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Thread: First Timer... Need Advice

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    2

    First Timer... Need Advice

    Hello!

    I am hoping to attend AirVenture 2012 -- it will be my first time. I am considering camping on-site. If I fly commercial to WI from Upstate NY, are shuttles available from any airports nearby to the event, or do I need to rent a car. Can anyone comment on what part of the campground to try and stay in? I would be attending by myself in a small tent (or if I drive, a mid-sized SUV). I am very low key and for personal reasons, prefer not to be around alcohol. I have read stories on this forum and others that make me think that there are certain areas to stay away from if you choose to not take part in that type of festivity. The scale of the event seems nearly overwhelming in terms of understanding what to do and how to plan, so I thought I'd ask here for some advice from those that have experience with the event. Also, if it turns out that I can not attend the entire event, is it better to attend at the beginning and leave in the middle, or arrive in the middle and stay to the end (it terms of ease of access to camping and the event itself)? Thank you all for any advice you can provide. I've always wanted to attend this great event, and it looks like I may finally have he opportunity to do so.

  2. #2
    Chris In Marshfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Marshfield, WI
    Posts
    122
    Welcome to Oshkosh!

    On-site camping is great, and for tent campers, is generally at Camp Scholler. I've camped there for a number of years, and while it gets crowded, it's quite civil. There will always be one or two knuckleheads out there, but that's pretty much everywhere. I believe that there may be a shuttle (not free, though) from Appleton, which is the closest regional airport to Oshkosh. But if you prefer the freedom of coming and going as you please, then a vehicle might be nice. Note that this is a big show, so you might want to get your car reservations in early, if that's your plan!

    Camp Scholler is huge, and it can get crowded. I have the luxury of living close by, so I go and set up camp a week ahead of time. The closer to the Saturday-before-the-show you arrive, the harder it's going to be to get a camping spot close in. But there are plenty of buses and what-not that run through the grounds, so no worries getting to where you want to go while you're there.

    All in all, a majority of the folks are *very* respectful of the grounds and the people around them, so I don't think you have much to worry about there. If you prefer to be in quiet areas, try to stay away from the 24-hour generator areas of the campground. There are also full-time pet areas as well, so you may choose to stay away from those as well. Here's a map that might help you plan for some of those things:

    http://www.airventure.org/planning/av11_schollermap.pdf

    Once again, welcome to Oshkosh!

    Best regards,
    Chris
    Christopher Owens
    Marshfield, WI
    Bearhawk #991

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Clarklake, MI
    Posts
    1,273
    There is a bus service during airventure from the KATW airport to the EAA bus park. The fare is ~$13 one way (cash only). You should be able to obtain a schedule prior to leaving your house for planing puposes.

    My advice is come early and stay late. There's benefits to being there early and there's benefits to staying late. If I had to choose, I'd probably favor coming midway and leaving at the end.

    Don't worry about being by yourself. You'll like it. A few years ago we had a camper from MN next to us who travelled by himself and camped in a small tent. We visited with him every day and fed him our campground treat that I whipped up, Louisiana style jambalaya - he liked it. Not much high level partying out where we stay in Scholler.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    rural Yellville, AR
    Posts
    9
    Just a couple of considerations to add. My son and I attended AirVenture 2011, staying in a small RV (first time back since Oshkosh 20+ years ago). I'd suggest you be more concerned with finding a site that will he as high and dry as possible when (not if) it rains and that your site be somewhere close to a bath house and shuttle bus pick-up than with rowdy campers. Close to the roads, you will have traffic (and the accompanying dust) plus street lights. The lights may or may not be to your liking. If you are not an experienced tent camper, you may want to get as much advice as you can from someone who knows the ropes (no pun intended) .

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    199
    We've stayed at Sleepy Hollow Farm for the past 12 years. It's 1/2 mile west of the main gate & the owners are the greatest.

