Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ahh, Spring!

It's a rainy gray spring morning here in Ashburn, so I thought I'd take a moment to catch you up on what we've been up to (at least for those of you who REFUSE to join Facebook ;-) ).

It was the week of Spring Break for our kids. Last weekend, mother nature teased us with some really gorgeous weather. We bought some new bicycles at Spokes Etc. We figured it was about time - my wife and I have each had our bicycles for over 10 years now and they've gotten pretty beat up. Plus, I figured it's an incentive to get ES interested in learning to ride a bike without training wheels. We spent some time practicing last weekend while the weather was nice.

I also decided to start up the MGB for the first time this year and took turns giving the boys a ride around town.

ES and I going for a ride in my Limited Edition 1979 MGB

I inherited a love of MGs from my Dad. We frequently had one MG model or another as I was growing up. They are by NO means reliable cars, but they're fun to drive and the engine is simple enough that even I can work on it by myself. I was rather surprised that the MG started up on the first try and ran like a champ during our spin around Ashburn. Part of that is thanks to this awesome battery charger thing that I keep it plugged in over the winter.

Battery Charger

ES took the camera with him on his ride with me.

Spring Break Road Trip

We went for a two day road trip across Virginia. Although it wasn't intentional, our timing seemed to be perfect for avoiding the crowds. For anyone else in the DC area looking for a local getaway, I highly recommend following the path we took:

Day 1:

Left home about 9 a.m. and drove down to Luray Caverns. Got there about 11 a.m. and spent a little over an hour in the caverns.

The pictures on the Luray Caverns website don't give you an idea for the vast size of the caverns, so I tried to take these pictures with my family in them to show the relative size of things.

This is Dream Lake. At first, it seems like stalactites above and stalagmites below, but you'll notice it's a perfect mirror image above and below. Yes, that's water on the bottom giving a perfectly crisp and clear reflection of the stalactites above.
When we arrived, there was no line and we walked right in. No crowds at all. When we left, a lot more people had arrived and there was a line waiting to buy tickets.

We ate lunch at the little cafe at the caverns - big mistake. Do yourselves a favor and pack a lunch or go somewhere else.

After lunch we went through the Car and Carriage Museum right next to the caverns (admission to the caverns gets you into the museum, too). That was really cool - I highly recommend it.

Blunoz Self Portrait in the Car and Carriage Museum

They had about three dozen really nicely restored antique cars.
All of them were pre-WWII vintage.

RR... what more can I say?

Then we drove on down to Charlottesville, VA, had a really good Mexican dinner and spent the night in a hotel.

Day 2:

We got up and went to see Monticello first thing in the morning after breakfast in the hotel. Again, when we got there we waltzed right in - parked in the front row, no lines, no waits, bought our tickets, got on the shuttle bus, and rode directly up to the house. When we left at lunch time, there were crowds of people around the visitors center and lines of people waiting and the parking lot was full. I was glad we went first thing in the morning instead of driving down to Monticello from the DC area like everybody else had.

Panorama Family Photo on the west lawn of Monticello.

View south from the west lawn.

Blunoz Self Portrait on the northwest side of Monticello.

YB enjoys a quiet moment while the adults learn
about the boring vegetable garden nearby.

Happy YB enjoying a piggy-back ride from Grandpa.

ES checks out Thomas Jefferson's gravesite.

Collage of Monticello Spring Flowers

Living in Hawaii sure gave me an appreciation for flowers. The spring flowers at Monticello were wonderful, and I took a LOT of pictures. My wife accused me of being a "girl" for taking so many pictures of flowers.

We stopped to do some wine tasting on the way home and had some dinner at the Blue Ridge Grill in Brambleton. Multiple friends of ours have raved about how good the Blue Ridge Grill is, and we weren't disappointed. Great food and service with reasonable prices.

Wine tasting at Prince Michel vinyards.

Grandma played chess with the boys while
LW, Grandpa, and I enjoyed the wine tasting.

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend and get some time off to enjoy the season.

Happy Easter!

(J&J - there are more pictures, but you'll have to join Facebook if you want to see them ;-) ).


Kat said...

My sister had an MG. I loved that car and got to drive it when she and her husband (both in the Navy) were stationed on Guam. Fun car.

Pictures are great and it looks like everyone had a great time.

Kat said...

Forgot to ask where you got your stained glass dolphins. Love them.

Dani said...

Looks like you had a great spring break! I have to agree with Kat ... I love your stained glass dolphins!

Eoin said...

You mean there is someone besides me not on facebook :)

blunoz said...

Kat and Dani - thank you for the compliments. We had previously seen the stained glass dolphins for sale in the Groton SOWC store and in the Balboa Naval Hospital store before, but my wife actually bought ours off of eBay of all places.

Eoin - yes, sadly, you too will have to join us on Facebook to see the rest of the pictures. :-)

Jay said...

I envy you that MG. As a former owner of semi-unreliable convertibles (Alfa Spiders), I drove my '78 Spider from Orlando to Charleston through Virginia and Gettysburg across to Windsor Locks in between nuke school and prototype. Man, that was a great trip, especially the parts through the Shenanhoah Mountains and Pa. Dutch country. Unfortunately, that car rusted out on me in CT (Alfa's were pretty notorious for having no rust control), not to be replaced for about 10 years with an '84 Spider that my kids (then 6 and 3) decided to drive down my driveway backwards. Was never the same after that.

Lots of great highways in your neck of the woods. Someday, I'll either be adding an old Miata to my stable, or trading the Jeep for a Mustang...we will see... :(