Pagan camping Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! Tue, 23 May 2017 21:06:22 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 9 of 9

...continued from Part 8

Sunday, June 22nd:

I woke up sad. Sad because it was the last day and people were already leaving. I got some of my stuff packed away the day before, but it still took me four hours before I could leave. I wanted to make sure I packed everything properly, not just to get it all in my car, but also so it would be less work to put away when I get home. Remember, we run a tight ship around here at home, so stuff can’t lay around forever! I worked very hard to make sure I didn’t leave little scraps and bits lying on the grass, as it just feels wrong to trash the earth that welcomed me for so long. That would be a shitty thing to do, I figure. I made a couple trips to the dumpsters, tossing out what couldn’t be salvaged, since there was no garbage pickup that day. I did some work, ate a granola bar, did some work, ate a pop tart, did some work, ate a granola bar, and so on.


Without extra hands, I knew I had a big job ahead of me, so I took my time. I wasn’t about to have anyone rush me, especially because I was kind of sad to be leaving. However, someone’s car alarm kept going off, and I found that to be strangely acclimating for my life outside of PSG. I’m sure most people were annoyed by it so early in the morning, but for me, I was hoping to hear an ambulance and an ice cream truck. See? I told you I’m a weirdo!


I was able to say some good-byes to people, but unfortunately, not to the people I wanted to the most. I drove around looking for Nels and Judy, but they were busy saying good-byes to others. They were very good to me, and I genuinely appreciated their kindness and hospitality. Thank you.


I really enjoyed the car ride home. I actually ended up following someone in an RV with Georgia plates for at least an hour before they made a turn into a public campsite. The rest of the drive was just me and Eddie, with the windows down and my hair blowing in the breeze. I got off I-55 at the California exit so I could avoid construction. The ride northbound to where I live in the Logan Square neighborhood flooded me with city life. I drove past Cook County Jail, and the impoverished areas, then I cut over to Western and went through the gentrified areas that still have some grit left in them. It was a nice journey, but I readily admit, I love living in the city – with its potholes, sirens, pollution and whatnot. I’m a weirdo. I get it.


When I got home, my husband greeted me and helped me unload. He also surprised me: He got rid of the old, crappy bookcases we’ve had for several years and replaced them with brand new ones. He spoils me! I felt really bad about bringing all of my crap inside such a lovely home, so I worked hard to get things back to normal. But that didn’t happen until Monday. I was so exhausted, and sore, and beat up. I was just happy to crawl my nasty ass into our big, silky bed sheets, in air conditioning, and nap for what seemed like forever – with my husband and our kitten snuggling with me.


I woke up with a hunger I hadn’t had in ages, and neither of us had really eaten. Even though I felt I was in no shape to dine out, we went for a sit-down meal. Wait staff is a luxury we rarely afford ourselves, because we hate spending money on food, but I think Ron felt I needed it – and I did indeed. It wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever eaten, but it was good just to have someone present me with a menu and keep my iced tea refilled. And when we got back home, I got in a scalding-hot a 45-minute shower and went back to bed.


It was a wonderful week to be certain. I made new friends – lots of them – and I pushed some personal boundaries. One of them is hugging. I’m not a hugger, but by the end of the week, I had managed to extend my gratitude and energy to a few people. Maybe next year, I’ll be just a little more open. And for that alone, I thank you, and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:20:54 -0700
My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 8 of 9

...continued from Part 7


Saturday, June 21st:

Because there was no punch, people were making their own mini punches and passing it around. I drank too much for sure and was feeling pretty groggy in the morning. I think I slept until after 6am, which is late for me. When I went to the coffee meet, I actually walked over there with my travel mug and asked people to take pity on me and give me coffee. Every other morning, I came with my own tea, but that was not going to cut it. And that was after I had already showered. I was so out of it, I didn’t even have the strength to get out of my silky robe and dress. There wasn’t any sugar (and honey would have been nasty), but it was flavored with vanilla, and there was instant cream, so I made it work. Someone also brought over fresh donuts thanks to someone who was able to make a run into town, so the glazed, cakey goodness compensated for the lack of sugar in my hot, caffeinated beverage.


