Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Hollywild Festival of Lights
Spartanburg County, SC
Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The Hollywild Festival of Lights is an annual tradition here in Spartanburg County, SC.  Amy and I went several years ago and had a good time, so we decided to go back again this year!


We made the mistake of going last night and it was WAY TOO CROWDED!  However, we made the best of it and still had a good time. 

We were fortunate to get there right as they opened at 6:00pm and only had to wait about a half hour to get in.  As we were leaving, the line of cars waiting to get in was over a mile long!  The Hollywild Festival of Lights is something that should be done on a week night or much earlier in the Holiday Season!

Here are a few photos from last night.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Lights

We put up our Christmas Lights this weekend.
Enough to show some Christmas sprit without going overboard!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 2011 Hess Truck

As many of you know, I have a little side business where I sell Hess Collectable Toy Trucks.  With many repeat customers every year it has grown to the point that it becomes a second full time job during the holiday season.

With the four day holiday weekend, I finally had time to open up one of this years Hess Trucks, put the batteries in, and check it out!  I took this shot so I could update the photo on my website.

Here is a link to the story about how I got started with this!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amy's family traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  So this past Saturday we went to visit her family in Rutherfordton, NC for an early Thanksgiving Celebration!

How to deep fry a Turkey!

Shooting the Bird (injecting the marinade)

The deep frying rig

Dropping the Bird

My wife Amy and Brother-in-Law Hugh watching my Father-in-law dropping the bird

The finished Product - Good enough to eat!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1938 Cadillac

At my in-laws party Saturday evening, one of the guests showed up in a beautifully restored 1938 Cadillac! 

1938 Cadillac

My father-in-law Chris checking it out

1938 Cadillac

Amy checking out under the hood

I get behind the wheel

The owner of this fine looking vehicle is Mr.Joe Bennett, who I have met several times in the past.  However, I never knew that his family owns and operates The Bennett Classics Antique Auto Mesuem in Forest City, NC. 

Next time we are up visiting Amy's parents and have a little time to kill, we are going to check this place out to see the rest of the Bennett car collection!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Sane Soiree

The Sane "Ladies Night Soiree"
Rutherfordton, NC
Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Some nice fall color at my in-laws place

This Saturday, we went up to my in-laws for their annual "Ladies Night Soiree".  Almost every Saturday their is some sort of gathering at "The Shop".  Most of these gatherings are very much impromptu and usually involve only men.  However, every fall their is a more thought out event where the wives and significant others are welcome to join the men at "the shop" for an evening of food and drink!

Here are a few photos from this years event:

As you can see there were a lot of laughs and a great time was had by all.  The complete set of photos is posted here:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Memory of Brandon Sane

Just over a year ago, Amy's cousin Brandon was killed in a car accident.  Yesterday on the way to visit Amy's Parents, we made a stop at the Cemetery to visit the grave site and pay our respects.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The 2011 SSPBDT Mancation Camping Weekend

Mortimer Campground

Caldwell County, NC

Friday, October 28th through Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Every October since 2005, the SSPBDT has invaded the Mortimer Campground for a weekend of camping fun.

The purpose of the SSPBDT Mancation is a once a year opportunity for us men to get away for a weekend without contact to the outside world and drink large quantities of FABs around the campfire. Unlike the SSPBDTSOCE, women are not allowed to attend the Mancation.

As usual, it was raining when I arrived at the campground Friday afternoon. I was please to see that the early arrivals had snagged our favorite campsites and had already erected our giant community tarp! As usual, I was quite impressed with the erection!

Steve and Scott M. got a head start on the weekend and arrived the previous day, while Jeff and Ron arrived earlier that morning.

I usually like to get a little hiking in after I arrive, but with a cold rain falling I instead spent most of the afternoon relaxing by the campfire with my buddies, drinking a few FABs, and listening to the rain fall on the giant tarp overhead. I did take advantage of one lull in the rain to set up my tent.

My tent and campsite (photo taken the next day)

Around dinner time Scott R. finally showed up making a total of six members attending this year's event. The campfire was kicked up a notch keeping us warm and our giant tarp kept us dry throughout the evening. At least until we decided to go for the midnight graveyard tour!

The graveyard tour is a tradition and the rain had slowed to a light drizzle. At least until we got to the graveyard when it started falling heavily again. Needless to say this was the shortest midnight graveyard tour ever. We quickly retreated back to the campfire to dry off and warm up! I didn't even get a chance to set up the camera and tripod for any nighttime graveyard shots!

For some reason, I don't remember much of what happened around the campfire after that!

The first nights campfire

The next morning it appeared that the rain was done, but it was definitely still cold. Unusually we don't bother keeping the campfire going throughout the day, but with highs not expected to get much above 40 degrees for the day we would keep it burning all day long! But would our wood supply last?

These next photos show some of our creative wood gathering techniques!
Some redneck engineering

Pulling down a dead limb

Ron and his big wood

Jeff doing some tree limb fishing

Scott chopping away

Needless to say there are now a few less dead trees and limbs at the Mortimer Campground!

Usually when I head to the mountains I like to get as much hiking in as possible. However, since this is about my 10th time camping here, I have hiked just about every trail in the area. This makes it much easier for me to resist the hiking urge and just be able to relax!

In fact, this would turn out to be the first time ever that I didn't do a single hike. I did do a few walks and a little exploring, but nothing long enough to even bother bringing the backpack!

Thorps Creek Falls

The Mortimer Graveyard

The campground equivalent of Super Walmarts

The evenings meal was left up to the Piglet Enemy BBQ team. Jeff, Steve, and Ron have gotten into competition BBQ and know how to whip up some awesome grub around the campfire!

Ron's FAB of Choice

Ron Prepping the Ribs

Jeff and Ron putting the final touches on the Redneck Aluminum Foil Smoker

Jeff prepping the Chicken Wings

Our wood gathering throughout the day had paid off and it looked like we would have enough wood to keep the fire blazing throughout the night. At times a little grease from the fried chicken wings added to the blaze! It was a good thing because by nightfall, the temps had dropped below freezing and the only thing keeping us warm was that fire and plenty of FABs!

Jeff adding some grease to the campfire

Ron taking a nap

Star Trails

My "20-degree sleeping bag" was just enough to keep me warm throughout the night, but it sure was cold getting out. 27 degrees to be exact! We had just enough wood left to stoke the fire back up and take the chill off!

I packed up my tent and camping gear taking plenty of breaks to warm my hands back up at the campfire. There was actually a thick layer of frost covering the outside of my tent. I said my goodbyes to my camping buddies (at least the ones that were awake by 9:30am) and hit the road back to Spartanburg.

It was another successful and very enjoyable SSPBDT Mancation Camping Weekend!

The complete set of photos from our camping weekend is posted here: