Wow. It will be difficult to sum up the totality of how fun the rally was. Again, it strikes me as weird how much I love hanging out with Altoistes. It was the same last summer. Some people I’ve chatted with a lot on the Facebook group, some not at all. Some people are exactly how I pictured them when I meet them in real life, some are completely different. All are truly fabulous, fun people to hang out with and we have many wonderful memories from the event.
To backtrack, when we left Bullard’s Beach on Thursday, Richard got a head start and biked right from the campground. I got to be lazy and ended up hitching up and pulling out around noon. He headed north and took scenic side roads, including a stretch called “Seven Devils”. We could keep track of each other’s progress closely enough that I was able to catch up to him and pull Dory over for a midday coffee break around 1. He opted to continue on bike even though he was fighting a significant head wind. I drove on to Jessie Honeyman and when I arrived, there was an Alto in front of me getting registered, and Lissa behind me. Heading into C loop, I saw Altos all over the place. Our final count was 15 Altos in the campground and we think there were 54 Altoistes in all.
Our first night we didn’t have any rally specific events planned, but we ended up standing around chatting with new friends for hours. Friday we biked into Florence, about a 4 mile trip, and had lunch at a great little place called the Nature’s Corner Cafe. They had all kinds of gluten free baked goods and hard to find organic items, so we felt right at home. We went around town a little bit and headed back to the park. That out and back was plenty of a bike ride for me and I decided that I didn’t want to bike groceries back with me after all. So we went back with the car. I received some pretty sweet gifts that make me very happy. Somehow, people have come to associate me with Dory. I know. Shocking. So I got a Dory balloon, Dory paper towels, and a tiny Dory action figure. Tiny Dory already has been affixed inside the trailer. The paper towels took me a while to figure out because they were inside a plastic bag and left at our site. It wasn’t until I took them out that I noticed the theme. Altoistes are funny!
Friday evening began official rally events with a meet and greet held at a site I reserved specifically as a gathering spot. Lissa brought a very handy screen tent and we all brought appetizers to share. Many drinks were shared and a keg full of local IPA arrived on the scene in time to make it a perfect evening. My feet hurt by the end of the night because of the hours I spent joyfully talking with so many people. We fell into bed quite exhausted and thoroughly happy.
Saturday was Alto tour day. Apparently, the park started to panic when unregistered people started showing up to join the tour. They heard “Facebook group” and thought somehow all of Facebook was going to show up and expect to be able to park in the campground. Richard spent a lot of time on the phone with the park rangers smoothing things out. He was really awesome about that. Meanwhile, I got the tour started. For those who had placed orders or those thinking about it, these events are an excellent way to be able to see all of the different models in person. For owners, it’s amazing how every Alto is completely different and everyone seems to have come up with some clever storage trick, or some cute decorative touch, and you are guaranteed to learn something new. I mostly guided foot traffic along the loop and Richard spent his time allaying the fears of the rangers or finding like minded folks to talk with about batteries. We eventually wrapped up the tour around noon and people went their separate ways for the afternoon. Richard disappeared for a couple of hours and it didn’t take me much guess work to figure out where he went. We have new friends and a new really good idea for how to add a spare battery to our system for times we want to boondock longer than two days. He and another Alto owner definitely hit it off and even if we don’t end up opening a “coffee plus” cafe together, I suspect we will keep in touch. Our other fun project on Saturday was to try out our new portable grey water dump tank. You can actually tow the thing to the dump site. It looks a little odd, but it definitely got the job done. We have dubbed it the “least yucky way of dealing with between site move dumping”. So it’s a keeper.
Saturday evening we met up at the group picnic area for a pot luck. Lissa’s husband, Jim, impressed everyone with their huge grill. Another Altoiste impressed everyone with his cool solar scope and we got to look at the sun, sunspots and all! Plus, several of us got to do our best at inflating those Lamzac chairs. I’m happy to report that I am no longer the only person I know to have fallen out of one of those. Someone got one to be fairly well inflated, but she had to really run for it. It worked, but that’s a bit too much work for a chair if you ask me. The only downside on the evening was that the rangers sort of kicked us out a little after 8pm. Many of us continued the party back in the campground, but it would have been nice to have been able to stay in the picnic area at least until sunset.
And that brings us to Sunday. We had a shared breakfast together and a fun Oregon trivia contest before calling it a rally and saying, “until next time.” Next year’s gathering will be on the East coast, but I doubt we will make that one. The year after is as yet unclaimed, but something in the Colorado area has come up as an idea. We would for sure go to that one. In the afternoon, we went into town to do laundry and then went on a hike back to the lake.
As a final note of awesomeness, Lissa etched our “633” manufacture number onto one of our windows. We are giddy in love with that. For a non Altoiste, I would need to explain the meaning of that number. For an owner, or soon to be owner, the number holds a sort of magical significance. It’s like a unique little identifier that reminds you Safari Condo is, after all, still a family owned business making each unit by hand with great care. It’s cool to have early numbers and it’s cool to have fun numbers, like 747. But no number is cooler than your own. Ours is 633.
In all, this was even more fun than we thought it would be, and we had pretty high expectations. We are tired from all the fun and late nights, in a good way, and I’ve learned a thing or two about tequila, as well as a few other things I won’t put into print.
Awesome time. Great memories, new friends, deeper bonds with already friends, fun times all around! Yay