Monday, October 31, 2005

Race Day: Atlanta

Cari and I went to Atlanta Motorspeedway for the Nascar race on Sunday. The first thing I need to tell you is that traffic was an absolute nightmare. We sat in our car for hours. A person could die sitting there so long. In fact there was a small cemetery along side of the road next to the track. That says something about their traffic. I am so sorry I didn't get a picture of it.

On the way to the race, the idiots on the radio kept telling us how bad one road was and how great traffic was on the NEW road. We were headed for this new road, so should be good. We had left the house with plenty of time to spare.
As we sat motionless on the new road, the traffic people on the radio updated their message, "Hwy 20 is backed up about 10 miles." So much for this great NEW road. Sitting still on the road made me bored and I got my camera out. Here are a few examples of my entertainment:

With a dish THAT big, the people
living here are certainly
stealing HBO!

Either that, or they have
launched their own
satellite. I already have
my application in
with the neighbors to
approve one like that for me.
I guess that's what you do for HD TV.

99% of Nascar fans are white.

99% of the guys buying
and selling race tickets
on the side of the highway
are black.

The two guys in this picture
are taking a break to count
all their money.

Frustrated with the tracks free parking lot, we went down the street to a small airport and paid $10 to park. We made it to our seat as the National Anthem was finishing and the airforce jet flew over the track.

We had good seats, and the race was good to watch. Not a lot of crashes, but there was some good racing going on for the top five spots. I took my camera, as always, and snapped about 80 pictures. We had a good view of pit road, here are a few pictures I got.
After we watched Carl Edwards to his victory back flip, it was time to go home.

Traffic at the track reminded me of an hour-glass. You take thirteen lanes of traffic coming into the track from all directions and funnel them into a single lane parking lot.

Traffic leaving was an equal or larger mess as coming in was. In over three hours we drove less than 10 miles. That is not an exaggeration. It takes no more than two and a half hours to drive to this track from my house. The race ended at 4:30 and we got home at 10:30pm.

I'm going to print out a map of the roads around the track and e-mail them a proper traffic plan. They obviously don't have one.

This was our fourth Nascar event, and fourth different track. When we decide where to go next year, it probably won't be Atlanta.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Yet another hike

The picture above is a small panoramic I made by stitching a few photos together. This was taken while standing about 3200 ft above sea level. Thankfully, they had a railing to hold onto.

Went for a hike yesterday morning. We were searching out a waterfall that I had not seen yet.

I've seen it now. I'll spare you the hour and twenty minute walk through the woods to find it. Even better, I'll spare you the hour and forty minute walk out as you climb uphill.This is Raven Cliff falls. From top to bottom, it is about a 400ft drop. You can see the leaves are starting to change colors up in the mountains. It was a beautiful sight.

It was cold, very cold, as we hiked. Finding something like this makes you forget how cold it is, for a few minutes.

Then last night, Randy and I went camping with the cubscouts. We camped at the Scout campground, so there were a lot of activities for us. The temperature dropped below 40, so it made for a rough night. Believe it or not, I left my camera at home for this outing. It seems I have pictures for everything I do, but I intentional left it behind for this camp out.

Randy and I had a great time last night. This morning was even better. He got to shoot bb guns and use a bow and arrow. His bb gun paper target survived without a scratch.
We also did fire building and hiking this morning.

I'm getting tired after yesterday and today, but the fun has not ended. I'm heading out early in the morning toward Atlanta. Cari and I will be sitting 56 rows up from the Atlanta Motor Speedway to watch the Nascar race tomorrow afternoon.

I must sleep now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Glory of Cheese!

I found one of those books that leads people to Christ. At least I thought that's what it was. Then I started reading this eleven page book of Spanish. I have taken portions of this book and am going to translate for you, this story:

THE GLORY OF CHEESE!The skull and cross bones are there to prepare you for the scary story you will find inside.

The devil and Papa talk about this chunk of cheese as kitty watches over the mouse. The devil requests some crackers to eat with this glorious cheese.

The devil tells kitty about the delicious crackers Papa has. A bird flies in to witness this glorious cheese and the kitty inhales that small mouse.

The devil becomes angry when the bird flies off with the cheese, leaving him holding a single whole wheat cracker.

The devil begins to recount his days in Egypt. Back in the day of cracker worship. This is in the time before cheese. All the people of Egypt would bow down to the mighty cracker in prayer for a piece of cheese.

