In the last two weeks, I've gone to visit both my mom and dad. Both visits were long overdue and resulted in some good fun being had. :)
With my dad, this past weekend, I had a blast doing some fun cycling around the Shenandoah Valley...what that means...is that my father tried to convince me that we were going to have some good flat stretches, but most of what I remember are the large, rolling hills. Cycling in Durham has got nothing on my dad's area. Just outside of Harrisonburg, we cycled through the towns of Grottoes and Keezletown. We rode on Saturday and Sunday - below you can see what the majority of our rides looked like. Riding through that area really made me miss Virginia. The North Carolina landscape really pales in comparison.
The cycling was a little bit new to me as it was my first time riding with actual cycling shoes. I remember riding last summer with the evil twins Misha and Luke...it was a little disconcerting to have Luke actually hopping up and down with his bike while I was struggling to get my feet into my little basket pedals. I feel slightly more accomplished as a rider having worn my new shoes, being tethered to my pedals and not having fallen over. It's amazing how much they increase the power that you can put forth. So, extra thanks to my dad for my awesome early Christmas present.
Part way through our ride on Saturday, we headed over to Grand Caverns Regional Park and got to hear a little bit of the Grottoes Family Bluegrass Festival from just beyond where the music was. It was kind of neat. After that, we headed to "downtown" Grottoes for the Harvest Festival and Car Cruise-In. After a quick stop at the local ice cream shop, we admired the classic cars, avoided the proselytizing Christians and headed for my dad and his wife's friend's booth. If you get a chance, definitely check out her photography: http://www.burtongalleries.com/ She had some amazing vegetable photographs in paneled window picture frames - and you know I like my veggies! And, of course, you can see cute little Bailey. I want a dog so badly, but seeing a Boston puppy in person makes me want a handful of them.
Then of course, I went up to visit my mom and check out the Maryland State Fair. I'd never been before, but it sure was outstanding. In addition to every color, creed and variety of trashiness, there were fried Oreos and fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches.
It was quite the scene. We had some delicious BBQ, ridiculously sized ice cream and enjoyed tooling around and looking at the animals. My mom's favorites were the piglets...there weren't that many there, but they sure did want to be piled up. (As you can see from the picture below, I kept the piggies on the left hand side of the photo...to keep up with the pile of piggies motif.) We had a great time and I was lucky enough to get sent home with another begonia from my mom and aunt's collection. (They're my favorite house plant!)