The word “special” is undoubtedly overused, but it applies to this last camp-out of the season so appropriately . . . so pardon me if I say this rally was special!
A firmly established annual event, the Airbiscuit Anniversary Rally and Chili Cookoff is a solid 4-year tradition introduced by the original 2010 Honeymoon Rally of Loren and Michael St. Peter and followed by 3 successive anniversary celebrations. It also synchronizes with the Findley State Park Chili Cook-off on Halloween weekend – leading to all kinds of crazy end-of-the-season camping happenings.
Loren and Mike camp in an Argosy (Airstream) camper that was previously owned by Loren's mother, Lou, and before that -- purchased new by Lou's mother! There are pictures of baby Loren having a bath in the sink of the Argosy. What a 3-generation family treasure!
My story started Wenesday morning when I made the 2½ hour solo trip to Findley State Park arriving by noon. The roads leading into the park office were decked out in Halloween prettifications as was the camp office.
My site was at the very end of park road #12 where most of our 36 registered campers were to assemble on Thursday and Friday. Without too much problem I navigated into the deep and narrow #188 site, where I was bounded by woods on two sides and hanging pretty much by myself on the cul-de-sac . . . on a dark Wednesday night!
I set up my last camping site on my last camping trip of the 2013 season and hustled off to meet with the rally hosts to drop off my goodie-bag goodies, and help stuff the bags. After a quick trip to WalMart, I landed in my Airstream for an early, cozy night with my current book.
Thursday the rally began for real as Loren and her back-up team arrived and began setting up headquarters. Ready to accommodate whatever the weather had to offer a large tent, complete with heaters and long tables, was set up. I also set up our big orange PahaQue for a bit of open-air shelter by the eternal fire pit and outdoor cooking command post.
Friday I hosted an afternoon sewing session for ladies wanting to make a glamping pillowcase. I had prepared by ordering and putting together fabric kits for purchase, and sending out advance notice of the project so that crafters could purchase and bring their own fabric. Most of my fabric combinations were designer "glamping" fabrics by Mary Jane Butters.
Our big tent was turned into a craft room complete with sewing kits, pillowcase samples, sewing machine, cutting table, and ironing board.
I gave a brief demonstration and passed out printed directions for making the pillowcases. Game on -- 14 pillowcases made!
Loren and Mike combine their Anniversary Rally with the Findley State Park's chili cook-off, making for great campground-wide activity. Findley provides ground venison for each contestant who can enter in hot or mild divisions made on stove-top, open fire, or crock-pot! Entries must use the venison, but after that anything can be added and nothing is barred!
This year Tom entered the contest with his open fire/Dutch Oven entry. I know that he had quite a concoction of canned tomatoes, plus his own addition of onion and peppers and spices, and shredded beef and bacon . . . no wonder he ended up with a 2nd place in the Airstream division!
After the winners are announced and prizes are awarded all of the chili is opened up for sampling by the campers.
After the chili fest the Airstream chili cook-off winners posed for a pic!
Saturday morning, while Tom worked on his chili, Steve, Cindy and I make a quick trip to a local Elk Farm. I bought some elk bratwurst, ground meat, and stew meat while Cindy and Steve posed under the
elk antler arch.
There was so much more happening at this rally and Tom and I savored every minute of it knowing we were in for a long camping dry-spell in the next few months. I'll leave you with a group picture -- one that I will be looking at frequently with fine memories of a very special rally.
Camping season may be over, but this weekend I am off with Caleb to Canada for his first tournament of the season playing on the Ohio All-Star team. When one door closes . . . . .
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown