All posts by guy@balancerockcoach.com

Ocracoke Pirate Festival

imageimageimageThe day after Halloween, we headed over to the Ocracoke Pirate Festival where they brought in some pirate tall-ships and did a sea battle that went until Blackbeard was shot and his head cut off. It was put on a stake to warn all other pirates that they are not welcome and they will suffer the same fate if they mess with the Queen’s Royal Navy. After the battle, we went over to the pirate camp and looked at some demonstrations of pirate medical work and how ballast helps the ship stay upright during storms. Then we heard that there were going to be actors doing a pirate show on the other side of town, so we went over and watched. Blackbeard told how he died and they did sword battles and stuff for about an hour before a somewhat cocky historian talked about Blackbeard’s entire history, until it started to drizzle and we went back for lunch. After lunch, we got on the ferry to the mainland of North Carolina and drove for a bit until we finally got here to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Halloween at Chesapeake Bay

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Photos by Mike Burrell

Every year in Chesapeake, there is a Halloween party hosted by the park. Of course, Cali, Emma, and I all made our costumes. Molly’s mom had made her costume. Cali was a witch, Emma was Elsa,  I was Belle (in her blue town dress). At 4:30, all of us RVHS kids gathered at the Burrell’s house for a group photo. Then we set out to trick-or-treat. All of us had pillowcases, and we had had a pillowcase decorating party a couple of days before. There were a lot of RVs to trick-or-treat at. In fact, every single site was full! Two hours later, our feet ached and we dragged our heavy candy bags on the ground. We were glad that it was time to go home, and we gathered at the Burrells’ house to trade.

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All the RVHS kids in costume.

After a while everyone decided to go to the haunted houses set up around the park. Emma, Cali, and I went to the first one (which wasn’t scary), but then Emma went home and Cali and I stayed at the clubhouse. Our parents were there, and there was a dance. We tried to do each line dance, copying people around us, until we had memorized one or two, and were able to copy nearly everything. It was really fun. After a while, Emma joined us for a bit, and then went home again. Cali and I danced till ten o’ clock, when the party stopped. Then we went home exhausted, ready for a good night’s sleep.
– Lillian.

A Day In My Life: Chesapeake Meetup

Left to right, Cali, Molly, Zoe, Emma, and I.
Left to right, Cali, Molly, Zoe, Emma, and me.
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Here we are playing Bingo. Photo by Mike Burrell
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Trick-or-Treating Photo by Mike Burrell

Every year in October there is a travel meetup in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. This year we went, and almost all of our travel friends went, too! I’m going to give you an idea of what my life is like at the Chesapeake Meetup.

I’m in Chesapeake Bay. I just got here yesterday, after a long day of travel. As soon as I’m awake, I hurry and get ready for the day, and begin on my school work.

Once I’m done, I run outside and to gather up my friends, and we all go up to the playground for a little while to swing or play “Groundies,” a game in which everybody races to the top of the playground, and the last one up is it. The person who is it has to go to the ground, and then try to tag someone else. They can go on the playground, but they have to have their eyes closed. If you are it, and you’re on the playground, you can yell “Groundies!”, and if there’s someone on the ground at that moment, they’re it. If not, you keep going and try to tag someone. There is a great playground here at Chesapeake, and so we play Groundies a lot.

I go home and eat lunch after a while, and so do all my friends, and by the time we are done there’s usually an activity. We tie-dye T-shirts, color scarecrows, play RVHS bingo, carve pumpkins, make glow-in-the-dark lanterns, or practice Pickleball. The kids usually all play together for the rest of the day, sometimes Capture the Flag, sometimes Groundies, or just swinging.

We eat dinner, and then in the evenings there is the nightly adult Pickleball, and all of the kids play Infected at the playground and mini-golf course. Marcus and Cali Perry, and Gordon and I, are usually on a team, and at least one of us almost always wins! Once our parents are done playing Pickleball we go home and take showers, and go to bed to get some rest for the next day.
-Lillian.

Star Wars Commander

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My Base

While traveling on the road it can be hard to have fun on  those long driving days, so that’s why there are video games! I play mostly on my iPad because I like strategy games and stuff like that, so here is one of the games I got most recently and why I like it so much.

