Why do I feel like I'm about to write a "What I did on my summer vacation" type thing? I guess because I am. I went to the Ren Fair as planed, and took a little notebook jotting down keywords when I thought no one would notice to remind me of the day so I could record it here.
I start the trip by making a mental checklist of what to take: water for the car ride, a notebook and pen in the front pocket of my jeans, and sunscreen. Ok, that should be it, and I'm right on the schedule I set. Then as I'm walking out the door I remembered one more thing, the pass to get into the ren faire!
Ok, months ago I put it with my "important papers" and saw it there a few weeks ago. Now this is a wicker basket filled to overflowing with papers. I had to go through it 3 times before I found the pass.
Ok, I'm 15 minutes late, but with the fudge factor I figured for myself I still had plenty of time. I go to Micky D's for a quick breakfast taking the coffee with me for the car, stop to fill the gas tank, and I'm on my way.
It's just about a straight shot up I94. Well, I'm driving down 94, and the exit signs are starting to look familiar up *past* the north side of Chicago. Why? I hardly ever go this way. Oh! This is also the route to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I go there every now and then, but haven't gone in the last couple of years.
So I'm driving along. All the exits are on the right and I'm in the left lane, so I should be fine. Oh, here's an exit on the left, and too much traffic to get in the other lane. Ok, down this road to turn around and get back on 94 ... Hey, there's the botanic gardens! I'm tempted to stop there since I just accidently wound up here, but I have friends expecting me at the ren faire.
Well, moving my narrative along, apparently you can't get back on westbound 94 from the exit I used. So out of desperation I get on eastbound 94 heading back toward Chicago. The plan being I'd go back to the next exit and turn around there.
I find myself in a parking lot instead of an interstate. I turn on the radio just as they were saying, "I94 is gridlocked in both directions with a double roll over accident at Tower Road." I look up at the sign I'm parked by on 94, "Tower Road 1/4 mile." I sigh, grimace, nod at my luck, and make my first note in my notebook while sitting on the middle of an "expressway."
It doesn't look like I'll make it at the time when I was supposed to meet my friends. I finally turn around to the other side of 94 to that parking lot.
Moving this along again it was a *long* trip. Do you remember my taking that coffee for the trip? So as soon as I get to the exit for the ren faire I stop at the first gas station I find and make a dash. As I'm trying to locate the station's restroom I hear my name. J and her boyfriend Bl are heading the other way. I say a quick hello and excuse myself as I'm in a hurry. When I get out they are gone.
So I get to the faire and see no one at the front gate, but I'm an hour and a half late and I really didn't expect to see anyone. So I go inside and stop to form a plan for finding my friends.
[note: This paragraph is for the men. Ladies yours will come later]
I see a woman in a chain mail bikini just inside the gate. I have my plan. Follow her! Well, she eventually loses me, but I found another chain mail bikini clad woman and follow again. I think I like this ren faire! Well, after losing her in the crowd and no more metal bikinis to follow I go to plan CC. Follow that corset and cleavage. (Ah! low cut bodices are almost as nice! And there are lots of women in low-cut bodices with cinched waists!)
So my following the moving scenery plan works. I find N. He tells me he's going to buy something from there, but everyone else is at such and such a stage down the road. He points in the general direction and then goes the opposite way.
Well, I go back to my CC plan. I stop at a stage, but I don't see anyone I know. There are a cappella singers on this stage, and they are good. So I listen for a few songs, and have a sassafras (rootbeer with licorice flavor added). Then back to plan CC, and that takes me to the correct stage where K, diminutive J, Bt, BB, Em, and N's mom are.
(ok, ladies here's a part for you)
On the stage bagpipers were finishing up. One of them was young, and in good shape, wearing a kilt, and all the women in my group were drooling over him, and they have sightings of him on and off all day as he was in a parade or two too.
