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On the Road; New Experiences & New Friends

After two weeks on our ‘trial run’ with the motorhome working 2 weekend festivals we return to Tucson to rewind, repair, and regroup.

From the business side, our experiences were less than stellar.  The first show was simply horrible.  In the end after 4 LONG days, we basically broke even after the travel expenses, booth fee, overhead, health permit, and living costs.  We made enough money to put gas in the cars to get to the next show.  Such is the way of the fledgling food booth operator.  You have to take some chances at questionable events just to fill your calendar and keep working.

The good news, when it’s slow, you meet all kinds of interesting people.  We share ideas, show schedules, and techniques to make business better down the road.  We met Bill and Mary who operate a Tornado Fries booth and we really hit it off and shared a lot of great information.

Emma James, on the other hand, was in seventh heaven.  The show was SO SLOW, they opened up all the inflatable rides to the kids for free and she spent no less than 6 hours a day bouncing, bouncing and making new friends.

We moved on to the Miami Boomtown Spree in Miami, Az and along the way passed some truly gorgeous scenery along the Apache Trail off of route 60 and spent two wonderful nights at the Oak Flats National Park campground for free!

The Miami Boomtown Spree was a small but well organized event.  Sales reflected the small 4-5,000 person attendance but it was still worth attending.  Bill and Mary were at this show as well and we swapped stories and ideas about making the business easier and more efficient. Dan, the gourmet nut vendor, next to us was a great neighbor and very helpful.  Ted, the veteran floss wagon lemonade stand operator, was full of helpful information and tips for the booth.

We met a wonderful woman, Faith Garcia, that owned Miami’s little art gallery right behind where our booth was setup.  Faith is 86 and she basically adopted Hilary and the two girls for the weekend.  Emma immediately accepted Faith as yet another grandma figure and would walk around hand in hand with her during the festival.  Faith has an interesting history as an artist, teacher, traveler, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother.  She spends her time between California and Arizona.  We were ready to adopt Faith and kidnap her to take her along with us.

Over the last two weeks we learned a lot about traveling from show to show, living in the motorhome, and so far so good.  There’s kinks to work out in the motorhome, work to be done for the food booth, but all in all we decided we liked our home on wheels and don’t really miss having a rooted foundation to return to after traveling.

The food booth is a job like other jobs, but the diversity of each show and the variety of interesting people that we meet make this business fun and fulfilling despite the hard work and travel.  We both feel that Emma James is benefiting from the exposure to such a diverse group of people.  Certainly not a shy child, she is not afraid to search out other children, regardless of age, gender, color, or ability to play.

For Hilary and I, the traveling gives us a better idea of what kind of community we might one day want to stop and drop some roots into if we ever decide to stop the endless gypsy lifestyle.  But for now, home is wherever JC McDowell and the Family Unit happens to land.

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