My side of the camp. There was a lot more to it.
I got things a bit out of order yesterday. First day after a Viking expedition, I’m supposed to tell you about that. Book reviews after. But I forgot. How soon I forget. Anyway, fear not. I shall now satisfy your burning curiosity about the Midwest Viking Festival 2018, at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minnesota.
This was the first long trip I’ve taken with the new Viking tent strapped to the top of Miss Ingebretsen, my semi-faithful PT Cruiser. I’m happy to report that it traveled well. I’ve developed a philosophy of tie-down straps, and they stayed tight. OK, I had to tighten them a little on the way, but that was because of a miscalculation I made with my anchoring; I learned a lesson from it to guide me in future.
So I got there (this was Thursday), and a couple fellows helped me put my tent up (it’s not something you can do alone). Then I went and checked into the motel. I will not name the place, because I can’t really speak well of it. After I’d gotten settled, I noticed a smear of black grease on my hand. Eventually I figured out it came from a spot on the room door – an area around the latch. In time I worked up the nerve to complain at the desk. The manager told me he could change me to another room, or give me a cloth to clean it up. He didn’t have any staff on at that hour. So I took a cloth and a bottle of degreaser from him, and cleaned the door. Later I found a similar slick on the bathroom door, but by then I was defeated. I just avoided touching that area.
The festival itself was great. The weather was warm, but it could have been worse, and possible rain on Saturday (the second day) did not arrive. We had about 80 reenactors there, demonstrating crafts from cooking to woodcarving to blacksmithing. Plus a group called Telge Glima from Sweden, who do an amusing Viking games show, and the regular cast of fighters (I did not participate in that).
I concentrated on selling books. I sold most of the Viking Legacy copies I’d brought, and a fair number of West Oversea as well. Had some interesting conversations, some with people who were clueless about the Viking Age, others with folks very knowledgeable. I spoke to the chairman of the Norsk Høstfest in Minot, where I hope to be in attendance this fall. He bought a copy of VL, and seemed happy that I’d bring it to the event. I spoke to Jay Haavik, one of the world’s most renowned wood carvers (he did the intricate carving on the recently built replica of the Oseberg Viking ship). He wanted to talk about the ongoing mystery of Viking ships’ figureheads. We know they had them, but we have only one example – the Oseberg figurehead, and that one appears to be atypical. I got the impression that I didn’t entirely bore him with my views. I got visits from a couple good friends, and had long talks with fellow reenactors. There was lots of interest in Viking Legacy.
Viking Legacy: The choice of real Vikings.
On Saturday we shut down at 5:00 and some friends helped me tear down. My vaunted system for securing the load became suddenly moot when I couldn’t find my tie-downs again (they showed up under some stuff when I got home). Fortunately I had presciently supplied myself with a myriad bungie cords, so my young friends put their ingenuity and brute strength to work securing the load but good. I got out of town around 7:00 p.m. and rolled into my driveway after 11:00. Spent another hour or so getting their bungies unhooked.
It was a good and rewarding weekend, and my thanks go to all the organizers. I’m still recovering from the exertion, but it’s nice to know I’m not as beat as I would have been a couple years back. I’ve actually lost weight and built strength. So I’ve got nothing to complain about.
Especially since I made a nice amount of money.
I also bought a new piece of Viking bling – a genuine solid silver arm ring. The craftsman gave me a reenactor’s discount. Its predecessor was bronze plated with silver, but I find that real silver is flexible, and much more comfortable.
When you come home richer and laden with treasure, it’s a good expedition.