AtomFest – the AfterBlast

2 years ago, at the first AtomFest, Bruce Fielding from the UK and I brought various bottles of rare Scotch for a post-AtomFest party. There were also kegs of various beers like Stella Artois and Old Speckled Hen.

This year Bruce couldn’t make it, so it was left to me and a couple other folks to provide the spirits. I brought another bottle of the 40-year-old Invergordon that had been such a hit the first time, along with a bottle of Compass Box’s Spice Tree – the whisky that was so good, the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) banned it.

After the closing banquet and awards ceremony, I’d arranged with a bunch of people to meet over by the campfire to crack the bottles open. When I arrived at the fire pit with a citronella candle, there was no fire and no people. There also wasn’t any kindling. I started peeling off whatever splinters I could from the logs that were there, dipped them into the candle wax, and lit them. I managed to get a small (very small) fire going, but there was no way to progress from some kindling to the large logs. Fortunately, one of the AtomFest folks happened by and saw the problem. He went over to his motor home and returned with an axe and a bottle of kerosene. I’m sure there’s a good reason why these are supplies he carries with him…

He split some of the larger logs into more manageable pieces and got a good fire going. Seeing the fire, people started wandering over. Once we had a critical mass of a half dozen people, I used my Atom key ring (which has the Atom fob, the gas tank key, and the side door key to my house on it) to cut the tape holding the box with my two bottles closed. I dropped the key ring (which I didn’t realize until much later) and poured glasses for anyone who wanted to sample the Invergordon.

I wandered up to the 3rd floor of the main building with a whisky snifter in my hand to give Ken my camera’s memory cards for the communal photo pool. When I reached into my pocket, I realized that my Atom keys weren’t in there. I left my memory cards with Ken and walked back to the garage to see if I’d left my keys in the Atom. No luck.

When I walked out of the garage, I didn’t see the ramp that leads up to the lavatories, next to the garage. I tripped over the ramp and did (or so I’m told) a 360-degree spin and landed on the ground, face up, with my eyeglasses flying into the grassy area nearby. But I did hang onto my whisky snifter and it didn’t break, though most of the whisky sloshed out.

A bunch of folks apparently saw me fall down and came running over to help. I was still mostly concerned about finding my Atom keys (I really didn’t want to be known as the idiot who lost his car keys at AtomFest). Someone brought a flashlight and we all started looking around in the banquet tent because I thought that perhaps they’d fallen out when I took the raffle ticket out of my pocket. No luck.

We all walked back to the fire pit and someone asked “Did you have your keys out here?” and I realized that I had used them to open the box the bottles came in. After that, it took only seconds to find them lying right there on the ground. At that point, people noticed that I was bleeding from the wrist, elbow, and knee. Someone suggested “Use the Scotch to sterilize it” and I went “No! Save the Scotch!”. A couple people brought first aid kits from their campers and we walked under one of the lights to get me patched up.

By the time I got back to the campfire, there was only about an inch of Invergordon whisky left in the bottle, so I confiscated it and said “This is for CalScot”, since I’d promised some to him. I cracked the Spice Tree bottle open and served folks from that one. CalScot came over and I poured the Invergordon for him. He says it’s one of the best he’s ever had – high praise indeed.

Folks were asking me if I was Ok, and I said that as long as all four limbs were attached, I was fine. I also said I’d rather crash on my face than in my car.

More and more people arrived, some with other bottles they’d brought, and we all had a great time talking about Atoms and everything else imagineable. One new Atom owner who took delivery of his Atom here at AtomFest asked me for advice on driving it home to California, and I shared what I’d learned from my cross-country drives. The discussion then turned to critters in the road, and CalScot and I both told him about the times snakes on the road had been flung into our Atoms by the front wheels. I think we made him a little nervous 8-).

We all had a great time, and by 1 AM I decided to call it a night and head back to my motel. I’m not sure how long the campfire continued after that, though I’m sure I’ll hear stories…

Note: I’ve left out almost all names, and there aren’t any pictures (that I know of) of any of this. Anybody who wants to admit they were there is welcome to chime in with their story.

Update: Here’s a picture Driver took of some of the folks around the fire. The lights in the background are from TMI’s giant trailer:

One Response to “AtomFest – the AfterBlast

  • 1
    September 25th, 2009 21:24

    I have a few pictures from the campfire,but they’re dark. I would say though that the HUMONGOUS semi truck rim made for a pretty good pit though.

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