Saturday, June 30, 2007

Water Works Park

Thanks everyone for indulging me in my online scrapbook of the longest vacation our family has taken. It's felt kind of selfish posting all of these fun things, but my mom said she was appreciative of keeping up with all of our activities which is part of the point of this whole thing. So, thanks guys, and I'll try to post some really creative "Couple of Questions" on Monday to take the focus off of our "spoiled" family (but very, very, very thankful........).

Today was the last full day of activities. We heard a waiter talk to a group seated near us yesterday that going through Weed, to Klamath Falls and then through Oakridge should shave us an hour off our time. Hard to imagine when Mapquest shows a 1 mile difference, but, for the sake of diversity we'll give it a shot bright and early tomorrow.

I have to say my best food recommendations from the whole trip are actually franchises - go figure (it shows my amazing fine dining expertise). You just can't go wrong (unless you are a vegetarian!) with In-N-Out Burger. Man, good stuff - and I love mixing the vanilla shake with root beer to make the best root beer float I've had in years..... Also, we tried Black Bear Diner (which I've never heard of before, but I now know is a franchise). Huge platters of yummy, homestyle food (with vegetarian options..... =) ) Had some tremendous corn flake coated french toast with fresh strawberries and whip cream this morning. Tood good for my own good - that's for sure. I have some serious work in store for me in the gym when I return!

OK, today was Water Works. Not a lot to expand on, other than it was a lot of fun and a perfect activity for a 90 degree day here in Redding. We rented double person rafts (a very good suggestion for anyone considering this as a future family activity). I tried to store the memory of laying on it with Mikayla pulling it along in the Lazy River for future daydreaming in the depths of winter, or anytime I'm depressed. The picture of Mikayla shows her in the kiddy area while Brayden was doing some slides that she was too short for. I think she did that slide at least 2 dozen times.

Thanks again for the sweet comments. John and I feel so incredibly blessed to have had such a fantastic family vacation-

Friday, June 29, 2007

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Before John and I were married, we took these long road trips on random windy roads just for the sake of exploring. After we got married, however, those experiences went to the wayside (kind of like my interest in playing card games - I can be fair that we were both a bit misleading in our interest in certain hobbies). So, yesterday, when I proposed taking a less than direct route to Redding, I was surprised that John was game.

It was a fun drive, we drove by one of Jodi's favorite places, Lake Almanor, and the adorable little accompanying town called Chester. When I looked at the route I noticed that there was also a national park nearby that supposedly had some pretty cool Yellowsone-like volcanic features. I thought this would be a stretcher for John to try, but with a little bit of "kid influence" - he took us up the mountain road. It took even more convincing that the three mile (round-trip) hike to "Bumpass Hell" would be worth it, but, once again, caving to the pleas of the kids - he was gung ho. Thank you John, because the experience was so worth it.

Having spent an entire summer in Yellowstone, I'm a little biaed of all that that place has to offer. But, I'm willing to admit, Lassen had some pretty cool features itself. Stuff that certainly impressed the kiddos. As we laughed, I think it was a much more memorable experience for them than seeing if the Gap store at the Shasta Outlets has anything good on sale..... (besides, we can check that out tomorrow!) Here are quite a few pictures of steaming sulfur, boiling mud, and other geothermal oddities that has us thinking, "God is so creative".

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our Final Day in Tahoe

Let me first of all say that the biggest problem that could be facing Tahoe is the detour of tourism from the declared "State of Emergency". To anyone out there considering a trip - the fire should not even be a considertation. It is well under containment and today we couldn't find a trace of smoke in the bright blue skies overhead. However, you will still see plenty of signs, literally, that remind you - everywhere you look, signs that declare: THANK YOU FIRE FIGHTERS. It is an amazing achievement that not one life has been lost. Praise the Lord. This is a pic of where we - and several of the local heroes - had dinner.

Today we indulged the kids by stopping by the Tahoe Amusement Park. It was built in 1954 - the slide we went down was the original. Most of the rides kind of showed their age - but we did have a blast on the Go-Carts. Despite the fact that John and Brayden nearly lapped us twice (a very small track), John was quite impressed with his wife's talents. I had the pedal to the metal the entire time, so he ought to be. It was such a kick, though, I think the whole family will have to make a field trip to Portland to ride at the Malibu track someday.....

