Father's Day started with cool presents from Amy and the boys. We then dropped Jackson off at First Pres as he is heading to Baltimore for a week on his first mission trip. I went for a run from the church to the house, making a loop up Main to Greenhill, then back down Country Club. I had been dreading that hilly loop for good reason. That was followed by church, time at the river, a visit with my parents, some lawn mowing, a great dinner and I am now waiting for the pièce de résistance - hot apple pie, fresh honey and ice cream. Ooh la la. (Thanks Amy) While at the river we cleared off a portion of Deana and Martin's river front and built a fire pit.
A return to my old Father's Day favorite, Kibler Valley. The day started with presents and blueberry pancakes, followed by hours and hours of playing at the river. We tubed, kayaked, jumped, swam, threw frisbee, ate chicken, played baseball using a paddle and the waverunner ball. Just a super, super day. We then stopped by my dad's house, went home, watched a little of the Heat vs Spurs finals game, then finished things off with The Lone Ranger, which was just a terrible, terrible movie. (Jackson and Amy took many of today's photos)
Father's Day this year was spent at our nephew Wesley's house. We were in town for our nephew Jimmy's graduation from Colonial Heights High School. Amy and the boys gave me an awesome portable grill.
The day started with a breakfast cooked by Amy (sausage and apples), Jackson (pancakes) and Ben (jelly toast). We then spent the afternoon playing at Foster Falls. I got to do a little play-boating before joining the family in some time floating around the river and exploring on the far side of the island. We stopped at Macado's in Galax on our way home, then capped the night off by watching the Heat play the Thunder in the NBA finals. Just a great day.
This year we visited Amy's brother Alan over the Father's Day weekend. Alan grilled steaks on Saturday night, then we met on Sunday for lunch at Rosa's in Hopewell before we started the trek back to Mount Airy, via Claudville where we stopped to visit my dad. Ben gave me a paper weight that he made at school and a mug that he painted for me on Saturday. Amy, Jackson and Ben then gave me a new dumbbell to use when working out.
Historically, our family celebrates Father's Day with either a camping trip or a weekend at the river. This year, however, we visited with friends at Blue Mountain on Saturday, then I spent twelve hours on Sunday taking a much needed river rescue class in Martinsville, Virginia. I was joined in the class, which was instructed by Edgar Peck with assistance from Eric Stuart, by many of my good paddling friends from SRVCC. It was an exceptional class and I learned a lot.
Another wonderful Father's Day spent in Kibler Valley with the Eads. As a bonus, the river ran the entire time we were there, so the boys got lots of tubing, body surfing and kayaking laps in. Another bonus was that our nephew Jimmy was with us. Dinner was wonderful; kabobs, salad, new potatoes, corn, banana pudding and strawberry shortcake. I paddled late Saturday afternoon (photos here), then again with Jeff, then with Jimmy on Sunday. Jackson and Matthew came along on those trips in the tube. Ben actually got in the water with Jeff on Saturday after Jeff promised to keep him away from the rapids. That's a big deal for Ben. Jackson on the other hand rode the rapids head first all weekend long. The kid is pretty fearless. Jackson said his highlights from the weekend were keeping the campfire going with Sam and tubing close to a mile of the river. I once again have my beautiful wife to thank for giving me superb Father's Day weekends.
This Father's Day, we met our friends the Eads in Kibler Valley for lunch and an afternoon of playing in the river. The water was pretty low, so Jeff started a project to create a rapid. Ben jumped right in and worked hard on his side of the dam. It was a fun afternoon and another great Father's Day. My gift was a pair of Shaq basketball shoes that Jackson picked out. He really, really wanted me to have an up-to-date pair of shoes for our one-on-one games.
For the third straight year, we celebrated Father's Day in Kibler Valley, Virginia. We were happy to have our friends the Eads join us this year and were also pleased to have Jesse with us for another Father's Day weekend. Jesse is not only lots of fun and a great guy, he's TONS of help with the kids. When you have a fast moving river and kids running around, you can use all eyes you can get. This year, in contrast to the past two years, the hydro station released water so I got the chance to paddle both days. On Saturday Jeff and I paddled with friends from my canoe club and on Sunday morning it was just the two of us. The weather was great, the water was cold and I had a fantastic time. You can check out the video if you want, I'll warn you, it's 10MB. And you can find the photos here. Whenever Amy got the chance she drove out to a spot where she could get cell service to check on her aunt. As of today, there has been no change, which is not good.
