Last week I went to the Farpoint convention in Timonium, MD (just north of Baltimore), the winter "sister" con to July's Shore Leave of fame and legend. But I shouldn't have.
It was actually The Momma's idea that we go to the con (which of course I normally don't bother with)... Adam Baldwin (Firefly/Chuck) was to be the main guest, along with Bonita Friedericy (also from Chuck, which if you're not watching is a shame!). So plan we did. About a month ago we heard Baldwin had to cancel... we thought about cancelling too because of that, but we already had lot of friends looking forward to seeing us so decided to stick with it.
The week of the con, Buster got sick... wasn't feeling well for a couple of days before, but with a 72-hour cancellation policy for the hotel it was already too late to cancel outright without losing our deposit night. So we figured we'd see how he was and decide last minute. I came home from work after midnight that Wednesday night (we were to leave Thursday morning), and not only was Buster not feeling much better but now The Momma was starting to feel worse! So I was figuring, ah well, we'll skip it, I'll suck up the hotel money, no biggie. The con itself wasn't that big a deal to us, we mostly just wanted to see friends.
The Momma did mention though that it was certainly fine with them if I wanted to go by myself. (Yes, I'm blessed that way, she's awesome!) My first thought was Naw, no need for that... even though there were friends to see I wasn't sure I felt like hopping into the Bluesmobile for a solo 7-hour drive (we'd been planning to take The Momma's Hyundai hatchback for this one so I'd done no road trip prep on the Bluesmobile). But within 10 minutes of that decision, I had an email from another friend... a friend from one of the blues forums I participate in, one of these guys I've "known" online for about a year, but have never met. He lives in York, PA (about an hour north of where I would be going) and was suggesting getting together for a blues night in Baltimore. Well, that certainly was an interesting idea since I never have gotten 'round to going into Balty for a blues night on any of our trips, and it was a great chance to meet up with a new friend. so I figured I'd give it more thought.
In the end I went to bed figuring I'd set my alarm early, then hop in the Bluesmobile the next morning and either drive to work, or drive to Baltimore! The real deciding factor was that Thursday turned out to be a beautiful day, one of the first we've had in ages... hey, how could I not go on a road trip? So sure enough I threw my harps, laptop, and a few clothes in a bag and off I went. Happy to say the Bluesmobile, unprepped as she was, had no problems and it was a beautiful day for a ride, I really enjoyed myself. Made it in quite a bit less than 7 hours, though I was pretty tired at the end of course. (Long gone are those days when I can drive 24 hours straight with hardly any breaks!)
I settled into my room around 5:30pm and touched base with Mike (my blues friend) via email, gave him my mobile number and he gave me a call; we agreed Friday would be the better night to get together since he was busy Saturday, and that was also the night I'd prefer to stick around the con. He said he'd check the Baltimore club schedules and call me back. An hour later he did, just as I was deciding between room service or going down to the hotel restaurant. His question: "So, I don't know how much energy you've got but how would you feel about tonight? There's a blues jam up my way."
Well, I was exhausted... so of course I said "Sure!" There was actually nothing much going on that he could find on Friday so this seemed like the best option, plus I loved the idea of going to a jam since I would probably get to play, of course! So minutes later, dinner unordered, I'm back in the Bluesmobile heading another hour north into Pennsylvania. Got to his place around 8, we said our hellos, then jumped back into his car so he could drive us another 30 minutes to - SOMEWHERE in Pennsylvania! But the jam was great, the venue awesome, they had Sam Adams available... we had a terrific time and so, some hours after not even being sure if I was even taking the day off from work, I found myself up on a stage somewhere in Pennsylvania blowin' harp with some great blues musicians! Truly a cool night. (I just found out a couple of days ago that apparently I was in Harrisburg.)
BTW, some pictures from that night HERE: http://bit.ly/dPJdqK
So that was already worth the trip, then the convention weekend was also a lot of fun. Much smaller than Shore Leave it reminded me of the early days at SL... I spent most of Saturday night just sitting at a table with Mr. & Mrs. Little Guy, reminiscing and catching up, which we always want to do at SL but somehow rarely find the time to manage for more than a few minutes here and there. And caught up with old friends Betsy, Tom, Laura and others, as well as a couple of fellow Blues Brothers fans that I've met down there before via the Blues Bros forums... just a lot of relaxing and catching up. It still felt weird being there without the family, but all in all the trip went great and was a lot of fun.
I never did get a good story up here about Buster's first trip to The Delta with me last December, but needless to say we had a fantastic time and you can see tons of pictures from that trip HERE: http://bit.ly/fsOenG