Tuesday, May 27, 2014

So Starts Camping Season 2014

Hapy Memorial Day.  I just got back from a weekend of camping, music and relaxing.  Today's post covers that.

Starting Again
middle row seat = camp couch
It seems like every Spring-Summer, I troll back through this blog to see if I posted a list of stuff to bring camping.  Every year, I'm disappointed that I didn't create such a list.  I have one now... on paper, that I'll try to remember to post.  We knew that where we were going, once we were in, we couldn't leave, but our tickets and camping spot were paid for.  Also, we had almost no money and the only things we could buy while we were there would require cash.  So, with the added pressure, Boo and I set off to plan for a weekend with Hapy.  She's quite experienced with car-camping, so between us, we remembered just about everything.  In the end, we didn't want for anything, and we didn't spend a cent.  We did find that we were the only bay-window bus there, and we spotted 3 Vanagons, including one tin-top.  Hopefully, one of my fellow bus driver/readers will feel inspired to join us next year.

To and Fro
Horning's Hideout
The drive was incredibly easy.  I checked the fuel log and concluded that we didn't need fuel for our round trip.  So, we fired up Hapy and nosed West to Horning's Hideout (North Plains, OR).  He purred the whole way.  Between the spring dampeners, removing the window screens and all the equipment we were carrying, he made almost no noise.  The only racket came from the belly pan when we got near 60mph on the freeway.  The ride home was equally uneventful, enjoying the views out the window, and the music from an iPhone.  The driver's seat belt is becoming problematic.  I may have to break out the wallet and buy a new retractable set, replacing the recycled-from-a-Mercedes set I installed a few years ago.

Horning's Hideout
I hadn't been to Horning's Hideout in probably ten years.  The last time was for the McMenamin's company picnic where a band I was playing with had a spot on one of the smaller stages.  That stage wasn't even there anymore, and you couldn't really tell where it used to be.  I was able to find about where it was based on my memory of the view.  Horning's has had trouble keeping music because of neighbor complaints and unruly patrons.  We were especially grateful that they allowed this multi-band multi-day event take place.  The Hideout hosts a stocked fishing pond and multiple 18 hole disc golf courses.  Our focus was the main stage where 10 bands played over two days.  I'll review the bands in another post.  For now, I'll just focus on the event.

view from main stage
The Horning's Hideout Hootenanny was the brain-child of Scott McKay over ten years ago.  It started as a birthday party for him, and it's gotten bigger every year.  As Boo and I were saying our "thank you" and "good-bye", he described this year's event as the fulfillment of that dream.  It has been so successful, he's not sure how to move forward.  To grow anymore will require infrastructure, and more staff, probably more rules, and greater restrictions.  Facing that future, he posed that if he didn't do it, 100 people would probably show up anyway.  With the highest turnout ever, I think it also resulted in Scott's least sleep ever and shortest amount of free time to see bands ever as well.  For such a giving guy, it's truly a shame that he wasn't really able to enjoy the beautiful scene he created.  There were craft vendors, multiple food options (including coffee/espresso and smoothies), and even a pot-luck supper on Saturday.  He had the 10 staged bands, but there were pick-up jams happening in the upper camp zone all the time.  There was a 2-day disc golf tournament with prizes down to 10th place in multiple divisions.

I hope Scottie chooses to host this again next year.  Boo and I suggested a few ways to make it work, and he already had a few ideas of his own.  I think we will start with volunteering to help out however we can.  If we can get each attendee to do just one hour of effort for the greater good over the course of the weekend, we can keep the load at a manageable level.  Maybe then, Scott can see some of the bands he booked and not have that 100-mile stare from no sleep and managing chaos all weekend.

This has already gotten long, but I wanted to touch on how the bus handled camping after a Winter of improvements.  The new deep-cycle battery and supporting electrical systems worked almost perfectly.  The dome light, kitchen lights, and the 12V outlet by the slider door were flawless.  We strung up a set of 12V lights around the awning/canopy for night-time lighting, creating a nice mellow vibe.  The awning hadn't been used in years, and I'd lost the old rain-gutter mounts.  Instead, I used 2 vice-grips to hold the bus-side edge to the top of the pop-top scissor supports.  It ended up higher, and better, than before.  At a stop at Goodwill last weekend, I got a 4' square indoor-outdoor rubber-backed rug for outside the bus door.  I also bought a bolt of 2-tone blue fabric at the same Goodwill stop.  Between bands, Boo cut the material into thirds, creating 3 rectangular strips that perfectly covered the jalousie windows, the front windows and the windscreen.  It was so dark, we slept until 10 on Sunday morning; unheard of in the bus.  Last, we nabbed a full-size bed memory-foam from home, and used that on top of the stock cushions on the rock-n-roll bed.  Sleep was amazing.

That's it for today.  As I mentioned above, I reviewed the bands separately; see these links for day One and Two.  It was a fantastic weekend. Hapy drove flawlessly, the company was spectacular and the energy of the whole event was deliciously mellow.  More next time-

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