Wednesday, August 8, 2012

PARF - The Grande Journey

Last weekend was the opening weekend of the 32nd Annual Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival. It's so hard for me to believe that it's August, I mean I only just got back from SLO. Where has the time gone??

Herein lies the story of one musician's journey from NY to VA to PA.

I left last Wednesday to travel to VA to pick up my WinneBagel. The drive down was easy enough, minus the fact that we left 2 hours later than expected. We arrived in VA just as the traffic was getting really interesting. Gotta love VA at rush hour, huh. Oh, wait, I DON'T love VA at rush hour.  We took a slightly modified route that would have taken us around the traffic, except for an accident that put everything at a standstill.  Seriously, what is it about VA and MD and accidents? I have never been anywhere that has as many accidents as VA and MD. Seriously folks, it's not hard to look where you're going and be respectful of the other motorists and motorcyclists on the road. This advice is coming to you from a dyed-in-the-wool LI driver. I know all about tailgating, driving with the pack, speeding & playing tic-tac-toe with lane changes. Be More Careful!!!

Wednesday night and Thursday morning I prepped the 'Bagel and with help got the car attached via the tow-bar.  Therein begins my story. Somehow the two brackets on the car had bent a bit. It didn't worry me too much because when I checked under the car everything looked good. We only left an hour behind schedule, which was a bonus, and we most certainly would miss all the traffic going from VA to PA. The drive itself was smooth. The 'Bagel handles very well, and the tow-bar was doing its job. We got to Manheim and I took a slight detour to get propane. The road to Pinch Pond isn't bad, but it is hilly and there's one tight turn. When I stopped at the bottom of the hill and I made the turn I heard a crunch noise. That never bodes well, so when I got to the campsite a 1/2 mile later I got out to look. The front bumper had a crack in it already, but due to the angle of the tow-bar brackets the crack had expanded.  Still, everything looked like it was holding. That, however, is when the afternoon turned from good to WTF is wrong with my life/Why Can't I Have Nice Things!

The nice folks at Pinch Pond went to fill my propane tank but couldn't because their hose had sprung a leak.  You'd think they'd have noticed the insane amount of hissing and vapour coming from the hose (I certainly did). You'd think they'd have been able to tell me about this an hour prior when I called to make sure that they had propane and would still be open when I go there. Yeah, you'd think that. I left, sans propane, and began the less-than-5-mile drive to PARF. That's when things got funny(er).

At the same stop sign I heard another crunch, and then I could feel the car I was towing. You have to understand, all the other times I've towed anything with the 'Bagel I haven't "felt" the vehicle behind. This was more than a little disconcerting. I slowed down, pissing off all the other drivers behind me, and made it to site. That's when the brackets gave out completely.  3/4 of the way down the path to the campsite there was a crunch and a drag. I now know why tow chains are so important.  Seriously folks, if you're going to tow something make sure you have tow chains!!!

Rennies are wonderful people. I adore my Ren family.  Three of my friends started walking up the hill at the moment I was about to break into tears. They followed me back to my campsite, helped me get the car detached from the completely broken off brackets & tow-bar and even helped me put up my easy-up. My friend Shelli had arrived with her daughter, so she offered to watch DB while I tried to regroup and unpack.  That's when I found out that I had no electric.

On the afternoon of Camp Day, 2 days before the opening of a show, I don't really expect to hear back from an ED after I send a somewhat frantic text about having no electricity.  No electricity is bad. Not only would all the food in my fridge spoil, but with the temperatures being what they were, I think we would have melted.  My ED at PARF is a wonderful person. She texted me back and said she'd send someone over to fix it so I could figure out what to do about the propane.

After several discussions with 4 different RV stores I finally got someone helpful. Apparently when the word "Winnebago" is used it means special parts and special stores and special pricing.  Let me explain. No, it's too long. Let me sum-up.

The 'Bagel's propane tank is attached. If I run out of propane I need to drive my house to somewhere that sells propane and then drive it back to site. Sometimes I'm lucky, and people deliver (Thank goodness that's the case at AZRF!), but most of the time I'm not. My next option was to get a kit so I could attach an external propane tank (like the ones you get for a bbq). There is an amazing RV store 30 minutes from PARF. It has  funny name, and once I remember what it is I'll post it here. The folks there were tremendous. They helped me find exactly what I needed. They were kind. They answered all of my very stupid questions. They were made of awesomesauce.  Now I had the kit, but I had to find a propane tank. Do y'all know that propane tanks are expensive? Yeah.... I didn't know that either. The refill's aren't so bad, but the initial cost was not going to work with my wallet. (I know this because I priced them at 6 different locations.)

 At this point 3 hours had passed. I didn't know if I had electric. I knew I wouldn't have propane until the following week. The car was making funny growling noises. I also hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. Oh yeah, and it was hot out. By hot I mean I thought my flesh was going to start melting off of my bones. I do not do well in the heat.

I was trepidatious in my return to site.  I really didn't know how the evening was going to turn out. It was close to 7:30 when I got back and damn, if my electric wasn't on. It was like a Channukah miracle in August. :D

The rest of the night went by quickly. There was no unpacking. There was awesome BBQ for supper with friends. There was no spoiled food in the fridge (thank the Gods!). There were wonderful people to give me hugs and assure me that this too would pass.  I decided, as I got into my bed while the A/C continued to cool things off in the 'Bagel, that while the afternoon had been fired, the evening was welcome to stay. 

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