September 4th, 2006
OK, it’s been awhile since I posted anything here – but, ya know, school started and that’s when my life gets busy! But a three-day week-end gave Francis and me a chance to slip off to Kansas City for the KC Irish Fest at the Crown Center. Our favorite Irish band, Gaelic Storm, was one of many Irish bands featured at the festival along with many booths of Irish crafts, food, drink and “stuff” for sale. Seeing Gaelic Storm (http://gaelicstorm.musiccitynetworks.com/index.htm) was a highlight of the week-end as we love their easy-going, story-telling type of folksy Irish rockin’ music. If they ever are near your area, we heartily recommend them! Pictures below show the band and three of the five members autographing a photo for us. Saturday evening, my college roommate Cindy and her husband Dave met us for dinner at Milanos and we had a great time catching up on traveling adventures and the kids. Sunday, on the way home, we stopped to enjoy the apples and tree farms near Arbor Lodge in Nebraska City. Later, we joined Kalie and her boyfriend Shawn at the Nebraska State Fair and enjoyed listening to Risky Business (www.riskybusiness-band.com) in the beer garden. Shawn’s dad is the bass player in the band (pictured in the middle). We’ve heard them before and always enjoy their music!!! We were exhausted when we arrived home after midnight last night, but it was a great week-end!
August 12th, 2006
Francis and I have just returned from three days at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Fun, fun, fun! Even though we are far from being real bikers, we love watching all the bikes, bikers, and excitement that goes along with one of the largest motorcycle rallies anywhere. We camped at the Buffalo Chip and took the bike on a short drive yesterday down to Deadwood to take in the sights. Thursday night we enjoyed hearing Joe Walsh & the James Gang and Ted Nugent in concert. Friday night we spent most of our time at the Full Throttle Saloon which is billed as the largest biker bar. It lived up to it’s reputation with good music, shopping, great food, and lots of varied entertainment. For the third year in a row, we had a great time at the rally. The pictures that follow show Francis and I at our campsite, Francis in front of the flags in tribute to those who have fallen in Iraq, mainstreet Sturgis and one of my favorite bikes at Thunder Road.
August 7th, 2006
Francis and I recently returned from a week of visiting my brother and sister-in-law, Glenn and Pat and seeing the majestic sights of Alaska. Friends Denny and Shelley went along and we all had a great time. We flew into Anchorage and spent a day seeing the city before boarding the train for Denali National Park. At the park, we took a daylong tour into the heart of the park where we saw moose, caribou, a wolf pack, grizzly and black bears, Dall sheep and red fox. The one thing we were looking forward to seeing, but actually saw very little of, was Denali itself – Mt. McKinley. Evidently the massive moutain is only visible 20% of the time due to the usual cloudy conditions. We saw just a glimpse of it through a small gap in the cloud cover, but even that is more than most of the visitors to the park get to see. Later in the week, we all rode in Glenn’s truck from Anchorage down to Homer where Glenn and Pat live. They built a beautiful log home there a couple of years ago upon their move from Honolulu to Homer. A highlight of the trip was our two days of fishing. Glenn has an awesome boat and the fishing skills to go along with it that made our experience with deep-sea fishing so rewarding. I caught a 32-inch halibut and trolled with the boat while the others caught pink, silver and king salmon. We also caught shark, but released them back as we did with the smaller halibut. Glenn let me drive the boat, which was really fun – especially the second day with 4 foot waves. Pat grilled our catch and it was superb!!! We brought a big box of our frozen fish home, so I hope I can prepare it as well. If any of you ever get the chance to visit Alaska, I heartily recommend it. It was truly amazing to see the tundra, permafrost, glaciers, volcanos, mountains and the ocean all right there together. I can hardly wait to go back!
July 17th, 2006
Well, it’s been a few days since I’ve returned from Nashville so it does seem like I probably should write something about it. It was nice! And I had some pleasant surprises along the way. First of all, THE HOTEL. Hotel hardly seems appropriate to describe the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center that was my home for the seven days we were in Nashville. It was a facility beyond compare – larger than any hotel I have seen anywhere and extremely extravagant. For example, there was a river (complete with water from every major river in the world) in the one section of the Gaylord that my room was in. The Peking Acrobats gave an amazing performance followed by dancing waters set to lights and music every night we were there – again very near to my room! In fact, the main meeting room that held over 5,000 people attending general sessions at the FCCLA meeting was less than 50 feet from my door! Another surprise for me was that I heard relatively little twangy country music in Nashville. Granted I did not go to the Grand Ole Opry, but in and around Nashville I heard a lot of rock, bluegrass, modern country/rock and what I would describe as folk music – but very little “annoying” country. So even though I was prepared to use my iPod if need be, the airplane was the only place I really wanted to use it. One of the most enjoyable nights at the meeting was during the gala when we sat listening to songs and stories of three songwriters who make their homes in Nashville. Another first after attending at least 15 national meetings was having a national officer candidate – and it was Kalie! We both learned a lot more about the process and Kalie did a great job. All in all it was a very positive experience for her. As usual the FCCLA kids that I took with me were great as were all the Nebraska kids and others from all over the nation. Seeing new places and getting to know fantastic people are the two best things about going to the national meeting each year.