Papa was a very famous priest, praying to the cracker gods for cheese. When he learned about the power of Jesus, he sent all the people looking for him. "Jesus has the cheese!"

Papa sends people out in every direction looking for where Jesus would have hidden the cheese. As the day goes on, he squeezes kitty tighter and tighter.

In this final frame, Jesus' friend is tied to a stake and threatened to be burned. Papa demands to know about the secrets of Jesus Christ. The man at the stake is taunted with the mighty cracker, but that is not enough for him to betray Christ as he says, "no".

When I first turned the pages of this small book, I thought it was a joke. What in the world does following Jesus have to do with cheese and crackers? As I spent the next month translating the text, I realized that Jesus is the source of cheese to those with dry, wheat crackers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm a MAN

Someone at work today was going to buy a portable carpet cleaner. It can be used to clean fabric chairs and upholstery. Somehow the discussion came to me and how I could use one of those to clean my car.

"That's women's work.", I said. That statement didn't seem to go over well with the one woman in the room. After getting questionable looks, I restated my position on not purchasing one of those things.

As people were walking by the office, they were sucked into our conversation. Two other men that walked in stood beside me in my view of women's work. One other man, that really was pushing for more trouble, claimed there was no such "woman's work". Just that everyone should work together. He obviously is a confused individual and living in some alternate reality.

What is woman's work? That definition doesn't need to be listed here, you all know the answer.
It was suggested that I would be a good candidate for one of those wife swap shows.
It would go like this:

Me: (as I open my empty closet) "Where are my clothes?"
wife swap woman: "Probably in the laundry, where you left them."
Me: "You didn't wash them yet?"
wife swap bit*h: "they are your clothes, you should wash them."
Me: "that's women's work!"

That would be a short episode.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

To the top!

On our third day at Stone Mountain, our last full day, Randy and I climbed the mountain.
This was the cloudiest day we had seen, but I didn't want to leave without fulfilling my mission.

We stopped in the learning center that was at the beginning of the trail. Stone Mountain is not actually a mountain, it is a monadnock. Basically, a granite formation that is being exposed by millions of years of erosion.

The trail we took was 1.3 miles and went to an elevation of 1683 ft above sea level. The trail was very rocky, and very smooth in some places. . Near the beginning of our trip, we saw places where people had carved their names in the rock. Some of these were from the early 1900's and I saw one from the late 1800's. I even found one that was my initials.

The higher we climbed up the trail, the foggier it got.
At one point in our walk we stopped to drink some of our water and eat some beef jerky. I had learned this week, that dried meat is a camping favorite. Our camp ate no less than three bags of it. In this picture you can see how foggy it was about half way up. Also, you can see a yellow line painted on the rock. That line is the trail.

At the steepest point of our climb, there was a railing installed. Even with this railing, we saw several adults slip on the wet granite. Randy and I made it to the top without falling.
At the top we saw that the sky lift was down for annual maintance. After a short break, we headed back down. It was so foggy at the top, you could hardly see the building for the sky lift. It was scary up there, because you couldn't see more than 100 yards in front of you. We stopped and took some pictures at the very top. Using the self timer I got a picture of the mountain climbers that we had become.

On our way down we took a side trail between two rocks that formed a sort of hallway. The inside of this hall was covered in gum. Randy and I wanted to be a part of this wall and I pulled our gum out of the backpack. After some quick chewing, the result was our initials written in gum, on the side of the rock. It was sugar free gum and required a bit of extra effort to have it stick properly. But we overcame this problem.

The other sight we saw on our way down was a truck that had been used to fix the skylift. One of the guys on the crew was ahead of the truck, warning hikers to move out of the way in case the truck lost control. Driving at such a steep angle, down wet granite does not sound like a fun job. Not only does it not SOUND like fun, it did not LOOK like fun.

Randy was trying to splash in some of puddles that formed in the low spots. He thought it was funny when he would get my socks wet. I ended that contest with one giant stomp into a puddle that about soaked him to the shoulders.

We had hiked 2.6 miles round trip. The six year old made it with no problems. He is an excellent hiking partner, and probably could have made that trip two more times. At the top, we couldn't see much more than each other, but at least we can now say we hiked to the top of Stone Mountain together.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Parental instinct

When I came around the corner the other night, this is what I saw:

Now, a normal parental instinct would say, "get down before you fall and get hurt."
But MY instinct said, "dang! That's cool!"
I told him not to get down until I could get my camera.
As I was taking the third picture, Randy said, "Dad, my legs are getting tired."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cari purchased a mattress warmer instead of an electric blanket. This should give more even heating and prevents the dog from chewing out the wires. Rick is the one who said dogs like to chew on the wires in electric blankets. I reminded Rick those blankets are probably not suited for dogs.

