Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bellevue Community Days Day 1

I wish I could say today was a day an easy day. It was indeed a great day. But easy, it was't.
We awoke late, as it is our custom since we perform late. And the Day started for us at the RV around 10:30.  The folks at the hotel were awake a little earlier. The hotel is supposed to provide Bfast but the hotel is under renovation and today the bfast area was closed. Thankfully there was a Dollar General across the street so Mami did a food run.  She said never eat their bread as it tastes like paint.
I picked them up around 11:30.  Strange how kids can have  bfast and 10 minutes later be ready for lunch.

I noticed on the first day here while I was running around town learning the lay of the land and getting supplies that the town had set up a marque of sorts announcing our shows. The Marque I speak of is a road side emergency sign as seen for road construction, set up on Main Street ( Hwy 20 and 18)  it splashed our name every 30 seconds or so.

This is a good old fashioned town. The houses are beautiful and the folks seem very nice. Everything closes early and there is no Walmart (good? bad?)

We finished setting up today under cloudy skies with a 70% chance of would turn out to be 100%.
Our first show went off w/out a hitch. Full seats and nice weather. Our second show, however, never happened since it was thunderstorming. Even though it stopped midway through when we would perform our electrical was drenched so we didn't risk a shock.  We ran an early third show as weather reports showed a storm over Toledo and that meant that within 90 minutes we could get hit. And we did...right in the middle of the show.  I purposely wore an outfit that could get wet. Ryan (sound) was huddled under a tarp with the sound system and the other kids ran frantically to get stuff off the stage.

We did the first half in increasing sprinkles including Brandon's last show with us this season.  His whole family, and I mean the whole clan show up..aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. So he had a large cheering section.
His folks would stay through the rainy show too.

Brandon's bro, Wesley, will join us soon as a clown. He is custom made for it.  I taught him the Human Blockhead stunt a couple of days ago and he has it mastered.

Mami and Titus were able to get their acts in. Well, Mami got half of her running gag act in.

 Brandon's fan club.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clarksville Fair Week

Sorry for no contact in a while but intenet connections where we have been at has been limited. I could post short bursts but the larger files like photos or videos were harder because of either limited bandwith (a lot of people sharing an internet connection or no access at all.  A lot of the places we perform are in deep country with not wifi or no cell tower nearby.
I am pre-writing this in Word and will cut and paste it late with the hope that the connection later will be good enough to get some pix up.  I even have some video to upload.

Working backwards we are in Vermilion, Ohio on Lake Erie.  Our campground is right on the lake so we've taken in fishing. Amelia caught the first keeper, a catfish.  We also caught a bunch of small bass. Thinking they were stripers we tossed them back only later to learn they were white bass and any size and amount is legal.  So we threw back about 6-9 perfectly edible legal fishies. Oh well.  Today we went to a pier a town over and Victor caught a Sheephead or a fresh water drum, the fish used by McDonalds for their sandwiches.   It was huge....3lbs. Eyes as big as nickels.  We will try it tonight. The catfish and the one white bass we kept were great.

Today, Mami and I drove to Bellevue (the next venue), it's only 35 minutes or so from here, to check out our venue.  The carnival there was setting up a 1949 FerrisWheel. The layout looks nice and the hamlet very friendly looking. More on that later this week. While we did that Jim did the laundry for 11 people at a Laundromat nearby.  After Bellevue, then picking him up we noticed on the smartphone that a severe thunderstorm warning was in affect.  It slammed us on the 5 mile drive back to the RV place.  25 feet ahead of us a huge tree branch crashed to the road, we drove around it. We were pummeled by small branches and leaves, and debris. Further down the road half a tree blocked our lane and the two sides took turns driving around it.  A bit furhter down more limbs and one car engulfed in foliage...luckily he had stopped just as the tree fell and only his front end was crashed into the tree or huge tree limb. Fighting the wind we made it back to the RV park safe.

We drove here Sunday night from Clarksville, TN.  The drive was supposed to be just under 9 hours but turned out to be over 12 due to construction in Ky an OH.  My GPS took us on an interesting drive here. We went from Interstate to four lane road to two lane road, to two lanes with no lines to one lane. Some areas there were tree canopies and tulle-fog. We began to laugh at our plight. The road was eerie, hard to see and cloaked with tulle-fog. The moon was full. It was near midnight. We passed a cemetery sign that had vines overgrowing around it.  Very soon after that a house that was a little too well lit and too cheery came into view.  We were convinced we were in a Steven King story.  But eventually we made it to our camp.  It's on the grounds of a Christian Camp; sort of a little village.