After the bagpipers is the act K was waiting to see. She called it a mime, but it was more a silent magic/comedy act. It was funny, and the guy never spoke a word until the very end of the act when he asked everyone to come up and put a tip in this bucket if you like his act. By the time I put my dollar in the bucket, it was full. That guy was making a *bundle!* And not all the bills were ones. He was watching and would loudly thank anyone who put in $10 or more.
So I'm getting thirsty, and K wants to go see the falconer act. I stop and get a yard of beer. (Yes, one of those *big* yard long glasses). Get a few comments from my friends about my choice of drink, and then we head to where the falconer's act is scheduled.
The man educated us about the history of hunting birds. He briefly described how birds are trained, and gave demonstrations with a falcon, hawks(they hunt in groups), and then tried to give a demo with a peregrine. As the bird flew away and out of sight, he added "Did I mention 'peregrine' originally meant wander?" Then he apologized, said the bird probably saw live prey rather then the training dummy he had in the arena. He also said, "if this was truly medieval times I'd be racing after the bird on my horse. As it is modern times the bird has a GPS tracking chip on its leg and I will probably, eventually, find him. Now my assistant will answer any questions you have; I will not as I have a lost bird to find."
As that ended the show K turned, and noticed my yard glass of beer was empty and asked if I drank the whole thing during the show. I said yes, and shrugged. Back in the day that would have been nothing. As it was I expected (but didn't get) a minor buzz from it. Well, Bb turn and said I was his hero, and both K and Bb said in unison "You rock!" I really didn't understand getting that reaction just for drinking some beer.
Well, after that we broke into smaller groups. I was with L, and diminutive J. L wanted to get some devil horns (yeah, I couldn't resist the bad joke about her "wanting to get horny"). Well, I "got horny" too. L tried on several, and dimin J and I agreed the gold horns looked the best on her. I looked, saw a nice black pair, then noticed ones similar except the point had a twist to it. "Oh, yeah, twisted horns, cause I'm so twisted." They were the only ones I tried on. Both L and dimin J agreed those looked good on me.
Well the three of us made our way back to the rest of the gang for a comedy sword fight show. In the interest of moving things along I'll say it was amusing, but not as good as the silent magic act.
After that the group spilt up, and I wandered with J, Bl, and L some. They got a lemon ice thing, and I got orange flavored ice. These were in the shells of the fruit the ice was flavored with. It was good and took my thirst. I would have rather had a liquid to drink, but they stopped there and I figure ice equals water equals thirst-quencher, and I was correct.
Well, our wandering took us back to the rest of the group. K said she knew if they just sat down we'd eventually wander past and she was correct. So we all went to the joust. They divided the jousting arena (same area where the falconer was earlier) into four for each of the knights in the joust. "Our Knight" was the 2nd one "killed." He was the only blond knight and the woman in my group swooned over him saying we got the cutest knight to cheer for.
Then we went on a bridge over a lake because K wanted to. I enjoyed watching a comely lass just ahead of us, while the rest of our group watched the fish in the muddy lake we were above. Then we basically headed to our cars, and home.
There was another accident on my way back. A boat fell off its trailer on the interstate this time to slow me down. Then closer to home I see two signs for Indiana (where I wanted to go). I was trying to remember if I should stick with 94 or go over to 90 when it was too late to decide and I realized I should have went the other way.
Well, there was no getting off and turning around this time. Oh well. I was headed in the right general direction, and bound to see a street exit I knew. By this time it was getting late and after several exits to streets I didn't know there was a sign for a road I "sorta/kinda" know. I took it in desperation.
Um, hurrying this along, after wandering the road for a time and not recognizing things I stopped for directions. I was told to go two more stop lights, and ... etc.
Well, the first light stopped me, and I looked up and saw a building that looked familiar. I looked at the name of the cross street. That was familiar too. Hmm, to my right should be a Walgreens just a little down the road. I turn my head and there it was. I knew *exactly* where I was. If I'd gone to this next light I wouldn't have had to stop for directions. So instead of the simple but long route I was told, I went a shorter, twister route home that I knew.