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VTJ Day Six

Why was there no “Day Five” blog?   Sheer exhaustion, but in a good way.

Let me see if I can remember everything that happened.   We peaked at 89 trailers on Saturday night, which filled most of the space available to us this year.   We were blown away It was really awesome in our vintage village, with everyone having fun, exchanging ideas, attending seminars, taking pictures, and exploring the park.

The morning dawned a bit cloudy, which was perfect for Steve Hingtgen’s outdoor demonstration of polishing.   At 8:30 I met a reporter from the Schenectady Daily Gazette, which led to an excellent article about the Vintage Trailer Jam.   We also had demonstrations of riveting (led by Brett), the VuCube satellite system, and leak testing (led by Colin).   The leak testing is particularly fun: they take a giant fan arrangement which pressurizes the trailer’s interior slightly, and use soapy water to find leaks on the outside.   (The leaking air creates tell-tale bubbles on the exterior.)

At 10 a.m. I led a seminar on writing and photography for publication, which led to discovery of several budding writers and one illustrator.   At 1 p.m. I was back up again with a seminar on full-timing and working on the road, which was packed with people and really interesting because of all the feedback I got from people who were either full-timers, part-timers, or wannabees.   While I was finishing the talk, Emma, Eleanor and my parents arrived, which lent a little credibility to my story about   being on the road for three years.   People wanted to ask Emma questions as soon as she arrived.   I probably could have turned the seminar over to her.

Then Colin stepped in with a sobering (but informative!) talk on the real costs of restoration, and what drives those costs.   Steve and Colin wrapped it up with a joint seminar on “sourcing parts” and then it was 4 p.m. and we were all wondering where the day went.

At Happy Hour we went nuts giving away prizes.   We gave away another six books, a pair of Vroomer’s “Airstream” slippers, a “campfire in a can,” a set of aluminum tumblers, and a Cyclo polisher worth $260.   We awarded prizes for People’s Choice trailer, Best of Show, and Rat Trailer, all of which came with prizes.   But it was a bittersweet evening, because we knew the event was coming to a close.   Already people with work on Monday were slipping away, and by nightfall we had 55 trailers left.

And then the rain came.   We’ve been lucky with the weather so far but our luck ran out.   It poured, for hours.   The evening chat with Fred Coldwell had to be canceled, and everyone retreated to their trailers to spend a quiet night.   Many of us (myself included) were grateful for the break, because it gave us a nice wind-down from days of relentless scurrying around the lawn.

The rain revealed that our trailer has sprung a leak in the roof somewhere.   Water dripped incessantly in a side bedroom window, and we had to collect it in a stack of towels.   I’ll be stopping at Colin’s shop tomorrow to get the leak   test process done, and I’ll report on that.   We had it done a year ago, and sealed up several potential leaks, but with a lot of road miles on the trailer, it really needs to be done annually.

The question on everyone’s mind seems to be whether we will do it again.   I expect we will.   The VTJ was a huge success from every angle, and in spite of the workload I loved doing it.   We have learned a lot which will make next year’s event better (and easier!), and I am certain that next year we can increase our numbers quite a bit.   We’ve also had many offers to help from people who attended this year, and that is really motivating us to do it again too.

Now, Monday afternoon, it’s all over.   I couldn’t bring out my camera to take photos of people leaving because it was so sad to see.   By 1 p.m. there were a dozen of us left, and now at 6 p.m. there is only my trailer and Colin’s still on the lawn, where we recently had a festival and a temporary city.

The electrical cables and water hoses are rolled up, our stakes are pulled, and recycling is neatly packed in two barrels.   We’ve taken pains to leave no trace of our presence here.   In fact, the lawn is cleaner than when we arrived, because we’d like to come back.   The Saratoga Spa State Park is a superb venue, and right now the VTJ is the only way to camp in it.   Brett and I will spend one more night here and pull out in the morning to drop him at the airport.   And then it will be time to do something else.