We specifically came here because for the past 3 weeks cousin Brandon (our acrobat and budding trapeze guy) and his sister, Jessica, who helped out here and there in the show, had been with us. They have their yearly fam reunion here so here we are.

Lake Erie and the towns that line it are pretty darn cool. When you look out over Erie you see no other shore. It is more like a sea.

Gas out here is 3.30 similar to TN an KY but in TN we were able to get gas for 3.05 at a Krogers using our Krogers discount card.  Handy little sucker.

At the Clarksville fair we had a good time. The kids met up with friends they had made in years past. Old home week. It was pretty darn hot all week but the second day of the fair was insane. Fortunately out here fairs only open in the evening.  The down side is we had just finished a 2 week run of 9am to 8pm show days. So we has to readjust our body time schedule to a work time of around 4pm to 1am bed time.   The first three days were hard but we are troupers.  

***As I type this a second t-storm, bigger than the earlier one is slamming us right now.  We got in from the fishing trip just five minutes before this storm series started. Talk about picking a good time to get in from fishing!  This one has been going on for an hour or so. We had hoped to go catfish fishing tonight but I think that is NOT going to happen.***There goes another gun shot....or that's what it sounds like.

A week ago in Clarksville, TN Little Girl, our tiny teacup gave birth to two puppies. Sadly the fist one didn't make it.  We are not sure what happened. Her whelping box was in the front of the RV and that is where she had the first pup.  But it was in my room in the rv on top of laundry that I found the second pup and mom cleaning him up.  Several scenarios could have happened. Since this was her first time the first birth might have freaked her out and she abandoned the first one when the second started to come. Or since the box was near Titus, when he heard the pup cries he kicked the box or something and scared her off. Or the pup was born in it's sack and she couldn't get it off in time.  Or it was just born dead?????  Regardless, she is a great mom to her puppy and is taking great care of him.  In fact, he is getting quite fat.   She has shown her female dog side to the other two big dogs in the house if they try to get near the puppy.  BTW, the puppy's name is cookie. We offered the pup to my best friend and his wife, JC and Clidean, long before we left.   They have been all excited and preparing things as though they were getting a baby.  Love those guys.

On the third day after the pup was born we took him to a vet to have his tail cut and his dew claws removed. He was a trouper.

On the first day at the fair the kids had discovered the wood around the fairgrounds was a great place to play. They found wild garlic (Mami used it in the spaghetti we ate.) and wild carrot (Queen Anne's Lace), and Dew Berrys (a small blackberry).  Brandon also found ticks.  When they came out of the wood the kids found Victor Jr. and Brandon had ticks on their clothes but it was Brandon that got two under his skin. But we put a blop of Vaseline on it and in 30 minutes is easily came out....dead.  Poor kid, seems each year he is with us he has some unpleasant story to take back. Oh, out of the blue on one of the days he decided to stick his hand into a turbo style fan. Slices some top layer of skin off his fingers. When I asked him why he said, " I don't know".
(Just for the record his older brother wants to learn all my geek stunts ..nail in nose, mousetrap on tongue, fire-eating, etc.  So daring runs in that family.)

Prior to that we were at Beech Bend and I think that is where the blog ended last.
I am sure I left something out. So I will put those tidbits in when I recall them.

We also visited Dunbar cave in Clarksville....funny video about this coming next week.

 squirrel on the face

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Foraging and ticks

There is a nice wood around our lot at the fair. The kids trekked around wood and found wild garlic, dew berries, and wild carrots.  They also found ticks. Poor Brandon was the only one who was feasted upon by them...two to be esact. We put vasoline on them and 30 minutes later their dead bodies easily came out.
We will no stay on the trails.

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Take the last train to clarksville, and i'll see you at the....fair

I'm using an ap on my phone to post this entry so there won't be many pictures. I am staying at the rv as the fam stays at the hotel...I am sort of security and energency response in case of storms and such.
We have lots of fans here. This is our 3rd year and people are coming up to us like old home week. Excited to see us and surprised at how the kids have grown.
I think we have one of best shows ever and with an occasional exception the stress of this year's tour is way lower than before.
Cousin Brandon got a deer tick in his foot, but the book I bought (10,0001 thing you should know) that I read before the tour suggested putting petrolium jelly on it and in 20 minutes the dead tick will easily come worked.
The shift from a 9am to 6pm schedule to a 6pm to midnight schedule with one day in between has hit us all hard. Olivia fell asleep backstage and missed out on that show.
I goota tell you having Mami along is great. The food has been awesome. Grilled talipia tonight. Lots of fresh fruit too. Fruit is so much more expensive here than in Cali.
Today Mami and I escpaed the kids and went shopping. First we went to the local m about 2 people out of their enviornment. Then it was food and supplies.  In the morn. I spent my time of book keeping and paying bills...easy come easy hard come....easy go.
The hotel the c.ient has us at is a scary joke. In ignorance of our contract we were put in a low end hotel uswd by truckers and drug dealers.  Mami was hit on by a thug looking guy when she simply walked up to the front office.  I left her with a taser and a gun and the older boys now do all the running around for her.  The client pleaded ignorance and innocense.  But I think he was cutting corners due to the tough economy. He is a nice guy but needs to learn to respect the acts he hires...again I repeat, he is nice, I like him...but he blew it on the rooms.
Last night I had two of the kids, but I am alone tonight so I could spray the area around the stage, rv, etc with poison. 
The kids found wild garlic and dew berries in the woods around us...but that is where they found the ticks. I saw two and researched them...deer we will watch for lyme desease symptons.
My fingers arw going numb here so I will bid you a good night.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013