Star Wars Commander is a strategy/action game where you can choose either to side with the Empire or the Republic (so of course, I chose the Empire). You can build up your base and go to battle against other players (or do the campaign mode on single player against Sand People). I play on it with some of my RV friends, and we have a lot of fun with it. It is a Disney game that is free on the Apple App Store (and Google Play), and it is a lot of fun to play. -gordon

Historic Jamestown Settlement

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on the Susan Constant
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weaving at the indian village

Okay so I’m a little bit late writing about this but here we go. Jamestown was among the first settlements in America and the first successful one. It was settled purely for the profit of farming tobacco, looking for gold and silver, and trading with the natives It was paid for by the Virginia company, a company looking only to make a quick buck in this new world (and claim some land for England). The three ships that came to Jamestown from England were called the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and last but not least the Godspeed. They were led by captain Christopher Newport who was a privateer (a legal pirate who attacked Spanish ships for the queen of England) and had only one arm (privateering is dangerous). He helped lead the colony until 1607 when he got shipwrecked in Bantam (Java) and died there. After a while the settlement still hadn’t turned a profit so the Virginia company was dissolved but the settlers who now were bringing women in were making their own tools and growing their own food and the colony survived.

We had fun going on the reproduction ships and Indian village and the reenactors were great. There was also a reproduction of the james fort which i liked a lot. There were cannons and muskets that they did demos on and there were a lot of cool things to do, overall this was one of the best historical places we’ve ever been to. -gordon

Rev-Quest: The Old Enemy

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At the house of the British governor of colonial Virginia.
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Mary Dickinson’s store
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Pigpen cipher
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In the gaol where Blackbeard’s pirates were kept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today we went to Williamsburg, and did a bunch of great stuff. For one, Gordon and I played Rev-Quest, a revolutionary spy game. After we had watched the video that told us how to begin, we checked the Red Schedule to find out what time we had to meet our agent at the Robert Carter house. Since there was still half an hour to spare, the colonial farm was the perfect place to stop, with just enough to see and do that we were done five minuets before our meeting, giving us enough time to get there.

Our agent explained to our group of fellow spies how to use the special cipher, and where to go next. Following orders, Gordon and I hurried to Mary Dickinson’s store, where we found that there where 13 letters on the sign, the feathers were in an X shape, and there was only 1 fan. This gave us our first clue: 13XI. This doesn’t make sense to you because it is in code. I am not allowed to explain it to you, do to direct orders from our Leader, but I can tell you that our secret message was sent, using a special messaging device from the future, to Mrs. J. From there she gave us a special order, to go to the magazine and speak with an associate of hers. We found out the next clue, 13JIV. Upon sending to Mrs. J., I quickly remembered something odd I had seen on the side of a tavern, just what we were looking for. Gordon and I rushed to Chowning’s Tavern, and found the pigpen code written on the outside wall. It seemed a little risky to me, since it is not too hard to decipher, but an old lobster-back wouldn’t understand the words, anyway. Since you are so desperate to know I will tell you, but you will have to rest with the simple knowledge that the clue is as follows, for reasons unknown to you. Arms. Tobacco. Sugar.

Gordon put the words in their proper order on a letter previously given to us, and I read it aloud. It seemed that tobacco is what the French prize most, so it will be our way of trade. We have found an ally at the Post Office who has given us a document in which there is a message for the French clearly stating the reasons we want independence from Britain. Gordon sent a message to Mrs. J. to tell her what we had found, and we learned of a French Envoy with whom we needed to speak. She would only come to speak at 1:45, so as to not be seen, so we waited for half an hour more at the millinery. When she finally came, it was with ill tidings, for the French would not become allies… Yet. My brother and I, and all our fellow spies, are sure we can change their minds. Our hearts are of oak, as Mrs. J. has said, and we can not give up now.

Gordon and I found a green gated alley way across from a sign that said 1745, a clue given us by the French Envoy, and found a message in pigpen code. It said “North” “Middle” and “South.” Mrs. J. had given me a map of the ocean and my brother and I tried to decide the easiest route to France, north, middle, or south.

