Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Appalachian Mountians

We just drove nearly the entire length of the Appalachian Mountains over the past two days. Now I didn't confirm this with a map but it sure felt like we did. Overdrive is a good thing.

We haven't seen any hillbillies and the entire drive had only clean stops and kind people. I was hoping for a cool miner, bootlegger, or hillbilly.

The kids in both cars were champs. The drive was only 6.5 hours but for some reason it seemed so much longer. Leaving late (10AM) makes a difference. Makes the day seem longer. But when we leave really early we seem to cover more miles and time flies. Go figure. It's all in my head but that's where I live ...along with a number of voices.

I have been short tempered all day. I think the drive and the "service light" have been eating on me. Happily after only using expensive high octane gas fro two days and lots of prayer the light finally went out...or did the diode burn out? It going out made me feel better but the tired long schedule is still making me less than the nicest father, husband or boss. I need to hire someone to do the business end so all I have to do is the performance parts.

Bill moving on has put more pressure on Mami. She has to teach the kids, take care of Titus and other duties. Bill was so helpful with teaching the kids and helping with Titus, most especially helping with Titus. Oh well.

After checking into the hotel we went over to Jim, Cynthia, and Miles' Kindergarten teacher's house. They moved here a long time ago and we haven't seen them since. I saw their niece in Bermuda back in 99.

It was so wonderful and they served such a great meal. Their grand kids live with them and they are Amelia and Olivia's ages so the girls had a blast. They even played dress up.

Tomorrow our show doesn't start until 6:30 so we are taking a half day off. did someone say pool?

Monday, August 30, 2010

We loose One more on our way to VA

Under sunny skies we pulled out of Danbury CT on our way to NC. The RV had no problems with it's cold idle this morning but that dang light is still on (needs two more days or so to clear out the error, if it was an error, from the computer). Our three vehicle caravan would be only two before the end of the day. Bill decided to head back to Cali for a booking and teaching opportunities. So we bid him farewell in PA.
We decided to divide our drive into two days going down since coming back up on Thursday will be a straight 15-16 hour drive. As we drove south it got warmer and warmer. We left high 60s and 70s for Virginia's low 90s. Nice to see sweet tea in the stores again.
Greek pizza for dinner while the kids eat the traditional stuff. We will drive another 6 hours tomorrow and meet with some old friends for dinner. Then we will have a leisure morning on Wednesday and do a Christian program in the evening. Thursday we have a crazy drive 16-18 hours then shows from Friday through Monday. All that is followed by our first day off since June 30th.
Our hotel rooms have jacuzzi bath tubs and the girls discovered that if the water is just the right level and you add soap you get a giant pile of suds. It was very cute.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First....Where is Alf?
We left Rockland, ME this morning at 5:30 to go pick up the show at the fairgrounds in Union by 6AM. It was tough since we stayed up late. We had spent time after both families packed up yesterday to chat and pray with the Wallendas. So I was very very sleepy on this drive. We were loaded and set by 6:30 and off to Danbury CT. The drive was fairly uneventful. There was great weather and beautiful things to look at. New England is lovely.

My "Check engine" light came on on the RV again (remember the start of the trip. Usually means bad gas or a temporary error sent to the trucks computer. Have to go through 4 days of engine cycles to see if it clears. No engine power loss. Though it has always had an occasional cold engine idle problem. I just haven't had the time to get under the hood and clean the part of the carburetor probably responsible.
We arrived at the private gated community in Danbury 2 hours before showtime and quickly got set up.
This picture shows the basic set up before too many folks showed up. I was surprised how many people came out.

Victor always has time to ham it up.

Miles needs a haircut. Hippy!

Princess Sayako getting ready to go on. She had a wardrobe malfunction and nearly appeared toppless but iwas able to keep that from happening. Oh, Well. It was funny. Cynthia will understand what I mean...we will need to get her a performer's bra.

My cousins from Waterbury brought us dinner tonight....spaghetti and meatballs and Italian sausages. Here is The great Philosopher The Doctor, Taulin with Emeris in the background.

Jim goofs off as Emeris posses and the res of us appear normal....just appear.

Uncle Eddie did some strolling close-up magic. Lots of fun.

Jim teaches the Diabolo.

Titus likes Alf.
Please pray that the RV carb troubles don't worsen and that we make it until at least Sept 7...our first day off. I will either put it in the shop or tear it apart myself then. But it has nearly 2000 miles to work before I can do that.

Tomorrow we start a nearly 800 mile drive to NC to perform at the church of Jim and CC's former Kindergarten teacher. We ae all exhausted.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Farewell Maine we will miss you!

