Sunday, July 25, 2010

Oshkosh Diary - Getting back to normal

Anybody who has ever brought their little kids to Oshkosh recognizes this picture. It's Oshkosh in the campground. Kids doing what kids to; parents doing what parents do. Sure, the adults -- some of them -- are kvetching about the conditions here, but they're actually getting back to normal.

The main roads around the campground are now in pretty good shape, and the side roads -- through the fields actually -- no longer present a squishy "I'm crossing the Delaware" sound. True, they're still a mud bog, but all those pictures you've been seeing are starting to create a somewhat exaggerated pictures. Yes, there are still long lines of campers that can't get in. Yes, there are still rich people's toys who are camping on the roads. But there was a goodly amount of dust being generated around the campground today.

You watch, in a few days, some people will be complaining about that.

I have no idea -- and don't care that much -- what the situation is with people flying in. Jeff Point, who handles parking for RV airplanes, has been doing a great job of keeping people up to date on that on Van's Air Force.

My good friend, Warren, was supposed to fly over here from Minneapolis today. But the information about who can land here and who can't has been wildly inconsistent. He says he listened to the controllers at Fisk telling people nobody was landing. So he landed in Necedah and called me. I told him "you don't want to be here." Not with an airplane, and not sitting on the ground somewhere with the sun going down.

So he's opted to fly back and spend the evening with better company and a bottle of wine. Good choice.

Meanwhile, the biggest likely tragedy is that the porta-potty trucks aren't able to get to some parts of the campground. Guess which two they can't get to? In a couple of days, that's going to be a real problem. Meanwhile, we can ignore the one with the beer bottle and the vomit in it, I suppose. That one is, apparently, for the moose hunters from Kansas camped nearby. Awesome job, fellas. Awesome.


The EAA has wisely -- in my opinion -- given up on the idea of providing roaming wiFi around the campground. Instead, it's built small shacks all around AirVenture where people can connect. This is a good thing. Yes, it's a bit of a pain in the neck -- in a 2010 way of thinking -- to ride a bike to a hotspot. But I admit to being discomforted by seeing so many people last year sitting in their tent in the evening, playing on the computer. The place to be is outside meeting people.


The radio broadcasts began this evening and continue through AirVenture. My guess is more people listen around the world than at Oshkosh. It seems like a great group of people, all of whom could be my son or daughter. Many are students at St. Cloud State.

I've done a few interviews, as previous posts have shown, and for the most part I'm opting to dump them onto the kids, so they can write and produce the material. That's what they're hear for. I don't need my name plastered on a piece, although I do intend to do one or two.

The young journalists are part of a class at St. Cloud State University. It's nice to see that people are still interested in the art and the sooner they can get into the business, and the sooner the people predicted its demise can get out of it, the better off the world will be. I'm just glad they're letting me play along with them for a few days.

As I type this, they're one minute away from beginning the broadcast of tonight's program at Theater of the Woods. Throughout AirVenture -- and beyond -- you can listen here.


Canon, the camera company, has lent out huge cameras to just plain folk in recent years. It was a great promotion, and the cameras the size of Montana are the only way just plain folk will ever take great pictures. A sign on their building door today, however, said something like "due to worldwide demand, we're not handing out cameras this year." This, of course, is the type of gibberish that earns a public relations student a good grade.

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