Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Dream Tour

We are back but only for a few days. We need to be back in Winnemucca, NV this Friday for shows on Saturday and Sunday. Then back on the road for three weeks with a local fair in the middle somewhere.

This is the first time that after a long tour I am still ready to be on the road. Sure the long drive back was killer but I enjoyed and experienced so much this trip it feels strange to be home. I also learned that while away my wife learned to juggle...and she's pretty good.

Anyone got a class 3 RV (low miles) for sale? Next year I'm taking the whole family!

Jim and Nick are still in MA. After being told by one dealer they couldn’t get to it until Wed. We decided to have it towed to another dealer who promised to get to it today. Thing is the towing company who promised to get it there in an hour took 4 hours. So the new dealer couldn’t get to it until 3:30pm (they close at 5pm). We have yet another promise to have it taken care of tomorrow. If it is the “PCM” then a local mechanic said it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours and about $200 bucks…but add the towing, the first mechanic, the fact we are talking about MA and I am sure we are talking about big $$$$! If all goes well and they are out tomorrow then it is a drive to NV for them and we will meet them on Friday. MA is quickly becoming my not so favorite state.
I must confess the best New England state is Maine hands down. The space, the people, the food, the prices all out do the rest of New England…not a snob in the bunch either.

This summer was awesome. We met two families that have influenced me in different ways. One family, unfortunately, required us to cross time and space…the Foys. Long dead, this vaudeville family act consisted of a dad and his seven kids performing in the early part of the 1900s. We visited their graves and their family home, which is now a park. More to come…
We also met the Great Wallenda’s. They are a family who perform the high wire, juggling, the cloud swing and more; a family with 8 generations of circus saw dust in their veins. Not only do we as families share a love for circus and performing we are also both families dedicated to the Lord. More on them later.

To recap our tour started after a big performance on the field at a Baseball game in Cali back on June 27. the next day we did the 3 day drive to Willard Ohio for a single day. We added it into the mix after we booked the July 3,4 shows in O’Fallon, MO (a suburb of St Louis). It was going to be a four day gig but the contact wanted to play us against another act in wrangling a “better” deal. But homey don’t play that way. We do not negotiate unless it is something very unique and special (see Maine). In Ohio we pulled very big crowds and the email and Facebook comments from the audience we tremendous. It was especially nice because my cousin’s wife (therefore by cousin in law) and he kids and father came out to see our show. It was their first time.
Ohio only has a couple of interstates. That means the rest of the “highways” are just country roads. And the highways we needed to get out of Willard to Missouri were slow and tedious at times. We followed an oversized load truck for an hour, for example. Still we were impressed with how well people kept their property looking neat.
Once on the big roads we made it to O’Fallon, MO and to our hotel. We though O’Fallon would be a small town and so from the highway exit to the hotel would be a simple quick trip. Turns out it’s pretty darn big and it took 15 minutes down the main drag (lined with every possible chain store, mall, fast food joint, strip mall, etc ever created). But it was a great hotel, Holiday Inn Express. The weather promised to be dismal but it really wasn’t super bad until 5 minutes before our last show ended…then it poured and our equipment and us were drenched by night’s end. In fact, the fireworks were called off. We loaded in the rain and headed out of town the next day with the prayer that it would stay cool so our stuff wouldn’t mold in the trailer. One problem getting out is we were on a baseball field and the grass and surrounding non-paved areas were saturated. We watched one box-van truck get stuck pretty bad in the mud. The folks at the festival brought ply wood out and we made a makeshift road to the paved area and balaboom we were on our way.
After a great night it was off to St Louis the next day where we grabbed a great pulled pork Sandwich at Pappy’s. Cynthia wants to go back to St Louis just for the sandwich it was so good. Parking our giant van-trailer made visiting the Arch difficult so we just drove by and continued to London, KY.
The hotel this year in London was not as good as last year (perhaps a sign of the economy) and Amelia would end up with fleabites all over her body. So we changed rooms and bought bug spray from the nearby Wal-mart and sprayed the place before habitating it.
On the Way to London, KY we stopped by a town called Somerset and looked at a house there we had seen on the internet with great interest in making it our future home. It wasn’t handicap accessible but could be made to be. We loved it and still hope it may be our home if God so deems.
The Fair in London was, as always, awesome. We really feel at home with the folks there. We would really like to move out that way as well. No threat of rain at the laurel County Fair. We were in the only building on the grounds and it turned out to be a really bad idea. The metal building held the heat in, amplified the sound of the noisiest ride at the fair (just outside the building) and it echoed. Still we pulled the crowds in and had great shows. Jim developed his balancing act further by adding a wheel barrel to the chin there. We visited the original Sanders CafĂ© (KFC) and we spent time around the beautiful central Kentucky greenery. We also enjoyed our meal at Weavers Hot Dogs. They have a wall of be on it you had to be someone big from the area or dead. The dogs wee great and the owners remembered us from last year. We met another minor circus family..a clown circus named Nojo Circus. It was a mom, dad and teen-aged son who perform a fun family show. I didn’t catch much of their show due to our times so I can’t report on them beyond what others said about it. I should also mention that James befriended their boy and gave him some juggling tips. It was cool to see them early in the day working on routines and practicing together as the little ones did their homework and the older kids played cards (Nick, Cynthia and Miles.) Their card game would get really energetic and loud quite often. Upto this point Buttercup the snake, who is new to traveling, hadn’t eaten and we were getting worried. But the second day at the fair and he chowed down on a couple of really big mice…one so big (pregnant) he needed to work on it for about 30 minutes to push it down. (see the blog for that day for pictures). We finished the fair in London on a Saturday and the next morning we took the trek to Bowling Green. Still in Kentucky and only 2 hours away it was in the central time zone while London was on Eastern time.
We had a ½ day off so we visited the Corvette Museum. It was interesting. They even let Jim balance a few things on his chin. From that point forward even little Olivia could spot a Corvette while traveling. So we played “hug Bug” (not slug bug) and we spotted corvettes.
We started the next leg of our trip at Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, KY. We love that place. The owners truly love the park and proved their love by keeping the park open on one particularly rainy day when only 150 people showed up. For those 150 people he kept a staff on and kept the rides and shows going. After the park closes every night the owner, Dallas, would take the leftovers from the food vendors and feed them to the catfish, ducks and turtles that lived at the park’s little lake. The park would be quiet and lonely and you could see him out there doing his daily ritual and enjoying every minute of it. Charlotte, Rachel, Reed, and Grant as well as the other members of the family and the staff have become like family to us in many ways. They even through a birthday party for Miles and got Victor some birthday gifts. They are the salt of the earth. And the audiences were great. We also befriended performers from the other acts who were wonderful.Coming up…..rush to NY…rain in NY…Quassy in CT…the Wolcott Fair and our first trip to Maine and the Days off that were rewarding and scary. AND many many pictures