In fact, I was so groggy it took me a couple hours to tear down the photo booth and open up my art booth again. But, I really wanted to make that morning meeting happen, as it was the Solstice, and I figured it would knock the groggy out of me. So, I dressed up in my cheerleader outfit, and I walked over there with my pom poms. I wanted to cheer on the sun all day! People must have thought I was a weirdo, but I loved being my weird-assed self. In fact, I now want to look into ordering a proper uniform and make that my thing for Solstice at PSG every year. I’m sure finding a company to make me a uniform won’t be hard. It’s a competition sport these days, doncha know!


I did a pretty good job of keeping the R-Word at bay, but Nature decided the weekenders needed a taste of what we had experienced all week long. Yup. You guessed it. More rain later that day. I will say, I was pretty good at tearing down by that point, so it was no big deal. I closed up at 2pm, and that was the end of sales.


After the rain, I attended a handfasting by the tree affectionately called Grandmother Willow. I’ve been to a few handfastings before, and I’ve been to formal weddings, and I will say with all sincerity Carlee and Adam’s handfasting was the most beautiful I was ever privileged to be a part of. I felt I wasn’t dressed for it, still in my cheerleader outfit instead of something more formal, but it was nice to be welcomed all the same. Many blessings to you both!


(What a beautiful couple at at beautiful handfasting!)

That night, I also attended the main ritual. I can see what they were going for, and some parts were wonderful, but overall, I am going to be that guy and say it did nothing for me. I’m really not good with Reclaiming’s style with stuff going on all around me, and standing in one place for long periods of time is hard on me. (I don’t feel right bringing a chair to a ritual.) I liked the start, where we moved around and such, but the bulk of it was standing in one spot and the ritual coming to me. I’m definitely more of a movement, hands-on kind of girl, and I’m more of a half hour tops type. I am happy though others found it meaningful, and I did like the burn included.


After that, people made their way to watch the fire spinners, of which Carlee and Adam did a performance together. They are such an adorable couple! Again though, I was standing for too long, so I had to get up and do something. It was a clear sky again, and less muddy, so I was able to get my journey in.


As I posted on Facebook, here is what I typed immediately after I returned on my phone:


Every year, I disappear for a while to walk alone in the darkness. It's something I cannot experience at home.

For one thing, we don't have stars in Chicago. If you're lucky, you can see the moon and maybe a planet.

For another, there is no way in hell I can "walk without purpose" on a dark street in the city by myself. That's the sort of thing that can get you mugged or raped.

And also, I catch tiny snippets of peoples' conversations that I find so fascinating, and sometimes people stop me during my little walk to just say hi. Who does that - make eye contact and just say hi to a total stranger? Even your building neighbors? That's weird at best and suspicious/creepy at worst. But at PSG, that's just normal.

Reason #325 why I love coming here.


I stayed up and chatted with folks for a while, and we all got up to look for some other folks, grabbing our chairs. We made our way to the bonfire circle, where many were getting in their last chance to dance and drum with the flames. I just parked myself and let the flames lick my face from afar, nodding off. I realized I was falling asleep, so I made my way back to my car, crawled in and slept. be continued.

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:11:31 -0700
My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 7 of 9

...continued from Part 6


Friday, June 20th:

Pan’s Ball was invigorating everyone with giddiness, and it was so readily apparent. Not to mention, the weekenders were arriving. So I got in a shower, and I slapped on my pretty dress with wedge heels. I looked gorgeous! I wanted to make sure all the newcomers saw me in my best, and with a good attitude. I figured, we arrived on a beautiful day, and it was beautiful that day too, and they deserved the same welcome. After all, the first two years, I was a weekender, too. No one was laughing at me in my wedges that day as I glided right through the mud with relative ease. I wear heels a lot, so I’m used to the proper stride and stance. I guess that makes a big difference. I looked so good in fact, and I felt good too, that I know I excreted happiness around me. It was one of those times I felt like a Goddess. In fact, as I sat in my chair and greeted the new people driving in, I felt like I was lounging poolside at Club Med, cocktail in hand. What? It’s Happy Hour someplace!


