Gotta love Altoistes.

One of the best parts of having an unusual trailer is that you meet the absolute best, albeit often unusual, people. Two of those people are the Agees, and our friend Bruce is an avid astronomy buff. And by “buff” I mean: one who spends insane amounts of money on huge motorized gadgets, knows more than Wikipedia about the cosmos, and hangs with a crowd that knows exactly where to be when there’s something happening up in the sky.

This destination is far from any light pollution so the skies are about as dark as it gets, and the field of view in all directions is unobstructed by any mountains. We were informed that we would be given special red lights to use any time we were on the field. No flashlights allowed once you have entered the outdoor planetarium zone.

Not your normal camping setup.

We let our friends know that we would be acting especially awkward, like even more than usual, because we really didn’t want to expose them to anything we might have picked up in the caves. Full masking, distancing, and wiping would be in effect. They were cool with all of it.

Yeah, those are big.

We mostly just chilled until sunset and watched the field start to fill with ginormous telescopes. Donna pointed out that the field was set up with electric hookups specifically to accommodate astronomers and their toys for events like these. She led us down to Bruce’s set up, which had multiple telescopes mounted on fancy moving tripods. Even his binoculars are super cool, with image stabilization and everything. Richard reverted to an ecstatic seven year old on a field trip, needing occasional reminders from the chaperone to keep six feet away.


So cool!

Yes, we were able to see the comet, but I think what was even more cool was seeing the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. With the huge telescope, you could even make out Jupiter’s color bands. Saturn looks fake and we both accused Bruce of putting a sticker of Saturn on the lens and claiming it was a real planet. Bruce got some amazing pictures of Neowise and the Milky Way.

Milky Way

All of the people on the field were well acquainted with each other and clearly in their element. When we asked where someone even gets one of these huge contraptions, the answer was, “That guy behind you.” One of them apparently builds many of these, grinding the lenses himself. When we said, “Are you serious?” he answers, “Yes. And Vega too.” OMG. Nerd Paradise. We hit a wall around 11:30 and headed off to bed, carefully using the red light and trying not to run into any massive equipment.

Talking tech.

In the morning, we hung with the Agees a little and Bruce showed off all his high tech mods. He’s put in lithium batteries with a sweet, insulated diamond plate battery box, wiring for the bike rack mounted cell booster, LED hitching lights, and even a weather station. It sure was great to see them. We all lamented at how we miss real gatherings and hope for better days, like post vaccine. Apparently there is some kind of event in 2024, so here’s to the wish we all make it to that one safe and healthy so we can stand awkwardly close to each other and not wipe things down after we share them.

Total miles from 83.7, 17.2 mpg. Site 1, hookups. The RV sites are pull through slots on a gravel lot. The row closest to the field has some shade trees. LTE for both, even out in the middle of nowhere.

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