Friday, July 25, 2008

Oshkosh Diary - Friday June 25, 2008

(Cross posted at Letters from Flyover country)

Many of you know I wasn't going to go to Oshkosh this year; I just couldn't seem to work up a heck of a lot of enthusiasm for it. If it weren't for a couple of fellow RVers, a crushing amount of pain in my shoulders from crouching over my computer in my day job, and J.W. French, I wouldn't be going. I'd be working on that RV-7A canopy. At the reception for J.W. French the other night, fellow RVer Paul Hove looked at the project and said, "man, you have a long way to go; you haven't even started the systems yet." It was at that moment that I realized that my project is years away from completion and while spending a week working on it is not only necessary, but therapeutic, it was nothing that was going to make a big difference in the big scheme of things. So what, really, do I have to lose by sitting in a field for a week, watching planes and hope people stop by to say "hello."

This diary has become an annual tradition of the RV Builder's Hotline. I'm starting the writing a day early so that I can talk a little about camping in Camp Scholler. Every year on Van's Air Force, a newbie or two will ask about camping at Camp Scholler. Not many people ever write about it, possibly because it's old hat. So this year I'll write about it and next year -- when my RV-7A project will still have a long way to go -- you can Google it. So if you're reading this in 2009, don't tell me who won the presidential election. Let me surprised.

Friday July 25, 2008
Dateline: Woodbury, Minnesota. It's muggy as all getout, some thunderstorms are passing to the north and normally I'd be putting up the tent in a muggy field in Oshkosh. But I decided to wait a day. It's not that important that I stake out my usual spot in Camp Scholler on 12th Street between Lindbergh and Elm, because I'm not doing the RV Builder's BBQ this year (Note: It's been surprising how many e-mails I've received this week from people asking if I'm doing the BBQ. It's a reminder that a lot of folks don't read this blog, get the RV Builder's Hotline, or peruse Van's Air Force or Rivetbangers.).

Stuffed to the gillsWith the price of gas being close to $4 a gallon (it actually dropped around here to $3.65 today, a day after I filled the tank.), I'm taking the 2004 Cavalier rather than my wife's AWD, but lousy gas mileage, Subaru. This requires me to pack a little light this year. I figure if the RV-7A project ever gets done, I'm going to have to get use to living light, since the baggage payload is only 100 pounds.

And, guess what, it fits? So what do you need to set up a good campsite at Oshkosh?

A tent
One of those bit canopies you get at Fleet Farm
An air mattress
A cooler filled with a couple of frozen jugs of water (the ice concession is a rip-off in the campground)
Shorts and T-shirt
Tons of bug repellant an sunscreen
Cooking stove, plates and all that
The Van's instruction manual
A GPS if you have it with weather
A computer, and digital camera (if you have a blog or a newsletter that a lot of people don't read)
Binoculars

That's pretty much it. What? No food? Pointless if space is at a premium. You'll be spending as much time over at the WalMart across the street. Why carry it over?

Surprise! It all fit in the car.

There's free wiFi at the campground but as more people show up, it becomes somewhat problematic. It wouldn't hurt to pick up a $20 Starbuck's card and register for the free 2 hours a day of service at Starbuck's. There's one on the frontage road. Don't bring too much clothing. The Maytag coin-op laundry in Oshkosh also has free wiFi.

I've been getting e-mail already from companies and such that want to do interviews while I'm there (I'm media). On Saturday, there's a Chevron-sponsored event with Barrington Irving, the first black pilot to fly solo around the world, and someone who tries to encourage young people to strive to achieve their dreams. If that's through aviation, so be it. But that's not the prerequisite. Unfortunately, it's at 11 a.m. and I'm not leaving here until 8, which should put me in a muggy field just in time for the afternoon thunderstorms.

As always, if you have questions, drop me an e-mail and I'd be happy to answer them for you.

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