I’m no stranger to vending; I did it for years with our record label. And that day, it dawned on me why I like doing it. It gives me an opportunity not so much to make money (that’s what day jobs are for), but rather to be on the main strip and chat with as many people as possible. It’s what I like about my day job too – meeting people, many of whom are different than myself. And because I opened a booth this year, which by the way I did good in sales, there is no way I would have as many stories to tell if I hadn’t. I wanted to do the Hunt this year, but my workshop coincided with the first mandatory meeting, so that wouldn’t have happened anyway. I wasn’t meant to participate, but I was meant to make other people happy with my artwork – whether or not they bought anything (that’s just a plus).


That night, I was super stoked to open up my photo booth for Pan’s Ball. I changed clothes into jeans and a concert shirt, something to be comfortable in, and I rearranged the front of my booth toward Pan. I got lots of compliments, and I was pretty busy the first hour. Toward the second hour, things slowed down some, and right when I was closing up to join the party myself, a swarm of people came along. And, yes, people actually tipped me for the service. I wasn’t even going to put out a tip jar, but people said I should so I did. I won’t say how much I got, but I will say it was as much as I would have made selling one of my paintings. And yes, people kept coming by making sure I was well imbibed.


At the party itself, I was not disappointed with the awesome and naughty costumes. I do believe, even though the punch was nixed this year due to ordinances, maenads did make an appearance and debauchery ensued - especially at the after-party at the bonfire circle. Naughty, naughty, naughty! I absolutely loved it.


And the best part was – stars! I never get to see stars here in Chicago. I’m lucky if I get to see the moon and a planet. And after all the rain we had that week, a clear, starry sky was most welcoming. I tried to get in my annual walk, and I invited friends to journey with me, but it was just too muddy. be continued.

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:08:51 -0700
My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 6 of 9

...Continued from Part 5

Thursday, June 19th:

Rain and mud. Mud and rain. And to top it off, the women’s shower house was closed. Again. I promised myself I wouldn’t complain, so the one thing that makes me happy is pancakes. The veggie place wasn’t making them, which gave me a frowny face. But I remembered the other place had gluten-free pancakes, so I figured I’d give that a whirl. I got there before 8am, and they weren’t ready yet, but they took pity on me and made me some. Thank you!


They weren’t nearly as fluffy as I like, but they were indeed tasty, and they had real maple syrup. Usually, I actually prefer the fake stuff, as the real stuff has a weird taste I’m not used to, and it’s not as thick, but this kind I liked. So my mood changed, and I repeated to myself a foot of rain could easily be ten feet of snow with salty black slush instead of mud afterwards. So remembering the polar vortex we had just a few months ago, I perked up. I then decided to “take a pool”. I put on my swim suit and exfoliated the heck out of myself with sand. With the naturally soft water, I felt really, really soft – like ten years had melted away. And yeah, my hair felt heavenly again.


There were lots and lots of tadpoles in the pond, too. At one point, I had to swirl the water so they’d find another direction to head. The ground moved too with all the baby toads who grew up, and I certainly hope a good number of them grow up to eat all the mosquitoes. Have I mentioned the bugs yet? Well, there were lots of crawly, bitey things at PSG this year. The mosquitoes? Meh. I had my DEET. The spiders? Well, I’m arachnophobic in a serious way, so that was a challenge. But what drove me crazy were all the earwigs. Earwigs look like city roaches but with pinchers. I grew up with roaches, so this grossed me out something fierce. I had my “dressers” outside in a small dressing area I set up for myself between my booth and common space (my altar on top), and they found their way into my clothes. Every time I would get something to wear, I had to shake my clothes. Usually, the storage containers are in a tent, so I had not predicted that to happen. I should have though. Yes, I’m a dumb ass. Earwigs on jeans is one thing. Earwigs crawling around on my lacy panties? Ewwwwww! And earwigs in my shoes? Oh hell no! I really hope those toads get a feast!


I’m actually glad I brought my toolbox with me, because two of the four showers opened up, so I stood in line to get some soap involved. I must have looked silly standing there in my swim suit, but there you have it. I was able to properly brush my teeth, blow dry my hair (I didn’t bother with the flat iron with all the humidity), do my makeup and so on. This time, I walked away feeling like I just stepped out of a day spa! Mood improved drastically.


