Every other summer the boyfriend’s extended family (his mom’s brother-in-law’s brothers, to be exact) throw a Dodge Power Wagon Rally at their family’s farm house in Vermont. Before last weekend I had never heard of let alone seen a power wagon, though I found out plenty about them and the people who love them over the weekend. You can learn more about the Dodge Power Wagon, but basically they are vintage pick-up trucks, made between 1945-1980 that are super bad ass. There is a whole community of Power Wagon collectors, many of which congregate at the rally to talk shop, show off their rides, swap parts and most importantly, go off roading. People drive from hundreds of miles away, some with crazy souped up cars too nice to even drive, most towing beat up old wagons, all to ride, drink and EAT.
For the past decade or so the boyfriend’s family, the Sees, have hosted this event. The boyfriend’s whole family usually attends, this year included his dad, numerous uncles and cousin Patrick. And of course me and little Misses Loretta. This was the first time in four years the boyfriend has been able to attend. He won “Rookie of the Year” the last time he went, driving his 1978 right hand drive Land Rover (now sold, much to his dismay) and has been telling me about it for years. I was a little hesitant to spend the weekend camping in the car (I only lasted one night) but I absolutely LOVE Vermont (and my boyfriend) and the Uncle John had big plans to make Paella. Also Harpoon beer.
After spending a lovely day shopping in Woodstock, we were some of the first people to show up Friday afternoon, so we unpacked and set up “camp” (some Pendelton blankets, a couple pillows and a few Brazilian sarongs in the back of the Volvo station wagon), and started drinking. After a quick dip in the “Cow Pond”, a big BBQ dinner, a bonfire and enough beers to pass out, I went to bed (seriously envying the “glampers” across the field), while the boyfriend stayed up and played. I have to say it is much easier to fall asleep than to stay asleep while camping. Especially when your boyfriend wakes up with the sun to tell you “you’re bad at it”. I still don’t really understand the appeal, but you know, you can take the girl out of the city but not the city out of the girl. Regardless, we woke up early to a beautiful Vermont day to find Uncle John, beer in hand, with his 3 FOOT Paella pan.
While the majority of the attendees went on the 3 hours or so ride (after the boyfriend’s father dressed in Buddhist robes and blessed the rally)(yes, he’s that cool), we decided to stay and “help” Uncle John with the Paella. And by help, I mean, the boyfriend and cousin did the “mans work” of shredding onions and tomatoes, while the uncle manned the pan, and I tanned (I was offered “Miss January” in the nonexistent Power Wagon Calendar) slash took mental notes on how to make Paella on my own. And, obviously, I documented every step of the process (look at me getting better at blogging!). All in all the Paella had: onions, tomatoes, garlic, red peppers, green beans, like 100 chicken breasts, ground chorizo, shrimp, homemade saffron broth, and (duh) rice and took over six hours to prepare (not including the five or so hours it took to build the fire pit, clean and heat the pan). Just as the paella was cooling, the power wagoner’s returned from the ride, and I took a 20 minute nap in a sunbeam before dinner time. Don’t worry, the boyfriend’s dad took a photo and instagrammed it (photo below). Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve fallen asleep at the boyfriend’s family gatherings (i.e. Easter 2013), neither is it the first time his dad has instagrammed it (drool and all). When I woke up I was ready to eat! And eat we did, and then kept drinking!
Post dinner there was a raffle, and even though the prizes were just okay, the boyfriend and I won FIVE DIFFERENT TIMES, so I loved it. I gave away most of my prizes, including a pretty cool Power Wagon decal (seeing that I don’t have a car or a drivers license, it would have been unfair to keep it), and I accidentally left my banana bread outside in the rain, but I kept the Yuengling glass (and as I type this I am seriously wondering where it is…). After the raffle were some seriously EPIC fire works. Like, fireworks a town should have. (By the way, in case you didn’t know, I LOVE fireworks, and have been known to organize some epic demonstrations myself). Only in Vermont can you get away with a 20 minute fireworks display with no cops showing up. As I said earlier, I love Vermont.
Things get a little hazy after the fireworks, but there was definitely more beers and fires and eventually I fell asleep (inside the house!) somewhat early while the boys (and a pretty awesome aunt) went midnight off roading. The next morning there was a pancake breakfast (in the pouring rain) and the wagoneers began to disperse. All in all, it was a fun weekend, though I definitely enjoyed the eating, drinking and frolicking in the sun aspects of the rally more so than the actual Wagons. The boyfriend and I are definitely going to attempt our own paella soon (on a smaller scale) so it was definitely an inspiration! And it is always nice to spend time with the boyfriend and his fun family. Also, Loretta had the most fun. But one thing is for sure, the See Family certainly knows how to throw a party!