Disney – Day 1 (@ WDW)


Day 1 was a late day for us… we were in the 3 PM Main Street Parade and we needed to be back stage by 1 PM.  We did some warm up in the parking lot of the hotel around 10 AM with the whole band.  We collected a good crowd as the various sections steaked out some ground and began to warm up… then the whole band gathered by the bus and we marched around the hotel a few times to make sure that everyone had it down.

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Around 11:30 the kids were dismissed to get a quick bite to eat at one of the local fast food joints and the adults started loading up the trailer to get ready to go.  Once we had the trailer packed up and the kids had eaten lunch we were off to the Mouse’s House! 

Once we arrived at 1 PM on the dot and I think that we took the staff by surprise.  As soon as the trailer was parked, we got out and started getting the instruments out of the trailer and staged for the kids to pick them up.  When the Disney staff boarded our bus, out kids were in uniform and ready to perform.  Apparently most bands do not get dressed until they get to the staging area and then they do some warm up prior to going on.  Once we had the instruments ready for the kids to pick them up, we broke out the lawn chairs and set up in the shade of the trailer to wait for our next task.  The Band director decided to keep the kids on the bus where they could run the air conditioning (no point in standing out in the sun with wool uniforms on) and wait for it to be closer to time to perform to get them out.

About 20 min before the band went on the walked all the adults into the park so we could set up to take pictures.  We left through the Pirates Gate (next to the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride).

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The adults all split up and covered different parts of the park to get pictures of the band as they marched through.

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Post Travel Music


We got to the hotel, got checked in, and got the trailer situated for the night.  We were going to have a “Pizza Party” for dinner at the hotel and to kill some time before the pizza got there, Mr…. Poole decided to get in a bit of practice with the percussion section.  We were quite the hit at the hotel.  There were a number of guest that came out of their rooms to watch and listen.  Several of them were from overseas.

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The long ride…..


Yesterday started as a day filled with perpetrations… I drove out to the school and checked on the trailers and dropped off 10 or 12 cases of bottled water, a set of jumper cables, and moved the spare tire from one trailer to the other.  In the process of moving the tire, I found out that it had virtually no air pressure (just enough to make the tire gauge needle barely move).  So I set off on an expedition to find air.  There is a gas station by the house that I use, but I did not want to drive the 8 miles home for air… so I drove over to Glen Rock thinking that one of the two service stations over there would have an air hose…. to my surprise, they did not.  I called a friend and drove by their house to fill up the tire and then drove it back out to the school an secured it in the trailer.  Then went home to load up the car for the trip.

We were back out at the school at 2:30 and hooked up the trailer and pulled it over by the school to get it loaded up with all the instruments and uniforms.  Mr…. Poole had a good checklist ready for us to use as the kids brought stuff out to the trailer… it really helped out!  We pulled out of the school at 4:30 pm and arrived at the Kennedy Space Center at 11 am the next day.  It was a straight through drive with a stop for dinner and a stop for breakfast…. and that unplanned stop where we ran out of gas!  The only good thing about running out of gas is that we did it at the top of the exit ramp where there was a gas station.  So in 20 min, we were back up and running again.  We still arrived before the bus at out final destination.  

I’ve got to say that I was just a tad bit annoyed when it happened.  The gas gauge had just dropped below a 1/4 tank (between 1/4 and 1/8) when I pulled up gas stations on the GPS.  I told the other fellow that was driving that I was going to stop at the next exit and get gas.  We went about a mile after that and it coughed and then died… we coasted about a mile to the exit off ramp and as we rolled to a stop… the low fuel light came on.  That sparked a few choice words on my part.  With a 34 gallon tank we should have been ok at a 1/8 even pulling the trailer, but for the rest of the trip we just made it a practice to get gas at a 1/2 tank.  I’m not sure what is going on with the gauge.

We had a good time at the Kennedy Space Center.  We only had a few hours there to see stuff before we headed over to the hotel.  There was a good 2 days worth of stuff to see at the space center.  We just barely got to see anything.  My group did the bus tour and stopped at the first stop and the last stop and got out.  It sounded like the second stop was the one to see.  We did not see anything in the area around the main entrance.