I climb into bed last night and Cari says, "how do you like the warmer?".
"I think it's great if you want to get 3rd degree burns while you sleep!", I reply.
I'm serious. This thing is warming my back so much that I kept flipping over to prevent over cooking.

Cari sits up all of a sudden. When I ask her what's the matter, she reaches for the ceiling fan that was spinning slowly. "How do you people expect me to sleep with this fan on slow?", she says.

YOU PEOPLE? I take a quick look around. Nobody else to be seen. "Who is 'you people'?", I ask. She doesn't answer. I get up and leave the room. When I come back, Cari asks me where I went.

"You are going to be featured on the blog tomorrow, I made some notes. Good night.", I tell her calmly. She replied with a groan.

I lay in bed, too hot on my back, too cold on my front. This must be some sort of science experiment I am living.
It's not funny.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A solution for every problem.

Saturday night at camp, we sat at the picnic table and played cards. During that time, I had no less than two daddy long leg spiders climb down from my head. How they got there, I'm not sure. Did they climb up my back? Did they jump from the trees? I don't know, I just don't want them climbing on me. When I went to bed, there were two spiders climbing the side of the tent. What kind of freak place is this? For every problem, there is a solution. Cari said she wanted to get the insect spray out.
"You realize this is the place spiders live.", I told her as we stood in the woods. Her solution was not approved.
(Probably not the best place for Randy to take a break)

Sunday morning I checked myself for spiders. After being cleared of arachnids, we headed back to the park. We saw a 4-D movie that Meredith did not like. If you are not sure what 4-D is, it is a 3D movie that adds in things like spraying water on you, blowing wind, etc. . . It was very cool.

The mountain kept calling out to me, so the boy and I made it our mission to hike to the top. The plan would be to hike up the 1.3 mile trail and take the skylift down.

Sunday afternoon went very well. Sunday night was not as well.
I like flashlights. Going camping is a good opportunity to use them. I had my new MILLION candle power spot light with me. It's a bit too powerful in our small tent. We used it. . . until the battery died. The light came with a car charger . . . that I left at home.

I grab one of my 4-cell maglights out of the car. click. click. Batteries are dead. Pop the trunk and pull out another 4-cell. click. We have light! The light faded after fifteen minutes and I was sitting in the dark.

The journal I was keeping had to be written in the dark. Those notes are useless now because I can not even read the writing. Maybe I'll scan them in one day and see if you can make them out. Cari had great pleasure pointing out my love for flashlights, and then not being able to produce a decent one for three nights of camping.

For every problem, there is a solution. The solution is that I will need to buy a new flashlight. One that cranks to generate power. NO batteries to worry about. Cari doesn't know about my solution (until she reads this), so funding on this project has not yet been approved (and probably won't be).

Monday was our last day at the park, and would be my last opportunity to climb Stone Mountain. Did I make it?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

She'll be coming around the mountain...

On our first morning at Stone Mountain, we moved our wet tent to join sites with our neighbors. This is good, since they had all the food.

When we got to the mountain park we took the train ride around the base. It took about thirty minutes, and the entire time Meredith held her ears and closed her eyes. This was not her favorite part of the day.

They were holding pumpkin festival while we were there. Randy had a blast driving around in the little John Deer tractors they had for kids. He immediately made it his mission to chase down the other children and "bump draft" them. I was so proud as the lady in charge instructed him not to bump other kids. He then made me more proud as he did it two more times while the lady turned her back. It was a "that's my boy!" moment.

Inside a plain white tent (huge tent) was a party. Loud music, beach balls flying, crazy MC's, it was Pumpkinpalooza! Our neighbor went on stage with her daughter to play some of the games. The looser would be splashed with pumpkin guts.

Our neighbors won, so they came out clean. That made our next stop the pumpkin pie eating contest. That's when MY family got involved. Both Cari and Randy were excited about getting up there. They had three children and three adults on stage and Cari and Randy were both selected. Randy wanted whip cream on his, and he got plenty of it. Cari chose not to. Neither one of them won, but they said the pie was good. This was one of those contests where you can't use your hands, so it was face first into the sweetness.

