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Old 07-27-2003, 07:18 PM   #1
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Why do I love my AS? Let me count the ways...

We just returned from a three day astronomy camp-out called the Table Mountain Star Party. Hundreds of astronomy nuts show up on a remote mountain in central WA state, and stay up all night looking at the stars. During the day it's hot and dusty, at night it's bitter cold. We attended this party back in '97, but then we only had a camper van, with basically no facilities, just a bed in the back. This time we took the AS

First off, we were nervous because the website warned that the forest service had cut back on the amount of space they could use on the mountain, and they might have to turn people away because there wouldn't be enough camping space. We got there and were immediately greeted with 'Nice Bambi, I've got a place for that little rig'. He led us down to the tent camping area (the RV sites were already overflowing), and told us if we could squeeze it into a spot between two trucks, we could stay there. There was no room to manuver except to just back it in off the road (no driving on the grass), but Dave got it in two tries. All weekend people kept coming up to me and saying how amazing it was that he slid it in there like that! We had to take the van and go park it off site (a short hike away), but it was ok, because we didn't need it once the trailer was set up.

The first day (since astronomers have lots of free time in the daylight) I finished sewing my awnings. We put them on and opened the windows up wide to keep it cool inside. I was sitting on the couch reading when I heard two guys outside. 'hey, look out - oh, good thing you saw those awnings!' A guy had almost run right into the open window but the awning caught his attention first!

The whole weekend we watched people walking by outside saying 'what a cute little Bambi', 'it's charming', 'it's got personality'. Several people stopped to quiz us about it. People looked disapointed when told it was a Caravel. A couple who had a vintage El Ray stopped to chat and said theirs gets called a Bambi so much they'd given up correcting folks.

We were there for three nights. Every night I stayed up until the wee hours using my scope (a 10" reflector I built back in '96), and we had a delightful time. So much better than staying in the campervan in '97. We had heat, our own facilities (no porta-potties for us!), our own kitchen (for hot cocoa at 2am), and comfy lounging space. The trailer stayed warm at night, and cool during the day. It was small enough to park easily, and didn't overtax the van dragging it up the steep mountain. And on top of all that, it's quite the conversation starter. I can't imagine anything that would make me love this little trailer more!
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Old 07-27-2003, 08:12 PM   #2
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Star parties

We have a local park (Canyon of the Eagles) that has a big telescope and periodic star parties. During the cool season, a good friend conducts the gatherings. I keep trying to get up there on a night with a clear sky, but I have been unable to do so, so far.

We spent 3 nights out this week. I thought for the first time in over a year that I was going to have a trip where no one commented on the AS. I was actually hooking up to pull out when another camper came up to talk about my aluminum beauty. In my case, not only do they not have an inkling of the model, but I usually get a question on "how old is it" and "did you restore it yourself" and "are they still making them".
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Old 07-27-2003, 08:22 PM   #3
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We have an old observatory here in our county. I remember the first time I went to it. I was a telephone repairman at the time, back in the mid 70's, and the place was "mothballed" for a few years. Like going onto the set of a Frankenstein movie. It is operated by Case Western Reserve University. They have several open houses a year. We try and make at least one.

Nassau Observatory Website
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Old 07-27-2003, 09:16 PM   #4
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Re: Star parties

Quote:
Originally posted by Pahaska
We have a local park (Canyon of the Eagles) that has a big telescope and periodic star parties. During the cool season, a good friend conducts the gatherings. I keep trying to get up there on a night with a clear sky, but I have been unable to do so, so far.

We spent 3 nights out this week. I thought for the first time in over a year that I was going to have a trip where no one commented on the AS. I was actually hooking up to pull out when another camper came up to talk about my aluminum beauty. In my case, not only do they not have an inkling of the model, but I usually get a question on "how old is it" and "did you restore it yourself" and "are they still making them".
They must be surprised to find out yours is brand spankin' new

Be sure to get to a star party or observatory in the next month if you have the opportunity. Mars is as close to Earth as it has been since Neanderthal times, and it won't be this close again for hundreds of years. That means we will get a pretty good view of it. Believe it or not, you can see surface features, even with relatively small scopes like mine. This weekend the sky was very poor because of nearby forest fires, but I could still make out the Martian polar cap and some dark features on the planet. It will be even better towards the end of August.
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Old 07-27-2003, 11:23 PM   #5
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Small trailer

We went camping in Tahoe a couple of weeks ago. The campground lost my reservation and claimed not to have any premium sites left.

Said they had a *value* site with sewer and cable if we could fit in the 20' slot.

No problem. It also saved us $10 a night!

Who said bigger is better?
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Old 07-28-2003, 05:00 AM   #6
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stars

steph

point of interest.

if ever in wisconsin check this place out. coolest architecture, big telescope!

yerkes

it is in willams bay wi, just west of lake geneva.

john
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Old 07-28-2003, 06:40 AM   #7
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Re: stars

Quote:
Originally posted by john hd
steph

point of interest.

if ever in wisconsin check this place out. coolest architecture, big telescope!

yerkes

it is in willams bay wi, just west of lake geneva.

john
Been there, done the tour and got the t-shirt!

Pretty cool place. Was in one of those Canu Reeves movies.....can't remember the name.
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Old 07-28-2003, 11:30 AM   #8
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Hey, that's pretty cool. Maybe I should plan a cross country trip visiting observatories. I'm already thinking about taking my scope with me on our next outing so I can share it with others at the campground.
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Old 07-28-2003, 06:36 PM   #9
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On the midwest rally, someone brought a telescope. I have NEVER seen the moon with such detail! Sounds like a cool trip plan.
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