On Sunday evening my family joined us for a Father's Day cookout on the river. We had ribs, steaks, hamburgers, chicken kabobs, and hotdogs. Plus lots of desserts and sides, including banana pudding and cheesecake. The weekend again included lots of marshmallow roasting (Ben's favorite river activity) and cold swims in the river (Jackson's favorite thing to do). I'd like to thank Amy for giving me yet another memorable Father's Day. Her allergies were terrible and I know she had a lot on her mind, so I appreciate the effort she put into the weekend
I have the best Father's Days. I started a photo gallery to keep track of them a few years ago. Two years ago we went camping and fishing. Last year we went to the river with our friends the Eads, who hopefully will be able to go with us again next year. This year we rented the old Doris Anderson house in scenic Kibler Valley from my childhood neighbor Jenny Slate and spent two wonderful, fun-filled days on the shady banks of the Dan River, which might possibly be the coldest river on Earth. This photo of Amy will give you an idea of what the water felt like. It didn't deter Jackson from jumping right in though. He spent most of his time swimming, but also took relaxing tube rides, practiced archery, caught kayak rides back upstream, roasted hotdogs and marshmallows, made s'mores, took walks, and played Frisbee. Jackson said it was the best camping trip ever. Maybe that was because we left the tent in the van and slept in the house. Ben didn't like to get in the water like his big brother, but he loved to get kayak rides in the little pool just upstream from the house. Our nephew Jesse is spending two weeks with us and was invaluable when it came to keeping up with the kids around the water, plus he is just a lot of fun to have around. The boys love him to death. The house is in such a beautiful and secluded section, yet has big open spaces for the kids to play in. The hydro station didn't release any water, things are just too dry this year, so I wasn't able to do a lot of kayaking, but I did get in a little roll practice and paddled through the only navigable section just below the power plant. You can read more about the kayaking stuff here.
On Sunday evening my sisters, their families and my father came up for a cookout on the river. Everyone had lots of fun kayaking, playing kickball and roasting marshmallows. My sister Deana has lots of great photos in her photo gallery. I have tons of photos myself in my Father's Day gallery. Thank you Amy, Jackson, Ben and Jesse. I had a perfect weekend.
Father's Day 2005. Last year we went camping. This year Amy had another great idea, what about something that would get me in my kayak and still be with the family all day. So following a Father's Day breakfast in bed, we went to Kibler Valley, Virginia for an afternoon on the river. We spent five hours on the Dan River about a mile below the hydro station. The water coming out of the hydro plant is fed from the bottom of Towne's reservoir on top of the mountain and that means COLD COLD water! It was so much fun giving all the kids rides in the kayaks. And every single kid loved it too. Amy and Timmesa brought a wonderful picnic lunch and, during a brief afternoon rain shower, Jeff and I made the short run from the top of the river to our picnic spot. The run was a blast, even with low water, the fast sections were super fun, especially Basketball Falls, Clarks Falls and the first few hundred yards below the hydro station. Just as we decided to start packing up the bottom fell out the sky and we got soaked to the bone trying to get everything and everyone back into the vans. I think I've been under water and not been that wet. But the rains stopped and we drove to Papa's house to give him his Father's Day present. After a short visit we were getting ready to leave when a powerful hail storm pinned us in on their new wrap around front porch. So we visited a while longer before heading back to Mount Airy, where both boys fell asleep, exhausted, following their baths. Great Father's Day for Dad. Click hereto see all the kayaking photos.
And click here to watch our Father's Day 2005 movie. (4MB)
Father's Day 2004. Amy, Jackson, Benjamin, Jimmy, Emma and I all went on a camping/fishing trip for Father's Day. We roasted hotdogs and marshmallows, made s'mores, fished, hiked, told ghost stories, and sang campfire songs. Papa helped us carry our gear into the Moorefield Place and then returned with Caleb for a little while after dinner. The trip was a big success, even for Jimmy and Benjamin who were spending their first night out in the wilderness.
I had a great Father's Day, twice as good this year. Here are a few pictures from Sunday, June 15, 2003. Jackson got me an Incredible Hulk skateboard to go with his Spiderman board. Papa grilled out in the rain during our Father's Day cookout in Claudville.