One down, one to go 😉
This past weekend was busy! Jeff’s birthday, Jason’s graduation from Virginia Tech, and the 28th anniversary for Jan and I. We took Friday off work, and headed to Blacksburg. We were glad we had a place to stay. It’s tough to get a hotel room in Blacksburg or anywhere within 50 miles for graduation weekend; reservations have to be made a year in advance. VT is a big university (4,000 undergrads, and about 1,000 grad students) and not a big town. With all the family who want to see, it’s a challenge to get a spot. We lucked out and through a tip from my friends on the flyfishing listserve, got on the waiting list and then got rooms at the Inn at Riverbend, a B&B about 20 miles west of town in Pearisburg, VA. What a nice place. It’s every bit as nice as it looks on their website. The innkeepers (Lynn & Linda, with help from the manager Eric) are very hospitable, the food was great, and the Inn dogs are friendly! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a place to stay in that area. Here’s a picture I took (with my blackberry, so sorry for the quality) from the deck on the first afternoon when we arrived.
First event was the Computer Science departmental graduation at 4PM on Friday, followed by the University ceremony in Lane Stadium at 7:30PM. Saturday morning was the College of Engineering graduation, where they read all 1,000 names while the graduates traipsed across the stage.
A few hours of relaxation on Saturday afternoon; I went to Little Stony in nearby Pembroke and harassed a few trout. A very nice dinner at The Bank Food and Drink in Pearisburg. Just beat the approaching cold front, and watched the rain sheet off the windows while we ate. Fortunately, it stopped before time to head back to the Inn. Jeff didn’t get much of a birthday party, but all got cards, etc. at dinner. Jan and I then enjoyed some Duval Leroy bubbly and the hot tub back at the room 😉
Sunday was moveout…packed up his apartment, loaded the Uhaul and headed back to Chapel Hill. Whew! I sure could have used a weekend to rest up from the weekend. Jason’s off now in DC for an internship before starting grad school. We’ll all get back in the grind here at home…
This Thanksgiving holiday was a very nice respite. No travels, other than to Durham and Raleigh. I did drive to Asheville Tuesday to pick up Jeff from UNCA; Jason drove from Raleigh to Blacksburg on Friday night after dinner so he could be back for the VT-UVA football game. That game came out the right way, with VT winning and now going to the ACC championship. Carolina redeemed itself after the NCSU debacle by beating Duke and should be in a bowl game. I didn’t have to drive Jeff back to Asheville, as the carpool took him back this morning. Slept in until almost 8AM today; rain on the roof, the dogs and cat even seeming to be finally on holiday schedule. Three lattes with the newspapers (N&O and NYTimes). Bought a Christmas tree this afternoon — very nice Fraser Fir for only $65; seems that prices are down this year. Headed to the Carolina basketball game this evening.
Now, that ol’ alarm clock will be ringing at 5:15AM Monday. Three weeks until winter break, then two weeks off! Woohoo!
So, per yesterday’s post, I made a day trip to Blacksburg today. Left the house at about 6:45AM, after being fortified with a couple of grande lattes, and drove the 200 miles to the land of the Hokies. Stopped in Radford for just a minute to pick up my cheap old folding chair from Rob Tucker’s house (thanks, Rob!) which had been left behind at Bassclave ’07, and got to Jason’s apartment around 10AM. Unloaded, and he showed me the new TV that he and his two roommates had bought. Seems that they found someone in Roanoke (via Craiglist) who had a 2002 vintage rear projection 56″ TV, who was replacing it with an LCD or plasma. The guys paid $200 for the privilege of hauling away this 300 pound beast! Well, it will be great for sports in a guy’s apartment. Left Jason’s place around 10:30.
Arrived at Little Stony Creek around 11AM, and quickly hiked up to the first footbridge. Lots of folks around, as this was a holiday weekend. This was my first trip to Little Stony, and Rob said I might see 100-200 hikers. Well, that was on the low side! However, I only saw one other fisherman, and he was hiking in while I was headed out in the afternoon. Folks were constantly going up and down the trails on either side of the creek, but that didn’t bother me! I was fishing my Winston 8′ 3wt. I hadn’t fished this rod in a while; I should fish it more often. What a fantastic rod. Tied on a Tweeter Caddis, and hit the water. LDR’d one, and missed a couple. Saw several trout come up and inspect the fly and refuse it, so I decided that the 5x tippet was too big in the gin-clear water. Rummaged in my bag and pulled out some 7x, and that did the trick. Caught a number of trout like this one, in all the places where a trout should be. Mostly rainbows, some a bit bigger than this one, some smaller. A couple of brookies. I ended up using a Mr. Rapidan most of the time, size 16 (parachute tie). Worked well. The tippet seemed to be more important than the fly (as long as the fly was a 16 or 18). I did see some *big* stonefly nymphs (probably a size 6 or 8 ) and if I’d been spending more time, I would have plumbed the depths of some of the big pools with a imitation. This is a very pretty place, a typical Jefferson Forest freestone.
