We went to Old Settler's Music Festival last year and had a damn good time.
And then I proceeded to come home and get bitten by a mean-ass dog.
We had a damn good time this year, too, but there were a few elements that were less than optimal.
Remember last year, how Onion Creek was cold and clear and perfect for a nice dip (and a bath)? Well, this year it was dry. Bone dry. Nothing but smooth river rocks that had been washed over by water that has since evaporated. All that was left was a primordial-soup-like pool, covered in algae.
But mother nature thought she'd make up for all the missing river water in the first two days we were there. On Thursday it damn-near rained all day. On Friday it rained hard in the morning and sprinkled a bit later. It rained last year, all right, but it was like one of those freak incidents. The first day of the festival last year there was a torrential downpour on Thursday night. It came on fast without warning and pelted our camp into submission. But it was smooth sailing and clear skies after that. Not this time.
Because I'm short a steady job this year, we had planned to leave Dallas for Driftwood early on Wednesday so that we wouldn't have to set up in the dark like last year. Well, I ended up landing a contract, and I couldn't just drop it and say to the client "Well, I planned on going on this trip when I had a steady work flow, and we already bought the tickets, so..." I mean, I can't look a gift horse in the mouth, right?
So we left a little later than we wanted to. Actually, our original plan was to leave before noon. We didn't head out of town until close to 3 p.m. It takes about 4 hours to get to Driftwood from Dallas (Driftwood is just south of Austin) if you go as the crow flies and belt down Interstate 35. But, there are myriad ancillary and scenic routes that can get you across this swath of Texas more pleasantly, but you'll be driving through tiny, tiny towns with unpredictable resources.
I know that Dave had planned to make this drive at a much earlier time, and us leaving late really put a damper on his grand plan, which was to take the scenic route and give me an opportunity to take pictures. It was a nice thought, but since we left the house late we really should have gone as the crow flies. We ended up almost running out of gas just north of Lampasas, so we stopped outside a small, remote house on the state road, and asked for help. Luckily there was a nice guy inside with a nice dog and he offered to make a quick trip up the road to the farm where he worked and grabbed enough gas for little Honda Solo to make it to Lampasas to refuel. Now that's Texas hospitality!
We ended up crossing into Marble Falls just at sunset.
It was just about four and a half hours in the car. It was getting dark and we weren't even close to the campground yet. Needless to say, emotions and patience were wearing thin...
But we got to the campground, set up in the dark (again) and cracked open a few beers and chicken bratwurst (we're trying to eat less pork nowadays, but last year we had genuine beer brats) with saurkraut. We crawled into bed and passed the hell out.
The next morning was a little slow. It was overcast and cool, and we slept as late as you can in a small tent.
We had eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast just about every day. It was good, but even good things can wear out their welcome. I guess it was clever of me to slice up some fruit to go with breakfast, because heavy stuff like that can wear out its welcome on any beer-soaked belly.
We kept getting inklings that it would rain, pour at any minute. So we prepared for the inevitable by throwing a tarp over our shelter and cracking open beers just after noon. And we got to know our mascot for the weekend, Greedo. Is it just me, or does Greedo look awfully judgey?
"Miller Lite? This stuff is considered only slightly better than drinking urine in my galaxy"
Good for you, Greedo. But I'm not drinking Miller. We found Fat Tire and Shiner Bock in cans for this trip.
"Smart girl. I'll set my blaster back to stun."
"What do you call this species?"
Uh, Greedo, he's human, but he's just listening to music.
"You humans are really weird."
Greedo was right. We were about to spend a weekend drinking lots of beer, listening to lots of bluegrass and camping out amidst huge fire ant piles in an un-mowed prairie next to a dry creek bed.
So, this is what we did when it rained.
With a broody gray sky above, there's not much to do besides drink up.
Good thing there was a show later that night and the sky was dark and dry enough to go to it. We went out to listen to The Gourds. Great outfit they are.
They have a VERY active stage presence.
We saw a couple more acts and we called it a night.
The next day it was rainy. So we tried to figure out how to fit in some time at the fesival grounds across the way. I didn't even bother pulling my camera out on Friday. Now that I have a great piece of equipment, I'm trying to keep it that way.
Saturday, though, was a lot more like it. The weather warmed up and the skies got clear after a brief morning rain and we partied ALL DAY LONG. We saw good acts and great acts and I danced and took so many pictures. Here are a few of my faves that I feel wrap things up better than I could:
Found the OM symbol at a jewelry vendor. It's water buffalo horn.
OK, there is a little bit of a story behind this one. We talked last year about having a flag at camp, and this year we decided that next year we'd have the pirate flag, only I couldn't remember what the flag's proper name was. I knew it started with a J, but I couldn't remember the rest. Well, lo and behold, on Thursday night at the campground stage a guy in a trifold hat walked by, wearing rolled up knickers and sporting a very Jack Sparrow appearance with a cute little wench on his arm. One of our camp mates said, "Well, why don't you ask a pirate?" Brilliant! I ran him down and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but are you a pirate?"
"I suppose so."
"Then, perhaps you can settle something for me. My friends and I are trying to remember the name of the pirate flag but no one can quite get it out. Might you know what it's called?"
"The Jolly Rodger."
"THE JOLLY RODGER! OF COURSE!"
And then come Saturday, I'll be damned if we didn't see another pirate, except this one was wearing a Jolly Rodger T shirt.
And this is our camp-mate, Tim. I teased him so much about this photo that I couldn't not post it.
And then we drove back Sunday morning. We missed the dogs and the chickens and the cats, too.
Want to see more pictures? Go here.