Friday, October 26, 2012

Day Four – AGLCA Fall Rendezvous. And What Comes Next


Let’s make a very strong point about something. The weather at the rendezvous was spectacular all week long!!! It was sunny every day with a high temperature hovering around eighty degrees, low humidity  and little wind. Unbelievable.  So on from there.

The seminars were a mixed bag. I attended one that was an introduction to a marine electrical system and I learned a lot. It turns out that we have been hooking up and out of shore power the wrong way. The correct sequence is a bit more complicated but I do believe that following it will be beneficial. (I’m not sure what significance the step of sticking my fingers in my ears and yelling “woo woo” has but…)

AGLCA has launched a new looper locator smart phone app. Every time I log in it shows my position somewhere along the western edge of the state of Mississippi. We’ll see.

The highlight was the dinghy race towards the end of the day. Here’s how it worked. There were powered dinghies and one row boat. There was a captain that drove (or rowed) the boat and a navigator to give them directions to cruise to and around a float about seventy-five feet out, then back to the dock. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not so fast, you able bodied seaman you. The captain was blindfolded AND drove the boat in reverse…that’s transom first. It was pretty hysterical. It seems that inflatable dinghies aren’t designed to do that so good. The boats were going every direction. But eventually they all made it back. Then our supposedly good friends Laura and Ross introduced me to a looper named Joy who wanted to join in on the fun but her husband opted out of doing it. (insert chicken clucking sounds here.) So I got recruited. I didn’t want to use a powered boat. That would be too easy for such a sea-worthy crew as Joy and I, so we used the row boat. Man, it was HARD! I had absolutely no perspective on where we were at all. I’m guessing the blindfold had something to do with that. But Joy and I had a good plan. She would just tell me which oar to row: left, right or both. The system worked but there were difficulties. First I kept sliding off of the bench and then the left oar kept coming out of the thingie that holds it to the gunnel of the boat. (Sorry. Don’t know the technical term. “Thingie” will have to do.) We did make it back to the dock though. During the evening's award ceremonies we did get an honorable mention of which I stood up, whooped really loud and pumped my fists into the air. I think I kind of scared the people sitting at my table.

The evening’s event ended and we all said our good-bys. Many of us are planning to meet down in Mobile, Alabama after Thanksgiving to make the Gulf crossing together - 170 miles of open water. That ought to be fun.

So what is the final tally of my grades for the rendezvous?
Facility     B+:    - Rustic and charming. The rooms were surprisingly big and comfortable. Internet connectivity at least in the lodge rooms was blazing fast. Plenty of bandwidth.
Joe Wheeler Park     A+:    Beautiful. Doesn’t get much better.
Event Content     C:    There certainly was some useful content but I can see a pattern between the two different rendezvous. There needs to be some new juice. I would like to see seminars on building followers for my blog and social media, a tour of helpful websites, camera techniques, and clever smartphone stuff. Lisa suggested more things for the women on board (especially the newbies and skeptics) like how to cope with a tiny ship’s galley, how to keep entertained or even how mail can be handled. The scope needs to be broadened.
Hospitality     A:    The staff of the lodge were top rate and there was nothing left to chance. It all went very well. The docktails and happy hour receptions were great and the looper crawls were very good. The little girl trick-or-treating from boat to boat was precious. (Yes, I used the word “precious”. I am still a manly man!)
Food     D:    Ow. Sorry. But the buffet food was pretty bad. Everyone was still talking about the mystery casserole from Sunday night on Tuesday – bad sign. I thought the burgers were good. Btw, I liked that they had French vanilla creamer at the coffee stations.
Lifestyle     A+:    It was great to be with friends again. I have lived in many arenas of life and loopers are the best people in the world. Period.

So what’s next?

I have to admit that I was jealous of our friends who had their boats at the rendezvous. As I said above the hotel was nice but not as nice as being on Why Knot. For us there are still some things that need to get done here in St. Louis. It looks like our departure date is going to be November 1st. We are anxious to head on down the river towards warmer climates and catch up with everyone. 

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