I’m trying to buy a used Class C motorhome at an auction today so Lenie and I can take Backwoods Home Magazine on the road every now and then. It’s an idea we’ve had for a couple of years. If successful, John and I will drive it to the Sandy, Utah Self Reliance Expo.
The original idea was to meet more readers, perhaps do more shows. I thought the motorhome and trips would pay for themselves with increased subscribers and by selling anthologies. A good Class C motorhome had cost more than we were willing to spend, but with the economy still down after several years, the prices for the motorhomes, especially the used ones, have dropped.
This is an auction for RV dealers, so I’m doing it through a small local RV dealer. We’ll see what happens real soon.
Now it’s on to to the Self Reliance Expo Oct. 7-8 in Sandy, Utah, which is on the southern edge of Salt Lake City. John Silveira and I will drive two days to do this one. John and I have not done a show together for at least 10 years so this will be fun. If you want to talk politics or economics, this is the one to go to. O.E. MacDougal will also likely be there.
Self reliance and preparedness shows in and around Salt Lake City are always a big deal. Some of the best prepared people in the country live there, and I always learn something new.
Lenie and Rhoda went straight from their flight and got to The Mother Earth News Fair 15 minutes before it opened yesterday morning and just barely got our booth set up. Business is booming! Lenie just texted me this photo. They took 50 new subscriptions the first day and expect to sell out of all anthologies and books we sent to the fair today.
This time it’s Lenie’s turn to experience a snag in a long-distance self-reliance expo. She and Rhoda are on their way to The Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, this Saturday and Sunday, Sept 24 and 25, but their initial flight out of Crescent City has been canceled due to fog.
They are now driving three hours to Medford, Oregon, where they will catch a plane that puts them into Pittsburg at 6 am, three hours before the Fair opens. Hopefully the magazines and anthologies will be there in our booth.
We’re definitely rethinking how we do these long-distance shows.
This is the first time we’ve done a show in Pennsylvania and are looking forward to it. We think TMEN should be commended for putting on these big events, and I intend to help Mother any way I can. We attended their last show in Puyallup, Washington.
Lenie and Rhoda are not particularly upset by the flight cancellation. “I just put it in perspective,” Lenie told me on the phone. “We haven’t been in an accident, we aren’t sick. All that happened is that our flight was cancelled. We’ll just drive to Medford, then sleep on the plane. We’ll be fine.”
She’s a good match for my high-strung personality.
Got home at 4 am this morning, after arriving at Portland airport and spending the day helping Jake and Robby move into their dorm rooms. Jake’s got the better room, a private room on the 10th floor of a Portland State University dorm overlooking Portland. Robby’s room in Corvallis at Oregon State University is much smaller with no view and he’s sharing it with another student.
Kind of weird with only Sammy at home now. He rose on time for school this morning, even though he nabbed only four hours sleep. That was the deal: He can do these Expos and miss a day or so at school, but he’s got to be able to get up and go to school when we get back. Otherwise, no more shows. He liked the show a lot so made sure he got up.
Lots of sirens in Denver tonight. The sounds echo through the hallways among these big buildings like coyote calls echo through a high desert landscape. Just a few make a big racket.
The Self Reliance Expo was a success, sort of. We had a net loss of $2300. It could have been much worse, as these shows are expensive to do, mainly due to air fare and hotel expenses. The anthologies that never got here turned out to be very important in the final tally. Sales of anthologies typically pay for our expenses and make the shows profitable. We’ll have to rethink how we do these long-distance shows.
But I made important contacts. Can’t put photos of the good people I hung out with in the blog tonight because the hotel computer won’t accept the SD card from my camera, plus it’s late and I’m tired. It was sure fun hanging out with Don Childers and his wife, Nancy. Don turned 81 this month and has painted the covers of BHM since Issue No. 1. I introduced him to every subscriber who visited the booth.
Toby and Sammy got a good lesson in how to adjust to a curve ball when you’re expecting a fast ball. They’ll be able to handle future shows by themselves just fine. Plus they traded subscriptions and a small ad for some T-shirt and knives. Toby won a drawing for a three-months supply of freeze-dried food.
I mainly do these shows to meet readers, and I met a lot of them the last two days. It rechargers my batteries when I see first-hand how people value the magazine and how much it’s changed their lives. I’m looking forward to doing this same show in Sandy, Utah Oct 7-8. John Silveira and I will drive to it so there’ll be no problems with shipping product.
Sam and Toby are out walking the city tonight, while I’m having a glass of wine at the hotel. Just got a text from Sam that they are going to see the movie, Contagion. They should read my essay of a few years back from my “Stupid People” book of how disease could cause a big problem for America some day. That’s real stuff, not a movie.
Lenie told me earlier this evening that she hit an elk last night with her Acura. She’s fine and the Acura has only a little damage. She hit the tail-end of a bull on Highway 101 just 12 miles north of Gold Beach. Slowed down suddenly from 55 mph. Very lucky! Those tall-legged animals sometimes go through the windshield and kill the driver. Life’s full of near misses.
We fly back to Portland, Oregon tomorow morning and we’ll meet Lenie and help Jake and Robby move into their dorms in Portland and Corvallis. It’s a busy weekend.
The Denver Self Reliance Expo is tomorrow and Saturday but we have nothing to sell. In fact, we don’t even have a magazine to show customers. Someone at the National Western Complex, where the Expo is taking place, refused our shipment of 17 boxes of magazines and anthologies when they arrived Sept 12 because they mistakenly thought the boxes were for an Expo that had already taken place. First time that’s happened in 23 years. The boxes are now back in Oregon somewhere.
So Sam, Toby, and I have switched to Plan B. That includes Don Childers driving up tomorrow morning from Fort Collins and bringing his back issues and anthologies so we can at least display something. Annie sent a pdf file of the order form to a Denver copy center and I had a bunch of them printed up tonight.
Such is life, I guess. Good planning can go awry due to an occasional fluke. We’ll just wing it with Plan B. Maybe we’ll discover something useful for the future.
The current issue of the magazine says that BHM will have a booth at the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California, this Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 13 through 15. We’ve had to cancel our appearance there. The timing just didn’t work for us so we made the decision to cancel out. We should have never committed to the show or announced it in the magazine, as it conflicts with our deadline here for our next issue. We are still on that deadline now. It’s too bad we’re going to miss it; it should be a very interesting show.
Today is BHM cover artist Don Childer’s 81st birthday. Happy Birthday Don!
Don lives in Colorado now but still paints our covers. I asked him this morning to send me a current photo of himself and he sent me the one above, which is two years old.
I’ll see him next week at the Self Reliance Expo in Denver. This is a show I was not scheduled to attend, so don’t believe your current magazine issue, which has me not attending. I just decided at the last minute that my son, Sam, 16, and office worker, Toby Stanley, 20, needed my help at this “really big” show so made the dreaded plane reservation to fly on out there. Don lives an hour and a half south of Denver so will drive up Saturday.
So if you want to see what the old codger “really” looks like, come on up to the Denver show and say hello. He says he feels terrific.
Meanwhile we are finishing up another deadline at the office.