Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Up Up and Away - The Balloon Fest Rally

It's been a great year for meeting up with camping friends. The North East Truck Camper group does go some interesting places.
The 34th Annual South County Hot Air Balloon Festival was held on the athletic fields of the University of Rhode Island in West Kingston, RI July 20-22. Twenty five truck campers, a 42’ foot A and a small travel trailer gathered on what was less than level ground. This section of the fields had been used for a mud bowl truck pull and the divots, holes and hillocks left behind when it dried were a bit disconcerting. No ankles were twisted or broken but a great deal of staggering was done.

During last year’s Balloon Festival the temperature hit 104F. This year after light rain on Friday morning, all enjoyed a high 70s weekend with sunshine. The four new to the group campers were treated to the sight of a very well coordinated tent lifting akin to an Amish barn raising. By noon a long line of pop ups had been added on and appetizers and adult beverages were enjoyed out of the rain. It’s amazing how many pop up tents, tables and chairs can come out of truck campers.

Mike Tassinari surprised the group with an old fashioned ice cream social. He brought 9 gallons of ice creams, bananas for splits, fruit, sprinkles, whipped cream and bowls/spoons to use.

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band played by the flying field while the balloons were lit so they glowed in the night.
Saturday morning many campers were awakened by a WOOOSSSHHHH – the sound hot air balloons gas burners make as they take off. The balloons were right over the campers at low altitude as they climbed off. This balloon was directly over our Heiki hatch.

This year there was a large craft show, a wild animal show and kid’s rides area by the balloon moorings. The Kansas City Barbeque Society held a cook-off with barbeque pork, chicken and beef. These folk travel around the country from event to event and compete. Most sold the results as very tasty meals. The “Cannon Lady” had her cannon mounted on a F450 with low body utility compartments, a bit of an envy for a lot in the group.  There was an exhibit of model airplanes, not the kind  built out of balsa wood but seriously large, powered planes. They were flying out of a field beside the campers and the aerobatics were fun to watch. Many of the TCers went to see the Revolutionary War Encampment and returned grateful for the luxury of a truck camper.

Our truck campers looked pretty cool lined up in two rows with the tents in between. We got a lot of visits from nearby campers in huge A sizes who wanted to see our small rigs compared to theirs. Lots of campers were shown and cards for dealers passed out. Mike Olesnevich from Xtreme Campers attended as a camper and finally got to eat some of the Sunday morning breakfast he sponsors. Every time someone walked by his camper, he was sitting on his back porch eating lobster! Well - almost every time.

A late afternoon potluck was enjoyed, leaving time for the traditional raffle before the balloon “glow” and fireworks.  Mike T always has the new folks to the group introduce themselves and share why they got into truck camping. Lots of tips and tricks on where and how to camp and best handle the rigs were shared as always.
Sunday – tents down, tables folded and we all lurched over the broken field headed back home or on to other adventures. The balloons, planes and BBQ really were fun.

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