Thomas Jefferson is to leave from the Delaware River on the north route to France. That is the shortest, but also the most dangerous. We had to meet with a Courtier at 3:00, in order to tell him of our Leader’s plans, and get the name of the the safest ship to take him across. Gordon and I successfully got our message across, and learned the name of the ship so as to pass the information on to Mrs. J., who in turn will alert the French to be on the lookout for the ship. I’m sorry, I am not permitted to pass the name on to you, for it has been forbid by our Leader. It is yet to be discovered whether or not France will consent in the end, but I’m sure that Britain’s Old Enemy will be our New Ally.

Rock Climbing Pictures

 

Climbing on the natural staircase.
Climbing on the natural staircase.
The practice climb. We had two ropes set up for it.
The practice climb. We had two ropes set up for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gordon climbing. Dr. Grant is belaying him.
Gordon climbing. Dr. Grant is belaying him.

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What’s the difference between indoor rock climbing and outdoor rock climbing?
When you rock climb indoors there is a man-made climbing wall
. All the holds where specially made to hold on to and to step on. When you rock climb outdoors you are on a mountain. Of course, there are no specially made holds unless someone has added them. You’re putting all of your weight on any little flat place you can find to step on, and you’re  walking on nearly vertical rock.
Isn’t it dangerous?

Not really. When you climb you’re hooked up to the belay, so that if you fall the person working your belay can pull the rope and hold you. It’s kind of fun to fall, anyway, since you know you’re safe. It feels dangerous at first, but trust is the key. Trust the person belaying you, and trust the rope. Climbing ropes are about an inch thick, so you can trust them.
Do you need a guide?
It’s always good to go with someone who is good at climbing and can climb up a little ways with out being on a belay so that they can set up your ropes. When you first start, go up about 30 feet until you get the hang of it, before going really high.
Do you have any more questions? feel free to ask, and I’ll get back to you by the end of the week!
– Lillian.

Rock Climbing

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My first climb. It was so hard to find footing!

We went rock climbing with Dr. Grant in August. We were climbing up a rock that he knew of about an hour’s walk from the parking lot where we parked. We started with some warm-up climbs, going up about 30 feet on a rope tied to metal loops in the rock.
Once we had done that enough to get comfortable with it, which didn’t take long, we began our big climb. The whole rock was 300 feet tall, and we went all the way up it. Beginning at the ropes at the bottom, Dr. Grant climbed about 1/3 of the way up. He had two ropes tied to his climbing harness, Mom’s and mine. Mom had Dad’s rope tied to her harness, and I had Gordon’s rope tied to my harness. So once Dr. Grant got up to a ledge, he began working the belay device. The belay device is a device that you tie the rope through, and then you can pull it apart to hold the person who is tied to the rope when they fall. I went first, and once I was about a fourth of the way to the ledge where Dr. Grant was, Mom started climbing behind me. We had to go slowly, because Dr. Grant was working both of our belays, but soon we got up to where he was. He tied us in, and then started belaying Dad and Gordon. The ends of their ropes where down at the bottom, tied to them, but Mom and I had brought the other ends trailing behind us. Then Dad and Gordon climbed up to us, and Dad belayed Dr. Grant to go another fourth of the way up. When Dr. Grant was at the top he belayed Mom and I, then Dad and Gordon. Then we did it again! It took about 2 hours to get all the way up!

Climbing up the edge of the world!
Mom climbing up the edge of the world!

Near the end there was a really smooth place with no foot holds. It was really scary, and I had to run from the hard place to a natural rock staircase. From there it was easy.

At the top we stopped to take off our climbing shoes and harnesses, and put on our walking shoes. I would have liked to rappel down, but it was really far and it would be a big hassle, so we walked down a trail that went to the bottom of the rock where we had left our bags. Then we walked down the trail to our car.

I loved the rock climb. I really liked how it was both a team effort (One person [at least] climbing, one person working the belay), and an independent sport (You’re climbing by yourself, so you feel even more out).
For some people I guess having the feeling like you’re about to fall off the world would be scary. I would have thought I wouldn’t like it. But somehow, it makes me feel happy, and free, and very adventurous.LilCloseup
-Lillian.