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Five Hours from Cali!

After 15 hours on the road my body is feeling a constant buzzing or it's used to the car motions. Laramie to Winemucca...ironically we are back here in a week for the local fair.
Lots of fun in the car and talking about the just finished summer tour. All are well. We are hoping the van will be a quick fix for the boys so they can get back on the road and out of New England. They will meet up with us in Nevada this Friday. Here is to hoping and praying.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Well, we've made it to Wyoming and are continuing to Cali...after a good night's rest. Jim and Nick are staying at my cousins in CT until the van is fixed (it's being taken to a GM dealer for the repairs.) Hopefully they will be on the road before day's end on Monday. It must be a blast travlin' cross country with a college aged buddy.
The only big news is we changed a balding trailer tire today. The kids read books, drew pictures, wrote in their logs, and a couple made paper clothes for their various stuffed toys. We found a real grocery store right before leaving Iowa and picked up real food for lunch. That was nice!
As I mentioned before I have a ton of stuff to report but will have to wait until I get back in a day or two. Cheers and God Bless.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Going back to Cali! (most of us)

Jim, Trevor, me (JP the clown in back) Alex, Tino, Miles, Cynthia
Olivia (Olinca benind) Ariala, Amelia, Victor JR

Sorry for no update yesterday. We began the trek and the server at the hotel last night was SLOW! We are in Iowa (with the exception of James and Nick). We will continue on as far as we can trying to make it back late Sunday or early Monday. (We need to prep for the up coming Sept-Oct. tour, Cynthia has pre-op for her tendon in her foot, Victor has to see his doc about his clavicle, and Miles (and Cynthia) have high school.

The news on the Chevy van is the master sensor computer (I forgot the actual term) is shot and will need to be replaced. If the mechanic can't take care of it my tomorrow he will personally tow it to the dealership to have it fixed Monday. (it's not labor's just GM has fewer dealers and fewer parts since it became Government Motors). If they stay 'til Monday my cuz in CT will put them up for a couple of days.

