Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for a great and tolerant family, and the good times we have had through the year. And I managed to get in quite a few fishing trips too.

Thanks Kristin and Rachael.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Florida Vacation

(Insert music from National Lampoon's Vacation here...)

With a slight break in my China travel schedule, we decided to book a family vacation. In spite of my aversion to pink, and the plethora of Disney Princess gear throughout the house we reserved 4 days at Walt Disney World in Florida. We loaded up the family wagon and headed out.

We drove for 30 long minutes before finally arriving at our destination - Bluegrass Airport. I am not quite crazy enough (yet) to drive to Disney. Arriving late at night, we checked into the hotel and planned our next few days in the theme parks.



The first day as we entered the Magic Kingdom, Rachael did not know what to do. After talking about going to Dis-mey for months, the shock of actually being there was too much. She simply grabbed her mother and buried her face. I would like to say she had tears of joy, but it was probably sensory overload. After a rough half hour, we finally found the Mad Tea Party and rode the tea cups. Rachael decided that was pretty fun and pepped right up. The Dancing Tea Cups, as she called them, became her favorite ride. She decided Dis-mey was okay. I think the realization that every ride ends at a gift-shop helped the situation too.

Today's topic for discussion: Is Disney the only people trap operated by a mouse?




The next few days were a blur. We went to the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom. Each day we awoke with a call from Mickey himself. We would get ready, and Rachael would help do her own hair. We rode rides, visited princesses, ate, visited princesses, sat, visited princesses, shopped for souvenirs, visited princesses, watched fireworks, and visited princesses. Did I mention that we visited princesses? We remained in the parks until closing, each evening returning to the hotel tired from the days activities.


I am still not sure who was more tired - Rachael or my feet.


At EPCOT we got to be first in line for the Finding Nemo ride. It may be the only time Rachael gets to be first in line for something like that, and she is too young to appreciate it!


We spent an entire day at EPCOT. This was a pleasant surprise for Kristin and I as we had only planned half a day there. But Rachael was having a good time so we remained. Rachael's favorite ride at EPCOT was the Three Caballeros boat ride in Mexico. But the highlight of the day was lunch. We had reserved a character meal at EPCOT just for Rachael.


As we entered the restaurant she was taken aside by Princess Belle to have her photo taken. Then, as we ate, several more Princesses came through the dining area. She got to meet Aurora, Ariel, Cinderella, and Jasmine. Luckily the Princesses did not rotate through the dining area until we were almost finished eating - once the Princesses arrived the meal was through. We took pictures as Rachael admired the princesses and had them sign her autograph book. She was in awe the entire time, and star struck as she spoke with Cinderella, her favorite princess.








































Rachael also had the opportunity to meet a lot of other characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minny Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, and Goofy. She had her picture taken with all of them, and thought it was great to meet them.



We spent about a half day in Animal Kingdom. Rachael enjoyed the Safari ride, and I really liked the Expedition Everest coaster, but there was just not enough to keep Rachael ecstatic with the Magic Kingdom nearby. So the day was split between the two parks. She was so happy to be back at the Magic Kingdom that she even went on Pirates of the Caribbean with us. Part of the ride was spent covering her eyes, but she did enjoy seeing the animatronic women chasing the pirates around.


And of course we took a few more spins on the Dancing Teacups.



All in all it was a good vacation. It was a break from the real world, and other than visiting China at EPCOT and Asia at Animal Kingdom, it was a good time away from work. Rachael had a great time and did not want to leave. But it was time - we were all worn out.


And did I mention that we visited princesses?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today's Topic for Discussion...

Why is it when someone tells you there are billions of stars in the universe you believe them, but if someone tells you there is wet paint you have to touch it?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nose Drinks

When I was much younger my older sister and I were playing. She showed me how she could put a straw in her nose and drink through it. I do not think she would recommend doing this.

Why do I mention this? Today is her birthday. I was sitting with Rachael and told her that it was Aunt Lynne's birthday today. Rachael looked at me and said Oh, she drinks Coke through her nose! I am not sure how Rachael knows about that.

Happy Birthday Lynne.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cumberland River Fishing

Yesterday I went to the Cumberland River to do some Trout fishing. This is the first time I have targeted Trout since we moved to Kentucky, over three years ago. I did not know what to expect.