First let me say that James was on Cloud Nine today. For the past few days Jim, Trevor, and Alex Wallenda have been working on a three way Juggling passing routine for fun. Tonight I asked them to do it in our show. Then the Wallendas invited Jim to join them in their show. It was awesome. They were fantastic.
They even let Jim join them on the greet line after the show.
The Wallendas have been so nice to us in so many ways. Including food, we got to sample their blueberry dumplings, real goulash, and more.
We Shared conversation, theology talks, and prayer. We shared tips and ideas (all be it they have more experience in all this than I so I was the beneficiary of much great advice).
They Love Jesus and that made us family form the onset. That they would spend time with nobodies like us and our rag tag show is humbling. Mrs. wallenda even gave each of the girls a pretty necklace. We had so little to offer them in material things. But I send them well wishes and prayers to our heavenly father that He will always keep them save and centered on Him.
The pictures show the weather...it was awesome. The crowds were great. Sayako did her 5th show and did well. We miss CC and she can't be replaced in teh show. She brought a specisal spice to the show.
We have an earlyu start 5am wakeup to get to Danville, CT for shows starting at 4pm.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We visited a nearby lighthouse today. Most of the lighthouses around here are tiny. But none the less it was fun and a great break from the crazy circus-boss lifestyle I have been leading. James and Victor stayed at the fairgrounds at the RV the night before so they couldn't make it. However they were happy as clams hanging out with the Wallendas.
Titus even had fun. here he is with the wind in his hair and the sea crashing behind him.

Ok Uncle Eddie is weird...but in a good way...notice there is a warning sign above him.

A smooch by the lighthouse.

Sayako enjoying a Japanese style snack.

Olivia found an old lobster pot maker on the rocks.

A monarch having his lunch.

Last year we made front page. We just got the paper today from the manager.

Our set up after the shows ...notice the Wallenda set up in the back ground.

With the carnival in the background.

This is where we set up , eat, and rest between and after shows.

A beautiful day and perfect shows. Victor did his rope tie challenge and this was one of his toughest yet. He was bound very well and it took him over 2 minutes to get out. he had 3:45 to get out, so it was a win. I walked on broken glass for the first time in Maine today as well.
We have been working hard to keep ourselves from looking cluttered and unkempt backstage so there has been a big movement here to make things nice looking all the time. It's a tough effort by us all.
Cynthia Skyped us at the fair and we had a brief chat. She has a light day today and is loving college.
I mentioned Uncle Eddie went to the doctor the other day. He has Bronchitis. Though he went to the lighthouse, he was ill all day and stayed at the hotel. The meds are affecting his system rather strongly. he is however, feeling better.
Have I mentioned how nice Maine people are. At least out here they are. I read the Portland ME people want to give non-citizens the right to vote....every state has their nutso area...I think Portland is Maine's embarrassing crazy uncle.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maine Day 3

Under sunny morning skies and ever increasing clouds we pulled off our two shows today.
Jim introduced his knew machete juggling while climbing a ladder all the way to the top then at the top raise one leg.
We also introduced Princess Sayako, our niece from japan show is taking Cynthia's place. there is video of her doing a trick on our video blog page.
Titus has become a big fan of the Wallendas and gets excited when he hears their starting music. He cries when their show is over. There is video of him enjoying the show on the blog.

For some reason a bunch of photographers decended on us during the first show and took a ton of pictures of us. No qs afterwards so I doubt they were newspaper people????
Uncle Eddie performed in bothshows and is acclimating to performing for Americans.

The Wallendas gave us some wonderful Chech blueberry dumplings tonight. They were wonderful. Jim is staying at the RV with Vic Jr and they have been spending a bunch of time with the Wallendas. They are Godly folks.
Running late tonight. Videoblog should be up within 24 hours. Cheers.


Once inn a while we review the places we have visited or stayed to warn people to stay away from the bad and to patronize the good.

Jess' Market: Sells seafood and stuff, especially lobster. Outside of buying the little bottom feeders (lobsters) off a boat Jess' is the cheapest place in town to go. The folks there are rally nice and willing to answer any dumb question I asked. They will even steam or boil your clams, muscles, lobsters, etc.

Maine: This state is really filled with nice people. The only rude people I've gcome across are people from other states. People let you pull in when driving. People use manners when dealing with you one on one. "Excuse me", "Thank you", "Please" are still in style here. On top of that Maine is beautiful.

Navigator Inn: Great view for the most part. It's across from the harbor so the sea view isn't perfect but it is nice. The desk people are very nice. My family likes their comp b-fast, but it's not for my taste. Still I give them high marks there because I have a sensitive pallet and shouldn't be used to judge common food, since most common food is meaningless expect for nutrition. The boys say their bagels here are great. The rooms look like they have been renovated since last time we were here. Still it is an old hotel and not all doors and floors and even and plumb. The maid service is some of the worst we have had on the trip. First night: I pull back the sheets to find pubic hairs and specs of other stuff (dust, lint, buggers, I don't know.....but it was sick). The night man happily gave me new sheets and apologized. We have been using our own soap and shampoo since they have not been replaced since our first night. (Maid taking revenge????) One of our beds has a major sag in the middle like a large person slept there a long time. Otherwise the place is great. Quiet rooms in spite of a lot of construction workers staying here and there being a lounge downstairs.

