After awakening several times in the night because it was chilly, (chilly!), Friday dawned cool. It was the beginning of the end…
Most of Friday is just… gone. It’s odd – the earlier days are much clearer in my memory than the later ones. Of course, there isn’t much to tell about Friday, since at that point things are winding down to departure. One of the things I put in my notes for next year says “Remember that Friday is a complete loss.” We went out for a bit in the early afternoon because there were three people I wanted to talk to, and a book I wanted to look for. I missed the first one – thatpotteryguy was back at camp helping to pack. Not a huge disappointment – I knew I should have stopped earlier in the week, but I also knew that I could catch him here on LJ. Or at Birka – I’m hardly in a rush. For that matter, Birka will probably make for a more leisurely conversation.
On the way to new market, we passed this group in armor – all in line for ice cream. It tickled my funny bone. They were in a very good mood – singing little battle chants, roaring in unison for the kids. It was cute.
The second stop was Billy at Future Relics. I’ve taken a commission from him, and needed a bit of information. Astonishingly, I actually managed to get his attention. It’s a neat trick – he’s a popular guy. I’m looking forward to this because as I told him, I’m going to make him his document, then I’m going to show it to him, and THEN we’ll talk about what it’s going to take for him to be able to take it home. His eyes lit up. This is going to be fun. After that we turned down that oxbow off Battle Road, and at White Wolf and Phoenix I found a “how to” book on rigid heddle weaving. I’ve been reading it since we got home, and it seems to be a good beginner’s reference. From there, across and down the road that runs down the other side of Battle Road to Guild Mirandola to chat with Docalena for a few minutes. That was a very fruitful conversation – she was able to tell me right off the bat what I’ve been doing wrong for a particular gold technique. Not as good as taking her class would have been, but useful. Hopefully next year Charlotte will be more amenable to staying with one parent and I’ll be more amenable to getting out of bed. If so, I’m going to take every class she teaches.
Then we got back to camp, and for all intents and purposes, it was all over. Bob had shot the populace war point Thursday afternoon, and brought the Jeep back to camp on his way past when he came back from the range. So we did our usual break down routine – I turned him over to Thorolf for labor while I started packing us up. This year I did it a little differently. Instead of packing and waiting to go to storage on Saturday morning, I loaded the Jeep with as much for storage as would fit, and we made a trip Friday afternoon with another planned for Saturday morning. I’d been hearing reports of weather rolling in on us on Saturday, and I didn’t want to take any chances - I wanted to have canvas dropped and packed the moment it was dry. So Bob helped with the disassembly of the kitchen and commons, and I loaded stuff for storage into the Jeep, and packed the stuff for home. Charlotte ran around underfoot.
Packing was fairly uneventful this year. I had one moment of sheer frustration when I hit that point that inevitably comes where it looks like everything exploded, and stuff is just *everywhere* and you can’t even think. But it passed. It helped that I had the Jeep there – I was able to start by putting storage stuff straight into the Jeep, which got it out from underfoot and allowed me to concentrate on what still needed to be done.
Finally I got to the point where I was stuck. The Jeep was loaded with everything that could go to storage in advance, and the rest of it was as packed as it could get without being able to start loading the Jeep. I needed to make the run to storage. The problem was that I needed Bob for that, and he was in the midst of a storage run with the camp stuff. There was nothing in the Jeep I couldn’t handle by myself, but I doubted my ability to offload the Jeep, stow the gear, AND keep Charlotte away from the drop off. lucianus and jdulac have the unit next to ours – they know what that slope looks like. Especially since she’s just at an age where to HER it looks like fun. So I hung around and waited. The big issue was the kitchen floor. The way Thorolf built it was pure genius – it’s a very solid, very heavy floor structure – and for fifty weeks out of the year, it sits in front of Kenny Cooper’s radio shack as his front deck. For Pennsic, we pick it up and move it to camp (!), build the kitchen structure onto it, and it’s the floor. Then at the end of Pennsic, we break down the kitchen, sweep it off/clean it up, pick it up and put it back. My concern was that we be there for the “pick it up and put it back” part. That sucker is heavy. Eventually Susan cut Bob loose, and we loaded Charlotte and headed for storage. Had I known, I would have been gone and back already. In the car, air conditioning, 45mph… she was out like a light. Turns out I could have done the run by myself – but who knew? We were quick as we could be off loading and getting back to camp, but nonetheless we got there just as they finished moving the floor. Crud. After that, I got to work loading as much of the other gear as I could into the Jeep. I wanted to be staged for a fast getaway.