Normally, I’m somewhat circumspect about mentioning stream names, but this is a well-known place, and it is covered by special regulations. You can bet I’ll be back here. I fished until about 3:30PM, and then headed back to Blacksburg to grab a shower at Jason’s place and take him out to supper. Poor guy had been working all day on an assignment for a Numerical Methods class. I know that one sure challenged me when I did my CS degree. Took Jason out for supper at Outback, and then hit the road for home. A busy day, but a heckuva a lot of fun.
I’m headed to Blacksburg, VA tomorrow to carry a load to my son (a junior at VT). Taking all the stuff that didn’t make it in the last two trips ;-). Looking forward to going, though I *would* like to sleep late tomorrow. After I drop the load off at Jason’s appartment, I’ll head over to Little Stony Creek west of Blacksburg, and see if I can catch a few trout. I expect a number of hikers on the trail to the Cascades, but that’s OK…it’s a holiday weekend…
Sorry that I have not had much to say lately. I did get away for a week at the beach in early August, and we’ve been in a whirlwind getting Jason ready to go back to Virginia Tech for the academic year. He’s moving into an appartment, so he went back early in the month and moved a bunch of stuff in, and then came back for vacation with the family. He and I had a good project, though I’ll confess it was somewhat frustrating for a while. He wanted a really hot gaming PC. So, he researched things and spent his summer earnings on an ASUS motherboard, 4 gig of memory, two SATA disks, an AMD 6000+ dual core 64 bit CPU, two 256mb video cards (for SLI) and a case for it all, new fans for the case, and a UPS. Whew. Then, he and I put it together. The MOBO wouldn’t POST at first, which was a grounding problem. ASUS tech support was really good! Then, we had to figure out how to get Windows XP 64-bit installed in a RAID 1 config on the box. The RAID drivers had to be loaded from a floppy, which was a problem, since we didn’t have a floppy. I cannibalized one out of an *old* spare machine (the drive had a date stamp of 1995!) and hooked it up. Wow, things actually worked…then he had some difficulty getting SLI to work on the video cards, but by carefully following the instructions step-by-step, it came up and I think he’s happy with the performance. I can tell you it is one fast puppy.
On top of all that, his laptop started having problems, and we were hustling trying to get it repaired for him to take back. Two system boards and one display later, I think it’s fixed ;-).
That’s all for now!
So, the only good thing to come out of the VT tragedy is the outpouring of support, especially in the university community. I’m a chapter advisor for UNC-CH’s Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity (Rho chapter) and last night at the brotherhood initiation ceremony, the brotherhood had prepared a banner of support, and was getting everyone to sign, to send to the Zeta Beta chapter at VT.
On a completely different front, there is a viral effort afoot to get VT memorials throughout the virtual world SecondLife. I had arranged a guest lecture for my Systems Analysis class today, and he showed, while talking about technology and futures, the VT memorial on the UNC-Chapel Hill island in SecondLife.
Today is Hokie Hope day. All across the country, people are wearing Virginia Tech colors (Maroon & Orange). I’m sporting one of my son’s Hokie t-shirts today. The outpouring of support for the VT community has been amazing. If you’d like to contribute in a tangible way, consider making a donation to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.
As you can see from yesterday’s posting, my son is a student at Virginia Tech. He’s OK, and that’s a big relief as the events of today have unfolded. The facts are still emerging, but clearly this is the worst school shooting in US history…I’ll not try to write anything else, other than to reiterate my happiness that my son and the other students I know are OK, and and sadness for those who are not…
Today, Jan and I drove from Chapel Hill to Blacksburg, VA, where our oldest son is in school. His birthday is coming up, so we headed to Virginia Tech to take him out to lunch and carry a “care package.” It was a rainy day, but we saw the sun a few times before lunch. It was good to see him, and we can tell he’s ready for the semester to wrap up. As we said our goodbyes in the parking lot, the second part of the weather system started to come through, as the wind picked up, rain started again, and the temperature started dropping. In spite of the lousy weather (driving rain, wind, and 39F as we crossed Fancy Gap on I77) we decided to stop by one of the Yadkin River wineries on the way home. I looked up the directions to RagApple Lassie Vinyards on the cell phone browser and we headed in that direction. When we got there, it looked like that in spite of supposedly being open daily until 6PM, it was closed. Fortunately, I tried the door…it was open and we headed in. We were greeted by the proprietor and his niece, and had a great tour and tasting. I liked their Zin, Syrah, Vionger and Chardonnay best. There are a number of wineries in the Yadkin Valley now; if you are in the neighborhood, stop off and visit…
How ’bout those Tarheels today? Beat the “Whuffpack” of NCSU, 31-24. Plus, now that my son is attending Virginia Tech, I’m a Hokie fan, too…the Hokies plastered GA Tech, 51-7.