Waaay to early sunday morning my alarm went off to wake me for the picnic. (I, and the permit, had to be there two hours before our 10am start time. ) Dragged my ass out of bed and managed to get dressed and out the door on time. Traffic was light enough that I had time to visit a drivethrough and get some mcbreakfast. Thank ghod for caffeine.
Got to the site and the gate was still locked. Hmmm... The sign says open at 7am. Yup, it's 8am. *shrugs* So I drove over to another section of the park and waved down a park worker driving a truck. Explain my dilemma, and he tells me to follow him. So I turn around and follow him. I was expecting him to go back on the road and go around to the gate and unlock it for me.
He drives up over the curb onto the walkway towards the swimming area. Right past the signs that say no motor vehicles allowed. I think to myself that he must have authorized me, and I drove up behind them and followed him down the gravel hiking paths around the swimming beach and the bathhouse and through the woods around to the other side of the pond where the picnic area is.
Where we are confronted by another locked gate that keeps us from driving back out onto the authorized visitor paved road and parking area. He hollers out the window to wait there, and drives away back the way we had come. So I sits and waits in my car for a while. Wondering when the state troopers who patrol the park will come and write me a ticket for trespassing. . . and I wait a little more. . . So I pull out my sure fire waiting cure, a good book. Just as planned, as soon as I got to an exciting scene in the book, another park worker pulls up in a gator and opens the gate to let me out back to the legal driving area.
I thank him and park in a legal parking space. The parking space that has two signs on it. No loitering. and No Live Parking. (I puzzled over what live parking might be, and asked the park worker when he drove past again what it meant. It means you can't park and sit in your car. ) But the permit says I have to be at the site two hours ahead of time. If the state trooper wants to write me tickets for loitering and live parking, I hope that the picnic permit that says I gotta be there will be enough to defend my honor.
Eventually another nesfa person arrives and we tote the stuff from his car and my car to the picnic tables. I head off to my work and get the truck and the company gas grill I had arranged to borrow and head back to the site. More folks have arrived by then and I'm able to roll and carry the grill over to the site. Meat and veggies were prepared and burnt offerings of food were consumed. There was also some yummy desserts brought and shared. Much smoffing ensued.
Eventually the sky clouded over and a few drops of rain were felt, and the concensus quickly emerged that the picnic was over. So everything got loaded back into cars and I brought the grill back to my work. It was still well before 6pm, the scheduled end time, so I resolved to stay there the full time. Which was good, as a couple more folks showed up around 5pm. We chatted and walked in the woods, where we saw a deer and many many trees. By then it was about 6pm, and we headed off our separate ways.
It was a good day, but for me, it was a rather long day.