Holiday Inn Express, Bradley Airport, Hartford , CT: Like all HI EX it was a nice hotel. Comfortable beds, nice layout and nice staff. The b-fast was a little scanter than most HI EXs but was very good. The hall carpets looked like they needed a shampooing but that might have been the design or color...not the best choice if that is the case. Quiet rooms.

Holiday Inn Coco Keys Resort, Waterbury, CT: It's an Holiday Inn so no free b-fasts unless you are a Rewards member. I am but since the rooms were a contract deal with our client it didn't apply. Very pretty lobby and general interior. Tight parking spots but there is space for large vehicles farther back in the parking lot. Mostly quiet rooms. But remember it is a a family water resort so there are lots of kids noises in the halls at all hours. There was even a 6 am vacuuming in the hall one morning. Woke up Titus, which woke us all up.

Ninos Pizza, Watebury, CT: 5 star on the pizza 1-5 chart. Their Ricotta Pizaa is to die for.

Mendano's Pizza, Naugatuck, CT: 10 stars on the pizza 1-5 chart. What more can be said. This pizza place will be in heaven.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rain Out...Lobster...Skype

Mama always said rain is just angels crying because I've been a naughty boy. Well, I must have been really bad because it rained ALLLLL day today. In the picture to the left Amelia, Sayako, and Victor Enjoy a chip or two while waiting for what would not come all day, the rain to stop.

Since our first show wasn't until 3pm we figured we would have enough time in the morning to do the Walmart run, pick up the kids at the RV and then see a Lighthouse. Well, I got up an hour later than I wanted to. The Eddie came into my room and said, "I think i better go see a doctor". He has been having a sore throat all summer and recently started seeing light blood in his phlegm. So the schedule was reworked and he was dropped off at the local ER. Then there was an annoyance that we had yet to see in Maine...traffic. Back to back down hwy 1...Main Street. That killed 45 minutes. By the time we got close to the hotel the lighthouse and lobster plan went out the window and McDonald's was on the menu. I had also hoped to stop by the Verizon store next to the hotel to get a G3 card for my computer to access the Internet anywhere. I actually thought I had time for that because My watch was saying 5 after 12. Ten minutes later it was still saying 5 after 12....the stem on my watch somehow got pulled. It was really five to one and we needed to leave by 1 for the fairgrounds. Rush hour!
In spite of the rain we headed up the hill from the coast. We left Mami and Titus behind due to the weather. The fairgrounds surprisingly had quite a few cars in the parking lot. But, as the weather continued to get worse and showed no signs of stopping those braves souls who ventured out here headed for home. Still we were there at 3pm and dressed in our street clothes we went ahead and did a few things int he rain. The fair manager, Tino Wallenda, and 4 people from the parking lot watched us eat fire, juggle a bit and do bullwhip tricks.

Waiting for the rain to pass I drank a Moxie, the first ever soft drink, while Belle keeps me and herself warm.

Buddy Savage and I under the awning as the rain came down. I gave him a bottle of wine from my hometown. he is an vintner.

Fire-blowing in the rain. You can't see it but the rain in is coming down in steady streams.

You can kinda see the rain falling as Miles warms himself with his fire-whip.

The red circle shows the finger trap that Miles had just whipped out of my hands with his all weather whip.
Notice the crowd...or lack of crowd. If this were Texas the stand would be full.

After the show we swung by Jess' market for Lobster....4.99 per lb this year....We also bought a couple $7.99 hard shell lobsters. We also had muscles.

Soon to be lobster red then eaten. MMMM with butter and garlic salt.

Amelia bravely touches a lobster. Notice she has lost yet one more tooth. Preparing for a move to Kentucky I suppose.

Nick is attacked by a rubber lobster. That is Polly our rubber lobster I've had for years and rides on my dashboard.

Eddie enjoys the succulent lobster.

Sayako enjoying Lobster.

Poly and Sayako....no it's not real.

A few other notes of the day.
We bumped into the Wallenda's at Walmart. Tino was on a snack run.
We Skyped Cynthia today and got to meet her roommate and get a tour of her dorm room. They have the biggest dorm room on campus. Cynthia tried out for the Black Ensemble Choir and made it. She said that people seem to think that she is whatever race she is around with at the time. White people think she is white; Black people think she is black; etc. She is doing well and classes kick in tomorrow. Her books ran $600...daddy will have to pay that. Weep weep.
As I went out to the car this evening to get snacks out for the kids I noticed the Verizon store next door had lights on so I walked over in the mist to see the hours. The owner noticed me peering in and recognized me as stopping by earlier (it was too busy and I had no time earlier.) She invited me in and I finally bought the Internet usb thingy that will give me access to the Verizon Data stream. I now have the Internet almost anywhere. My emails can finally be sent. My videos can finally be uploaded. I have wi-fi where others only dream. I will test it at the fair.
I tried the fair manager's wine today and found his "Red Gate" (I think) was really nice. I will buy 6 bottles for myself and as gifts for others. Hard to believe there are actual wineries in Maine.
Well, the rain is just a mist now and tomorrow promises to be beautiful. God bless to you all.