Much LAZIER than your average blogger  
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7.30.2008 - 29 comments 

Well, some of you may have thought that we were never going to leave BlogStock ’08, but it really was a whole lot of fun and I just wanted to make sure I shared the photos and adventures from that event. Again, many thanks to those who were not only there, but also to our hosts and planners; Cliff & Marilyn Morrow as well as Ralph & Char Campbell.

Shortly after this BlogStock event, we had the privilege of watching our two granddaughters for about a week and a half while their parents got to enjoy a second honeymoon in Napa Valley, CA. Before they left for California, we asked if it was "OK" if we took the girls on a road trip withw us, so that we could have a little vacation with them while the folks were enjoying their "wine country" vacation. They said; “Sure… go ahead!” So with that approval, Mrs. LZ, the girls and I took off on our own little adventure and as you may have already surmised, it was to Altoona, Iowa to an Amusement Park called Adventureland.

Altoona, Iowa is less than a half hour East of Des Moines, Iowa. Other than Adventureland, about the only other place we saw around Altoona was a horse racing track called Prairie Meadows. But if you went to the city’s website, it doesn’t offer much more information than the following:

“Altoona is located in Polk County, Iowa about 5 miles from Des Moines. Altoona has a population of 13,301 in 2005 and one of the lowest city tax rates in the metro area. We are conveniently located approximately 20 minutes from the Des Moines International Airport and about 15 minutes from the Ankeny Airport. We offer many large city amenities but with small town quality and convenience. Altoona offers beautiful recreational bike trails, a new aquatic park, fire department, and library. Shopping is abundant with a Lowe's, Menards, Target, and Wal-Mart. After a day of shopping enjoy entertainment at Prairie Meadows Casino or Adventureland Park. Then enjoy dinner at one of our many restaurants and stay for the night in one of our five hotels. Come see why Altoona, Iowa is the best little town in the metro. “

So when I say that was all we saw there, I guess I should have added the Lowe's, Menards, Target, and Wal-Mart too? But the most important part was that we had an excellent time there with our granddaughters.

I was really surprised that both of the granddaughters wanted to go on ALL of the rides, even some of the ones that were a little too exciting for Mrs. LZ and I. I think they could have spent the whole day on that “Silly Silo”, which just about made me want to call “BULLAH!” And if nothing else made me too dizzy to walk for a few minutes. It was a giant tub like device that spun around at a very fast rate and then the floor dropped out from under you while centrifugal force held you to the wall.

The park’s own brochure stated that… “Adventureland Amusement Park contains over 100 rides, shows, and attractions including some of the country's most exciting roller coasters and thrill rides that can challenge the most avid amusement park enthusiasts. There are also plenty of rides for less adventurous guests including great water rides as well as a full compliment of children's rides spread throughout the park. But the entertainment doesn't stop with rides - Adventureland presents a full array of shows in the park - from live music to magic to song and dance - there's always something to suit everyone's taste. Simply the most fun you will have all year! Adventureland Park is a smoke free facility.

Speaking of “thrill rides that can challenge the most avid amusement park enthusiasts”… another ride that surprised me was the Space Shot. This thing shot up about 240 feet in the air in about 2 seconds. Then it sounded like it blew up as you then dropped about another 100 feet before going back up to the top again. It was really quite invigorating for this old guy! The youngest granddaughter was not quite big enough to go on this ride because of height requirements or she may have just been as adventuresome as her bigger sister.

The girls also really enjoyed getting wet on several of the rides like Saw Mill Splash and the River Rapids – Log Ride. It was ok for the girls, because they had their swim suits on under their clothes, but Mrs. LZ and I were not that smart. But we still had fun just the same. There was also another water type ride that I really enjoyed in which we got soaked called the “Splash Over”. The name (in and of itself) should have been a give-away of what that ride was going to be all about. But it was still a “wet” kick in the pants. In fact, I think that was perhaps my favorite ride of the day.

We also even got to go under the Big Top for the Hannaford Circus which had acts all the way from frizbee catching dogs to a lady on the flying trapeeze to a guy who juggled ping pong balls with his mouth and the final act of a guy being shot from a cannon. That's the guy who's out of focus!