Tomorrow morning we head off early. We're planning a more scenic route to Redding - where we'll settle in for 2 days before heading home. I hear the weather in Oregon was pretty dreary today - I hope tomorrow is bright and shiny - leading into a great weekend for everyone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sand Harbor, Spooner Lake, and Paddleboating

Busy day. We started out early to hit a very reccomended restauant on the East side of the lake for their "magnificent" breakfasts. Oops - not open on Wednesdays. Bummer.

Oh well, there was a Starbucks near by, so that satsified adequately. Next up, was Sand Harbor. Appropriately named. We all had a good time lounging in the sun there and thoroughly enjoyed the fine lunch they served on the deck of their lodge.

The beach at sand harbor
Testing just how cold Lake Tahoe really is
Next up - hiking around Spooner Lake. It very much reminded me of one of the high lakes up on the Cascade Lakes Highway. The kids did great hiking - a lot of fun.

It may look nice and innocent, but it is not a swimming lake - lots of leeches, ick!
Brayden got a little lesson in a water pump and water pressure.....
Finally, we returned to Zephyr Cove and rented a 4 person paddleboat. Let me just say that is a work-out. We thought we'd be out for just a half hour but ended up floating for an hour.

Prior to docking, when we didn't know how much energy moving this watercraft took!
The destination we were aiming for - I can't exagerate just how gorgeous (clear, aqua-green) the water is here
See you later Brayden - that's what you get for not pedalling!

Today was a lot of family bonding activities - a day that epitomized exactly what we had in mind when we first started anticipating this vacation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


sirens everywhere
dozens and dozens of emergency vehicles flying by
police blocking intersections
something else has happened
people pointing, staring at the sky
the cloud of smoke getting larger, darker, brighter
pulling into a parking lot of onlookers
strangers immediately friends
all seeking information
michele more informed than us thanks to the internet
the "latest updates" coming from someone 2 states away
the fire has jumped the highway
threatening a whole other community
the new friends we've met near tears
they know so many that live there
for once, our talents shopping at Ross
coming in useful
as kids pile the cart with blankets and pillows
it's the least we can do
folks at the evacuation center
red eyed as they greet us
tears of thankfulness and hugs as we leave
not what we planned for a vacation
but memories so much more meaningful
than waterparks and movie theaters
life lessons for the kids
life reminders for us
every action has significance, but-
we are not in control
so thankful we know the One who is

Monday, June 25, 2007

Evan Almighty and Zephyr Cove Restaurant

Well, good news. The fire is 40% contained. However, many buildings have been destroyed, a 1000 evacuated and this area has been declared a state of emergency. I've got to admit, for those of us who have to endure field burning, the smoke where we're at is not that bad - and smells much better (like a campfire - go figure). So, we are not all that affected other than changing our plans a bit to get out of dodge.

Therefore, we headed first to the capital city of Nevada - the rip-roarin' metropolis of Carson City. Hey, it has an In-N-Out burger which is more than Eugene can boast about, so we were impressed.

Next, we were off to Summit Center to do a bit of shopping (another "go figure") and saw "Evan Almighty". I was expecting a funny and entertaining movie and not a whole lot more - got to say I underestimated. Yeah, love it when that happens! It was the perfect movie for our family, both kids very much into it and it inspired some good conversations afterward. I highly reccommend it.

Mikayla - posing at the mall-

On the way home we stopped at Zephyr Cove Restaurant - it's part of a whole resort which reminds me a bit of the place on "Dirty Dancing". Old fashioned, rustic - just adorable. I think we'll hit the beach there and rent a 4 person paddleboat on Wednesday. Too sweet to pass up.

the sun setting over the lake - you can tell how smoggy it is
While we were waiting for our food, we worked on the "kids menu" word searches, clearly, Mikayla and I took it a little more seriously

More on Jeff's Race

"Aunt Laura" just sent us this link of "Uncle Jeff" crossing the finish line - very cool. You'll hear John yelling encouragement as he's running in and then giving Jeff a big old hug. It's awesome - so glad they had that videod so I feel like I was there. Once again - WAY TO GO JEFF!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Forest Fire

At 1:30 today, a forest fire started up on the mountain ridge near to us. 500 acres have burned, 250 homes threatened - 52 already destroyed. When I first saw the plume of smoke earlier today I got to thinking, "UH OH!!!! - this could be a real problem, especially with the high winds, I wonder how they would evacuate this place?"

