I booked Friday off so I could go to Starfest and see what the fuss was all about. I figured I would drive up Thursday night, after work, and leave with lots of time to pick a site, set up, and start observing.
Instead I putzed around before I got the car loaded, and it was just after seven when I finally hit the road. I needed gas, so that ate up a further 10 or 15 minutes, and I didn’t really get going until about 7.30. I didn’t have the official instructions on how to get to Starfest, but in any case I didn’t want to take the 407, which is what the MS map site recommended. Instead I went up the 400 and got off at Alliston – which was a bigger town that I had realized. It took a while to get through the town, and according to the GPS unit I was still about an hour away when I finally got back to the highway. Drove through Sherburne (memories of Bruce Beach) and looked for the turn-off which MS said to take. I didn’t see it – either I missed it, or the road I eventually took – same number, but further along – was right. That road ended in a ‘Bridge Out’ so I wound up back on 89 driving under the guidance of the GPS unit, which was supposedly pointing out the way. Ultimately I got to the site at about 10 o’clock. I had to tape my lights before I went in, which chewed up more time, and I finally set up my tent – on a slope – at about 10.30. I started to set the mount up, but eventually I gave up and pulled a pair of old binoculars out and stared up at the star clouds. After a walk in the dark I turned in around 1.30.
I spent the night rolling down hill – tent on a slope, remember? – and climbing back up again. Every now and then I stuck my head out to look at the sky. Venus was a pretty sight, and I eventually got up and walked over to the Red Light Cafe for a coffee – which was only lukewarm by then.
At breakfast Norm Folkers hailed me, and I spent part of the morning talking with him. I was still sleep-deprived, so I moved the tent to a more level spot, took my morning meds, and dozed off. I caught some of the talks, including two of Robert Gendron’s and Nagin Cox’s talk on the Mars rover missions, but the fresh air must have been hitting me hard because I dozed off again when I took my late meds. I didn’t check my glucose levels, so it’s possible they were out of whack.
Friday night was a write-off unless you like fishing sucker holes, so I turned in around 12.30. Up the following morning and met up with Norm again over breakfast, where I also chatted briefly with Terry Dickinson. He thought he recognised my name, but it’s been 30 years since I had a public presence in astronomy – and that only from the RASC Toronto Centre, so it seems unlikely to have been anything significant. He must have good associative recall….
Saturday was clear from the start. I spent most of my time around the commercial outlets and the swap table shortly after that was opened – though I apparently missed a Coronado Solar filter for $800 which I’m kicking myself for – it was offered before the official opening bell. I stayed for the dinner and draw (dammit, I didn’t win the Denk!) but was too tired to go on, and drove home to collapse in peace.
Good sessions, but next time I need a better tent and more rest.