I had really high hopes for this weekend. I needed everything to go smoothly, to relax and enjoy good times with friends. I got all of the above.
We didn't have the numbers we had last year, as I expected, but we had a healthy crowd of around 70-something. Some people bailed after dinner, before the monsoon, but those who did stay got some of the most insane exclusive ride time in history on the Voyage, in a torrential downpour. And yes, there's video, and I'll definitely post it when I get it edited down a bit.
The event itself went really well. A lot of people got to just hang out all day and ride. The park was so empty that lots of folks had "virtual" ERT pretty much all day. I know a lot of people were sitting on Raven for a period of time, and others were riding Voyage perhaps every other train. As usual, the park's people were awesome.
My enthusiasm for the weekend was mostly around the social aspect, especially finally getting to see Mike and Artemisa for the first time in almost three years. All of those good intentions to go visit them in Chicago just never panned out. And now, not one, but two little girls! Violet is just a tiny little thing at four months, but seemed surprisingly mellow most of the time. Artemisa insists that's not normal for her. Natalia is just over two, and she's a little talker. She really seemed to take to me and Diana, and seeing a little person like that makes us want one! Although ours will obviously not be half Mexican.
Also solid was a chance to spend some time with Tyler and Carrie. It's strange the way the Internet has enabled us to have friendships that cross several states, but it also sucks that you see the people so infrequently. Luckily, we did get to see Carrie early in the season, and I met up with Tyler at Kennywood this year (and obviously he was at the wedding). Good times with good friends.
We were also lucky enough to see Mike and Corrie Graham, especially since Corrie is only a few months away from delivering their first baby! The Grahams are two of my favorite people for a great many reasons, and I'm very happy for their procreation. Corrie had a photo book of all of her ultrasounds, which she's had almost weekly (because she's diabetic, and they have to watch the growth of the baby carefully). Mike shared some renderings of his "baby" as well (that new thing he's designing that has wheels).
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better time, except perhaps no rain. I didn't take any laps at all for ERT, but got some in earlier. I was being Mr. Documentarian. We finished out the night recording the podcast, which is always ten times more fun and interesting when we're live and in person with each other.
Before leaving this morning, Mike let me take Diana around for a spin in their Prius. You can really scare the crap out of a kid on his bike in that thing in a campground, what with the silence and all.
I really needed this weekend. Here's hoping all of this positive energy is leading to something else positive this week!