One of the things that the rain canceled too was the Starlight Shopping Spree. I wasn’t able to open all night, so I was on standby just chilling with my neighbors. Their booth was one of the only ones opened, as they have been doing this for decades and had their shit down pat, so they got some sales. Because the rain had finally stopped later that day, I opened up my booth again and honored the discounts I wanted to offer.


Because of all I was dealing with, I had completely forgotten about attending the Warrior Blessing Ritual. I missed that, and I’m really sorry I did. Last year, it was the only ritual I attended where I was moved. Fortunately, folks who attended are allowing me to use their photos. Again though, I really wanted to attend that. I love our service members with all of my heart, and I deeply regret missing that.


For lunch that day, I again needed something to pull me out of my funk. I made myself something that will now become a regular thing here at home. I used a packet of Knorr Thai curry rice mix, with a can of Ro Tel, a juiced lime and chopped fresh cilantro. That. Was. Delicious! And cheap! And hearty! And healthy! And well – make it yourself. You’ll see how good it is!


(That was incredible! And why yes, I do wear an apron when I cook!)

One of the things I became aware of is how many singles were now becoming couples. People I had seen earlier in the week walking around by themselves had made connections, and that too shook out the grumpiness. It’s hard to find another Pagan in Mundania, especially if you don’t live in a city. So to you new couples, I hope your relationships carry on the rest of the year.


Some of the conversations I had to date, like I said, were really insightful and memorable. And some, especially over drinks, were downright funny. One that sticks out was from a guy whose father had recently passed. He said his father’s spirit often visits, but at the worst possible times. Being “cock-blocked by a ghost” is something I don’t think I will ever hear again, and yeah, that must be really frustrating. But that doesn’t happen to me, so I’m sorry-not-sorry for laughing over the notion.


Another conversation was from a man who said as a boy in Catholic school, he and others were recruited to be altar boys. They wanted no part of it, but I guess they were not given the choice to take a pass. So how did they get out of it? They added popcorn to the burning censors, so as they walked down the red carpet to the altar, the priest and folks in the pews were greeted with popping. He said the priest told them their spirits were withered. I’d like to think their spirits were filled with giddy joy! be continued.

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:04:29 -0700
My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 4 of 9

Continued from part 3...


Tuesday, June 17th:

I woke up to things feeling really clammy and damp. I made another mad dash to the bathroom, but this time, I remembered to have my toolbox with my bathroom kit ready to go, tucked in a corned inside the car. I threw on my robe and shower shoes, grabbed the toolbox and towel and made the “Hooooold it! Hoooold it!” chant as I headed over. I admit I often make fun of my husband when he’s in the bathroom and vocally expresses his relief, but in this case, I was the one to mock. The showers were pretty nice, though they really needed some hooks for my towel and robe. Again, Prudy McPrudeson reporting here, and leaving my robe and towel in the cubby, where others can see my stretch marks, saggy breasts, big flat ass and bush does not work for me.


I am also a girly girl on top of a city girl and a morning person, so by the second wakeup, I could tell I was a lot different from the other people in the shower house. When I brush my teeth, I hum a tune to make sure I’m brushing long enough, per the advice of my dentist. And when I do that, I get into it. Humming and shaking my tailfeather to “Rock and Roll All Night” garnered me some annoyed glares, but meh. I’m on vacation, too. And my regimen of blow drying and straightening my hair, doing my makeup and generally taking up one of three sink spaces earned me a frowny face. But I got in super early, as in 6am, so what the hell?


Because it was so clammy, I needed some warm clothes and hot tea in me right away. When I left, I saw some folks over at the pavilion next door where Marty Townsend brings her Kreuig machine. I’m not a coffee person, but I do like some hot caffeine in the morning. So I went back to my site, used my electric teapot to get some hot water, made myself some Earl Grey (you dignified tea, you!) and walked back up there to say hi to folks. I also slipped on my “chair sweater”, as I actually needed it! (Anyone who works in an air conditioned office knows what a chair sweater is.) It warmed up later that day, so I was able to strip the sweater and got two more paintings knocked in. I also had time to say hi to the kitties again!


