The final days of Celebration were a blur of activity, uncomfortability, excitability and sociability, and so recapping them a week later is a task and a half – but I shall try.
I was rewarded with a nice surprise on Monday morning when I was passing the LEGO booth. One of the staff at the retail counter caught my eye and beckoned me over – all the courting I’d paid into during the event had paid offer, because the guys had taken it upon themselves to set aside a convention exclusive set for me. This was a surprise, and one I’m glad they’d organised because a few hours later all the remaining stocks had been sold.
Most of the last three days of Celebration was spent helping out at the Rancho Obi-Wan Experience. I did get a promotion from operating the clicker and handing out stickers because, for a short while, I was the tombolo for the raffle on Sunday. The power I held in my hands was glorious! Joking aside, it was great to spend time with Team Rancho Obi-Wan – especially Anne.
If asked I’d have to say that the greatest experience of Celebration was easily The Mandalorian panel, and even though we (Nick, Brandon and I) had seats in the wings of the overflow room and had to watch the panel being streamed to us, it was amazing. For an hour my arms were covered in goosebumps, and even when I went outside (to find it snowing) I had goosebumps on goosebumps.
Perhaps the most surreal occasion of the second half of Celebration was when the outside broadcast crew from Star Wars Show caught up with me to talk about the road trip. For a tiny span of minutes, I was interviewed by Jordan Hemsborough, best known for hosting Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter and is the producer and host of Lucasfilm’s Our Star Wars Stories, who asked me about the motivation for Order 66 Road Trip. I was told it would get aired at the show but I haven’t found the footage yet, so perhaps my stumbling answers didn’t have the right stuff. Hopefully, I’ll find out soon.
Another celebrity experience came in the shape of Timothy Zahn, the author who practically rebooted Star Wars in the mid ’90s when he wrote the Thrawn trilogy. Hoping to settle a long standing debate between fellow-Scummer Jay and I, over the pronunciation of a certain word, we brought Mr Zahn in to cast the final vote. Unlucky for me, he came down on the side of Jay and decalred the proper way to say curry was “cuuurry”. I was not a gracious loser.
The only downer I experienced was staying in the RV. Not only did the generator battery run so low that I couldn’t run power in it for three days (ultimately my fault and Apollo RV did give me great support) and the water level run low, meaning I had to use the shower in Team TheForce.net’s room, but I couldn’t socialise with the gang. Because the convention centre got locked at 9 pm, I had to make sure I was through the building and out the far side so I could get to Lot B, where I was parked. Failing to do so would mean a very long, cold, dark walk, I did get out for a couple of drinks but each time I nearly turned into a pumpkin!
With the last day of Celebration behind me and one night left at Lot B, I spent the eveing saying goodbye and the drawing darkness prepping Minnie for the drive back to California. This time, though, I wouldn’t be doing it solo because sponsors Toynk had been kind enough to provide me with a cuddly compantion who would be my co-pilot for the West(el) Run.
Jeremy is the sole driver, writer and photographer on Order66RoadTrip.com. He has plenty of experience doing all three having toured the US, Europe and North Africa searching for Star Wars filming locations, written about Star Wars for several books, magazines and websites, as well as providing photographs for a numerous Star Wars websites and publications over the years.