Kelley’s Island Altoistes Rally

IMG_4655As this weekend draws to a close, a couple of things have become clear to us. First, we both somehow managed to seriously underestimate how much we would enjoy this. I know. That’s hard to believe. Next, we have gone too long without a break. It’s going to be very hard, especially for Richard since he goes back first, to transition back to real life.

Going on exciting vacations to exotic places has an appeal, but there is also a whole layer involved that is simultaneously exhausting when you stay in hotel rooms. Besides the logistics of shlepping your luggage and toiletries in and out all the time, you are also constantly adjusting to a new bed and an unfamiliar setting. If you’ve been out having fun sight seeing all day, you don’t really get to fully relax and recharge. So after a week or two, you’re ready to come home. It’s fun and all, but you end up needing time to recover from your vacation. At least, that’s what we’ve found.

This is different. Yes, it takes a little time to get used to your new home, but once you do, the vacation really is a true break. It’s all the fun, but with your own bed and bathroom at night waiting for you to unwind. It’s a real escape, a sanctuary, but it goes with you from place to place. I understand now why people would do this full time. The Alto is small enough to be manageable, but big enough to have plenty of personal space. It really has been perfect for us and we’re both scared of what it’s going to be like to stop because we can’t recall a time in recent memory when we’ve felt so free. And happy. What I told Richard to focus on is that, though this may be the end of the honeymoon, it is just the beginning of the marriage. All we need to do is commit to taking small trips often and to not let ten years go by again.

Back to the rally. On Saturday we all got to geek out by doing a tour of each others’ Altos. It was kind of amazing to see all the unique ways everyone personalized their little homes. We swapped storage tips and long time owners got to see all the changes in manufacturing. There were accessories to be shared, as well as funny stories. A good time was had by all.

We then spent the day biking around into “town” on the island and generally relaxing. That night we had a pot luck in the park’s pavilion and my little blue grill did a bang up job with a couple of steaks, some asparagus, and portobello mushrooms. We made brownies in our stovetop oven and that went over quite well. The group took turns sharing favorite places to camp in and around our home towns. If I recall correctly, there may have been some PG-13 content going around at this point and it is possible this was the result of some of the beverages being shared at the pot luck. A representative from Can-Am, an RV dealership and service center in Ontario, gave a presentation on towing. I know! Who would have thought that would be so interesting?? It was really great though, and I’m sure if we’d had internet service, we all would have gone back to our Altos and looked up gear ratios and overhang that night.

The next morning, Sunday, we shared a brunch back at the pavilion. Jim made griddle pancakes, we brought cinnamon rolls, there was a frittata and all kinds of yummy eats. We talked about future rallies and some members packed up and headed out. Those staying mainly endeavored to keep dry through an entire day of rain. I swear, I think we’ve seen more rain this trip than we have the past year in California, but that’s not saying much. We found ourselves having to dump out some overfill fresh water and it felt reckless and quasi criminal to just pour it out. Note: our grey water portable tank solution worked perfectly. It will definitely extend any stays where we don’t have full hookups.

We got a chance to host a few folks at “Cafe Dory” and Richard got to talk with the guys about battery monitors, so he was in his own personal Heaven. At the end of the day, those of us still there went out for dinner at a local brewery. Many head out tomorrow, including us. I look forward to future rallies, but this will be the one that is forever imprinted on my brain.

This is my favorite view of anywhere. I almost can’t take how much joy I feel just from this one picture

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