Biosphere in a Can: July 27

The average coach is a self-sufficient unit. It will hold anywhere from 25 to 100 gallons of fresh water and an equal capacity of gray/blackwater. Batteries and generators keep the lights and electronics humming at the touch of a button. It’s a biosphere in a can, so to speak. I had come to this rally thinking that folks here would be interested in camping and the independence from having to be connected to the grid. If you recall in the movie “Independence Day” after the aliens zap the crap out of the US, the only people who are able to mount a defense are the RV owners, who come roaring out of the empty desert to rescue Will Smith.

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I thought it would be like that. How wrong I was. When a coach parks without hooking into water, sewer and electric services, this is called “dry camping, which seemed to me neither camping nor dry. I initially took that to mean they had forgotten to buy beer. People here don’t camp–they “motorhome,” which is entirely different. Nirvana to a motorhomer is 50 AMP service with full water and sewer hookup. Those services were available in the pricier areas of this rally; we chose electric only to ensure we could keep the dogs cool.

When our caravan pulled into the rally site, we were herded into a holding pen in neat rows, to wait to be parked. We parked on a nice grassy hill. We opened the windows to let in a nice breeze, made lunch and Ben settled down for a nap, while I wrote. Peace among the herd. The parking people started moving groups on to different areas. Then…

A guy next to us started fussing. “How *#$%% long are we gonna have to sit here? I am NOT going to park on a @%$^#& hill all night!” It was 12:30 PM; we’d been waiting about 45 minutes. He announced that he was going to “go down and find the president! I can fix it!” Off he stomped. That seemed to start a chain reaction of grumpiness. “No organization!” “I was a rally master for 20 years, I could park these coaches by myself!” and so on. A bit after Mr. I-Can-Fix-It stomped off, a nice guy came up and let us know they would park us all in about an hour.

Presidential intervention notwithstanding, we were directed into our parking area; Lot G-1, First Street was to be our home for the week. It is a luxury to have an electrical hookup for long stays, especially in the Wisconsin summer heat. Since we had arrived before the official start of the rally, we did not have plug-in electric for about 24 hours, until the big generators could be fueled and started. No problem for us canned biospheres. Boom, touch of a button, we had all our stuff going. We grilled a nice dinner with friends. At 11:00, it was time to shut down our individual generators; except that Mr. I-Can-Fix-It and his companions (Lot G-1, 2nd street) were parked near to us and they ran their generators all night. We gave up after an hour, shut our windows and fired up our generator for the sake of quiet and breathable air. The next morning technicians arrived to fuel and start the generators, and we were in business.

A few nights later, the generator on our line died. It was a beautiful breezy night, so we just popped our windows open and went to bed early. Mr. I-Can-Fix-It and his pals stood outside and shared their concerns about the organization and lack of electricity under the light of the full moon. They gave up after a while, and we woke in the morning to birds chirping. I was able to plug in the coffeepot. Order restored to the Cosmos, and to Lot G-1 First Street.

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