I was actually pretty busy on Tuesday. Not only did I get more paintings done, but I also did my workshop on Cheerleading, which was a lot of fun. What? Pagans and cheerleading? The hell, you say! But really, it’s just another way to introduce dance and chant with your works. You take a simple music beat, mixed with basic chants, and you can, by yourself or with others, choreograph some movement to bring it all together. And of course, “team colors” get involved, too. One woman who participated, she told me she had zero dance and rhythm skill. But by the end of the workshop, she was free dancing! Yes! That by itself made putting my workshop together, and dancing around in the heat and humidity, in front of a group of 20-30 people twenty feet away doing another workshop, totally worth it.


(I hung up my pom poms just to prove the tissue paper would stay dry! LOL)

I also had the chance to walk around the entire site and snap pictures for the Parade of (Campsite) Homes. Let me tell you: Some people really know how to kick that roughing it thing to the curb! Me, I’m more in line with practicality, but others bring “All the things!” and make a true home away from home with all of the creature comforts. I’m talking real sinks, honest to goodness beds, pantries, lighting, chandeliers, sofas, proper place settings with real (unbreakable) dishes and silverware, and so on. One group even had a large inflatable pool! If I had more towing capacity, or a storage locker, I’d be doing that, too. Then again, it already took me nine hours to set up my camp, so how much further can one person take things?


While I was out snapping pictures, I met someone who was attending for his first time. He was going through the Sage Rite of Passage, and let me tell you, his heart was probably one of the most open I’ve ever felt – which yes, he chose that as his name. I was immediately drawn to him, and I was in a rather focused frame of mind, but I had to take a few minutes to stop and say hello. Every time I ran into him since, even if I was doing the Hoooold it! chant, I found it important to make some time.


By the time I had finished, I was pretty beaten down from all the heat and exercise I had gotten, and I wasn’t planning on reopening my booth for another forty-five minutes, so that was the perfect time to go wade at the beach. Yes, there is a large pond there with a sandy beach. Not. Too. Shabby. And that water is naturally very soft, so I did a lot of floating so I could get my hair, which is royally abused, to a soft, silky state. It costs me a pretty penny here at home to get the same feel, and I got some good hydration in me from the water seeping into my skin. I also loved how nice my new two-piece looked on me, so I honestly wore my swimsuit the rest of the night with just a sarong wrapped on me.


I can’t remember too much more I did that night, though I’m sure it involved more fun with cooking, tearing things down for more rain warnings and drinking. I’m not much of a drinker, so I can assure you what I consume at PSG is more than I do the rest of the year. be continued.

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:51:27 -0700
My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 3 of 9

Continued from page 2...


Monday, June 16th:

I woke up early with a severely full bladder and the really loud sounds of nature. I tell ya, ambulance and police sirens, fire trucks, car alarms, ice cream trucks, motorcycles, horns blaring and semis hitting the air brakes on the expressway ain’t got nothing on Nature! Our bathroom is adjacent to our bedroom, so ordinarily, it’s not a big deal to lie in bed a while until I’m ready to get up. When camping however, even just something as going to relieve oneself in the morning is a big deal. I’m a Prudy McPrudeson, so that walking a couple (city) blocks to the bathroom in the nude was not going to fly. I hurriedly dressed and made a mad dash to the bathroom, and when I was there, I wished I had my bathroom kit with me to get the showering done at the same time. The (near) full moon was still out, so that was just enough of a stunningly beautiful focus away from how badly I needed to go!


On the way back, I stopped by the camp store where I met one of the kittens who live below in the crawl space. It was extremely friendly, and it made me miss home that much less. It looked exactly like our baby back at home, right down to the black pads. I was so happy to feel the purrs against my chest.



(Sweet little baby! They should have Rent-A-Cat for all of us who miss our furbabies!)

I attended the first Morning Meeting, and I am going to admit my favorite part about it is the mini puppet show featuring Marty the Drama Llama. It’s what keeps me going as much as I can to, y’know, actually attend for important stuff, Not even Arthur Hinds’ Good morning PSG! excites me as much as Marty’s whining and bitching. (Sorry, Arthur. You got upstaged by a puppet.) Yes, I’m a weirdo. Keep reading; I’ll say that about myself a lot.