In the midst of the packing, there was suddenly a lot of shouting, the sounds of an engine, and then a terrible crash-like noise. Everyone in several camps dropped what they were doing and ran to help. Luckily they weren’t needed. Pete and Michelle had been hooking up their trailer to pull it over to their tent – Pete has a full height, enclosed trailer, so it’s much larger and heavier than ours. Michelle apparently isn’t used to the clutch on Pete’s vehicle, and the trailer started to drag the whole conglomeration back towards the drop off at the back of our camp. Then when she did get everything engaged and hit the gas hard (because she was being dragged backwards), the trailer tongue popped off the hitch ball, and headed for freedom – down the hill. One chain held. Which is what they’re there for, but it was unnerving to see it happen. Luckily for everyone, nothing was damaged, and all was well. Not to mention that we were all *wide* awake.
Our plan had been to walk up the hill to Arindale one last time, but at about 7:30 or 8:00, Charlotte marched into the tent, crawled into her cot, pulled up the covers, and that was that. I was hardly going to roust her out if she was tired enough to put herself to bed. So we just hung out in camp before going to bed.
I set the alarm for 8:00am on Saturday, which felt awfully late to me. I was worried primarily about two things – the weather turning on us, and getting out of Currie Road. Twice. I wanted to be up, have the last load for storage (the bed and mattress, mostly) loaded into the trailer, dropped off and be back in camp before the traffic got too bad. I woke up, fretting, well before 8:00, and we got the show on the road. I let Bob load the trailer, which occasioned a bit of a temper tantrum on my part, because I didn’t like how he’d done it. It was fine, but I wasn’t comfortable with it. We got everything broken down, loaded, strapped down, and were heading out the gate by 8:30. Not bad. From the looks of things when we got to Jim’s, our timing was actually pretty good because it was starting to get busy there. We did the same trick from arrival – unhooked the trailer, walked it back, followed it in with the Jeep, and reconnected. We got storage all squared away, took reference photos, and headed back to camp. Again – our timing was pretty good, as traffic was starting to get thick.
Surprisingly, the tent was pretty thoroughly dry when we got back, so we dragged the last few things out of the tent and started dropping the canvas. That went okay until yet again, we couldn’t remember how we fold the tent. We seem to go through this every time. But eventually we got it folded such that it will fit into its tub, which is the goal. After we’ve rinsed and dried it I’ll be more uptight about folding it neatly. I had a few more hissy fits about getting things on the trailer – the sky was looking ominous, I was stressing, and I felt like Bob was being particularly thick. I expect he thought I was being particularly inscrutable and unreasonable. I guess it all goes with the territory.
Eventually everything got stowed somewhere, and I think I did a better job of tarping the trailer than I had done on the way out. Probably because the light was better and I could see what I was doing. We puttered a bit, got our showers, and waited for folks to get back from storage/trash runs. Apparently the traffic in camp was horrendous, because it took them forever to get back. The last big projects being done, we cut out and hit the road by 2:00. Then it took us thirty minutes to get from the campground to route 422. I’ve never seen the traffic back up like that. The Jeep was also reluctant to be taken out of 4WD – it kept trying to stick in part time 4WD, which was causing me more than a bit of panic. Luckily it finally settled. Dad’s going to see if it was just sticky, or if there was actually a problem.
The drive out on Saturday was uneventful. I got my waving in – lots of people heading home and waving at the rest. That was nice. We stopped a couple of times: once to check the trailer, because a corner of tarp had come untucked, and once just for a bathroom break. We stopped at our usual Denny’s for dinner. Charlotte didn’t eat much, but she was the best behaved kid in the place. Certainly the quietest. Then we rolled into Pittston at 7:00, or even a little before. That was a little shocking, as we’ve never gotten to the hotel that early before. It’s been a few years, and there’s a lot of new development in that area which makes it look different, but we finally realized that the reason it didn’t look right was because it was light out. We’d never seen that area in daylight before. Odd. It made me regret a bit that we weren’t going straight home, because we could have gotten there at a decent hour, but I realized that I was tired right down to my bones. So we checked in, found a place to park with the trailer, I did a bedbug check, and I passed out.
I woke up before the alarm again on Sunday, and we got up, got out, and got on the road. The weather caught us just as we were leaving the Scranton area, and it was in and out of the rain for the rest of the trip. Again, it was a fairly uneventful drive. The only bit that sticks with me was the idiot with New York plates who was PARKED in the left lane and going way too slow for the flow of traffic. He was really pissing me off – then Bob spotted that there was a problem with his windshield wipers, and as I passed him on the right, we could see that his windshield wipers weren’t working, and he had his window down. I figure that he was driving by following the yellow line on the shoulder. This was just as we were crossing the border into Connecticut, and I have to wonder what happened when he got to exit 7, given that it’s a left exit…
We made it home in the rain a bit before 11:30am, got the Jeep unloaded, and got the stuff off the trailer that shouldn’t get soaked if it could be avoided. I started the laundry while Bob was unloading, because I always like to make everything less stinky as soon as possible. Especially since the piles live in my kitchen until they’re washed and folded. I got most of the laundry done and a lot of the large stuff put away, and we got take-out Chinese for dinner. Then we went to bed knowing that the next day was back to the office
And those evenings and mornings were the final days.