I still have a ton of photos and stories regarding the Maine portion of the trip.
I have to say the Walendas are the nicest people! I have so much to share with you about our meeting them and their act.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Broke Down in MA

Lorts to report for Wed.....but it's now 3am and we are broke down in MA....will find out what's wrong with the van tomorrow morning.
We have a ton of photos and lots of stories but that will have to wait until I am awake.'
Good night

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Experiencing Maine in just a Few Hours

Let me say there is something about Maine that is soothing, Calming, comfortable, quiet, nice. The people are very friendly and no one seems to be in a rush. The older folks speak with a fabulous accent that has faded in the younger crowd but still present. The prices are still higher than the west but not as high as the rest of New England. If it weren't for the really cold winters it would rate very close to Kentucky in livability.

Today was work for some of us and tourism for the rest of us. We got up and drove the trailer and the boys up to the fairgrounds. Today would be a fun day of strolling stilt walker and mascots. We met our “boss” and parked the trailer. Then I took a quick tour of the fair and the boys set up for strolling. Then it was back to the hotel where I took care of show business on line then I loaded the girls (and Victor Jr) into the van and we headed to Jess’ Market where we bought about 20lbs of lobster for about $4.00 per pound. They even cooked it for us. We added butter to the bill then took the feast over to a nearby park-lighthouse (Owl’s Head) and partook. The lobsters were sweet and salty and awesome. Cynthia didn’t like the texture so I finished hers. Olivia and Victor liked it a little so I had to finish theirs. Amelia didn’t like the tails but loved the legs. She would snap them then suck the meat and salty juice out. We then took the remaining red bugs up to the fairgrounds where the big boys devoured most….but still 2 whole lobsters made it back to the hotel later on.
The little ones, Cynthia, and I then headed out to another lighthouse that was just around the corner. Well, the parking for it was. The lighthouse itself is one mile out in the harbor at the end of a breakwater that you had to walk across to get to the Lighthouse. It took a long time to walk out and since the tide was in, water sloshed across the breakwater sometimes drenching our feet. When you walk you had to watch every step. One look up and you could easily trip or slip and that happened to all of us…except Cynthia. To make our Maine trip complete we needed blueberries. Maine Blueberries are tiny…but very tasty. We bought fresh berries and a freshly cooked blueberry pie. The pie was good but Mami (my wife) makes the best pies in the world.

The Maine Blueberry is tiny comapred to others.
Good my wife's is better.

Touching a live lobster...this guy is featured in later pictures after his trip inot the hot-tub!

This is where we got our lunch.

Remember him...see the earlier picture.

Lighthouse stop #1 Owl's Head

Nick is avoiding the camera.

Mozie is a soda pop that is said to pre date coke and pepsi. It has a root beerish slash cola slash medicine taste.

You either love it or hate it.
My new camera lense took this pix from more than a mile away....lighthouse stop #2 included a mile long walk across stones.
That's the lighthouse on the end of the red line to the right.

Dangerous? Each of us would end up with a booboo...except CC.

Getting closer...look how high up the water is.

On the lighhouse deck.

Victor found a lobster trap (pot) that was off to the side of the breakwater.
The day was awesome. The feedback from the boys' strolling was really nice. And the rest of us had a good time. Nick and James will wakeup early to visit the Breakwater Lighthouse tomorrow. Right now, I smell like the ocean and need a shower. Good Night.
California bound tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009


We have made it to Maine. Our hotel is right across the street from a harbor and at the end of a touristy street with art shops, cafes, and the like. The drive in was mostly nice but the clouds opened up a couple of times. By the time we hit Rockland it was cloudy and a little drizzly but that didn’t stop us from strolling around the area before it got dark. We were told that lobster is cheap out here but all the eateries around here had lobster for $12-$22…so we forwent it until we could talk to locals to find where to get the good stuff , you know what I mean by good…cheap.
I found a grocery store to pick up supplies and the folks there were very helpful and gave me many ideas where we can get lobster cheap. The store itself sells them for $5.99/LB. (and they will cook them up for us).
The fuenki (a Japanese word meaning atmosphere, general feeling, that something feeling) is very different here than in CT. The roads are wider too. The state isn’t that populated so it doesn’t seem crowded. There are things that remind me of Cali but mostly it’s got it’s own feeling. There is a feeling of very old, yet fresh about the place. The people so far have been very helpful (though the front desk girl is aloof). We will know more about Maine after performing for them. So stand by….
We had a potpourri of sausages for dinner including something called “reds”…turned out to be hot dogs died red…nothing special. The prices here are cheaper than NY and CT but still higher than the rest of the country.
Our hotel rooms have balconies overlooking the harbor, but it’s not a clear shot as there are a few telephone wires, and the ferry terminal blocks some of it.
This is our first time in ME and to add to our firsts, it was our first time in MA and NH…though NH only took 20 minutes to go through. We didn’t stop in either of those states so as far as I know they are great states….all we saw were trees.
It’s hard to believe we are just three shows away from being done with our summer tour.(Our Fall tour starts the following weekend after we get back.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bye-Bye CT...moving on to Maine--new member of the show

