Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fear Fest

The season's pass to King's Dominion needed to be used one more time. All week I had been watching the weather as it started to look unfavorable. We did not want to spend the day cold and wet.

Luckily the weather broke in the morning and the day turned out to be absolutely wonderful. The lines were long but not too bad. The longest wait was actually for the Scooby Doo Haunted House! Jill and I had some pretty mad shooting skillz as we vanquished all the ghosts with our rays. But Tara and Lara came from behind (literally - Tara discovered she could shoot the ghosts behind our car!) to win the contest.

The coasters were great as always and the pizza and funnel cakes were yummy (and of course over-priced).

As the night approached there was a sudden increase in the number of people in the park. The park had several special Halloween attractions such as a couple spook-alley type buildings and a maze in a tent. The lines were incredibly long for these so we picked the one that we thought would the best - The Antique Cars (renamed to something ghoulish that I don't remember).

The whole ride had been turned into a haunted drive through the woods complete with all manner of scary creatures such as chainsaw wielding zombies and irate park employees. We upset two employees (seen below) by flashing a few pictures (which apparently they did not like).

One was trying to get me to hand over my camera to him as he walked along-side the car and the other was yelling at Tara to not take any pictures. The attraction actually got much more spooky as they kept following us! Luckily they gave up before we got to the end of the ride.

Another incredibly fun day with great friends.

There are more pictures here.

Check out Tara's version on her blog.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Weekend in PA

Saturday morning, Jill and I drove up to Lancaster, PA to meet up with her family. It was a mini Kneeland reunion as two of Jill's aunts were in town. Her aunt Judy from Manti flew out to visit the family for a few days. And her other aunt Faith (and uncle Gary) from Cedar City stopped by for a couple days during their multi-month RVing adventure across the country. Their RVing friends Bob and Carol (from California) were also there. Bob and Carol have been family friends since before Jill's dad, Bruce, was born.

So anyway, we spent the day wondering the shops of Amish country. The little houses (turned into shops) in the towns of Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse were packed with tourists looking at wonderfully crafted items and gawking at the amazing quilts. There was an awful lot of the usual tourist trinket junk too. Jill and I were proud that we managed to survive all the shops without making a single purchase, even though I was looking for something cute for Maya.

Sunday, the Kneeland crew invaded the Valley Forge ward then enjoyed a great dinner that Donna cooked for all of us. There were lots of stories told and several that needed some of the facts corrected after years of being told incorrectly. We enjoyed eachothers company by playing Sequence, Sets and Runs, Ping Pong, and Connect Four. Cowboy cookies M&Ms, Candy Corns and Reeses Pieces kept the sugar levels elevated. Pictures were taken, hugs and kisses were exchanged and the weekend came to end as everyone went their separate ways.

And of course, there are a few more pictures.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Great Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin carving on Friday with:









Here are the rest of the pictures.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

High Performance = High Price Tag!

I got my car back from the shop yesterday.

Unfortunately it was not cheap.

The engine was mis-firing which means the spark plug was no longer doing its job.
They replaced the offending spark plug and drove around with the computer hooked-up to make sure they were no other underlying issues.
They said that when one of the spark plugs goes bad, the rest are sure to go bad shortly there after.
I ended up doing the 60,000 mile service about 10,000 miles early which takes care of all of the spark plugs and spark plug wires.
They also flushed/replaced the antifreeze/coolant, replaced the air and oil cleaners, changed the oil, brake fluid, gaskets, etc.

I also ended up getting the brakes replaced which I new was due and they are not cheap.

High Performance = High Price Tag!

Labor - $1,080
Parts - $424.21
Misc - $29.00
Discount - $74.61
Tax - $22.46

Total - 1,481.06

In lieu of consoling comments, donations can be made directly to my Discover Card account.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Quest for Color

OK...I am finally posting a recap of this last weekend.

It has taken some time to go through all of the pictures that we took on our weekend quest.

Our expedition began in Virginia, continued through the Western Maryland towns of Cumberland and Frostburg, then into West Virginia, and returned again to Virginia through Shenandoah National Park.

We traveled by car, train, and foot in search of the brilliant colors of fall.

The leaves were still predominantly green, but we were searching for the elusive yellows and reds of autumn.

I found some leaves with great coloration while we were waiting to board the train so
I picked several and made a rose for Jill out of them.

I think she was pretty impressed that I could make a fairly decent representation of a rose bud from autumn leaves.

We rode the Scenic Railroad from Cumberland, MD to Frostburg, MD through some very pretty mountain passes. The train has open compartments between the cars that you are able to stand in and get the full experience (and better pictures than through the dirty windows).

The amount of suet that rained on us from the locomotive was pretty impressive. We kept having to brush ourselves off after each time that we poked out heads out the door for a look.

There is also a biking/walking trail that stretches from Pittsburgh to Washington DC.

The path links the Allegheny Trail with the C&O Canal Tow Path Trail by following the Scenic Railroad train tracks.

We had a nice lunch in Frostburg at a little cafe during our hour and a half layover.

Then we boarded the train again back to Cumberland.

The town of Cumberland has a lot of charm with all of its churches and downtown shopping district. We walked around town as the sun was setting, looking at all the little shops; from the windows. It was early in the evening but everything except the restaurants and the dollar store were closed.

We found a building in town that I think is experiencing some strong steeple envy. Or maybe they are building their own version of the stairway to heaven.

Here are the rest of the pictures we took of the train ride and Cumberland.

We took the scenic way home through West Virginia and ended up at Shenandoah park which was quite busy.

We waited in line at the park entrance for about 20 minutes. I guess a lot people had the same idea of trying to see the fall leaves on the skyline drive.

It was a pretty clear day so it was nice to be able to look out over the countryside.

My car started acting-up so we left the park at Thorton's Gap and headed to Sperryville.

Here are the rest of the pictures of the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.

On a whim we went to the trailhead of White Oak Falls and ended up hiking to the lower falls.

I love that trail.

If you get a chance, you should definitely head out to the hills to see the colors.

The next couple of weeks should be great.

Here are some more pictures from the White Oak Falls trail in Shenandoah National Park.

Unfortunately my car was still mis-firing on the way home so it spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the shop.

Hopefully it will be all fixed tomorrow (Wed).