Apparently the fire is 20 miles away SW of us. However, it is moving NE. That's not good. It looks like the weather appears to be cooperating. That is good. I'll keep you posted if our accomodations change from the Ridge Resort to the South Lake Tahoe evacaution center........ (saying that with a smile, just so you know - I think we'll be ok).

Now We're Talkin'.....

First of all, word out to the Whites - we miss you guys!!!! Hope your trip to Las Vegas was a blast!

John returned this morning after spending the night with Jeff and Laura at about 9:15. Thankfully, he was willing to sacrifice a little more sleep and delay his nap until this afternoon so that we could get out of the resort area and check out Heavenly Village down in South Lake Tahoe. He's currently fast asleep as I write this, while I watch perhaps the last game of the college world series.

Heavenly Village is a cute little shopping area built around the gondola ride that takes you to the ski resort - all the way up to 10,400 feet. We weren't originally going to foot the price tag to take the kids on the ride up the mountain but ending up succumbing to the adventure of it, and we're glad we did. Perfect lower-energy activity for the day.

So, here's some pics of the family finally together, finally able to have a day "vacationing". GOOD TIMES.......

The fam at the base of the gondola ride
A few shots from inside the gondola

Making friends with local wildlife on the viewing deck
And, here's the lake....

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jeff, You Are Amazing!!!!

Had to throw up a quick post - I've been faithfully checking the web updates, and it's official - Jeff finished his race.

100 miles, 18 hours and 22 minutes ------ unbelievable!!!! He averaged around a 10:30 mile (that's a Steph estimate based on what I was looking at, more details to come)

He came in 9th place among the men at the most prestigious ultra-marathon in the world. 392 racers. I am so, so proud of him, it's just unfathomable to me.

John called twice today, apparently, he did a lot more than just cheering on. He'll sleep there for a bit and return early in the morning when he's gotten some sleep- he is way worn out, but compared to Jeff, maybe not that worn out........

So, one more time - WAY TO GO JEFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Need I say more? Between their catcher and their shortstop, I am quite enamored with their team. Fun tv, that's for sure!

What We Don't Do Well with on Vacations.....

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, I thought I'd compile a list I've come up with that guarantees the Rileys won't be in the great moods they've been hoping for while embarking upon the anticipated "greatest vacation ever".......

- lack of sleep- sadly, this is almost a guaranteed certain for any vacation given John's line of work. He is almost entirely paid by commission, so being away from work means income not coming in. Trying to offset that means 3:15 wake up calls the week prior to get prepared for a week away from the job. Throw in a mom who's procrastinated a bit in the packing department and you've got two worn out adults with a very short tempers. Grrrrrr......

- kids that are only thinking about themselves- yup, another given, especially when all they are focussed on is having fun on this great trip. Brayden tends to be a lolly-gagger and Mikayla can get a bit sensitive and dramatic - and neither one of them are very interested in pitching in to keep the car clean or grabbing bags when we get to a hotel. Mommy and Daddy then get even crankier.

- motion sickness- no, not us - that would be our weak-stomached daughter. Did you know that gallon size ziploc bags can also serve as motion sickness bags? We've tested that twice already. However, I do have to hand it to her, she handles it like a champ, for that we are very thankful.

- crazy traffic- and, a husband with a propensity for driving faster and closer to the car in front of us than I'm comfortable with. I have yet to find the right wording or body language that appropriately expresses I am uncomfortable/freaked out without offending him. This deteriorates the attitude on our roadtrip very quickly.

- bigger cities- John and I came to a major revelation already on this trip. We are not city vacationers. Not at all. The first day of this trip had to be spent in Sacramento as John had an all-day dental conference that he and Tyson were presenting at. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency downtown on the company's dime and boy oh boy, is that not our style of "cozy vacationing". I could devote a whole post to the experience, but suffice to say, high class hotels and I don't mix really well. I am aghast at how much money is being given out right and left to the valet person, the bellhop, the concierge (for suggesting a family friendly restaurant), the taxi-cab - and then repeating the process all over again when we checked out. The whole feel of the place just screamed "stuffy" - it's just so not me.