Meet Darla the 6 month old Flemmish Giant ...still tiny by that breed's standards. Since Doris is within a year of passing on Darla will be trained to take her place.

Well, the shows went very well today with excellent sized crowds and lots of fun had. Victor, the trooper he is, even performed his chain escape with one hand sticking out from under his shirt ( a result of his arm being bound to his side) and the other arm free. A child from the audience comes up and inspects the lock , chain and shackle. Then in the blink of an eye he is out. It goes over well, especially since he is injured and doing it....the sympathy card always works. He's just happy to be performing. My cousins came out to watch. Even her husband came (he is not the going out to fairs type of guy.) He is a hecka nice guy though.

Cousin Dog Pile....notice even Victor the Gimp is involved.

After the shows it was pack up and in keeping with the theme it started to rain just as we finished loading up. Since my trailer was locked in by other vehicles we had to wait to come back and get it after things close.

Our Boss, the guy who hired us, really liked the show and said he heard nothing but positive stuff so he will have us back next year....the final decision will come after they meet and wind things up for this year.
Popeye's chicken was the dinner menu for the night and my cousin and her kids joined us at the hotel to partake. it was a lot of fun and we often forgot to use our "hotel voices". No complaints but I felt bad for the neighboring side had a do not disturb sign.

Back to the fairgrounds to get the trailer where we were met one after the other by folks who said they loved the show. The band who performed that night's drummer has two little girls the same age as my little girls and they became fast friends earlier in the day. I regret not getting a picture of them together. Nice folks. I have found that the folks of Wolcott are a different breed from the rest of Ct that we have experienced. We like them best....not that the others are rotten. Just that Wolcott seemed kinder and more personable....less rushed and rude.
We hear that lobster is going very cheap in Maine so we plan to eat until we are sick of it. It's also Blueberry season so likewise here. Our hotel is supposed to overlook the Atlantic...we will see. Or we will sea!
The drive should be 6 hours so it will be nice to get back into that driving rhythm. I am looking forward to passing through MA and NH.
I miss my wife so I am glad this tour is nearly at it's end. My friend Bill from Cali has returned from his summer of teaching magic in PA. And my friend JC is well on the road to recovering completely fro the Operation so thing are bright there.
Cheers to you all.
Thanks for reading....more to come tomorrow.
Good night your job well!
God Bless!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wolcott Fair and I embarrass my self

ominus clouds bring rain during the first show...but the rest of the day was cloudy and humid.
The show tent.

We woke a bit early today to pack up and head up to Wolcott, CT for the Wolcott Fair. We picked up lunch at the local grocer before leaving Milford. While at the Shop Rite we saw really good looking donuts. We took the plunge and we bought some. Turns out they are the best donuts on the East Coast, so far. Still miles behind the average west coast donut but on the fluffiness scale they pulled a 4 out of five pillows. On the sugar they pulled a "0" (the scale runs from -5 to +5 where -5 is not sweet at all to +5 diabetes inducer as in a Krispy Kreme). O is a perfect balance. On the durability (remains fluffy instead of hardening, shrinking, sugar melting etc) this donut scored pretty good.

The drive was pretty quick and in no time the boys were setting up the show. The fairgrounds had evidence of a pretty serious rain storm the night before. Puddles and mud was the morning midway theme. It was a little weird feeling performing again after 5 days off but we slipped into the "mode" quickly. The little girls were full of energy off stage but the set up made it hard for the audience to notice. They drove CC and Nick crazy. That lead to a talking to after the show. The audience was the best in CT so far. very responsive. The same for the later two shows.

The hosts provided an RV as a green room. It was a nice thing to have because it has air-con. The day was very humid.

