty, freshly mown grass manicured into perfect golf course turf. Well, maybe as close to a hay field could get to being a golf course. Alright, it was a mowed field, but it looked damn fine.

The view was even spiffed up to create the perfect backdrop for the arrival of many American Icons. My god, a more perfect setting could not have been chosen in my opinion. I am so grateful Rob and Zoe allowed us to use their farm. No campground or park could have or would have been more ideal. The grace you exhibited in allowing close to 300 strangers to invade your space is inspirational. "THANKS"

Our highly trained, extremely professional parker was there and ready for the job at hand. "Where, the heck are they?" he asked. Funny thing about this situation is that many were on their way. The next three days would have Obie running around like a crazy man. He did a very fine job I must say. If parking was not enough to do, Obie also acted as the official voice of the Bash. We would just walk up and say, "Obie, tell em happy hour is four around the fire" and the next thing we knew he had everyone's attention and was announcing it. "Obie, tell them the moon is made of cheese" Yep, he would have if we asked him to. Occasionally he used a bull horn, but most times he just shouted out. Everyone seemed to respect his voice and listened intently. Obie was a huge part of making the Bash a success. To you my friend, "THANKS"

Some had dropped off their trailers early to help us get the circle started before the rush. Mr. Perkins brought his 1954 Byam Holiday over for us to place. Dick, remember I will always treat her right should you ever decide. It was wonderful to see my number one, favorite, of all time, trailer ever made. True, even more than my Anna, the Grand Dad, the Gold trailer, and Deborah's 55 Bubble. I think that much of Mr. Perkin's Holiday. So glad you brought her over. "THANKS"
Some others wanted to get a nice spot on the inner circle of the wagon wheel we were forming. The second trailer from the left is Steve Hansen's 1964 Safari he won in the raffle held by the Chenago Watershed Association. Sweet trailer for $25. He was coming all the way from Rochester Minnesota to pick it up. Steve was set on an adventure and he embraced it the entire time he was there.
I went off for our first run for water. We had to haul it in 300 gallons at a time from a town about 12 miles away. The town of Sherburne allowed us to fill up for free. They gave us about 1500 gallons of water for our use. 'THANKS"
John Kwasnick was the guy who made that happen. He was not able to be on site very much due to his work schedule, but he took care of so much of the material goods behind the scenes. The 24 hour self service ice, honor system payment was all arrainged by him. The massive quantities of eggs, onions, butter, and eggs were all taken care of by him. John's buying power though his Pharmacy kept the event fee way down. "THANKS"

When I returned, this is what I saw. Obie had been very busy parking the early arrivals. Unlike other major rallies, early arrivals were not served breakfast every morning. There were no special perks except a few extra days at a spectacular spot to camp and some excellent fellowship. If something needed to be done and you were around, I was putting you to work. Oh man was this getting fun.
Unfortunately, after this day the photos get thin. I was running around from 5:30am till after midnight everyday, the photos were pretty much an after thought for me. I do still have a few to share though in the next few posts to come.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bash prep for a Bash rep

For many the journey begins by getting in the vehicle and hitting the road. For me and the Co Hosts of the Birthday Bash (a gathering of Airstreams to celebrate the company founder for those that do not know) the journey began well over a year ago. When we were told it could not be done, we decided we would not only make it happen, but we would make it an event of a life time. I hope to offer you all a little insight from someone who was a part of it.
To plan an event this size, the four of us have worked hard trying to make sure everything went off without a hitch. The details required to pull it off would astound many. Daily, the four of us have talked about the minutia of making sure everyone coming had all their needs taken care of. We talked about it, but sooner or later, we had to physically put it in place. I left last sunday for the event site to get things ready for all the guest to arrive.

Rob had gotten a jump on cutting all the grass. Even with his head start, I spent my first day at Baker's Acres driving the John Deere around. In some cases, I was literally going around, and around, and around...

It is kind of hard to not enjoy the mowing if this is your view. I guess like anything, if this is what you do day after day, it is easy to forget the beauty of it.

There was a little bit of prep for feeding people. Got bacon? I sure did, that is 160 pounds of slab bacon. As I am sure many will testify, this is some of the finest bacon around. My butcher was glad to fill such a large order.

The rental place in town was also very glad to fill a large order for tables and chairs.

Mother Nature was also ready for us to arrive. Just to the right of center is Terra del Fuego. You will have to squint, but you can easily see it in this photo.

The weather was made ready also. For the most part we had perfect weather. A few rain showers, but nothing to dampen any spirits.

The flags were all laid out for the wagon wheel. One of the most striking things in photos from Mr Byam's early trailering adventures was how they parked in a wagon wheel formation. We wanted to pay homage by also parking everyone that way. Using very careful measuring we laid out 5 circles 75 feet apart. We gave 24 feet between rigs so people had room to spread their wings. This is more room than most commercial campgrounds give you these days.