The family friendly restaurant that we chose was Hard Rock Cafe. Funny, we didn't remember it being quite that "hard rock" when we've visited in other locations. It was in a bizarre location in a part of out-dated downtown Sacramento and John and I just felt super uncomfortable being there and even waiting outside for our taxi to return. (the concierge had suggested avoiding walking as you'd be going through transient areas - I think that settled into our heads and had us overly paranoid). Then and there, as we were waiting outside the restaurant, we decided that a future dream of ours to go to NYC to see the Macy's Day Parade in person and witness Christmas in NY- well, it's been scratched off the list. We figured the whole time we were there we'd be wishing we were watching the parade on tv all cozy in our home or a place in Sunriver. Glad we came to that conclusion, we saved ourselves thousands of dollars.......

- being treated like a second-class citizen- If you know John, you know that he loves to make friends in a hurry. He is generous, friendly, and very social. As a result, we had striked up conversations with all of the folks that helped us get checked in, and as a result of John's personality and ease in tipping, had them eating out of our hands. This pleased me and made me feel much more comfortable about staying at the hotel the next day, all day, while John was at the conference. We were able to extend our check out until 2pm, so the kids and I juggled the Disney channel in the hotel room with the "quite nice" outdoor pool all day until we finally had to secure our belongings on a luggage cart and just hang out (outside by the pool) until John returned. This had all worked surprisingly well for the 3 of us and by 3pm, with just one hour left until John was due to return, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had stacked the kids' backpacks and a bag of mine on a table by the pool and the kids were getting out so we could splurge on some ice cream treats from the hotel store. As I was helping Brayden get his swim shirt on to go into the lobby, a hotel security staff person came near me and oddly suggested that I might want to have us return to our room first so the kids could dry off before getting their extra clothes on. Weird. I didn't process what he was getting at. I replied that we didn't need to as we would be returning to the pool and were just going in to get ice cream. I think he then asked if we'd be eating the ice cream in our room. I still didn't get it and told him we'd be eating out by the pool. Finally, he came out with it and said, "Well, do you have a room here at our hotel?" OH, THAT'S WHAT HE WAS GETTING AT!!!! I finally got it! I quickly replied, "yes" as if that was the craziest question ever, and he backed off and away quickly, obviously surprised his theories were off.

What really ticked me off, once I had absorbed the whole exchange, was that I was dressed "classy". My kids both looked good and outside of a few pieces of kids' backpacks on the table, he had no reason whatsoever to imply that we'd came in off the street to cheat the hotel out of their precious private pool. It gave me satisfaction that immediately after speaking to him I was able to walk right up to the check-in desk and begin a conversation with one of the registration guys (I was checking to see if John had called) - so it further backed my evidence for being there at the hotel legitimately. I knew he was watching too.

I spent the next hour stewing and plotting my revenge..... "How dare he....." And, revenge I got. I chatted with the concierge on duty as we were waiting for our luggage to be loaded up and she was astouded that had happened. I was sweet and polite about the "whole mix-up" but for "the better of the whole hotel, knowing how I felt, I thought I'd mention the incident so another hotel patron doesn't end up feeling offended unnecessarily". Like I said, the gal was aghast that it had happened and determined to get to the bottom of it and correct the "obviously new employee who doesn't know our policy about making this hotel feel like your second home". Thattagirl, go get him for me - he deserves it.

Wow, can you tell I needed to get that off my chest? I guess today's post is a sort of cleansing therapy for me.

Today, as John is gone (I'm assuming he's safe, I think I'd know at this point if he wasn't.....), the kids and I will be checking this place out. This resort is huge with buildings all over the place, sprawling over significant distances. It should be fun - and have I mentioned, I am SOOO happy to be here.

For the sake of context, this trip was very random for us - due to an unforseen perk in something we purchased in the past, we were able to spend 7 days here for a whopping $125 total. It has paid for itself already, and I am very pleased. I just thought I'd throw all of that in as I spent so much time complaining earlier.

I think the next post will be full of race pics and the beauty John got to see helping - have a great Saturday-

Friday, June 22, 2007

We're Here!

Gosh, it's only been 24 hours without the internet, but in my mind I've written 3 posts - I'll have to just pace them out I suppose. Also, I want to reitterate the concept of this blog - it's going to end up replacing my scrapbooks with a published version of this blog so as I give details about our adventures, much of it is being done simply for our family's history sake; and as always, that means if you don't give a flying fig about it, that's totally okay......

