Monday was a decent day, mostly overshadowed by the fact that we were leaving that night. It always works out that just as you begin to get into the swing of things, it’s time to go.
We all slept in a bit, had a fairly leisurely morning, and headed out with Charlotte for a turn around camp. There were a couple of merchants I wanted to stop and see. I needed to get back on Panther’s mailing list, and I wanted to stop at Smoke and Fire. The previous evening at the White Rose some ladies from Trimaris has been admiring the camp and asking about suppliers. When I mentioned that I was looking for a gridiron like they had for the fire, Gwen told me that Smoke and Fire had them. I hadn’t intended to spend more money, but Elizabeth and I have been talking about getting one, I liked this one, and not having to pay the shipping for oddly shaped wrought iron was very attractive. Now we’ll have it for the fall when we do some more hearth cooking on a day when it is NOT 95 degrees out. We also stopped by Basketman and picked up a storage hook for the tent that we had been eyeing the previous day.
Once again Charlotte, her clothes, and her wagon were much admired. We wandered aimlessly for a while, visited a few people we had missed, and headed back to camp to start break down.
Why is breakdown always faster than setup? Or is that just an illusion?
Bob headed up to the parking lot to retrieve the Jeep, and I pulled out the stuff that needed to go to storage. By the time he was back I had assembled everything for the storage unit except the bed, and updated the list associated with the unit to include the new things we were leaving. We loaded up the Jeep and Bob headed for Jim’s Self Storage. I decided to leave the broom out there this year, so he was also able to sweep the place out. While he was off doing that, I packed up the rest of the stuff in the tent so that it was ready to go. Okay, I packed up in between playing with Charlotte.
When she started getting crabby I laid her down in the wagon in the hopes that she’d take a nap, and got lucky.
After poking around in the tent for a while I decided that I wanted company, so I oh-so-carefully dragged her over to the common area and sat down to visit with Pete and Thorolf for a while (Susan was napping.) That put me in a perfect position to be the recipient of a hamburger off of the griddle and some freshly fried French fries. And in the timing-is-everything category, Bob got back from storage just a few minutes after the burgers came off the griddle, so his were still hot.
Unfortunately, Charlotte woke up from her nap before we started loading for the trip home. I say unfortunately because if she had stayed asleep we could have left her in the common area in the shade. Awake, she fussed terribly if she was away from us and once we struck the tent there was no shade. We did our best by propping up my grass matt, but the sun was low and coming in strong, and she wasn’t happy about any of this. Also, at one point Bob dropped ropes that I hadn’t wanted dropped yet. I had to grab for the fly upright, which meant that I had to take my eye off of Charlotte to keep things from falling and getting torqued/bent. That, of course, is when she decided to stick her finger into the fan. It’s designed for that, so she didn’t get hurt, but you can imagine the wailing. And here we are in the middle of dropping the tent. Timing. Sigh.
We got all of the things that I needed Bob to help with down and into the Jeep, and he headed out to the Brewer’s Guild meeting. I headed over to the common tent to try to feed Charlotte her dinner. That… didn’t go well. She’d get distracted, I’d get annoyed, that upset her so she started crying at random… It took over an hour, but I got a container of carrots and a container of squash into her. The tears stopped almost as soon as I picked her up.
For whatever reason, Bob had much better luck feeding her while we were there than I did. I’m not sure if it’s because she actually did eat better for him, or if it’s because the heat doesn’t affect him as badly so he had more patience.
Once fed, I settled her on the mat in the shade and finished securing as much as could go in the Jeep as possible. Then I loaded her back in the wagon and headed off to try to find my husband. Luckily Pete had given me directions that I actually understood, so I had a good chance of finding him.
It was the usual slow going through the barn area, with stops for all and sundry to admire herself. I had a great conversation with a really sweet gentleman in a power wheelchair – he admired her wagon, and we ended up talking about how he wants to get chains for the wheelchair wheels to get better traction on slick grass and such. Finally I realized that we were blocking traffic, so we said our goodbyes and headed on our respective ways. I paused briefly outside of EK Royal to renew acquaintance with the Ravenhill windwall panel. That one is aging fairly gracefully, as is Dragonship Haven’s. Of the six that I made those two are standing up the best. The panels for the royals are more faded – partly because the purple fabric is just more inclined to fade, and partly because they are always dead center and getting full sun. They never have a year under the trees. I’m sure that someday those will go, and I’ll be sad. Although I can’t see the prince’s panel without remembering that I put the sewing machine needle through my thumb sewing that one…
Out on the Serengeti I ran into Katherine again, and we sang Charlotte Rod’s Winnie the Pooh song. She giggled maniacally throughout. Good girl.
If you don’t know the song in question, ask Rod. If you’re easily disturbed by the perversion of beloved childhood images – don’t.
I finally found the meeting just as Bob was leaving. We had a quick visit with ladypeyton and mrmanx , and headed across to Fletchers to see if Jan was in to say goodbye. He was, and we chatted for a little bit before heading out. Ran into Charles, Rod and Katherine on our way past the store, and rolled back into camp. At this point Charlotte had finally passed out. We did as much as we could before transferring her, and she was out so thoroughly that I was able to lift her out of the wagon and into her car seat without waking her. We loaded up the wagon and the stuff that travelled in it, got her latched in, and hit the road for the Best Western in Grove City, fifteen minutes down the road.
It was sad running into people for the first time and telling them that we were leaving in a matter of hours. There were things that I had hoped to do and people that I had hoped to see that just didn’t happen. On the other hand, it is fairly breathtaking the number of people I did see, given that I was only out of camp for a day and a bit.
Like last year we were the last ones for the night to check in (it was closing in on midnight,) and the clerk didn’t even blink an eye at us in garb. Or at the aroma of woodsmoke that I was probably carrying with me. The hotel was full up – he turned away two cars while I was in the lobby.
Unfortunately, getting Charlotte out of the car woke her up, and she was NOT happy. I did my best to keep her quiet so as not to disturb the rooms on either side, and ended up nursing her back to sleep. The hotel provided us with a crib, so we laid her down in there with her bears and her blanket, and she was happy. Then we cycled through the shower to get rid of the smoke and crawled into bed to get some sleep for the long drive the next day.
And the morning and the evening were the fourth day.