So, the above image makes no sense to you? Every trip we take starts out with something like this. We both have this compulsion to keep records. A little background probably would not go amiss at this point, however.
Clara's subbed to one of the greatest lists in the history of email, Big Dog's Buffett list. Its focus: discussion, well-reasoned argument and/or worship of the multi-talented Jimmy Buffett. BD (aka Bill Lack) dwells in Cincinnati, Ohio, so when the list clamored for a real-life get-together, the choice could only be [drum roll, please] Cincinnati. Clara missed the first RACAfest, but convinced Amy that there was enough going on in Cincinnati that they should hit the second.
RACAfest stands for "Rum And Cooked Animals," with the "fest" thing tacked on to increase attendance. (It's a well-known fact that attaching "fest" to another word guarantees interest.... Well-known somewhere, anyway.) It was a chance to meet some of the people one has been corresponding with, and with any luck, not be too dismayed.... RACAfest is traditionally held on the Fourth of July weekend, which meant that we hit the road on 3 July 1998 at wa-a-a-y too early in the morning.
5:30 a.m., to be precise. The drive itself was relatively uneventful, punctuated by amusing little moments like
Amy's a helluva cartoonist, by the way. Ask her some time about "The Holiday Doctor...." Anyway, certain memories:
Lack of funds prompted us to forego the pleasures of the Sheraton Springdale, the Official Hotel of RACA '97. We camped in a KOA near Crittenden, Kentucky. $15/night for a tent site. Some people scoffed at us camping so far away (and you know who you are, gentlemen), but we couldn't have afforded RACA otherwise. We seriously lucked out on the weather. It was cool and clear, except for a couple of rainshowers.
We drove back up to Cincy for the Kickoff Party at the Sheraton. Everyone made us feel welcome, especially Linda Lack (deserving of canonization) and her husband, the Big Dog, was kind enough not to laugh 'til he passed out when he learned we had taken Reading Road to get to the Sheraton.
Driving in Cincinnati is an interesting experience in itself. Do the street names really change in the middle of the block, or was it our exhausted bodies and warped imaginations? Said conditions might be responsible for our impression that obeying signal lights is optional in Cincinnati....
Moving on. Friday we thought we'd go to the Cincy Zoo. Ha! $8 a ticket, and $4.75 to park? Sorry, that buys a lot of used books! We gave the zoo a pass, and hit some book and record stores. Half Price Books. We went to two of their stores. We agreed that they were the best used book stores we had ever been in. Clara bought a copy of Michael York's autobio, and Amy found some cool Lewis Carroll stuff. On the way back to the campground we stopped at Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky. Visual proof is offered for those who doubt the name....
Get your minds out of the gutter, people. It's an archaeological site. Although the same cannot be said for the Beaver Lick Trading Post right down the road. The things one learns while traveling!
Saturday. The Big Day. Surf Cincinnati in the morning. Rather chilly, but what the hell.... We shall not discuss how stupid Clara looked going down the shortest water slide. Back to the Half Price Books. We just had to. Then, in the evening, the actual RACAfest Event! Terrific music provided by Jim Hoehn and Kevin Mulvenna. Brats, metts, drinks. Beer breaks during volleyball. And does the phrase "table dancing" bring back any hazy memories for anyone? Say, perhaps, Melody...? Amy described it in the Archives as "many wild people there."
Amy won some cool door prizes, including a photo of Jimmy in aviator gear (which she kindly gave to Clara), a poster, and an autographed copy of Herman Wouk's Don't Stop the Carnival.
Most travel involves heading home. One the way back, we stopped in Louisville, Kentucky. Saw the giant Louisville Slugger
and in a parking lot under an overpass, we saw a fiberglass triceratops. Jurassic Parking Lot. Or something similar....
This page tells most of the story on the Cincy Trip. We've left out some things that would be pretty inexplicable, such as forming a band from our favorite actors and authors, then making up songs and albums for that band. But otherwise, it's fairly close to the mark for accuracy....