That day was beautiful, and I spent a good amount of it at my booth painting. I knocked out three large paintings that afternoon, but only after I prepared a really nice lunch for me and my neighbors – chicken fajitas on corn tortillas with beans and Spanish rice plus cucumber salad. I figured I was attending the Zodiac Potluck that night, so I may as well have fun cooking during the day.


The potluck was the first real community thing I had done outside of meeting some folks who visited my booth (and morning meeting, of course). The way it works is they set up tables in a circle with each sign written on it. Whatever your sign is, that’s where you place your dish. (My offering was a 7lb can of chocolate pudding, and I created my own label for it as a fangeek joke from the Walking Dead: Carl’s Choice!) It’s also where you start to serve yourself, and you work your way around to get a smattering of everything else. I learned a few things that evening:


 (Carl's Choice Premium Chocolate Pudding!)

-          We Pisceans are efficient! Our offerings were canned/prepared foods that mostly only needed a can opener and a spoon. Sagittarians, on the other hand, put a lot of love into what they offer others – things that are fresh and healthy.

-          A good portion of the incredible amount of food was snatched up in ten minutes flat. Everything except the really pretty garden salad. That was still untouched.

-          People who choose the clothing option really need to “wrap that rascal” when attending a potluck. There was one guy whose genitals were at the same height as the offerings as he reached over to serve himself. Future note: No hot dogs in the potato salad, please! (That actually became an inside joke for the rest of the week.)


Later that evening, I decided to put my blender to work and served up some margaritas while enjoying some stimulating conversations with my neighbors and Patrick McCullom. It was also the first time I had ever tried venison steaks. I didn’t eat much, as I stuffed myself at the potluck, and also because too much meat at any given moment upsets my stomach. But hey – that’s why I go to PSG – to try something new. And I liked it! It wasn’t gamey at all; I’ve had lamb chops with a stronger flavor, and I love lamb! Patrick talked in depth of all his works, and I have to say it was the most stimulating conversation I’ve had in ages. He’s a really humble guy, funny as hell, and that’s saying a lot for someone who hobknobs with the wealthy and powerful so we Pagans can benefit the liberties we sometimes can take for granted. I’m not fond of the term leader – in fact, I sometimes loathe it, as it can come off as cultish to me. (It has me thinking of that episode on The Simpsons when Homer joined the cult. Na na na na na na! Leader!) But Patrick? He’s all good.


One of the things that was funny that night is realizing both Judy and I were wearing very similar blue maxi dresses. That required a selfie, which Judy said she had never done one of those before. I made a joke that Elders get to tell us youngins we are the ones who have to change in such situations. Ha!


(Fiiiine. I'll go change!)

It was also the first rain warning we received from the staff to batten down the hatches. What I didn’t tuck away I covered with cheapie plastic table cloths and shower curtains I got from the dollar store, fastened with clothespins. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked just fine. A lot of people liked the idea, and I had plenty to go around, so I gave some out to folks who didn’t have as much coverage as I did. In fact, a lot of people who arrive with the bare basics in their small cars said they too would pick up the idea for themselves next year since they take up so little space. They’re not tarps, and they have a carbon footprint for sure, but they’re good to use in a pinch. Just please, please, please be responsible and pick up after yourselves when you leave!!


(Not so pretty any more.)

That night, I slept very soundly with the thunder rolling in, in spite of the humidity. I credit that to not having to worry about a bucket of water or fallen branches dropping on my head in the middle of the night. be continued.

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:39:56 -0700
My experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering 2014, Pt 2 of 9

Continued from Part 1:

Sunday, June 15th:


(That's me in the car ready to hit the road! Yes, I was wearing an Obituary shirt, because on the back it says "Back from the Dead", and that's exactly how I felt going Home.)

I was showered, strapped in and on the road by 6am. Even though Earlville, IL is only less than a two hour drive, I always leave three hours early so I can avoid tolls and make one stop at a store before arriving. I’m what some would call a “Time Nazi”, and for me, being on time is being late. Most of my stuff sit in my 2001 Mazda Tribute with the back seats down, and I had the front passenger seat vacant except for my purse and registration in the glove compartment. My soft, light but bulky items (bedding and foam mattress) were tried together then wrapped up in a large tarp – kind of like a poorly-wrapped gift. It wasn’t pretty, but with the straps on the roof rack, it wasn’t going anywhere. Or so I had hoped!


