This was by far the crappiest weekend by far.
I drove up to Michigan on Friday. Rain. Saturday? Tons of rain. The Michigan Ren site quickly flooded. Why? Because instead of using rock or pea gravel or ANYTHING sensible they use MULCH to somehow fix the flooding. It's a running joke there. It's like "More cowbell". They just keep dropping more mulch. And what does mulch do? It helps retain moisture for garden plants. It is NOT designed to effectively move water.
As a result the ground becomes a soggy mess. It always does when it rains but this was the worst time by far. The drains get clogged with mulch. Streets become almost impassable and everyone is miserable.
The rain was apparently part of the hurricane Ike weather system. And while Sunday dawned with no rain, the remanants of IKE itself were moving East from Chicago. I could see it moving in on my phone, a solid wall of smite.
And yet we stayed open. There were only about 1000 people through the gate, everybody else had some common sense. Then the rain started. And it just kept getting heavier. Our booth isn't one of the highest point of the show, but we do sit on a slight rise which keeps us from flooding, but an hour into the rain the water was running up to the edge of our booth on one side. Merchants were digging drainage trenches and creating impromptu levies. When I went out to grab some food, the kid behind the counter was standing in about 4 inches of water. That seems safe as all hell.
At 3pm or so they finally closed the show. I packed up and went to my car, which was parked on high ground. But it didn't matter where you parked, everything was super saturated. Every inch of ground. I helped push 5 cars out of the mud. I don't want to sound mean, but some of these people just don't know how to drive in mud. They would just gun the engine and dig thenselves into a hole, shoving mud under their car and into their wheel wells. By the time I got to my car I was soaked and encrusted with mud. The Honda performed very well and I got out of the lot without getting stuck. Many others weren't so lucky. There were three tow trucks on site and I wonder if the festival was covering the costs of helping people out. I doubt it. I went to the campground and changed into some dry clothes and basically passed out for a while. But the rains increased and so did the winds. I didn't want to risk being in a tent if some tree gave way so I headed for home.
And I was the LUCKY one.
On sunday 40-60 mph winds hit the Ohio show. It took out trees on the site, knocked over porta johns and actually tore the front of a booth off. Then the power went out. They waited almost an hour to decide to close the show. I got a call with this news and recommended they stay put, but its was pretty miserable there and they wanted to go home. Lindsey and Jesse went to Columbus for dinner and Rossana went straight toward home. But power was out all along I-71 and she discovered well into the trip she almost out of gas. Several phone calls back and forth. I reached Lindsey and made sure she had gas. I told her she might have to get a gas can and bring fuel to Rossana, but then I couldn't reach Rossana and I didn't know where she was on I-71. Then a message, she was forging ahead. Then I couldn't reach her phone at all. Cell phone communication was pretty useless and only added to my stress level. Rossana pressed on and made it to a gas station on fumes.
Friends on site say our booths are still standing but were put under a lot of stress. We need to go out and check them out and make some repairs. One Rennie camper and car was crushed by a tree, killing their dog.
I guess all the rain went North and all the wind were South. In any case it sucked donkey balls all around. Bag End is okay. Some damage to trees and a lot of debris but nothing serious. I hope everybody out there is okay and safe. I grabbed two pics and a little vid.
Here's a short vid. There's a red brick path next to our booth that makes it passable, everyplace else on site is mulch over a foot deep.