Part II Road trips, lessons learned and other ephemera.
After all the sweat, all the blood (literally) and hours of toil, Tallulah Belle was ready to go on her first camping trip. Now, don’t get the idea that she was COMPLETE, for what you learn is that these canned hams are never truly COMPLETE. You just go camping and when you get time you make whatever change or upgrade you can. Remember this whole endeavor is supposed to be about , err… fun. Yeah, that’s right, fun!
One of our oldest traditions is an annual pilgrimage to the Texas Renaissance Festival, held in Plantersville, a small town north of Houston. I can see furrowed brows from here already…I will try to explain. RenFest is an event that is held for 8 consecutive weekends in the autumn, on a large site built to resemble an English village, circa 1500 A.D. Musicians, minstrels, jousting, knights, pageantry, food, drink all to be found in abaundance. There is a large, 300 acre campground nearby where the performers and anyone else who wants to camp can do so for a small fee. We had been attending this event for many years but this year, we were camping. In a by-God real winged trailer!!
The campsite is just open space, with water taps and port-o-lets scattered around, so obviously no hookups would be available. We had purchased a Yamaha 2000 watt quiet generator to produce power and we had the water tank full of freshwater as well as several jugs of drinking water, so we were prepared. A word to the wise…when you buy your generator, be sure and buy a good length of HEAVY DUTY chain and a solid Master lock. Sad reality is that not everyone at an event like this respects your personal property.
Our trip took about seven or eight hours from Youngsville to Plantersville, and we got there with no problems. Tallulah Belle pulled easily and no surprises. Rolling in on a Friday afternoon, we made our way onto the grounds and pulled up at a likely spot. Now, when I say it is an eclectic crowd, that is writer’s shorthand for everything-from-500K-motorhomes-to-canvas-lean-to’s. And the owners who accompany those motorhomes and lean-to’s. We were parked near a large pine tree and no one else within 25 feet or so. We were here! Of course we had not yet obtained an awning, so we just set up a fire pit and a couple of folding chairs near the door,and had a campsite!
Note the Yamaha generator chained to the tree for security.
That night we enjoyed a nice fire and hot cocoa, while a non stop stream of fellow campers trooped by our Tee Girl, asking to see the interior and being amazed that a vintage camper could be this comfortable. Of course, a slow soaking rain had started, but we had brought a green poly tarp just in case, so I deployed the tarp over the trailer and we listened to the patter of rain. And the continuous pounding of the drum circle. Yes, a dedicated cadre of hipsters forms a drum circle near a huge bonfire and carries on all night. Despite the rain. Ahh youth.
Nothing like that warm birch glow at night! We carry an Astrofurf mat for the door to try to limit grass and mud migrating inside.
Next morning we were greeting by a sunny, bright crisp morning, so we made our coffee and went outside, to find that overnight a LOT more campers had arrived and now we were in the middle of an enclave of haphazard tents and pull-behind campers of all descriptions.
Our first morning.
We have accumulated fairly elaborate costumes for Renfest, so we made ready and found our way to the entrance, dressed as a nobleman and his lady.
View of a small part of the Renfest grounds.
The Sea Devil tavern, with bawdy wenches and singing pirates. Great fun!
At the Ded Bob Sho.
One of our favorite attractions is the DedBob Sho, a ventriloquist act, with a smart-ass skeleton (Ded Bob) and his human (Smuj) who insults, makes bad puns and hits on the ladies. If you go, make sure to watch Ded Bob!
The second night was thankfully rain-free, but the campground had become very crowded, so we had lots of close (10 feet away) neighbors, and the revelry at the campgrounds was really crazy. One of the pirate performers has a mid 60’s canned ham, with a stripper pole inside and a bonfire and lifesize Jenga game next to a roaring bonfire. No cameras allowed there, for obvious reasons!
On Sunday, after a late breakfast it was time to head out for the trip home. The best part was, that we can pack everything up and be ready to roll in about 20-30 minutes!
Stopping for lunch at Yo Mama’s BBQ in Montgomery, Texas. Excellent BBQ!
Of course, being a part of the vintage camper clan, Melinda always keeps her eyes peeled for other old campers on the side of the road during our travels. While passing through Cut-and-Shoot, Texas (YES, that is an actual name!) we spotted an old canned ham in a dilapidated used car/junk lot and pulled over to investigate.
Turned out to be a late 50’s Yellowstone in sad sad shape, but who knows, someone might be willing to bring it back to life?
Needles to say we had a rollicking good time on Talluah Belle’s first trip, and in fact the next weekend we took her to a local Wildlife management Area on the Atachafalaya River (pronounded chaff-a lie-ya) to spend several days, just us and nature.
As RV newbies we were still learning what to do, what to pack and how to camp. This sure beats the heck out of the ‘roustabout’ days of the tent and tons of gear camping trips!
Next chapter– “Ice Station Fredricksburg”