May Crown, Dregate
Well, other than being about 4 hours longer than I thought it was, the drive to May Crown was pretty uneventful. We sampled a wide variety of caffeinated beverages and donuts, saw some classic cars, sailed through rush hour traffic in Kelowna (because it was going in the opposite direction than us), got IDd at the border, and kept going until we reached the gas station with the Taco Time by the Wal-Mart and the Payless Shoe Source in Omak.
I chose a beer (Black Butte Porter -- it was quite nice) and took it to the till. The lady behind the till glared at me. She said in a very surly voice, "I'll have to see some ID". No problem, I pull it out. She looks at it for like five minutes before deciding that I really am who my ID says I am, and am really old enough to drink in the good old U S of A (not that drinking American beer really counts as drinking). She says, still in a surly voice, "$8.50 please" (or however much it was). So I think, no problem, lady, if you're going to be an evil wench to me the least I can do is return the favor, and instead of going over to the cash machine behind me and getting some twenties like a civilized person I decide that this is the proper time and place to break that Benjamin my uncle the rich American doctor gave me at Christmas.
Anyway, so onwards and upwards to the event. Wayne pulls out the directions, which say, "Turn off at this exit. At the bottom of the road turn right, then left. There will be plenty of signage." So we turn off at the exit, turn right, then left, and find ourselves in the middle of Omak. No signage to be seen anywhere. So we turned around, used the force, and eventually found the site. The Prince had supposedly reserved space for Avacal (not that anybody at the event seemed to know who or what Avacal was) in the quiet and in the noisy section, and we wanted to be in the quiet section, so we drove through it but there was no sign of anyone from Avacal, so we turned around and went down to the noisy section, where we found a Montengarde banner, Baroness Cattea, and Odette and Gareth setting up camp.
We set up a nice encampment, sat around for a while listening to the drums from the Madubi encampment, and gave the evil eye to people who looked like they wanted to camp in our area. When it became apparent to me (or so I thought) that Madubi wasn't going to stop drumming any time soon, I decided that I could at least go over there and see if there were any dancers, but by the time I got there (they were MAYBE 50 yards from where we were) they had all stopped -- they told me there was an 11:00 curfew on noise at the site. So much for the noisy section!
The next morning, I woke up at 5:30 local time and thought to myself, "I'm going to take a shower!". But then I looked at the time, and decided that I would be making better use of my time by sleeping, so I slept some more, and when I did get up again around 8 there was already a lineup for the showers. So I got Odette to help me get dressed in my obnoxious purple dress, because I had decided based on previous experience that it would be too hot to wear the whole ensemble later in the day. I want everybody to take note that I was actually dressed in full Elizabethan before I had had any coffee.
We went up and got our coffee and our breakfast, we hung out for a while, heralds were starting to announce that the lists would be closing soon, and still no sign of the Avacal bus. We hung out a bit more, people started milling and lining up for the processional. No sign of the bus. We took our stuff over to the eric and were just about to sit down and find a place to watch the tournament when we hear a loud noise and notice a great kicking up of dust and in comes the bus. We send up a mighty cheer. Guys are running behind the bus with their armor bags so they can get inspected and signed up before the lists close. We go over and try to help people set up their tents. The wind is blowing, there is a great milling of people, but eventually people's tents are set up enough that they can get into armor and go over and process in. Gareth and Cormac are holding the Montengarde banner, I'm standing with them, Cattea is running back and forth when all of a sudden the great long ponderous procession begins moving rather rapidly towards the thrones. We're missing a baroness, so I run back and grab her, watch the processional and the invocation of the lists, then go up to shop.
After shopping it's time for lunch and a shower and getting out of my purple dress, which was starting to get uncomfortable. I make it back to the eric just in time to watch the final round -- William Tjorkellson vs Aveloc the Young, best 3 out of 5, 5 sets of matched mass weapons in black and white. The combat is all very exciting, Aveloc won in 4, but as the victor and near-victor were being carried around the field it looked like they were both pretty exhausted after the fights. After the tourney was over, court was supposed to be in 45 minutes, so I held off on getting dinner, but that was a mistake. I was actually going to ditch court entirely but Mistress Morgan told me that some exciting things were going to happen, and since I missed exciting things the last time I ignored such a warning I decided to go.
The really exciting thing happened right at the beginning of court -- Alen Bendbow got a Pelican. After that I kind of zoned out. I was hungry and I had a horrible headache even though I had been drinking water and wearing a hat all day. When court showed no sign of ending, I went up to where Cormac and I had a meal plan going, and it was a good thing I did, because they had actually already closed up, but I batted my eyelashes and pouted and got the guy to give me some stew anyway, one for me and one for Cormac. I got back down to the eric to discover that court had ended in my absence, so we went back to our encampment and ate. I actually felt so awful that I couldn't even finish my meal and went to bed straight afterwards. I was pretty disappointed, because I think I missed out on all of the partying.
The next day was squires' and cadets' tourney day. I shopped some more, I didn't really watch the fighting too much. Later in the day Odette, Mistress Aldreada, and I were all going to sit around on Merchants' Row with Freyadis. I went down to get our baskets of stuff from the eric, and when I came back everybody from where we had been sitting had disappeared and gradually I came to understand that a big gust of wind had come through and blown a bunch of tents around and someone had been injured. After that was all straightened around, we sat back down, but just as we were doing so another big gust of wind came through and blew over the tent right next to us. Well, that really killed the mood on Merchants' Row. Denise had lost her Jambe in the excitement, so we wandered around for a bit looking for it, we even got a guy with a metal detector in on the act, but then we heard that it had already been turned in to the lost and found.
Back down at the eric it was time for court again. A lot of people had packed up and headed home, so everybody that was left (mostly Avacal) crowded under the Royal sunshade and we had a really nice small intimate sort of court, the sort of court where Master Alen Bendbow got to pie himself in the face and make puns about Pelicans in their Piety. After that the event really wrapped up, so much so that I decided it was time to change into mundanes. We went in and bought some DQ, then came back, hung out, drank beer, sang, and generally had a good time.
The next morning, we packed up and left. I was really impressed. We were actually off the site and on the road by 9:30 in the morning, which I think is the earliest start I have ever had heading home from an event. On the way back we had a border guard who kept asking us about the SCA, not in a surly border guard kind of way, but in a hey-that's-cool kind of way. We saw more classic cars and sampled more caffeinated beverages, but did not have any donuts.
Overall I had a pretty good time. I missed some of the exciting parts, but there weren't nearly as many exciting parts as there have been at some other events. I was very impressed with the current Queen, Groa -- she is very well spoken and steps forward to take a major role at court and in the invocation of the lists. I learned a new Art/Science (Lucet). My cot fits inside my tent. I didn't spend any money at the book store. I learned that Whistler MacEwan can sing. I ate more fast food than I have in the past year. And I'm already looking forward to the next one.
Score: 3 pints. They are pints of American beer, but they came from a microbrewery so they are actually pretty good. But the people working in the microbrewery have never heard of Alberta.