Ahh it feels good to be home! We've only been away for a week, but it feels like more due to the nature of our travels. First, several days before we left, I went into frantic Country Fair mode. The combination of camping and commercial endeavors means that you need a wide range of gear in order to get by. I spent ages building a vast pile in our family room to ensure that I didn't forget anything essential to our comforts or to the running of our booth. Of course this means I forgot lots of things.
At some point, I must go into each of these phases in detail, and with some of the photos I took. However, for the moment, here is a brief run-down of our adventure:
--- Tuesday night I washed the nieces and packed the massive pile into M's highly useful car
--- Wednesday morning we drove to Oregon stopping once for Subway (note, it was a fairly peaceful drive because I used luggage to create a tall barrier between the kids. I highly recommend this trick.)
--- Wednesday afternoon we went out to the fair and got our wristbands that allow us to stay on-site after the public gets kicked out for the night. Huge line for no discernable reason. Frantically tried to pour mosquito repellent on Elder Niece who is mildly allergic.
--- Wednesday night, we arrived at my Dad's, had a slap up dinner, and found various spots to lay our sleeping bags (it was really good to see my dad, and I'm only sorry we couldn't stay longer)
--- Thursday morning headed out to the fair with both brothers and their guests. Thus the great pack in began. This is where you carry everything from the massive pile to your booth which is located about 1/2 mile (roughly) away. Back and forth back and forth.
--- Thursday afternoon we set up our booth and our camping area which is hidden right behind. I'm happy to say that three teachers, two engineers, two economists, one editor, and two kids make a pretty good booth team.
--- Friday was a great day at the fair. We made a fair (har!) amount of money (good because we make a sizable investment in order to come each year) and I think most people had fun. The Tofu Tias and fudge (a Friday tradition) were divine.
--- Saturday was also a good day. We didn't make quite as much money, but then again we never do on Saturday. I also went to a music show with Elder Niece, M, and the two economists. Turns out everybody enjoys Beatles cover bands. One of my two most favorite aunties arrived that day too! It wouldn't be the fair without her. Cheesecake at midnight is another delectable family tradition.
--- Sunday was where everything came apart. In the morning, the thunder crashed and the rain came down, and I have never seen such a wet fair. Our booth is such that you can sort of keep things dry, but it's a constant effort. No words can describe the way the earthen path became a sea of mud. I'll just have to post the pics. It was a quite miserable day. The pack out was made far worse by the rain, the lack of people to help (several left early), and the extreme distance to the cars. I suppose what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
--- Sunday evening found us finally done with our fair exit and on the road to the Oregon coast. We stayed at the Overleaf Lodge, and enjoyed views of the ocean, clean beds, no drum tower while we were trying to sleep, and bathrooms instead of port-a-potties. It was heaven. There is nothing quite like going from the mud hell to a third floor hot tub overlooking the ocean.
--- Monday we walked on the beach, enjoyed the most amazing collection of tide pools, and relaxed.
---Tuesday we visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Rogue Brewery (very close together so you can make the kids and Dad happy in almost the same visit) and then drove home.
What a long strange trip it's been. Now I have the very same mountain of stuff in the family room, but it all needs serious washing. Is the fair worthwhile given all the work and discomforts? That is tough to say. The assembly of nearly the entire family is quite wonderful, and in a normal year, I think that is the deal maker. However, the mud was another thing entirely. Let's just hope it really is on a twenty year cycle (my mom and I think the last big rain at the fair was in about 1989) and we won't have to deal with anything like that again for a good long time. At least I am once again reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to live my luxurious First World life. Okay, that's as much time as I can waste on blogging. Now I really must get back to the pile.