The Paper

Just got back from North Carolina where I picked up my new SylvanSport GO. It’s even more awesome than I thought it was going to be. I used to have a Jayco popup camper, and it was pretty much a piece of junk, despite having bought it new. I’ll have to go into all that sometime, but for now, the main contrast is that the SylvanSport is everything good about a popup and nothing bad. Plenty of space. Storage when it’s collapsed. Super light and small (fits in a tiny garage, easy to pull by hand). Every part of it is well considered.

I picked it up at their factory in Brevard, North Carolina. While I was there, I figured I’d head over to MerleFest, which I’ve always wanted to go to but never have. I’ve gone to Graves Mountain for (over 10?) years which is another bluegrass festival in Virginia, but MerleFest is a bit bigger and has a larger variety of acts. As anything, there were good/bad parts about MerleFest as compared to Graves, but again I’ll have to save that for another time. I’m sitting at the airport in Madison, Wisconsin right now waiting for a flight down to Champaign for the University of Illinois Web Conference.

I camped at the River’s Edge campground at MerleFest, with some old friends from Graves. Saturday morning my friend Mark woke me up shaking a newspaper at me from the door of the new camper. “You’re in the paper, hoss.”

Quite literally, the front page:

Some reporters from the Winston-Salem Journey came by, hung out, took some photos, and asked some questions the day before. MerleFest is a big deal in that town and they were just covering the event from all angles. I didn’t think anything would come of it, but I was sure wrong! Turned out to be a nice article.

I remember reading the line:

Standing barefoot on a green and white patterned rug, tossed onto ground — still crunchy with fallen leaves — behind their 1965 Shasta camper, Sherri and Mark Criminger collected old friends and new with an instrument and an ear for improvisation.

from a camping chair with my feet standing on that very rug, looking at Sherri. Fun, surreal little moment.

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