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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Monday, August 30, 2010

AMA Pro Hillclimb - 2010

Kevin and I went to the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) National Pro Hillclimb in NH this weekend.  I wasn't sure what to expect.

We arrived a couple hours before the racing.  This gave us time to look at some of the motorcycles up close.  Most were pretty slick.  The pro bikes were nitro burning 4 cylinder bikes.

There were 3 classes of bikes Pro Sport, Xtreme, and Unlimited.  In talking with some of the people in the pit area who follow the sport, it sounded like the #4 bike had a 340Hp engine.  Most others were around 300Hp.  Very long bikes to help keep them from flipping.  Also very tall bikes with big suspension so the riders would use crates or platforms to prop themselves up at the line before takeoff.  They were LOUD.

The back tires had paddles or chains for added traction.  Some had big bolts screwed into the paddles.  Whatever works I guess.  Several times Rocks and dirt rained down on us as the bikes went by.

There was side by side racing but mainly individual time racing.  The first one to the finish line wins. 

With big engines and a long swing arm in back comes a lot of weight up front.  They all had very large fuel lines.  We were told they burn 3/4 to 1 gallon of fuel in one run.  To much acceleration and the bike flips backwards, to little and the front end gets buried in the dirt and the rider goes flying.  Tough to steer as some riders were all over the track.

I took pictures of some good takeoffs.  We had a couple guys take a line right next to the fence where we were standing.  They were 7 or 8 feet away when they came screaming by. Noise, rocks, and dirt flying ...

They hit the first small jump which send them over a trench.  They land, hit the gas and up the second hill, on to the third hill, then to the final hill.  They get steeper as they go. 

The final part was extremely steep with soft dirt.  Several riders lost it as their front wheel dug in sending them over the front of the bike.  I have several pics of the crack ups. 

We sat on a picnic table for a while then stood by different fences to take pictures.  Next time we will bring our own chairs, a cooler, more food, more water or soda.

Was very family friendly and lots of fun although I noticed smaller children didn't like the noise from the bikes.  This was fun and we would do it again.

Go to: "Search This Blog" at the top of my page and type in AMA Hillclimb to see past posts.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Waynesburg University

This past week we headed to Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA.  An hour or so south of Pittsburgh, PA.  We drove 2 1/2 hours to CT on Monday night.  I worked on Tuesday while the family visited and said goodbye to Megan.  Wednesday morning we were up and on the road by 6:45AM.  8 hours and 7 minutes later we arrived in Waynesburg.  We checked into the hotel and had some dinner. 

On Thursday morning we dropped Megan off at school for orientation and testing Thursday morning.  Grandma E's maiden name was Bryan.  The Bryan family settled in the Dawson/Connellsville, PA area.  We went to Dawson, PA so I could take pictures of  the Bryan United Methodist Church and Bryan Cemetery named after them.

We met Megan for lunch at Waynesburg.  After lunch we moved Megan in to her room.  Her roommate, Katelyn, had moved in a few days earlier as she is playing volleyball and had practice that week.

On Friday Megan had more events to attend with an induction ceremony in the afternoon. 

I woke up before sunrise each morning and got Kevin up to go looking for deer on the back roads.  We would have gotten lost winding down the back roads without the GPS.  We also went out each evening until it was to dark.  Each time we went out we saw an average of 30 deer.  We pretty much saw deer every time we saw a big field.  At one point there was a fence along the dirt road with a doe on the far side and 3 fawns right next to us.  They ran along the fence as I followed trying to get a picture.  I didn't want to get to close in case they turned toward me so I wouldn't run them over.  No pics ... nuts.

When driving the dirt roads we came upon this crew laying pipe up a hill.  We watched for 30 minutes or so then had to head back to the college.

We started our trip back Friday afternoon.  We stopped at the Hampton Inn in Danville, PA off of I80 about half way back to CT.

I was up early Saturday morning to look for deer and drive to 2 covered bridges in the area.  Covered Bridges, a couple nice barns, but not one deer.  Hmm ...

We packed up and were back on the road by 9:30AM continuing to CT. 