In the evening we headed out to the carved face of the mountain to watch the laser light show and fireworks. Before it started, I went to find the bathroom. Once out on my own, it was my nature to explore. I made it back to our seats about forty minutes later. "Must have been a nice bathroom.", Cari said when she saw me.

The laser light show was sponsored by various companies. Their commercials were broadcast in laser on the side of the mountain. This commercial intro went on way too long and I started missing my TiVo.
Something magical happens when you are on vacation in a park like this. Money suddenly seems to be at endless supply. I purchased an Italian ice for $4.50. This thing was worth about $2.00, and under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't have spent that on it. But I was in a foggy vacation type mind set and got two of them.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Click above picture for a short movie. . .SPEED!

An 11 hour diversion

I will continue to tell you my camping story this week. First we have an 11 hour diversion from camping.

When I arrived at work on Thursday, I found that they had given away eight tickets to the Nascar Busch race. That gave me three projects to work on: get tickets from somebody, change my work schedule so I could go on Friday night, and find a babysitter.

With those three goals accomplished, and it wasn't easy, Cari and I were off to Charlotte last night for the Busch race.

We left around 3pm and were walking around the grounds by six. Parking was a bit confusing and we ended up paying $20 for parking. This turned out to be in our favor at the end of the night.

Nextel Cup practice was still being held when we got to the track, so we watched drivers in and out of the garage. We met with the other six people from my store who had tickets for a few minutes. Cari and I headed out to the SPEED stage to watch Trackside Live being broadcast. We stood in the audience and cheered like idiots as the camera passed over our heads. I was the one in a Jeff Gordon hat, maybe you saw me if you were watching Friday night. After seeing Rusty Wallace make his way on stage we started back for our seats.

The race was AWESOME! The only problem was that every time I picked a driver to cheer for, he wrecked or broke his car and was out of the race. Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Busch, Robby Gordon. Some that I wanted to cheer against also got out. Primarily, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart.

Ryan Newman, who was passing cars at will last night, ended up winning the race.

I took a lot of pictures. A lot of blurry pictures. Taking pictures of a car passing you at 190+ mph can be tricky. Toward the end, I did learn how to take a good picture. It was good practice for me, because we are headed to Atlanta to see the Nextel Cup race there at the end of the month.

After a race filled with cautions, we headed out of there after 11:30. This is where the $20 paid off. We were directly across from the track, so we were in our car and on the road before most of the drunk people even found their cars.Home by 2am made this my 11 hour diversion from camping stories.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Camping Trip: Friday night

Got off of work and headed toward Atlanta Friday night. It had not rained in our area for about six weeks, but it was raining that night.

Our neighbors were going with us, but for various reasons, we left separately. Driving down I-85, I spotted their camper. After some brief conversation on the cell phone, we decided to follow them on their "short cut" to Stone Mountain Park. It's eight o'clock and still raining. It should only be about thirty minutes more drive time.

After stopping twice to get ourselves un-lost, I realize that the 15 year old boy is the one holding the map. I'm following a fifteen year old in the dark, in the rain, in a part of Atlanta I've never been before. At that point it hit me that I had no choice but to continue to follow them. That was not a happy moment.

A little after nine pm, we pull into the camping area. For those following my time line, that put us lost for at least half an hour. It's still raining. Cari and I sign up for a tent site and drive to find it. The children are getting cranky, we'll have to get this thing up quick. Cari and I hop out and open the trunk. "where's the tent?", I ask when I don't see it in front of me.
"um. . .", she started digging a bit. "It got packed first.", she told me.

After unloading our stuff from the trunk and pulling the tent out, we laid it on the flat part of our site.

I ran back to the car, "get out of the car, boy."
I stood Randy up on the picnic table and gave him the flashlight.
"I'm getting my clothes wet.", the boy said.
"Yeah, it's raining.", I assured him.

The tent up, sleeping bags and family inside, I looked at my watch. Ten o'clock. Still raining.
Welcome to Stone Mountain Park! The last thing Cari said before falling asleep was, "This is retarded."

The next morning, the sun showed itself. Randy went picking up some kind of nut that was falling from the trees while we packed up. We were moving to share a site with our neighbors. Randy collected 100 nuts and for some dumb reason I allowed him to take his bag of nuts and store them in the car. The biggest mistake about this was that two days later worms started crawling out of these nuts and across the car floor. The nuts only lasted about five minutes after we realized they harbored nasty bugs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We have returned!

