Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend at the Three Rivers Art Festival in Covington, LA

Thursday, 11/13/08:

We left the house around 11:30 PM Thursday night heading for Covington.  The route is easy to follow:  South on Arkansas 65 to Conway where we pick up I-40, I-40 on down to Little Rock and then east to Memphis, I-55 from Memphis south almost all the way to New Orleans, a twenty mile or so eastward jog on I-12 to Covington.

Friday, 11/14/08:

We stopped three times for gasoline and once at a rest area in Mississippi to walk Rusty and Bucket.  Arrived in Covington a little before noon.  The trip is more or less 600 miles and takes us twelve hours.

Even though we were a little early, Super 8 allowed us to go ahead and check in.  After unloading our personal belongings from the van, we found a city park where we fed and walked the dogs.  Then, it was back to the motel for a short nap before heading down to the show site around three o'clock.  You can check in at the Three Rivers Art Festival beginning at three o'clock, but cannot begin setting up until they close the streets at 4:30.  The streets in downtown Covington are so narrow, there's no way you can safely begin setting up until the streets are closed.

Jo and I got the canopy and fixtures erected and the merchandise into the booth before calling it quits for the day.  It was getting too dark to see what we were doing.

The show provided a great supper which Jo and I enjoyed before heading back to the motel and crashing.

Saturday, 11/15/08:

Up at 5 AM and back down to the show by seven o'clock.  The artists' parking lot where we left our van during the day had the best available area for walking the dogs.  Only a couple of small grassy areas were available back at the motel.  Beside, the motel had a strict "No Dogs" policy.  A large sign threatened eviction plus an extra $500.00 per night if you were caught with a dog in your room.  While Rusty and Bucket were staying in the van and we had no intention of smuggling them into our room, it seemed best to keep their presence at the motel as unobtrusive as possible.  Anyway, the first thing Jo and I did after getting down to the show area was feed and walk the dogs.  Then, we finished setting up the merchandise and getting Jo's booth ready for the show.  (The show itself also had a "No Dogs" rule, so Rusty and Bucket spent a lot of time in the van, though I did give them short walks a couple of times during the day.)

The highlight of the day was meeting Lana and Charles Gramlich.  Lana lives in Abita Springs, LA, which is near Covington.  I follow and enjoy her blog The Dreaming Tree.  This is the first time I've met in person someone I originally met online.

Saturday sales were down about one-third.  I think the weather was the main reason for slower than previous sales.  It was cold!  The temperature climbed into the lower fifties, but a very strong and gusty north wind blew all day.  I know people living up north won't think of those conditions as really cold, but they made a street art fair in southern Louisiana very unpleasant. 

There was an awards cermony with liquid refreshments and hordorves Saturday evening, but Jo and I were more interested in getting back to the motel and getting warm.  From what we heard, most folks had the same idea.  The awards presentation was not well attended.

Sunday, 11/16/08:

The weather was better on Sunday:  Clear sky, temperature in the upper fifties and NO WIND.  We were able to make up the bulk of the sales missed on Saturday.  It still got a little chilly in our booth during the afternoon when the shade from a huge old live oak kept the sun off our area.  There's just something about standing around not exerting very much physical energy that allows the cold to seep in after a while, even if you are dressed warmly.

The show closed at five o'clock.  It took the better part of three hours for us to get packed and loaded.

Monday, 11/17/08:

Up at five o'clock so we could get an early start on our trip home.  The van was reloaded and we were ready to depart around 6:45.  Jo cranked up the van while I went back inside to make one final room check.  When I stepped outside, I saw some type of vital fluid pouring out onto the ground from underneath the engine compartment.  A closer inspection revealed a hose had come loose on the automatic transmission cooler line.  I was able to fix the problem and get the spilled transmission fluid replace in a couple of hours.  We experienced no other problems during our trip home, but thinking about the line slipping off again was a constant worry.  If it came loose while traveling down the highway, you'd never know it and would very quickly burn out the transmission.

We chose to try a different route home.  We turned west at Jackson, MS, and headed toward Vicksburg, eventually entering the southeast corner of Arkansas and angling up to Pine Bluff and Little Rock on Arkansas 65.  This is the first time we've traveled through this part of Arkansas.  It is flat -- very flat.  Cotton or rice fields are about the only things to see.  This route is definitely shorter, but I really don't know it is faster than driving a longer distance on Interstates.  I definitely think I'd rather stick to I-40 and I-55 when driving at night.

After doing a little necessary shopping at the Wal-Mart and Office Depot in Conway, we finally got home around 10:30.  We unloaded the necessities from the van and then went to bed.

Tuesday, 11/18/08:

Not a great deal aside from recovering from our trip accomplished.  We did finish unloading the van and got things stored away.

(My apologies for a lack of photos from the Three Rivers Arts Festival.  The weather just wasn't conducive to my feeling like picking up the camera and wandering around taking photos. I stayed huddled in our booth instead.)