While not in the best of health (coughing, sore throat) before the trip, I nonetheless made the 7 hour drive to Florence, AZ. As the only kingdom-level Caidan herald going, Su Crescent was kind enough to reimburse my gas money in exchange for services to the Crown and War on behalf of the Caidan College of Heralds. I had a passenger, David, a student from APU, who I picked up at around 8 PM. MIdway through the trip David drove for an hour while I napped, but otherwise I drove. It was a clear trip, with only a little bit of traffic, and we arrived on-site on Wednesday, 4 AM local.
I stepped out of the van into the Arizona soil...and kept going. It had rained the previous two days, and had left the site much as I remembered it from last year; a muddy swamp. I fished out my shoe, which was by then completely caked in and filled with mud, and changed into my boots before entering gate. They were a little short-staffed, and I'd just hit my second wind, so I began my war by volunteering (quelle surprise).
Like last year, I slept in a bed in my van, which kept me high and dry (not that it was needed; not a drop of rain fell on the site from the time I arrived to the time I left), and saved me a lot of hassle in unpacking, setup, teardown and repacking. But because the paid parking spaces were quagmiretastic, the property owner would not allow us to park on it, which means I had to park in BFE and walk to the site proper. Naturally, Caid was on the opposite end of the site from where I was, so I didn't make it out there all the much.
I volunteered at troll and heralds' point every day, and got a very nice stool out of the volunteer raffle, which was made and donated by Rudolf Fekter. I took it over to Heraldic Creations (where I picked up a mirror box inlaid with metal foming my arms that I'd commissioned earlier in the year) and they painted my war horns on the seat. I can't recommend these guys enough; please check them out: http://www.heraldiccreations.com
I got to see quite a few of my merchant friends: Master herveus, Baronessessesses Rouge and Justina, the crepe people (boy, did I spend money with the crepe people...). I also picked up "Aristocratic Pomp and Ecclesiastical Circumstance" from Herveus, on recommendation from eowyna. It's a good read, and has inspired me to really try my hand at brocading. Finally, I grabbed a pair of shoes from Revival Enterprises, patterned off of 14th century turn shoes. They're quite comfortable, and I will hopefully be completing my 14c nobleman's outfit soon (proper belt, braies and hose are all I need, but a hat and a collar of estate would not go amiss).
Around Friday morning, I lost my voice. I put in a report with the Estrella constabulary, but so far it hasn't turned up. I've been using a loaner voice from the movie voiceover guy, but I'd really like my own voice back, so if you've seen it, please let me know.
A herald with no voice makes for much light-hearted mockery. I was given the honorific "Silent Herald" at point by Lady Helena, and it seems to have followed me home. Fortunately, Duke Edric had already been tapped to serve as Their Majesties' Voice for the war, so I helped set up court, collect business, etc. for him. He did a fantastic job, and many happy awards were given on Sunday.
I was glad to spend some time with my favorite equestrian, the fair-skinned, fire-haired Virginia Read. We commisserated on relationships, both in the SCA and out, and discussed the benefits of courtly love. She's such a delight to be around, and I'm proud to call her a friend.
We left on Monday morning, and it stayed dry until we crossed the state line. Apparantly all the rain had stayed behind in California, along with the Caidans who'd decided not to attend (in part, at least, due to threat of rain).