Okay, now that all my excuses for rambling have been set out there- we've made it to Lake Tahoe!!!!! And, we are VERY HAPPY! This is something for us to say, because the first 36 hours of our little adventure were at best, "okay", and at worst, quite cranky-causing. I think I'll save the next post for giving some reasons for this attitude, but let me paint the picture of what caused the great attitude turn-around for the Riley family (at least Mommy and Daddy, I think Brayden and Mikayla have been pretty much loving most of this experience).

About 50 miles east of Sacramento, the scenery does a drastic change and that's when life started getting really good for us. We left the snob attitude and confining claustrophobia of the capitol city of California, and entered into the forest beauty that is so spectacular, part of the amusement park, California Adventure, is designed to look like it. As we climbed the mountain reaching over 7000 ft (currently, we're staying at 7300 ft), we just looked and gazed in awe at the boulders and white rocks, tumbling river along side of us, and quaint little village towns, all so perfect they look like they came from a movie lot. Towns like "Strawberry" - with a gorgeous lodge and little market - and population of 50. And Stateline, a cross between Sisters, Sunriver, Leavenworth - just adorable and so completely up our alley in terms of what makes us smile. We've found our cozy place and after where we stayed yesterday, man, it makes a difference.

I'll post more about everything tomorrow, but a quick prayer request for anyone reading tonite. This morning, at 2:30, John will leave here to drive to Squaw Valley to meet up with Jeff and Laura (Jeff being his twin brother). Jeff will be running his 100 mile "Western States Run" tomorrow; what an amazing thing that our trip coincidentally coincided with his run enabling John to not only cheer him on but help crew for him with Laura. So cool - but, please pray for John's drive, so early in the morning on roads he's never driven, and it's not as those he's topped out right now in the sleep department...... And, pray for Jeff - we just want him to feel like he's done his best......

Alright, enough for now- hope your weekend is sizing up to be just glorious!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Strawberry Pickin'

Awww, taking kids to the strawberry patch - what a great mommy thing to do. Too bad I can't take credit for it. These pictures are courtesy of Lisa, who took the girls and her son to a local strawberry farm yesterday morning. I think the free labor Mikayla offered wasn't quite equivalent to keeping up with her, but I sure appreciated Lisa's field trip with them.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Summer Days

I just got done serenading Mikayla with "Summer Lovin'" (Grease) - God bless that child for believing that I can sing.....

Here's what summer is for us:

alarm clocks purposely left off
beach bags part of the furniture in the back of the living room
bath tubs coated in sand
every other washer load full of wet towels
the Tree Top apple juice jug waiting to be filled with water for the hanging baskets
melted Zone bars in the car
pink roses filling a vase from the bush I was ready to dig up when we moved
summer workbooks screaming ambition and optimism
ice packs and coolers waiting for an adventure
duffel bags barely unloaded before the next trip away
the Glo-Lamp blessedly stored away until fall
happy, happy days for me..........

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Fathers' Day

To all those daddies, grandpas, and great-grandpas out there - hope you are having a fantastic day celebrating.

John woke up and went golfing with 3 of his best buddies. As he said, "the game was terrible, but the fellowship was fantastic". Yesterday, he and my dad took Brayden fishing - all echoed what a wonderful time they had. Lots of fish caught (and released), great picnic food, fun time male bonding.

After John returned, we made him breakfast and presented him with this present - it was something we all worked together to make happen. When we were taking professional pictures last Friday, I snuck the kids outside in the outfits the folks provided (it was at a little rural school) and snapped a few shots. I caught this one and thought I'd turn it into a Father's Day gift. The kids obviously shared why they thought Daddy was the best.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Daddy Daughter Dance

Mikayla made it! After last year's total "debaucle" with the curling iron - ok, total tragedy - those scars still cover her arm. (However, they did heal great, no raised skin, just a different coloring......) - there was a feel that we better make this year happen successfully or else....

Just in case, I did curl Mikayla's hair while she wore a long sleeve sweatshirt =) Everything turned out wonderful and John and Mikayla had a fantastic time. Tomorrow, John heads off with Brayden and my dad for a fishing trip - I think by Sunday John will be very pleased to do nothing to celebrate Fathers' Day except for simply relaxing (perhaps while watching the US Open). He sure has earned it.