    Marshall Alexander

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    2
    Thank you all for the very valuable advice! I have looked into the dorm room option and it looks like most are already sold out for 2012. After checking out airfare from my location to the event, it looks like it may be more economical to drive -- that way I would have my car to get around town if needed as well. I have a mid-sized SUV that I would probably just sleep in if the weather got real nasty. I am an experienced tent camper, so I would bring that too for the nice weather nights. If I were to drive and camp, is it easy to get in and out if I needed to go "into town"? Or is it the kind of situation that once you're in you're in? I see that there is a grocery store and such, but if I do bring the car, figured maybe I would hit town for a meal or laundry if needed. I'll have to check out Sleepy Hollow Farm as well... sounds like a nice place.

    Thanks again for the info!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    51
    If you have to limit your stay I think it is better to arrive early and leave in the middle. Last time I was there quite a few vendors were packing up by thursday afternoon. More camping spots as well. I also found the generator/pet area to be the least busy and almost party free. Mostly older folk in their expensive RV's. The "downside" of being away from the party people is that it's usually a further walk to the gate. And by walk, I really mean hike. We brought a scooter to shuttle us back and forth. If you drive, maybe bring a bicycle. Don't worry about the alcohol. It's nothing like a rowdy public park or KOA. Anywhere you go you'll feel safe. Well, except at the vendors. Those guys are experts at separating me from my cash.

    We broke the day into a few shifts. Morning to go looking around outside, afternoon in the buildings, early evening for vintage or seaplane base, then the Fly-In Theater. Don't overdo it. It's easy to become exhausted and turn it from fun to work. Leave the last day open so you can return to places you liked or missed due to weather.

  8. #8
    Auburntsts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Dumfries, VA
    Posts
    93
    Yes it is easy to get in and out if you drive. We typically hit the Wal-Mart and/or Target for supplies (mostly food & ice) so we don't have to bring as much with us on the trip. We also go to the laundry-mat (even though there's a laundry service in Camp Scholler) just to get away from camp for awhile. We'll also go out to eat a few times (I like Kodiak Jacks over by the Wal-Mart). There are some peak traffic times to deal with, inbound in the mornings and outbound in the afternoons, but it's quite managable.

    We camped this past year in the 101 Woods and loved the location. We had bikes so we rode to them to the show and to the showers/camp store. We were also only a few hundred yards from the SOS Bros tent so we spent a few evenings over there filling up on beer and brats and listening to the band. I understand that's not your thing and only bring it up to say that even though that was going on it wasn't noticable at all at our camp site. Yes there are pockets of "partiers", but they tend to be easily identifiable. IMO you will never find a nicer atmosphere which is amazing consider the sheer number of campers -- 35000+.
    Todd Stovall
    Aka tsts4 on POA & Matronics, and Auburntsts on VAF, RV Airspace, AOPA, & Purple Pilots
    PP ASEL
    Building an RV-10 N728TT
    My builder's log (which is woefully out of date): www.mykitlog.com/auburntsts
    WAR DAMN EAGLE!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    199
    I'll second what Todd said.
    Sleepy Hollow is directly across the street from the SOS tent. It's pretty loud in the evenings, say, 8:30 til midnight. There must be a curfew because at 11 or 12, it seems like they just "pull the plug" and the noise is immediately.....not there anymore.
    I think OSH is probably one of the safest places to go and take kids. We've been going since my daughters were preteens. They would walk solo from the campground, up to the main grounds to meet up with my wife, or me and never feel threatened or scared. It's altogether a different mentality of people there.

    Marshall Alexander

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Westfield, IN
    Posts
    121
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyFlyr View Post
    is it better to attend at the beginning and leave in the middle, or arrive in the middle and stay to the end (it terms of ease of access to camping and the event itself)?
    There is usually an exodus around Wednesday of the people who came the first weekend and need to go home. Then Wed & Thursday the spots all get filled back up with the arrivals for the second weekend.

    I would come to the first weekend if you really like the opening band, really want to be there for the big announcements, or you see some tribute/event that you really want to be a part of. Otherwise, I would recommend the second half for a first-timer. If you are looking for a very specific item to purchase, then you might miss out, but 99% of the vendors & aircraft manufacturers will be there throughout the week. More importantly, you'll get more days at the actual show (since it starts on the Monday), you'll get to see the night air show, and you don't really need the first weekend to find all of your friends that you've met in previous years (that will be for next year).

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