Sometimes when friends hear me say I’m going to a rally, they say, “Oh, what cause are you rallying for?” Like we’re going to carry signs and march. In fact, a trailer rally tends to be about the opposite. Mostly, we carry beer and sit in camping chairs. The term “Altogather” was created by a very clever Altoiste and we had the great fortune to be able to attend a week long Altogather in Ridgway State Park, CO, on our way (sort of) to Quebec.
I’m not sure whether it’s weird to love people you’ve never met in real life the way I love these people. But even if it is, I don’t care. I count some Altoistes as my very good friends already, and it’s one of my favorite things in the world to be able to get to know the others better. Sometimes people are just how you imagined them from online posts. Sometimes not at all. Either way, this was a very special week.
We pulled in Sunday and already saw a couple of Altos in the park. The organizer had a whole week long itinerary planned and we got to cheer as we saw more and more Altos pull into the campground. I’ll tell you, it’s not often that I see more than one, so getting lost and going to the wrong trailer is a novel experience. Every day there was some kind of get together planned. Usually, we’d start the day with a discussion, like favorites mods, tech talk, that kind of thing. Then we’d gather for pot luck dinners and usually end up sitting outside someone’s trailer just talking until the wee hours (wee hours for us is about 10pm).
We did do a few day trips into the nearby towns of Ouray and Telluride. I even got to ride the gondolas that traverse high across some extremely expensive real estate. Richard got in some biking, but it was way too hot for me to want to do any kayaking. In fact, the weather all that week was pretty wilting. One of the days, the wind really kicked up while everyone was off exploring. I happened to be in the park and watched as, one by one, the awnings that had been left up started going crazy. One of the awning poles actually broke, so another Altoiste and I went around taking the rest of them down. I would announce which styles were most wind resistant, but the truth is: awnings and wind just do not mix. None of them fared well.
On most camping trips, the Alto is the coolest thing in the campground. During an Altogather, it’s all about the accessories. We checked out each other’s gear and I think we all came away with something we now want to buy/change/build. Our REI Nemo Stargazer swinging chair garnered a lot of attention. Mostly from Richard. So, since that was purchased as a replacement for my zero gravity chair (way too big to bring), we’re going to have to get another one if I ever want to be able to use it. Turns out there is an REI in Colorado Springs. Boom!
The other notable event from the week was supposed to be a live demonstration of how to change the bearings on an Alto. This is something we’ve talked about in the group, but never anything I’ve understood very well. Unluckily for one of the traveling couples, they arrived with a wheel problem. So, since we had a couple of resident experts on hand, plus all the parts needed, we all gathered to watch a demonstration. Sadly, after much struggling just to get the hub opened, it became clear that this job would require a lot more parts and expertise to complete. I did at least learn what a bearings, races, and seals look like, and sort of how they go together inside the wheel. Mostly, the whole experience just reaffirmed our respect for Randy.
Despite the heat, wind, and blown bearings, this was a magical week. I really do love these guys. It was a perfect way for me to recoup the social energy, especially since we’re looking at a long stretch of one night stands and no meet ups on the horizon. I’ll just have to hold tight for the next designated gathering.
Total miles from Grand Junction: 75.2, 18.6 mpg, 1 hour 47 min. Site 272 in the Pa-co-chu-puk loop. Using the antenna booster, Richard was able to get full LTE. Without the antenna, he got maybe 1 bar of LTE, or 4g. I got 1-2 bars of 4g. We had full hookups, even sewer. There are great bathrooms, showers, and even a laundry facility. Markets, restaurants and gas readily available in the nearby town of Ridgway.