This is a picture of Daddy putting a daisy corsage on Mikayla's wrist- after presenting her with a bouquet of flowers-

This is a pic of Mikayla with Amy's daughter, Christina, posing prior to their daddys' coming home-

And, a few pics from the dance- dancing and doing the "Limbo"-

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bittersweet Good-Byes

'Tis the season for ending all of those school year activities, big blank spots on the calendar, and the inevitable good-byes to the wonderful teachers and coaches that did an outstanding job influencing and encouraging my children.

First up is Mikayla's indoor soccer coach, Coach Ramey. Mikayla had her for the fall season and was in a class with just one other girl, who on a few occassions never showed up. So, she got a lot of one on one time with Ramey and loved every minute of it. When we signed up again in the spring, we were so delighted to see that she was Mikayla's coach again, and this time it was with a group of 4 - two cute girls (Erica being one of them), and two cutie boys (Christy's son, Taylor, one of them). Sadly, Ramey is moving to Portland to be with her family, so Mikayla gave her a present to show her how much she loved her. Since then, she has gotten misty-eyed on a few occassions wondering if she'll ever see Coach Ramey again.....

At the end of the class, the kiddos loved to "dog pile" Ramey-

This is a picture of Mikayla with her dance teacher, Miss Angie. We actually met her at Starbucks as she works there as well and she is the one that told us about the dance studio. It was a wonderful thing to sign up and actually find she was Mikayla's teacher as well. She'll be leaving for Iowa to return to her family too - another sad and permanent good-bye.

Finally, for Brayden, here is a picure of him with his teacher, Ms. Hynes. I adored this woman because she adored my son - she was perfect for him and I can only hope and pray he continues to find teachers that connect with him so well. Fortunately, she's not going anywhere, so we'll be able to say "Hello" to her whenever we want.....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Those Darn Planks.....

Why is it so easy to see the tiny bit of dust in someone else's eye while completely ignoring the "plank" in our own eye? I know the verse I'm referring to is quite graphic and hyperbolic (always wanted a reason to use that word), but lately I've been thinking about people in my life who are really struggling with this concept - and guess what, simply in my "thinking about them" - I'm struggling with the very same thing!

Perhaps we tend to judge others harsher on things we know we are experts on, because we've stumbled so hard ourselves or work very, very hard not to stumble on them. There must be something to that, because the things I struggle looking at others about are not the "big deal" issues - they are the little problems that I know are just going to get worse and worse, perhaps I know because I've been there.

I don't really have much more to add to this post other than the fact that I'm confessing how very "human" I am - I am so thankful God's love for me isn't fickle like the supposed love I demonstrate to others in my weaker times......

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Couple of Questions 73

I'm tired of the Roman Numerals. I think I've messed them up consistently, so I may not even be accurate in the number. For now, it's "English Numerals" - plain and simple, baby.

When John and I returned from the movie theater at 2:15 in the morning this weekend, John flipped on the tv as he needed to "unwind". "Family Fued" was on (the newer, John Hurley version) and we both got "stuck", with the familiar, "one hundred people surveyed, top 5 answers on the board" speel. (the spelling on that word looks so wrong - I'm just gonna go with it). Anyway, it brought back fun memories and led to these questions.......

1. What was your favorite game show to watch growing up (or now, whatever)?

2. What game show do you think you'd have the most chance of winning if you were chosen to be a contestant?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dallas Motor Vu Drive Inn

I don't know what it is about this place, but for the life of us, we have yet to make this experience work without a glitch. For the last several years, we've made a June trip to this cozy landmark in Dallas and every year some sort of technical issue gets the best of us. Whether it's the "ding-ding-ding" that Amy can't make stop in her vehicle, the incredibly lacking sound quality in Michael's truck, or this year, the fact that John had the radio connected through the monitor display which had the car battery die at the beginning of the second feature...... Sigh, perhaps next year, we'll have it perfected.

The glitches didn't ruin the fun, however. Gates opened at 6:30 for the double feature of "Shrek 3" and "Pirates 3" and we arrived around 6:45. The show doesn't start until dusk - 9:30, so that left plenty of time for a picnic dinner, the kids (we went with Michele's family) to play and get completely filthy in the little fenced off park area, and an oportunity to toss the football with my son. Oh, and let's not forget, the chance for John to catch up on some lost sleep.....

If you haven't made a field trip to a drive-inn, it really is worth the effort -technical glitches and all......