Saturday, September 25, 2010

My new Favorite Band

As many of you know, I like to listen to music. I have very eclectic tastes. It ranges from Reggae to Blues, Classic Rock to Gamalong. But of all musical forms, the one that really gets me excited is Mountain Music or what most call Bluegrass. At dinner last night(15th anniversary for Beth and I, 5th for Kip and Denise) Kip told me about this band "I had to listen to, not later, tonight!" Kip claimed they were right up my alley and Low and behold!!!!, they are. So folk, sit back and enjoy the Cleverly's

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where Ya Been Now Frank?

Been preparing for winter, that's where I've been...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Informal and Fun

This past weekend we did yet another amusement park. We have been to Knoebel's Park four times now and each and every time has been a terrific time. There are very few old fashion amusement parks left like Knoebel's. Knoebel's is kind of locked in time up in the coal mining region of Eastern PA.

I have caught Anna looking at herself a couple of times in the bathhouse mirrors at Lake Glory Campground. Last time it was a cold rainy day. Fortunately this time around it was a glorious early fall weekend. The rain waited till Sunday to start.

I had put out word to the Airstreamer's Club that we were going and if anyone wanted to join us they were welcome to come. We had three Airstreamer's show up. VA-1 had invited some friends that lived locally to come and we had some friends come up and camp in their tent. Not a very large gathering, but one intent on having a good time.

Knoebel's is a great park, for you only have to pay for what you use. You buy a ticket book and pay for each ride individually. The tickets are good forever, so if there are some left over tickets, that becomes a built in excuse to come back. Everything at the park is reasonably priced. For example a cheeseburger with cole slaw and fries is $6.75. I think a funnel cake at Kennywood was $7. This is a working mans amusements park. You see lots of men wearing their coal miners hats and the whole family in tow. Many people bring a cooler and leave it on one of many picnic tables in the groove.

Most of the rides are very old school. The older rides tend to also have the longest line like the motor boats. I am fairly sure these were built right here at the park. They do not go fast or upside down, but you are in control of the steering of them.

.. or you can let your spouse do the driving and sit back. Just saying, you can if you want.

I used to only want to ride the scariest rides. I would head right to the fastest, most death defying roller coasters and ride over and over. Now a days, the simpler rides tend to have me smiling more. I still ride every roller coaster a few times, but rides like the motor boats and the Italian Trapeze give me a bigger thrill.

My kids seem to be taking the approach of most death defying and fastest now. I must be getting old. I hope it is I am just getting more refined. Seeing my kids laugh their heads off still gives me a thrill though.

Like I said, I still ride all the roller coasters. The Phoenix is probably my all time favorite roller coaster. The wooden ones always give me the biggest thrill. The Phoenix has lots of double drops which is another great appeal. All the way home Beth was trying to convince me that the Twister(also wooden, but newer and faster)was the better coaster. My opinion was not swayed. The wait for the coasters; less than five minutes.

The Flyer is something right out of the twenties. A very fun ride because the pilot can make their plane dive or sail up in the air. Simple but sweet for sure. This ride always has a fairly good wait for it.

Another ride right out of the twenties is the Whipper. Nothing death defying, just a sudden burst of centrifugal force at the ends of the track. Beth was whopping it up in a major way on this one.

And of course, I had to end the day on the swings again. Thank you all who came and enjoyed the weekend with us. Knoebel's is sure to appear on this blog for many years to come.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On to Dale's World

Next stop on the weekend tour (okay, I know it is almost the weekend already. I have been very busy. Extremely busy for a matter of fact. Remember, my personal manta? Work super hard so you can play even harder.) was to Dale "Ace" Goldberg. Ace invited us to camp in his back yard so it would be easier to go into the city and have a full day at Kennywood Amusement Park.

The welcome was spectacular. I just followed the sign. At the Little Bash, we had a trailer restoration demo. You might recall me saying that I was disgusted by my rusty bumper. It has been on my list for two full years.

Ace demonstrated to me just how well his sand blaster could take care of it...

It amazes me how well 40 minutes of prep to do 4 minutes of work can get such great results.

We primed the bumper up with some silver Eastwood product. It looks very good now, all ready to paint with FTW grey. I wish we had had enough time to take the tanks and break away system off to do the front tongue also. Maybe next visit.

Ace had his shiny Caravel parked in the yard too. He said he was going to show solidarity, and camp out too, but not sure what happened to him.

The hospitality that his entire family showed us was so wonderful. We had smoked wings and smoked pork roast with corn from the local farmer. Very nice meal it was...

The follow-up to an excellent dinner was an equally awesome bonfire.

Something happened during the night. I don't know exactly when, but my camera broke. I carry it around all the time. It is the size of a pack of cigarettes, so it travels well. Somehow the LCD screen got cracked. I was literally shooting blind. A true point and shoot technique was adopted. I could not set my ISO, change the lens profile, compose the frame, nothing. Just point and shoot and hope the last setting was the right one.

Being a guest at Dale's World comes with many tours. The first tour stop was downtown Pittsburgh.

Ace loves to show you around his city. He talks nonstop about every location you pass. Lisa told him he was boring me, but honesty I was loving every single second of it. I saw where he did his paper route, where he and Lisa lived as kids, where Lisa lived after that. To most it would seem odd, but I really liked having him share his world with me.

We did a tour of downtown Pittsburgh...

This city used to be seriously industrial. It is in the process of reinventing itself.

The strip district is a fine example of how a former use can be reinvented. In the old days this is where the rail cars were loaded into trucks to be sent out all over the place.

Lots of old brick warehouses. Lots of brick buildings in general in Pittsburgh.

The strip district is bustling with stores of all kinds. Their products spill out onto the street, which makes for a great stroll.

You see just about everything for sale. Awesome cakes and buns here..

Hot dog, anyone? Nothing catches my eye like shiny aluminum. Honestly, the hot dogs looked awesome. It was too early to have one, but maybe next time.

What is growing out of my head? I have developed a conjoined Halle.

Ace had a mission, though. He was headed to his favorite store...

He was heading to the Greek store. "You can't make the good stuffed grape leaves without this. It is the secret stuff you need".

Oh, the olives...

and smoked fish...

A very cool store, for sure. We do have a store just like this in Baltimore, but this one was in Pittsburgh and it was on Dale's tour. That is why it gets five stars from me.

Onward ho!! Hey, that is my bank...

This is where the weekend gets cloudy. Well, actually it was crystal clear, but my camera took a turn for the worse. It actually went into video mode. I had no idea how it did this. I have 168 two second video clips. Until I can figure out how to extract one frame from a bunch of 2 second video clips, you will just have to take my word that we had a great time at Kennywood. Lisa noticed that they had a VIP roller coaster pass. For $15 you got to cut the entire line and ride each of the 6 roller coasters. We had an appointed time to be there, but we had to only wait for the next car to arrive. What a deal that was. One of the coasters had people waiting for over an hour to go for a one and a half minute thrill ride. Lisa scored big time with that deal. I will always look for a VIP pass at future amusement parks. Thank you, Lisa!!

I really want to thank the Goldbergs for their hospitality. I was honored to be a part of Dale's World for the weekend. Friend, I will honestly take you up on the invitation to come again. Hopefully next time, you will actually camp out.