We have made it to Clarksville (our last southern stop for a couple of months as we head to the midwest next).  We were greeted w/the required thunderstorm or two. But the temps were cool and not too humid.
Gas prices are fantastic..$3.25/gal.  
Our show lot is the same spot we've has for 3 years.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Traffic Jam

The Hot Rod Society of AMerica (or whatever they are called) have taken over BG.  We left a bit earlier this morning because the raceway at Beech Bend is HQ for the main activities of all those hot rodders. Well, that meant today was traffic jam day.....three miles took two hours.   We ended up missing our first show as a family. But Jim was there already for the morning meet and greet so he pulled of an Amazing solo show.
Our final two shows were amazing packed.
I was a big surprised by a gift from one grandmother who wanted to thank us for being kind to his grandson. He as Aspergers and other performers never pick him to help on stage. We used him a couple of times and he was terrific. The woman gave us a $100 tip. I had to promise to give the girls a happy meal.  I also used the money to buy all the kids at the second show magic wands.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Robot Romping and General Good times

From really Hot to really windy and cool.......
But we had a great audience every show and I got to be Monkey Bott! Miles played Pink Gorilla and the kids all performed well.
Jim was out with friends until 5:30AM so I was surprised that he was able to do as well as he did today. Youth,,,,ain't it grand.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

One of those Days Plus pictures

Yesterday as we prepared to leave the amusement park we discovered our van battery was dead.  I knew at once it wasn't the battery but the alternator. We got a jump from a park employee and started a scary drive home.  As we drove the diods, gauges and lights would die then suddenly pop back on as the alternator kicked in then died. 
Each time we watched the battery gauge slowly drop as voltage drained. We cursed every traffic stop, every stop sign, every slow car in front of us.  But we made it home.  I then went to work taking the air cleaner casing off to see what it was going to take to fix.  Luck would have it nothing more than that cover would need to be removed.  But I still needed to find a new part.  I called around and an O'Reilly's 3 miles away ordered one for me.  So this morning I prayed I had enough juice in the battery or maybe the alternator would pop on for a little while so I could make it to them.  That decision, to change the part myself, came after I woke up at 7am to call the Ford Dealer across the street from us to see what  they would charge to fix it. $444..........Nope, no way. Uh uh. 
Well, I set out and one mile later the van went silent.  I was on just enough of a decline that I slowly was able to roll to the shoulder.  I called AAA and a local cop came in and waited with me. He even called dispatch to help rush AAA along.  An hour later the red AAA truck came and I was off to the auto parts store. 
It would only take another hour to purchase and install the parts. 
In the mean time Jim borrowed a van from the park and picked the kids up at the hotel to get to the park just in time to do the first show. Well. ends up that during the show the sound board fell silent. Jim used his well honed comedy to keep the crowd happy as they dealt with a fried transformer on the AC cord of the  Sound mixer board.   
A few phone calls and when I got back and finished performing our second show (we jimmy rigged the sound) I was off to Musician Pro where the owner had a great used sound bored with FX and other cool functions.  He asked $120 but when we tested it and found one dead line he dropped it to $100 (one of ten lines isn't bad).
While I was fixing the van earlier and Jim was running around getting the kids and getting the first show going Miles was on his way from Berea, Ky to us.  Good friend and fair manager of the laurel Co Fair, Doug Phelps and his grand-baby and daughter brought him out to us.  Then they got to spend some time reliving Doug's youth as he came here as a child. 
 Below are un related pictures to the story I just told....but what has been going on....

Olivia wanted to try the mouse trap stunt....she only does a half draw snap. 

 Jessica helping with sales.

 Brandon and Victor fighting???????

 Belle going through a hoop on fire.