The fishery is on the tailwaters of Wolf Creek Dam. This is the Dam currently undergoing repairs by the Army Corp of Engineers due to cracks found in the substructure. For those that have read the sensationalized version, yes this is the dam that could cause Nashville to flood.

The fishery is among the best tailwater fisheries in the east. And with the dam repairs taking place, the water level in the reservoir is being held at 680 feet above sea level. This means that the water flow out of the dam is constant, and they are not generating power. With no power generation the river is much more accessible. There are areas that are wadeable, and you do not need to worry about sudden water level increases due to increased output at the dam. And with the constant flow, 2007 was the first year a successful trout spawn was recorded. While the trout do attempt to spawn each year, the increased output during power generation prevents those attempts from being successful.

The trip started at 5:00am. We drove to the first location we wanted to fish, about 4 miles downstream from the dam. It was a boat ramp, with a large, wadeable area. We arrived at first light and suited up. While the day was plenty warm, the water was cold. Fleece was a definite plus underneath the waders. As we put on our waders several other vehicles arrived, some with boats. We walked down to the frigid water and started casting. We could see fish rising around us, but could not entice them to the fly. We had a couple light hits, but no hook ups. We were not the only ones as we only witnessed one fish caught in four hours. We finally packed up and headed further downstream.

The next access point was at Creelsboro Natural Bridge. The bridge was an impressive natural wonder, the largest arch I have seen. It was a short walk to the water, where we once again wet our lines. There was very little current, and no fish wanted our offerings. By this time it was about 70 degrees outside. Fish or no fish, it was a beautiful day away from work, standing on the water. After an hour and a half of no strikes, we headed further downstream to the next accessible spot.

The next spot was at another boat ramp. There were some fish rising, and I could see several in the water. I had on a small Caddis dry fly, with a nymph tied below that. I cast out into the current a few times when suddenly there was a splash at my fly, and the line went tight. As the fish fought it appeared to be sideways. I thought my line was probably wrapped around the tail. I worked him to the net, where I found the nymph hooked to his fin. I removed the hook and took a photo. It was a 12 inch Brown Trout. He had beautiful coloring, and it was nice to see a trout for the first time in a couple years. I gently put him back in the water and watched him slowly swim away.

We fished a while more with no more hook ups. We decided to go back to the first boat ramp, where we saw a lot of fish in the water. But once again, could not get them to take. So we drove to the dam. By this time it was starting to get dark. We had a few casts, but did not really expect anything. It had been a nice day, and with darkness upon us we headed home.

I would fish the Cumberland again. I know there are some large trout in the system. Next time, however, I would either hire a guide, or use a boat. Without a boat there were only a few accessible points along the river. This limited our ability to cover the water. And it never hurts to hire a guide when fishing new water to show you the water and techniques.

Of course, as one gentleman put it, we should have been there the day before. Is that not always the case?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Waders

I was packing my fishing gear tonight to get ready for tomorrow. Rachael wanted to know all about my waders as I placed them into the bag. We tried to explain that they are to wear while fishing, when you need to walk in the water.

I want a pair of waders Rachael said.

We explained that she was not big enough. Maybe when she is bigger we will get her some waders.

Let's go to the kids wader store was her reply.

How do you respond to three year old logic?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Episode VII - Padawan Posse

Last night at the Halloween party I was walking back to the car with Cinderella. As we were nearing the car I was viciously attacked by the ruthless Darth Sidious (or as a fellow Jedi called him Darth Sissious). Lightsaber in hand, I was able to hold off the barrage of attacks long enough for Cinderella to make it back to the safety of the car.


Darth Sidious did his best to convince me of the power of the dark side several times shouting the Dark Side is more powerful! I was not swayed, informing Darth Sidious that I would never join him. He was not pleased. The attacks continued.


The battle was not going my way. A nearby Jedi sensed my plight and joined in the fight.


We did our best to push back the evil Darth Sidious, as Cinderella frantically ran by.


Outnumbered two to one, Darth Sidious held his own. We were no match for him. More Jedi joined in the fight. We vowed to never let the influence of the Sith return.


Four to one, the Jedi finally prevailed. With a powerful lightsaber blow, Darth Sidious was down. As the Grim Reaper took him away, Cinderella could eat candy again. Peace had been restored to the galaxy.


May the Force be with you...