We moved into our hotel tonight. The girl checking me in was leaning on the counter and had a low cut shirt show plump milk sacks and the whole package appeared as though she was pregnant. So I asked if she was.....Nope.....trying that one....boy was that awkward.
Our Hotel is nice. Very nice compared to the dive we just moved from. No new scents...or should I say old scents.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Impending storms--Golf--more

What did I say about Days Off? Oh, Yeah....don't take them. I had to take the trailer up to Wolcott in preparation for our show tomorrow. It was a beautiful day; humid, warm with a nice breeze. So why did I repeat the "don't take a day off"...well, when I went out to the Ford (the trailer puller) that has been parked for three days I discovered the battery was dead. (I think the lights inside the trailer were left on.) Fortunately, the Chevy was full of pep and jumped the Ford quickly so it was go time. The trip up was uneventful and the fairgrounds (a converted school yard) was typical. So with the trailer left behind I headed back down to Milford.

This fellow was enjoying his reflection in Wolcott while I dropped off the trailer (he's on my windshield).
Back at the hotel the kids played putt-putt golf. A clipped wing doesn't stop Victor.

A moth at the playground.

Great lense on this comera. This guy is only 1/4 inch long. On the golf grass.

Nick steps on gum!

This picture was Victor's idea.
On the drive back I stopped by a deli and had my first grinder. Turns out a grinder is a sub sandwich...apparently with a ton of mayo.
The rest of the day was filled with laziness. Naps, reading, miniature golf, and chocolate cake.
A note about the hotel. I think at one time it was a family resort. There are two buildings that are closed off and marked as being asbestos dangers. The pool is green and looks like it isn't very healthy. The large exercise room smells like moldy 50 year old sweat. The rooms all have wet bars and large old fridges...all with rust marks inside. The beds are hard and squeaky. So why did I choose this hotel. Well, the hotel description on line didn't mention any of the things I mentioned and it;s not like you can tell anything by the prices....everything out here is expensive. When we arrived we heard a couple having a fight downstairs and what turned out to be a fight. The bowling ball hitting the wall sound I think was one of the two's head hitting the wall. Later on a overheard the male half trash talking about the crying woman in the parking lot. There isn't a part of this hotel that doesn't have a unique smell to put it kindly. But had we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express we would have no story.

Impedning Storm:
It is 9pm and it has already rained once pretty heavy; a thunderstorm. Huricane Bill is missing us but it's outer edges are threatening rain for us. Fortunately the stage at the fair is tented.
We will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Visiting the Seven Little Foys ------and much more...also one more reason to ban CT from the rest of the planet

Today is the day I have been waiting for for a long time. We visited the grave and home of Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys. He was a vaudeville comedian-singer-actor who brought his kids into the act. Bob Hope made a movie about him with many historic errors but still a fun movie way back when.
Our trip started with a lot of on line mapping and planning. New Rochelle, NY is about 50 miles from our current hotel. No hwy changes needed...just a straight shot. We left at 11:30 and was there by 1/4 to one. The address on line was to the cemetery office/church. But nobody was around to help us. When I found a woman in the church she confused the two cemeteries in the area. That's why I get second opinions. I saw a funeral home across the street and they gave me the proper directions. They also told me the brick house next to "Eddie Foy Park" is the old home of the Foys.
We drove to the cemetery expecting a difficult search because it was a pretty big place. Imagine our surprise when we looked out the van window and not 15 feet from the van and perfectly visible from the front gate was the Foy memorial. We took pictures and I told the kids about Eddie Foy and his kids again. Then I cleared the grass off of the smaller makers that showed where each Foy is buried (So I could get a clear shot.)
Back in the van we headed for Eddie Foy Park. I took pictures of the brick house next door to the park thinking it was once the Foy home. Turns out, according to the plaque, that the site of the park was the home site and the house is long gone. There were a few plastic playground toys and a few benches, but otherwise it looked like an old house lot.
We took pictures, the kids played and then we headed for lunch....Taco Bell! Perhaps the very same TB the Foys ate at 100 years!
Next it was the drive back. Remember 50 miles.....2.5 hours. We tried Hwy 95 but it was bumper to bumber all the way to CT. So we drove Hwy 1 which runs right next to 95 more or less as it hit the main street of every town along the way. But red lights were the name of the game and red lights are perceived by locals as only a stop if the mood hits. That's why there were accidents on 95 and along Hwy 1. This place is crazy when it comes to drivers and it crosses race, age, and sex. Though I saw many speeders having Obama stickers. Ergo Proctor Hoc...all Obama supporters

This is a Ct YMCA!

We were stuck in traffic right on the line of a draw bridge.

Today's theme.

James shows off while we wait for our take-out...we had ultra-hot (habenero) hot wings, ribs, burgers, and other stuff. It was pretty OK.