We have been at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia since Friday.
We camped with our neighbors. Their was seven in their family that went, so that makes a large camping group. I took well over 200 pictures, made some movies, and took notes. Lots of good things to write about happen when you camp for four nights with ten other people.

Pie eating contests, climbing the mountain (pictured above), building camp in the rain, riding the duck, spiders at night, and more. I should have at least a weeks worth of entries to put up here. Starting tomorrow, I'll try and get an entry up every night. I start back to work tomorrow, so this may not happen as planed.

Sure is good to be back.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Third time is the charm

This is the third time I have written in this blank spot tonight. I scratched my first two attempts. Maybe my idea wasn't fully thought out. Maybe it wasn't as interesting as I was writing it. Maybe I'm not in a mood to write.

My original idea was about Mr. Attitude. He is Jonah. Open your bible and read the book of Jonah, it's about two pages. This guy is all about attitude.

See, that wasn't worth a long essay. I got my point across in three sentences.

The second thing I wanted to tell you about is bedtime. Not putting the children to bed, but about the times that Cari and I get to bed at the same time. This woman is crazy. "You're on my side.", she tells me last night. I was facing the wall when I heard her.

Without turning, "I'm all the way on the edge."
"You are on my side.", she repeats as she nudges me.
Before I say anything else, her foot pushes me closer to the wall. "What is your problem?", I ask as I grab up ninety percent of the blankets.
This goes on for about ten minutes with me almost falling off the bed twice. I only want to get some sleep, but she insists on living on rules from a five year old. She gets up for a minute and I put a hard cover book in her pillow case. It's dark in the room, but when she lays back down, "thunk". Victory is mine.

The third item on the agenda is the dog.

Out playing with the camera, got several pictures of the dog in action.

Next week:
More from Rick's World!
Camping in Georgia!
Sailing the seas as a Pirate!
and a new video is coming soon!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mortal Enemy

I decided to stop shaving for a few days. I have really never done that before. Sometimes I go a day or two, but this time I went about five or six.
That got me some extra attention at work for a few days. Everyone asked if I lost my razor or they would rub their hand over their chin as they talked to me.

Last night as I debated not shaving for even longer and I combed my hair different.
My loving wife says, "you kinda look like Tony Stewart."
I shaved this morning.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Driving through rural Georgia does not offer a lot to look at. Many trees, fields, and scattered mobile homes. When we came to this building, I had to stop and see what was going on. We had not seen anything for a few hours with the exception of a few wooden structures.
As it is labeled, this is the Wicox County Court House. Located in Abbeville, Georgia. It is a beautiful building placed where nobody will ever find it. There was a monument near the flag poles, dedicated to the confederate soldiers who fought for the South during the Civil War. There were a few statues located across the street from the building also.

This was the spot that Jefferson Davis, the first and ONLY President of the Confederate States, camped the night prior to his capture.

He was traveling with his wife and children. Also in his group were the post master general, and the Governor of Texas. Why was the post master with him? Is that kinda like taking your mailbox with you on vacation?

At this point in the war, it was starting to look kinda bad for these guys and Atlanta was being threatened.

This group was on their way to try and make a peace deal. Funny how you refuse peace until you have all but lost.

I wonder if they stopped to eat at this cafe during their last dinner together? The restaurant (I'm really not sure if that is the right word to use) is located across from the courthouse.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


I enjoy watching the Amazing Race every season. For those not familiar with the show, it is a contest that sends couples all around the globe in a race. At every stop they have various challenges to complete. At the end of each segment the last team to the check-in, is eliminated. The couples can be best friends, sisters, married couple, father-son, etc. . .

As you are watching, text will appear at the bottom of the screen reminding you what team you are watching. If you are watching the married couple scream at each other you will see "Married Couple" over at the bottom left of your screen.

The new Amazing Race is families this time around. I sat down to watch this last week. There was a black family trying to complete a challenge, and down at the bottom right, "Black Family".

"Cari, I think CBS has lost their minds!", I told her as I hit rewind to verify what I had just seen.
Always calm, Cari responded, "That's their last name."
I repeated what I just learned, "The black family is the Black family."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Goodbye, Summer! I will miss you!

Early in the spring I hacked these plants into little cubes.
Spring has come and gone. Summer is in the past and we enter Fall. The golden plumes have returned and look great in the sun. The long slender blades are sharper than razors.

Time to start thinking about the gauze I will need when I hack them back again in the Spring.