Mr Baker Senior was kind enough to loan us one of his tractors to use for hauling chairs, tables, trash, etc. I sure enjoyed driving around this 1942 H8. For a tractor 69 years old she was a beast. Mr. Baker also brought his late 40's John Deere over to take the kids (and adults wishing they still were kids) on hay rides.

We also had to put out a few signs. Everyone uses (except me, proud to say) a GPS these days. Often these GPS systems take a convoluted round about way. A good old fashion sign is always reassuring to see when you are unfamiliar with the surroundings.

All we needed now, was for the guest to arrive, and haul water, put out Porta Pots, set up easy ups and other countless things. Where are those guests? Sure wish they would get here...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Aeyyee, I gaurrantee, dat was a goud ol time

Every year Beth and I ship the kids off to Grandma and head off to a Cajun music and food festival. All year long we anxiously wait for the Crawfish Festival to come back around. The first year we went there were just three rigs, this year there were 15 of us. Without fail we all managed to have a great old time.

The first order of business was to meet up with Elaine and Carl half way there. We enjoy getting there the night before. Last year we snuck into the venue under the cloak of night and felt like we had gotten one over on them. This year they were waiting on us. As soon as we drove in the camp hostess was there. I thought for sure we would be asked to go out on the road and wait like everyone else does. Instead we were warmly greeted and told they had our wrist bands.

The next morning Don came in leading a nice seven rig caravan. Flags were flying and horns were honking.

Let me tell you, it is so good to see our old friends again. Lots of hugs and kisses going all around...

Happy hour was promptly "ON". I actually think Happy Hour never ended till people went home.

Some in the group had no problem at all getting right into the party groove. I have heard of people getting drunk and putting on a lamp shade, but never seen anyone put the lamp shade on to get drunk.

Tim and Ed sure understand the point. They are both huge fans of the VAP. Tim kept treating me like some kind of celebrity. We took more than a few photos together.

Some of those photos were actually fairly good. Some were very incriminating.

If you run into Ed and Tim, be prepared to have a great time. They both know how to liven things up in a major way. Guys, hope to see you real soon, thanks for the great time.

Anna once again functioned flawlessly. With exception of the water heater blowing out once, and a ripe tank needing dumping upon arrival, we had no issues. Everything worked perfectly and nothing broke. How about those window awnings? Marti did a super fine job on them. I could not be more pleased with how they look. When closed they offer privacy also. Give her a call, she will take great care of you.

I took care of a few pounds of crawfish. They were very good this year. Last year they were a bit over spiced, but this year they were perfect. All the food we sampled at the festival was actually awesome.

Some just relaxed under their awnings, pleased in the fact of not being at work.

Dave unfortunately spent the entire weekend working. We never got to spend any time with him. Digital Soundboard was doing a fairly brisk business and he was on his feet the entire time. Maybe next year he will get to play a little more.

The music was excellent. Four stages to go to, all playing good tunes. Well, I actually never went to the kids stage. I can only assume that stage was rocking also.

My pick of the weekend would have to Anders Osborne. That guy can play guitar. He had the whole crowd rockin out. We bought his album and Beth smiled real nice and got him to sign it. Keep your ears open for Anders, he will be going places.

All around happy people with big smiles is all we saw. Jill and Nick sure had big smiles all weekend even though they had to leave their dogs at home.

Jane and Paul were smiling a bunch too. It is that smile on Paul's face that I always worry about though.

Like I said earlier, Happy Hour really never ended.

Diane and Tom were kind enough to let Crawfish be there very first trailer event. I think they will always be comparing this one to all those in the future. Tom is a nurse and he took care of my servere burn I got a week ago. He bandaged me up and I am actually on the mend. Thanks again Tom.

Oysters? Yeah, we ate a lot of them. Many first time oyster eaters were present. Not many left with out trying them. Some even went away loving them...

Something I loved was Mary's stuffed tomatoes. This is one of those things that looks so pretty it was hard to eat. Top billing for presentation with this dish.

How many cups stacked in your hand is that Don? I did not get the replacement sitting in front of you in the frame, sorry. I want you all to know how much I love this guy. He is the deepest guy I know. Always thoughtful, always kind. Don it is an absolute honor to be your friend. Thank you.

Beth and Mark were enjoying Galactic while sipping on some suds also...

Amanda on the other hand was just grooving away.

The group shrank significantly Sunday when many needed to get home for work. We all managed to keep the ball rolling though. It is very hard to get an Airstreamer down.

We enjoyed a wonderful sunset together and continued on with Happy Hour.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end. It is now time to get back to working hard for a few weeks so we can play again.