Rainbow Rally at the River: Day 3

imageThe third day of our Aluminum Under the Rainbow rally began with authentic French Quarter-style beignets, prepared by our hosts from Louisiana. Our water heater repairman, from Florida, gave a very helpful and informative tutorial on awning maintenance. Yes, we have to lubricate all the various parts every 30 days with spray silicone. We have neglected this essential maintenance, after a year and a half of use.

Taking stock of the group, we discovered Airstreamers from throughout the nation, including New Jersey, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, in addition to Texas and Louisiana.

We also met a delightful little shorebird called killdeer. The medium-size plovers get their name from the shrill, wailing kill-deer call they give, particularly when their nests are threatened. They also protect their young by acting as though they have a broken wing, which serves as a distraction to predators. To guard against large, hoofed animals, they fluff themselves up, displaying their tail over their head as they charge the animals in an attempt to make them change their course. Campers had set off several of their nesting sites throughout the campground with stones and flags, so we had the chance to observe these beautiful, fearless birds at length.

We spent the afternoon visiting other Airstreamers and having a good, old-fashioned cookout of hamburgers, hot dogs and seasoned French fries. And then: nap time!

As evening rolled around, we began preparing our dish for the “Clean Out Your Fridge” potluck. We can always count on a crowd like this to turn a simple potluck of leftovers into a gourmet meal. And the mosquitoes enjoyed making a gourmet meal of us. Even after bathing ourselves in insect repellent, we spent most of the evening swatting and slapping.

Darkness provided a perfect environment for our movie under the stars: The Long, Long Trailer, a 1954 comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Nicholas and Tacy Collini, a newly married couple who decide to buy a travel trailer instead of a house so they can travel to wherever Nicky must work on engineering projects. The film is a must-see for anyone hitching up. We watched it just before we made our first trip, nearly four years ago. It was great to see it again surrounded by friends old and new with the sounds of barge traffic along the Mississippi River in the background.

The humor in the movie comes from the disastrous experiences the couple has while traveling to from California to Colorado, including Nicky’s attempt to back into a driveway at the home of Tacy’s aunt, Tacy’s effort to cook dinner in a moving trailer, and the couple’s cliffhanging ride through narrow mountain passes. Along the way, they argue over directions, driving speed, campsites and mounting expenses. It seemed as though every movie watcher identified with their misadventures in some way.

It was, for us, a comedic exclamation point at the end of a long, long weekend of too much rain, too much sun, too much food, too much drink, but not nearly enough time.