Returned to NH on Sunday.

Several have asked us why Waynesburg University?  Megan was accepted to quite a few colleges with nursing programs.  After visiting many of them we determined Waynesburg had an excellent program with the best Sim (Simulation) Lab of any school being considered.  Most schools visited start clinicals junior year and Waynesburg started sophomore year.  We considered that a plus.

4 years later Megan graduated with her BSN.  ALL of the BSN nursing students that graduated with Megan PASSED their Nursing Boards.  (That statistic should be considered when looking at nursing programs).   

Megan works at an ANCC Magnet recognized hospital as an RN in the Cardiac/Med Surg unit. 

Kudos to the program at Waynesburg University.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Skydiving - 2010 Long Range Experiment

Taking skydiving pictures is challenging and fun. I have a 26x super zoom.  There are 2 issues taking moving pictures at that range.  Keeping the camera steady and keeping moving objects in the frame.  My new camera has a viewfinder which helps making it easier to track skydivers as they fall or float to earth.

I wanted to experiment by taking longer range pictures. Tandems jump from the plane around 10,000 feet.  Here are a few pictures I took from the ground tracking tandems as they fall.  Tandems deploy their parachutes at around 6,000 feet.  It is easier to find and track falling skydivers if I can see them jump from the plane and follow them down.  It's also easier when I can stand in a shaded area.

As I explained in last years skydiving post, many tandems want a videographer to record their adventure which is what you see in a couple of these shots.

Carol is one of the videographers at the Dropzone in Pepperell, MA.  She is in the pictures you see here.  Videographers take video of you before the flight, during the flight, the jump out of the plane, the fall and landing.  Once the tandem deploys their parachute the videographer races to the ground to take videos of the tandem as they land.  Carol does a great swoop when landing.


This is a tendem deploying their shoot with another tandem in the frame still falling.  I thought that was interesting.  This is Carol landing before one of the tandems so she can take video of their landing.

Search Blog Archive: September 2011, September 2010, August 2009, May 2009 & November 2008 - for more Skydiving.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Memory Project - Memory Portraits

The Memory Project is sponsored by "My Class Cares", a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin that encourages students in advance 2-D art or computer art classes to create portraits (drawings, paintings, digital art, etc) for children in orphanages around the world.  Uganda, Guatemala, the Ukraine, and, this year, Thailand. 

To do this, the artists receive pictures of children who are waiting for portraits. The artists then create the portraits, and the organization coordinates the delivery of the portraits to the children.

In the last few years, art students from the USA, UK, and Canada have created more than 25,000 portraits for children around the world.   7000 portraits were created this year.   Courtney and several of her classmates created portraits of children from orphanages in Thailand.  

Courtney's work, along with 9 other students, was chosen to be part of a national exhibition of Memory Portraits at the US Department of State, Truman Building Diplomacy Center, in Washington DC.  The exhibit was displayed from July 26 to 30, 2010.

On 7/28/2010, Courtney flew to DC to view the exhibit along with several others chosen, including her art teacher and high school principal. 

Once at the exhibit, the group was filmed and interviewed by the CBS Evening News. 

Upon arrival, Courtney and the others invited met at one of the State Department building entrances.  She went through security and receive a visitors badge.  

Introductions ... went to the Exhibit Hall ... viewed the exhibits ... CBS filmed the group and did individual  interviews ... had a guided tour of the acclaimed Diplomatic Reception Rooms in the State Department building ... etc.

The State Department was showing this exhibit as it symbolizes young Americans forming friendships with children in other countries.   What an experience for Courtney and the others selected.

Courtney will be going to NH Institute of Art (NHIA) this fall, pursuing her BFA in Illustration.

On August 2, 2010, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric did a story on The Memory Project.  Courtney's picture was shown in the lead up to the story.  She was also in the 2 minute story which featured the artists that drew the pictures.  Below is the hot link to the story.

You can go to  At the bottom of the page you will see a search box.  Type in Orphans And The Art of Diplomacy.  Courtney's drawing is the one shown.  Below is a link to the video.