(Is that thing going to stay on top? I sure as hell hope so!!)

Because there is always major construction here, I drove down Western Avenue to get on I-55 and avoid the whole less through the loop (what we natives call downtown). It was a pleasant ride with little traffic, and it was also a good reminder of what I was leaving behind. I’m a city girl and probably always will be at heart, but getting away from pollution, graffiti, potholes, sirens and such every once in a while is definitely needed.


As I got on the expressway, I became concerned about how good of a job I did with strapping stuff down. The sun was coming up behind me, and the shadows in front of me made it appear my stuff up on top was sliding around. I figured I left early enough, so I kept it at just the speed limit. Besides, the last thing I wanted was a speeding ticket to ruin my trip before it even began. I was occasionally assured everything was okay when I rolled down the window to smoke a cigarette and could hear the flap-flap-flap from the tarp slapping on itself. “Okay. It’s still there. I’m good!”


I got off at the Plainfield exit a little bit west of Bolingbrook where the Ikea is, taking the back roads the rest of the way. Usually I stop at the Target in Yorkville/Plano, but this year, I went to the Walmart mostly to see if I could see any other PSGers camping out in the parking lot. I’m glad I stopped there, because they had a sale on wood chips/mulch, and I was able to grab one of the last bags of cedar mulch for a little over three dollars. I had the front seat vacant, so there was no problem making room for it.


I hung out in the parking lot, eating a breakfast of chocolate milk and honey buns, until my GPS on my phone said it was time to make the last leg. I took the back road the bulk of that through a little town called Sandwich, which was a pleasant journey. The closer I got, the more I reduced my speed so as not to arrive too early. It was at this point where I really felt like I was on vacation. The birds in the morning sure are loud!


At that last turn of the road, I started seeing lots and lots of cars, trailers and RVs, so I didn’t need the GPS any longer. Just follow the caravan! I got very giddy at that point! Well, in spite of my best efforts, I arrived at the gate a little too early, so I had to drive a mile past and come back around. I didn’t want to just sit on the side of the road, not only because we were asked not to do so, but because I really needed to use the bathroom (even though I went at Walmart), and the slight vibration from driving kept the seal locked!


When I turned around, I joined the others in the southeast bound caravan coming from Leland. We got in quickly enough, though the anxiety was killing me. I was thinking to myself how much I’m used to sitting in traffic, but at least with city traffic, it was just going to A to B – not trying to go Home.


Getting in the gate was pretty easy. Because I had several registration sheets (ticket, merchant, electric and parking onsite), I was greeted by a couple different people. One gentleman walked alongside me to make sure I was parking my vehicle in the right spot. I was concerned about rolling over a nail or something, so it was very helpful to have him there.


As I pulled in, my vending neighbors from Hawkdancing, Nels and Judy, were there to greet me, as was a family set up behind me. I spent the next nine hours getting everything just so, with many breaks and cocktails in between. I really didn’t do much venturing away from my campsite as you can imagine, as I’m just that darn particular. I also was running on little sleep, and it was a hot day, so things were wearing on me quickly.


Fortunately, I had some help getting set up. I was really funky-feeling, too, but I was just too tired to take a shower. So I went to bed early, around 10 or so, and I slept the first night away from home in the back of my car. It was actually pretty comfortable, too! I had nice, satin bedding and lots of pillows, a thick mattress, and the driver side windows were down, protected by a tarp connected from my back canopy over my car and homemade screens made from bridal veil material and magnets (which did not ruin the paint finish). I was feeling so funky I stripped naked inside, which is a habit I do not have at home. Meh, I figured I had tinted windows and the tarp for privacy, so it’s not like anyone could see me. I was lulled to sleep with drumming in the distance, bits and pieces of various conversations and night time woodland critters. I probably snored, but hopefully being in the car, it didn’t disturb people much.


(Yeah, I slept pretty good back there!)


To be continued...

Read more]]> (Lori Dake) Culture Blogs Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:26:03 -0700