Pennsic 2011 Diary

Pennsic 40: The Pocket Bard Takes the Stage

I had the distinct pleasure this year of being asked to perform in a number of on-stage performances: Beowulf: the Roadshow, Lorelei of Skye’s concert, and the Marian of Heatherdale and Friends concert. I was also able to be on the arm of Baron Bardicci at the Bardicci Hoity Toity party. While I may not have visited quite as many circles as I normally do, I had some wonderful new experiences both in and in front of audiences. I hope reading this diary gives you just a bit of the joy I had in the events I describe.

Saturday, July 30

1:10 p.m. – service area just past Syracuse

Making good time so far. I was on the road by 8:00, just as planned. I decided to use an alternate border crossing – Ogdensburg – that Conrad told me about, in an attempt to avoid the holiday weekend traffic that cost me three hours last year. It was… moderately successful. The bridge was under repairs and down to one lane, which alternated north and south. I lost a half-hour to that. Then I was “randomly selected” for inspection, though thankfully it didn’t take too long, only 5-10 minutes. It was weird watching the border guard go through all my bins in his blue latex gloves. Thankfully, he didn’t unpack the car, though he totally could have and there would have been nothing I could do about it. I know people that’s happened to.

The border guards were comparatively friendly and even told me about a better route to the I-81, along route 37 to Watertown. Sadly, I took the wrong fork after Morristown and wound up taking the 12 instead, but I still got to the I-81 by 11:20 and Watertown by 11:40, which is much better than last year.

I stopped at noon, just long enough to pee, apply more sunscreen, and eat a candy bar from the vending machine. And now I’ve stopped for lunch, journaling in a long line for McDonalds. I’d hoped to find a different fast-food service station, but I needed a break from the driving.

No passenger this year, but I’m following last year’s audio book success and have Neil Gaiman’s American Gods keeping me company on the drive. It’s 20 hours of audio, which means I’ll probably be listening to it on the way home, too. So much the better.

One of the consequences of not having a passenger (and being on a moderately tight budget) is that I’m doing the drive down to Pennsic all in one day, not staying at a hotel. I will on the way back, but I’ll be camping at Pennsic tonight. Woo, Pennsic!

And now, having received my food, I am reminded of the gigantic portion sizes in the US, particular in terms of drinks. The sweet tea that came with my meal – and true to its name, it is extremely sweet – is 32 oz, almost a liter. Do they seriously expect people to drink the whole thing? My kidneys hurt just thinking about it. (Or is that my liver?)

Anyway, I think I may have passed a few Pennsic-goers. I’ve been too wrapped up in American Gods to pay too much attention to the stuff in people’s cars, and I haven’t seen any “Pennsic War Wagon” bumper stickers. I’ll see enough of them tonight, I’m sure.

It’s been a half-hour, which means it’s probably time to hit the road again. Depending on what time I make the rest of the day, my next entry may be from the green fields of Pennsic (mostly still green, even!). Yay, Pennsic!

Forward to Sunday, July 31

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