Saturday, October 10, 2015



...Being a lengthy, convoluted and arcane account of the creation of this art. Not recommended for anyone actually seeking useful information...

I Guess it all started with a quick Google search. We had dawdled away lots of prime autumn weather with doctors, Volleyball and football. There were just a few days to reach Jonesborough TN and the International Storytelling Festival.. Al Thought he remembered the Distance at 630+ MILES and projected a two day excursion by (Aghh!) Interstates--Montgomery, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Knoxville, local transition to Jonesborough..

When Patty slipped into the Navigator's seat and adjusted her Black Belt in Ipad navigation, Al was already whining about the route he had chosen.

"I wish we didn't have to go through BIRMINGHAM..."

IN A VERY SHORT TIME, he received the revised clearance.

"Airsteam 26, in 22 miles, right turn on State Route 145. Transition to county 61, report Wilsonville"

(I love it when she talks Air Traffic Control.)

"Oh, and Honey, that's six and a half HOURS and we are now looking at an ETA of 7:15. We could make it in before dark and no overnight at Walmart ."

The road was gorgeous two lane with no traffic. We slipped around Birmingham , enjoyed the renovated interstate along Lookout Mountain and generally had a smooth flight, err, drive.

We were approaching Jonesborough as the sun was setting; we were low on fuel but the onboard calculator said we had enough...(If we stopped for fuel, we would lose 15 minutes we would need to slip into our preselected site before dark.) We proceeded on...

The transition from I-81 to the Persimmon Ridge campground was typical Middle Tennessee two lane --short steep hills, sweeping curves, double 90 degree turns . It was the golden hour and the barns and pastures glowed. I would be lying if I told you I didn't LOVE pulling an Airstream through those roads! We entered the campground in plenty of time to slip into our accustomed site.

The Fuel Monitors (both of them) were not happy, ringing bells insistently and inquiring in plaintive tones if we wanted her to search for a gas station...

Wait! An old white van was parked askew in OUR space -- No hookups, no camping gear in sight. One of our Texan friends who always arrive here a few days before us appeared at our side and, because this is the storytelling festival, gave us the long version. The key points being, apparently homeless older woman, quite skittish and hardly approachable.

"We have been bringing her food and offering help and kindness, but she seems confused. I THINK the manager told her you would be in tomorrow"

'nuff said. We will find another spot. You should know that this little city campground, while handy, is hardly uniform in its offerings. Few sites are level, some have workable connections and most have at least one oddity. The whole place is on a steep hill, each site being its own narrow little terrace. It was now Pitch Black Dark. We chose a site which had no less than six water spigots within reach, a sewer pipe and a brand new 30/50 Amp electrical box in a trench of newly turned red clay. The jaunt up the hill and back down set the fuel monitor into apoplexy.

Did I mention that it was Pitch Black Dark? Not to worry, we had Technology in the form of two little orange LED hazard beacons which could be aligned to provide a visual glide-path. So, with his lovely little Air Traffic/Ground Controller on the walkie talkies and our sweet Texan friend assisting, Al began backing into a terraced site with a mud hole below the upslope platform on the right and a three foot drop of exposed red clay on the left. It was a field of red clay relieved only by mounds of gravel. Yes it was still dark, but things were going along well. Al couldn't SEE the condition of the surface, but he could see the orange flashing beacons UNTIL Pat's instructions didn't seem to jibe with reality. He stopped. One of the beacons was MOVING! It wasn't an alien abduction; Tex felt Al might run over the beacon and was now holding it four feet off the ground approaching the driver's door to explain

We abandoned the attempt when Patty got a pyramid of leveling blocks FIVE high and we weren't level yet. We stationed Tex in front to watch our clearance from the only other rig in the row and Ground Control vectored Al into the next site below the three foot clay slope (remember that, there will be a quiz). This time five blocks high got us level. We locked everything down, lay our cheap Costco carpet over the red clay and Al limped off to the nearest fuel stop.

In the morning we deployed the awning as rain was imminent. Later we watched our new neighbor position his long trailer a little crosswise in the site we abandoned. Jim parked his Tow Vehicle beside his trailer on the brink of the red clay terrace. We greeted and exchanged cards and a little travel history and headed out for the day's adventures in a light rain.

Midday Jim calls. The pickup had spun out on the clay slope and slid into the upright to the awning. His truck had a dent, our trailer was still poised on its pyramid, but the upright was crushed and the Sculpture above was created from the cross beam. Jim was sick and apologetic but a man of action. He assured us all would be made right, he already had an RV tech on site and the long process of finding parts for a Dometic awning (that Airstream only used for a couple years) was in full swing coast to coast -- a totally satisfactory outcome and a new friend. Oh Yes, there is ART. Any pointers on how to site the work?