Firefly 2015

So what should one do one week before taking off on a 3 week RV vacation? Go to Firefly, of course! We went to the first Firefly in 2012 and really enjoyed the music and small crowd of approximately 30,000 people. We rented an RV for 2012 Firefly, and considering there seemed to be 1 toilet for every 300 people in the tent camping area, we reached the conclusion that the RV was money well spent. However, the festival was so poorly organized and run (volunteers not doing their jobs, parking rules changing constantly, water price gouging, lack of water, Jack White’s sound not working – which may have been a blessing in disguise), we were not going to come back unless there was an amazing line-up.

Then Firefly 2015 was announced. And Paul McCartney was the headliner. And we figured in 20 years Alex could say he saw Paul McCartney in concert. So, against our better judgement, we bought our tickets and reserved an RV spot and made plans to take a one year old to a music festival with a targeted ticket sales to reach 90,000.

We should have taken a closer look at Paul McCartney’s tour schedule. We would have discovered he was playing the Wells-Fargo Center in Philly the night after his Firefly appearance, it would have been a wiser use of our money. So, the good and the bad.

Alex: He had an absolute blast. Loved listening to the music and people watching. Even better, there was a 12-week old there. So just turning one was a late start for a first concert experience.

Alex getting into the music at Firefly.
Alex getting into the music at Firefly.
Alex making faces at Firefly.
Alex making faces at Firefly.
Alex at Paul McCartney. He was there. It counts.
Alex at Paul McCartney. He was there. It counts.
Alex relaxing in a hammock at Firefly.
Alex relaxing in a hammock at Firefly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music: It was a fantastic line up. We were never close to the stage, but we enjoyed the acts from a distance.

Weather: Okay, we know the organizers can’t control the weather, but a little advance planning goes a long way. Delaware experienced torrential rains ahead of the festival and the RV camping areas were swampy. Fill was being brought in the day the before the gates were to open, but it wasn’t nearly enough. More rains were experienced during the festival, creating a giant mud pit where shoes were lost. To top it all off, severe storms were predicted the last night of the festival, canceling the headliner and spurring announcements to seek shelter. The poor tent campers were directed to their cars, some a 45 minute walk away from their tents. Perhaps using every available golf cart and shuttle to help concert goers seek shelter would have been wise. We left ahead of the rain. We saw people come in and attempt to park their big rigs, and knew if the grounds got much sloppier, there was a strong likelihood these folks were going to get stuck and block the only exit. No point in having to deal with that mess right before our 2015 Western Odyssey.

Organization: We had passes for the camping sites next to the entrance and had to load in by Wednesday. It seemed foolish for Jess to take an extra day off of work and sit around in an RV when there weren’t going to be any acts. So, we purchased a vehicle parking pass, and Jess and Alex drove down to Dover on Thursday. After picking up the parking pass at will call, Jess drove to the appropriate parking lot as indicated on her map. This was the incorrect thing to do. Apparently, festival organizers wanted all traffic directed to a single choke point, and then redirect people to their appropriate location once viewing the pass. This would have meant sitting in line for 45 minutes plus with an antsy 1 year old.

Upon arriving at the appropriate parking lot, Jess discovered that no one was checking for passes or even directing parking. This was also beneficial because Jess got to select her own premium parking spot, but it was clear wasted $40 to buy the pass. The lack of guidance with parking was clear when Jess picked up the car. People had played the always fun game of create your own parking space and block someone else in.

A laundry list of rules that were disregarded or sporadically enforced. Throw in the lovely gentleman who believed that the two foot strip of grass we weren’t occupying in our camping spot was his invitation to park there.

Sound: You think they would have someone in the audience, or several someones at different points in the audience listening to ensure that Paul McCartney’s sound was working just fine. His one mic was not working, but we got to see  his lips move on the giant TV screens.

Kids these days: Yes, here is our inner curmudgeons. We should have stayed home right (don’t we wish). But,these are the people who will be wiping our rear ends in a nursing home later, and I am concerned that kids these days cannot even find their own rear end even using their phone GPS.

Again? Would we go again . . . would have to be a truly awesome line-up. And we would spring for the Super VIP passes. We’ve heard good things about Lollapalooza.

Alex and Abby – A history

Alex and Abby met for the first time when Alex was just shy of three months old. It was not love at first sight. Alex was tired and cranky and didn’t seem to appreciate the test drive. But good parents that we are, we overrode Alex’s objections and purchased Abby.

August 2014: Alex’s first trip in Abby was an overnight shakedown run to Pequea Creek Campground in Pennsylvania. It was on this run that future thoughts for organization started to present themselves. But nothing too disastrous and we were only an hour away from home.

Ommegang
Jess enjoying a beer, back during the days Alex would sleep at a bar.

