WHAT: National Polymer Clay Guild 1999 Shrine Mont Retreat
WHEN: Tuesday May 11, 1999 to Sunday May 16, 1999
WHERE: Shrine Mont Conference Center, Orkney Springs Virginia
WHY: Because it's there!
HOW: That's where the story begins...
"I've been doing clay for 8 years, and I've been running Polymer Clay Central for about a year now. I've seen so many incredible things with Polymer Clay, but none of it prepared me for Shrine Mont!
"Huh, and how am I going to get there?"
"You have a car, you can drive. I'll even pay for it."
He must be up to something, but how could I resist that offer? With a couple months to try to get in shape for this adventure, (after 6 years of battling illnesses) the first thing I do is set up a couple months of physical therapy with my doctor. I'm assured that I can drive to the different buildings, I'll never be ready for walking mountains by May, but look out next year!
The next dilemma we encounter after finding time for PT 3 afternoons a week, is trying to figure out what to pack! A tool collector since the day I was born, I've always been an easy mark for anyone selling supplies. How can I leave any of my special tools home? What do I want to share, or trade, or learn or teach or... Oh My, and what about my camera? I have to document this for posterity, none of my family are going to believe that I'm going to drive all the way to Virginia by myself. And my Computer??? My photographic equipment, gotta get some good shots of clay for the web site. CLAY? CLAY? how much should I bring, I have tons of it, I know darn well whatever color I leave home is the color I'm going to need, after all, "I don't really know anyone so I have to bring enough stuff to amuse myself for 5 days" (Can you tell this is my first retreat? More about that later). I have some special things I need to eat and I need Ice for my neck, I'll get an ice chest. I'm going to need a high back chair for my back... Should I bring any clay with me?? You know, I think I may have to bring clothes, too!
Wait a minute, WHO is going to empty this? Do I have any maps?
DAY 1: Everyone has left for school and for work, and now I can sneak those last little bags of goodies into the car. It's early in the morning and time to leave for Shrine Mont! I have everything I could possibly imagine in my car, along with a couple cases of supplies from Polymer Clay Express, in case someone needs some supplies... one must always be prepared! Now where did I put those Maps???
The only thing I seem to have forgotten was to get change (in case anyone bought any of the supplies I brought). I decided I would just give each of the toll takers a $20.00 bill and I figured that by the time I got there, I should have plenty of change! Boy, was I right!!!
The trip was very exciting and exhilarating, at first, but as the miles progressed, and the Highways stretched out in front of me, the thought of meeting so many new people was paralyzing!
Uh Oh, it looks like I'm going to need gas soon! I'm not sure how many can sympathize with my situation, but I'm from "Joisey" and we don't have ANY self serve gas stations in New Jersey! I have NEVER in my life pumped gas into any car, EVER!
You guessed it... all the gas stations were self-serve! I promise you, I looked like a chubby Lucy Ricardo trying to figure out what end of the pump to put in what part of the car, and how to turn on the gas. The fortunate part of this was that it was a self-pay credit card sale and I didn't have to face anyone to find out how much they were laughing at me! Trust me, there are no photos of that. I was lucky I could remember how to turn the car on when I was through!
And now, back to the highway!!
I know I must be on the wrong road, but do you realize there is NO place to turn around? This road is getting smaller and smaller and even with a jeep, and 4 wheel drive, I'm not sure that a 3 point turn isn't going to land me back at the bottom of the mountain. I'm getting more and more nervous.
WOW, I made it, all by myself!!!
Keep Watching for my next episode of the Shrine Mont Review!