As many of you Folks out there may recall, I've traveled south to play at the annual Florida Folk Festival before. This year's trip was an excellent one, and I can't think of any subject that will give you a better idea of how much fun we have playing music.
Well, okay. I admit it. The first day of the trip we were not playing music. We were traveling to play music. There's a difference, and you generally can't do both at the same time. (The story of a mandolin player named Larry practicing his mandolin while driving at night, and taking out a large billboard when he lost control of the car, is one of my favorites. But I digress.)
Our travelers for the trip were myself, Christopher, and his fiddle-playing girlfriend Jenny. We planned to make the trip to Florida all in one day. So I started up the car in Winchester at 6:05 Thursday morning, and in a short 4 1/2 hours we were on the Interstate headed to Florida. "A short 4 1/2 hours"? I hear you say. Well, you see, there are always things that have to be done. For one thing, I needed to go pick up Chris and Jenny at their place, about an hour away. For another thing, Jenny has a coon hound named MayBelle. MayBelle is a good dog, but dogs aren't allowed at the Folk Festival, so we stopped at a kennel so that Jenny could leave her there for several days. We accomplished all that, but then we needed to make another stop. Since we'd be doing three days of camping, we had to pick up some "possibles." What are "possibles"? Well, they can include anything at all you'd need for three days living at a festival, in a tent, away from a store. So we stopped-- where else?-- at Wal-Mart, and picked up what we needed, then got on the road headed south. And we did all this in only 4 1/2 hours, which was pretty quick work. For musicians.
Now we were on the Interstate, in heavy traffic, and what was ahead of us? A tractor-trailer accident, of course. So we got off at an exit just before the traffic back-up and took a side road for a few miles. Then we were back on the Interstate again. Then there was some road work, and that took time to get past. Then there was another accident (side roads again). Then there was more road work. At 6 o'clock in the evening we were still in South Carolina, and the trip was beginning to get tedious. But after that we didn't have any more delays, and drove on in to the festival campground at White Springs, Florida, arriving at 11:43. Yes, that's 17 hours and 38 minutes from the time I started out from our house! Chris and Jenny set up their tent and I sacked out on a roomy air mattress in our minivan, looking forward to a good day of picking and performing on Friday. This is fun!
(Next time: Day 2.)