First I must state that the camper trailer is now going to be referred to as a caravan. A musical traveling caravan to be more specific. One that took me to Athens to perform at the Casa Nueva open mic. It is my intention to continue this adventure both in Athens and hopefully other cities around Ohio. For the sake of honesty, this trip was not without some deviations from the charted route. I mean that figuratively and literally.

Google took me on a… scenic, back way to Strouds Run State Park (my intended camping destination). Keep in mind this is the first real trip in the caravan since I bought it last fall. It is bouncy and bumpy on average roads. Google sent me on a narrow twisted gravel road with holes. (There is a better way to get to Strouds Run so if Google tells you to turn away from Athens getting off on 33, go the other way. The route should go up the Columbus Road hill toward town.) The in-town route is still tricky but it sure beats the other route for drive-time and drivability. I did get see lots of new parts of Athens County, and I learned that my caravan is capable of handling some iffy conditions, and that I can safely maneuver through them.

Setting up camp was super easy and I was relaxing shortly after pulling up with minimal effort. It is very beautiful at the campground. There is a playground, a creek nearby, and scattered basic restrooms (no water). I dropped my check-in envelope at the campground Dropbox then I made my way to town. I thought I had some extra time on my hands so I stopped and got food at the Union Street Diner. They have a decent burger and it was delicious and fun. They even substituted a pile of lettuce instead of french fries, so that was an extra win.

The visit with my mother was enjoyable. I even helped her hang some baskets of petunias.

I arrived at Casa too early (doors open at 7:30). I found myself talking to Jim at nearby Random House. He invited me inside where I bought a very old pair of 7×50 binoculars. Maybe they’ll remain assigned to the caravan, but I suspect LJ will snag them for her birdwatching.

Getting signed up at Casa went smooth. I went on first. That was probably a mistake, and despite the fact that there were some feedback issues, and I made mistakes in my presentation, I pushed through and did my three songs and got out safe. People clapped. I got a few, “Good Jobs.” One person probably thought she was being polite when she asked me, “What genre was that?” LOL

I stuck around for about 4 more performers, who of course cross a wide spectrum of sound. There is something classic and similar about a few of them in particular. Something that just feels right, like I should have had an old mill in my hand or something. Well, I’m not drinking these days, but I have a new theory about Athen’s musicians that needs further study. Oh! I got to see a fellow ex-worker-owner and that was really nice. However, I began to get nervous about finding my way back to camp in the dark. So I allowed myself to leave early. I got back to the campground feeling good.

The inside of the camper at Strouds Run was actually exceedingly quiet. Missing was the AC at home turning on in the night, or trucks driving by, or pets scratching or meowing, or people getting up and flushing the toilet. The park was nearly empty on that Wednesday evening. I however woke up at about 4 AM and had nothing to do. My radio didn’t work and the cell phone had no reception. All I could do was play guitar. I did that for a bit until I realized that there were actually tents not too far away and I should probably not be singing at almost 5 o’clock in the morning. Oops.

Once it became light, I stepped outside and saw one of the guys from the nearby tents. I walked over and asked him if I had disturbed him. He said he hadn’t heard anything but that he appreciated my checking in. I think I can play the guitar quietly in the caravan if there’s not anybody really close.

The first step is done and tested and found to be a success. The process of performing out was so much fun that I really didn’t care any small things happened. As far as I was concerned, if I set up camp, showed up in time for signup, and maybe saw a friend, then it was sure a win.

That’s exactly what happened. I had a good time, and I hope to do it again. I will attempt to return to Athens next Wednesday to see if I can iron out some of the sound issues with the help of the friendly people at Casa!

Also, I am thinking about starting an update list for this site. Hm.

IanM Caravan, Live Performances

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