October 2014: Alex and Abby had more time to bond on their next trip to Cooperstown, NY area over Columbus Day weekend. We dragged Alex not to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but to Brewery Ommegang. That’s just how we parent. We were fortunate because Alex was still at a stage where he slept – a lot. And wasn’t super mobile so he perfectly content to hang out in his car seat at the table while we ate and chatted. We stayed at Beaver Spring Lake Campground, which had full hook ups. This was very fortuitous because the overnight lows were high 20s. No water lines froze despite our lack of an arctic package. Alex seemed to enjoy himself on this trip and it was deemed rather successful.

Alex enjoying some tummy time outside on the dinette cushions.
Alex enjoying some tummy time outside on the dinette cushions.
Alex snuggled up in his Storchenwiege carrier.
Alex snuggled up in his Storchenwiege carrier.

Novermber 2014: Alex took his first trip to Cape Henlopen State Park. This is a beautiful campground area, with some spots very nicely shaded. Being late in the season, the campground was sparsely populated, save some tent campers who were competing in the ‘Skate the Cape’ event weekend. Looked like a fun event; everyone that we interacted with was extremely nice. A drawback at Cape Henlope is the park staff don’t want RVs parking off of the pavement; there are only a few spots that don’t resemble parallel parking. It would be nice if one could be trusted to use their own judgement and park on the hard pack sand, but I am sure experience has taught the staff that most people overestimate their or their vehicle’s abilities. Review the park map and choose wisely. While there are water hook ups, some of the spigots are at least 50′ away from the spot they are assigned to service; pack two sanitary water hoses just in case.

Alex_Hammock
Alex taking a nap in the RV campground at Firefly. Resting up for a big day of concerts and people watching.

June 2015: 2015 started out relatively quiet with a trip to Cape Henlopen and the Outer Banks as a quick weekend shake down runs ahead of a busy summer travel schedule. After that the travel season became very hectic. First, was our trip to the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE the weekend of June 18 – 21. We had been debating on going, but when they announced Paul McCartney was headlining, we decided to go for it. Alex seemed to have a really fun time; we introduced him to the WeeRide which he loved. He had a strong dislike for his bike helmet initially, but once he made the connection between the helmet and going for a bike ride, all was okay. Alex enjoyed snoozing in the hammock and got to “see” Paul McCartney in concert. Never fear, he had ear protection on whenever we were on the concert grounds.

IMG_20150705_195353640
Alex enjoying dirt along the snake river in Wyoming.

June/July 2015Less than a week after we returned from Firefly, Abby spirited all of us (including the dogs) off on a 3 week western adventure. This trip started with failed turbo resonator, but there were no more mechanical failures on the trip. Alex had a great time playing in dirt and “driving” the RV.

Alex enjoying Mama's biscuits and gravy so much he is using two spoon.
Alex enjoying Mama’s biscuits and gravy so much he is using two spoon.

September 2015: Abby took Alex on his first trip out of the country! We drove up to Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, in Quebec. It was a fun trip. We were only a little bit nervous at the border crossings because Alex’s favorite phrase at this time was ‘uh oh’. We didn’t think it would be wise to answer the border guard’s question with ‘uh oh’.


October 2015:
Just when Alex and Abby were going to have to say good-bye to each other for a few months, we decided to throw two October trips into the mix. The first was over Columbus Day weekend to the Mansfield area of Pennsylvania. Dave rode his motorcycle up and Jess drove the RV. Alex and the dogs got a bonus visit to the farm to visit Mimi and Grandpa. We stayed at Tanglewood Campground which was very family friendly. Costume parade for the kids and what we heard was a very well done haunted trail ride.

Tanglewood
Morning at Tanglewood Campground.

 

We decided to take a trip to visit all the remaining Northeast states before we moved west. So Alex and Abby hit the road together again to Acadia National Park in Maine. This was the most dog-friendly park we have visited where dogs are allowed on most trails. Our creature triple feature had a great time. Abby was challenged with no hook-ups and short, cloudy days prevented the solar panels from recharging the batteries. We needed to run the generator to charge the batteries. Except we overestimated our propane levels and couldn’t find anywhere to fill up since it was the end of the season and most places had closed down. To add to the challenge, the coach batteries weren’t recharging from the engine. Thus, a very delicate game of cat and mouse was played between propane and battery levels. This trip happened to be the trip that the transmission failed; while Abby didn’t see Alex home to the door, she did arrange a ride for him in a big rig.

Abby being towed from the EZ-Pass administration building parking lot.
Abby being towed from the EZ-Pass administration building parking lot.

December 2015/January 2016: And we can’t forget the cross-country move! Alex and Abby had lots of quality time together as we meandered across the South and up the Pacific Coast Highway to Davis, CA. Check out our detailed blog posts chronicling this journey. There are many more than the one linked, check out the archives or the category ‘Travel Diary: 2016 DE to CA’.

One of our greatest concerns with all the traveling we do is making sure Alex is having fun. We can’t know for sure, but he always gets excited when he sees Abby and wants to climb aboard. All said and done, we let this picture speak volumes.

Alex the traveling man as Abby moves him down the road.
Alex the traveling man as Abby moves him down the road.