Fergus Scottish Festival 2000: A Campers Journal
©Sharon Mercer 2000, all rights reserved.
A year ago, if someone had suggested to me that I would pack up my car and take off for a weekend of camping in Canada with someone I met on the internet, to meet still more internet folks, I would have scoffed. I mean, thats nuts, right? Everyone knows there are real wackos out there online...crazed axe murderers and stuff like that. But the longer I have remained at Lallybroch, the less crazy such things sound.
Earlier this summer I found myself watching folks post about plans to attend Fergus August 11, 12, and 13. Fergus??? Where the heck is that, I wondered. Somewhere in Canada? It sounded pretty far away. But when Ron started rhapsodizing over the possibilities of a hoser gathering at the Fergus Scottish Festival, I surfed over to the links that were posted and looked at the map.
It looked to me like Fergus was about 4 hours east of Detroit. Hey! I thought. Thats a lot closer than I had imagined---maybe 7 hours from my house; a tolerable drive, if not precisely across town. The site had camping available at very reasonable rates. As it was already mid-June, I wondered if there were any spaces left. A quick phone call assured me there were a few slots still open.
Well, why not? I thought. I really could go to this thing! I immediately sent out the call to other hosers to see if anyone wanted to be my camping partner. BetsyE, who lives about an hour from me agreed to go, so I booked our spot. Betsy arranged to take Friday, August 11th off from work, so we could have the entire weekend for our hoserfest. Decision made, reservations confirmed; We were going to Fergus!!!
As we counted down to departure time, I found myself wanting to put together some sort of identifying banner. After all, we were going to be the Official Campsite of the Ladies of Lallybroch! I wasnt planning anything too elaborate---just a variation of the website header. (As cool as the painting is, its a little too ambitious for me!) I emailed Judie for permission, since it is a trademark thing, and promised her it would not be tacky. She okayed it for use at hoser events like this, so I set to work. I chose a silver-grey satin for the background and a red and green holiday plaid for the lettering. It turned out pretty great, especially for a rush job, and I packed it away with the rest of the camping stuff.
After my car troubles in July on my annual camping trip to New York, (which involved a breakdown in Cleveland and $1000 in repairs--OUCH!!) I didnt really feel overly confident about taking my car to Ontario. Betsy blithely offered the use of her Blazer for the weekend. Since she lives an hour north of me almost directly on the route to Fergus and I had most of the camping gear, it seemed sensible for her to come down to Fort Wayne so that we could load the car the day before. She said she would be over on Thursday around 3 in the afternoon.
Thursday, August 10, 2000
Around 3 P.M. the phone rang. It was Betsy. Her vehicle had died unexpectedly on the highway and she was stranded in the midst of a construction zone waiting for a tow truck. Auuggh!!! Only too well did I recall that nightmare! I suggested she just relax and deal with her situation and we would use my car for the trip. After all, you would think $1000 in repairs would make the bloody thing road-worthy!
The change in vehicles meant I had to rethink my packing order, but somehow I got the car loaded and ready to go by 6 P.M. Plenty of time for a nap, as we wanted to hit the road around 2 A.M. CDT. Yes, it sounds early, but its much cooler traveling at night and traffic is easy. We would lose an hour traveling through Michigan (they are on EDT) and if I had guessed correctly on distance, we would arrive at Fergus around mid-morning. Then too, I can never manage to sleep before a big trip---my adrenaline starts pumping and I get antsy to hit the road.
I tried to nap. I really did. But the urge to run a few last errands and log on to LOL for a last cruise through the boards was irresistible. The Scotland 2000-bound hosers were packing up, the Fergus Folk were making their final farewells, and the SAHHA (Stuck At Home Hosers Anonymous) were already whining! Around 11 P.M. I shut the computer down and had the house ready to go when----I lost all the vision in my right eye. Migraine attack!! So I sat down in the darkened living room, closed my eyes, sank into meditation, and waited for my vision to clear.