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Christmas 2008


Christmas has come and gone.  Everyone is busy enjoying their gifts and taking time to relax.  We had a relatively good year this year.  Everyone is healthy and happy and that’s the most that you can really ask for in life!  I sat around last night after everyone opened gifts and just reflected back and it’s amazing to me how quickly my kids have grown up.  I’m thinking that we will only have a few more years before they are truly out out their own and doing their own thing.

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We had the people across the street over for dinner and conversation tonight and it was a nice visit and we got to share some of the season with them.

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Well the kids and I went Christmas shopping today and it was “CRAZY” out there.  I’ve never seen the parking lots that full.  We hit several stores and got most of what we wanted; however, there are a couple of items that we will need to go back for.

It’s hard to believe that its almost Christmas


Its been a busy couple of weeks… work has been crazy!  There has been a lot to get done before the holiday… but I’m almost there.   Mason came home from college last weekend so it’s been and “adjustment” having him home.  While we really like him being home, he is still on “College Time” where he does not come in until after midnight after being out with his buddies.  I don’t mind so much on the weekends, but during the week when I need to get up for work, I just don’t sleep well until I know he’s home.  Tuesday night the phone ran at 12:30 AM… you know that is never a good thing.

Mason was visiting one of his high school friend and when he got ready to come home it would not start.  His friend gave him a jump and he was able to get the car going.  He decided to run it down the road a couple of miles and then come home on the highway to give the battery a bit of a charge.  Which would have probably been ok; however, when he went to turn the corner to run over to the highway, the car just died (lights out).  He was in the middle of nowhere in the dark “mostly off the road”.  He called and gave the info “Dad, I’ve broken down and I’m almost off the road.” and then proceeded to give me the minutia of the turn by turn events to get him from his friends house to where he was…  I was glad that he was ok, but I was a little short with them and told him to cut to the chase and just tell me where he was “NOW”.  So after getting dressed, I when down with the other car and tried to give him a jump.  Our ‘01 Bonneville is not the car to use to jump another car.  It has the funky little skinny battery that really does not seem to work well.  I came back home and got the other car and picked up the battery out of my camper and put it in the trunk.  We got it started and it died two more times on the way home.

We ran it down to the shop the next day and after parting me from about $500 I have a new alternator and things seem to be much better.  Which is good because I’m hauling the Band Trailer to Disney World in a couple of weeks and B is a little freaked out that the car might have an issue.  I think it will be ok….

My biggest concern is the weather… we seem to be on the boarder of this “winter weather” mix every few days at the moment.

Indiana University of PA


Yesterday Anna and I went to IUP () to see one of Mason’s High School friends at his Senior Recital.  He is a music major and percussionist.  They play for about 150 students and invited guests there to watch the performance.  It was really cool, worth the four hour drive to get there, he played a real variety of music featuring his percussion.  I was really glad that we were able to see it.

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We left around noon with the idea that we would get to campus around 4 PM and have some time to walk around and see the campus.  We were making good time in getting there when we ran into the snow just was we were about to get there.  The temperature was about 26 degrees and it was a real fine snow that started to accumulate pretty quick. 

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We were about to get off the highway and then the Suburban kind of went sideways as we were coming up the last hill.  It was pretty “entertaining” for a few seconds, but I was able to keep it on the road and move along.  I put it in 4 wheel drive and keep going… but just a tad slower than I was going.  It took us about 40 min to do the last 10 miles. 

After we got to campus, we found a parking spot and decided to do a quick tour.  Anna and I had dinner at the “HUB” which is their student union.  We walked the campus and saw the library and then asked for directions to the concert hall.  We ran into Wes as we got the concert hall and helped him bring in some boxes and then went and watched him warm up session and then the concert.

We left IUP around 9:30 PM and started the trip home… the roads were bad, but not as bad as when we came into town.  Once we got to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the roads were great… the looked only damp.  I guess that the mountains really trap the snow on the western side of them.  There were still some areas where it felt a little icy, but it was not all snow covered it was more just patches.  We got home around 2:30 this morning and went straight to bed.