Some of the non-water related rides that we went on were the giant Skywheel which was like a giant Ferris wheel, only with round baskets that would hold at least 4 people instead of the usual type that is like a ski lift. Those of you who have noticed that I changed my avatar lately, may also noticed that it is just that I want to show off that I am as tough as my eight year old granddaughter is on the Space Shot! (It looks as though it blew off my glasses and my flip flops... but really I just made sure that I didn't lose them on the ride! What a TRIP! This is why you have kids when you are YOUNG.

“Perfect love sometimes does not come until grandchildren are born” ~ Welch Proverb

“Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends - and hardly ever our own grown children.” ~ Ruth Goode

7.22.2008 - 28 comments 

Ok! Ok! I know that some of you may think will this party "never end" here in Tekamah, Nebraska? But I just wanted to do this my third and final BlogStock post by showing both the Front and Rear covers of the BlogStock book that Ralph Campbell put together for all of the BlogStock folks. (*As is the case with all my photos... you can just double click to see the larger version of the shot and then just hit the BACK button to return to this page again).

BlogStock '08 Bloggers:

1) Cliff and Marilyn Morrow
2) Jerry Wiley
3) Jamie Dawn
4) Dan & Julie Morrow Family
5) Nora Spitznogle
6) Rachel Phelps
7) Paul Nichols & his wife
8) Desiree Wallace
9) Jim & Mrs. Jim Hovendic
10) Terah Goerzen
11) LZ & Mrs. LZ Blogger (you are already here)
12) Janelle Carson
13) John, Terah & Jacob Goerzen
14) Georgette Jones Family
15) Catherine Harwood Family
16) Ralph & Char Campbell

As I left off on the last post, we had left the winery and arrived at Cliff and Marilyn's farm. This is where the action started moving toward the hamburger and hotdog supper prep activities. As we road for miles and miles down a gravel road, we saw the Burma Shave (type) signs that marked the road to the farm. Not only were these fun to read, but they also made you feel as though you really were NOT lost.

If we had been driving this road by ourselves, this might have been a concern to a city boy like me. When we got to the farm, the first thing I did was to wander the property and started taking shots of the farm equipment, silos, barns, horses, ponies, gardens, corn fields, farm house etc. that were all around the place.

Mrs. LZ both spotted the first cherry tree that either of us had ever remembered seeing. We had no idea that the cherries from this and other cherry trees on Cliff and Marilyn's property would later become one of the gift bag items via the homemade Cherry Jelly jar.

Most of the folks who had not been to the farm, were out exploring it as well. But as more people starting arriving for the burger and dog dinner we all sort of started ending up at the tables under the tent.

This made for a lot of discussion about personal aspects of each of our lives and how we all managed to end up here at BlogStock '08 in Tekamah, Nebraska on the 4th of July in 2008. This information in (and of) itself could have filled a book of many chapters. Such a diverse group of people from all sorts of backgrounds and different interests, but all seemed interested in their blogging buddies own personal stories.

I loved the cover shot of Cliff and Ralph in the "high corn" and it seems completely in tune with the event itself. I did however take some liberties (with the back cover up top) and added the numbers to the photos on that rear cover of the book so that you could see who these bloggers actually were for those of you who may not be familiar with all of the participants. I also included their names beside that rear cover information.

I was extremely happy to see so many of the bloggers that I have enjoyed reading over the time that I have been blogging, but then at the same time, I wished that some of the others who I read on a regular basis (or whom post on my blog) would have been there as well. But what a nice group of people were in attendance even sans a few fellow bloggers I have learned to call friends.

My only disappointment in this whole wonderfully planned BlogStock event (for me) at all, was just Mrs. LZ and I having to leave it before it was all over! Well... and I suppose, the fact that the Cherry Jelly didn't even last through the weekend! Just in case you haven't figured out who Mrs. LZ is... she's the pretty blonde lady in the red and white striped blouse riding in many of the horse shots with Jamie Dawn below.

"The happiest moments my heart knows are those in which it is pouring forth its affections to a few esteemed characters."

~ Thomas Jefferson