Following the festival circuit across North America can be an exciting adventure, after all how many jobs provide a built in vacation environment.
Your friends back home are jealous that you have seen the four corners of the country and everything in the middle - you spend hours showing them your trip pictures and home movies - trying desperately to separate one highway from another and what state park you saw a specific national monument, luckily you have your notes.
For those of us who have traveled thousands of miles, spent time in big and small communities, lived in hotels and motels for months on end and can write a book on fast food and clean restrooms in North America, the lifestyle of constantly being on the move, being a road-warrior, is not for everyone. We miss our families and friends back home, and we don't always eat properly.
We have all made friends on the road, our traveling family. People that we continually meet at different venues, we know their first names; recognize their cars, trucks, and RVs. We can spend hours of time catching up; how we spent our winter, where we have been, the price of gas, problems encountered, where we are headed, our venue plans and who should be the next president.
Who are these people that we call friends? There is Jeff and Wendy from Maryland; they have the Silver Winnebago, with a big red heart on the back bumper. There is Madeline and Cynthia they're sisters from Illinois, they tow a 12 foot, royal blue concession trailer, encased in festival decals, behind their Dodge RAM 4X4 and lets not forget Big Jim from Tennessee, the ham hock barbeque king. There is the Florida Everglades, two brothers, and two sisters who dance and sing and of course there is Baldy selling his state flags - we are all jealous of Baldy, he can off load his table and set-up his flags in less than 10 minutes and pack-up in five.
The people that we meet year in and year out are acknowledged when met and never forgotten as we see the back end of their vehicles leave the festival grounds. Some go north others turn south, some east and others west, some travel in mini convoys others journey on their own and we are left wondering when and where we will meet up with them again.
Following the festival circuit is a lifestyle much more than it is a job. There are times when life on the road can be lonely. One motel begins to looks like another, TV reception leaves much to be desired, and every highway exit has a McDonalds, KFC, and Taco Bell.
After a long hard day, we take in the local community atmosphere, nodding our heads, smiling, and waving at familiar faces, have a dinner that is based on cold beer, potato skins with cheese, and a few dishes of peanuts or trail road snacks - I did say that we don't always eat properly!
There are times when we forget what day it is, whether our current venue is over on Saturday or Sunday and are continually plotting our route for the next drive down an interstate highway. We try to remember all of the family's birthdays and anniversaries and acknowledge them with phone calls, parcel post presents - thank God for Wal-Mart, and greeting cards back home. The advent of cell phones gives us the comfort of knowing we can be reached at any time.
So why do we put up with this lifestyle - it's not for the money! We may only be in these cities and towns for a few days, and in some cases, we can't remember one from another, but that's not the situation in many cases.
We all have very special memories that will never be forgotten. We know many people from all over North America from different walks of life and yes, in most cases, they are not truly friends, but there are exceptions, there are those people that you meet that you do stay in touch with year around - people that you consider special and have enhanced your life.
Following the festival circuit is not for everyone, but my hat goes off to those who spend months on the road to provide me with some fun, entertainment, and good food when they decide to visit my community.