We kinda lounged around a bit. For a while I think we watched the World Cup with Dave. Or maybe that was the day before. But then Rick pulled out his laptop and hooked it up to their DSL router to check his e-mail and stuff. And I checked mine when he was done. I also wrote an LJ entry.
We had lunch and were still lounging around with nothing to do, so Peachy asks if we wanna do anything, and suggested going for a hike, if we like that sort of thing. Sounded good to us. So I covered myself in sun block and we loaded up on water bottles, hopped in dad's car and drove over to the old penitentiary at the base of Table Rock.
Hiking Table RockTable Rock is a little mountain with a flat top on the east side of the city. They put all their communications towers up there. There's also a huge cross up there that lights up at night and you can see it from the whole city. The trail we were about to hike would take us up to the top.
A few steps up the hill we had a good aerial view of the old penitentiary. Peachy explained that they had the prisoners digging out rock from up the mountain to build the place. What humiliating work. :) So, on we hiked. It wasn't terribly steep most of the time. Sometimes it would even level out or go into a short valley. There was probably actually more horizontal than vertical distance to travel. But it WAS high... don't get me wrong. :)
Half way up I could feel a blister forming on my right heel. Ouch. I tried to adjust my walk to minimize rubbing on it, but you know those efforts are always fruitless.
At one point where we stopped to rest and drink, we saw some red ants working around an ant hill, and one heading towards it was carrying a pretty big white thing of some sort at least 5 times its size, which is why we noticed it. I tried to shoot an up-close video with my digital camera but I couldn't see what I was doing in the LCD since it was so bright out so I just had to eyeball the lens angle, and it turned out I was aiming too high. Darn. :(
Well we finally made it to the top. And just to be funny, when I saw cars sitting up there I said "Wait, you mean we could've DRIVEN!?!" They thought I was serious though. I think. Well anyway, we walked up to the edge where there's the cross and a bench and a lot of broken bottles on the ground. It was quite windy up there. Rick had his cell phone with him and we got the silly idea to call Mumsy & Pop Pop and tell them to get out their binoculars and look at us waving. :) So we did, but they said they couldn't make us out. Darn. Well I shot plenty of photos from up there, and some panning videos. We were just barely able to make out the three buildings of Mumsy & Pop Pop's complex.
Well we figured we'd better head back since the family was meeting for dinner at this cool Mexican joint Pop Pop likes. We went back to Dave & Peachy's first and got quick showers.
Mexican DinnerWe all met up at this Mexican restaurant. It was me, Rick and our parents, Mumsy & Pop Pop, Dave, Peachy, Dennis and Neal. The waitress came and took our orders for drinks... I asked if they had Sprite. She said "No, we don't have anything like that." Nothing like Sprite? Does that imply no carbonated beverages at all? Whatever. So I just asked for water. Meanwhile, other people ordered Pepsi and Diet Pepsi and all sorts of other stuff (plus a lot of beer). I guess what she really meant was "nothing of the non-Pepsi brand". Oh well. Water's better for me anyway.
Then I had to figure out what to order. I found a really yummy-sounding seafood enchilada dish that had no mention of cheese in it. Perfect! So I got that. And after the waitress leaves my mom says, "What did you get? Did you ask for no cheese?" I told her how the menu didn't mention any cheese, while it did for the other enchiladas, but she says ALL enchiladas are covered with cheese. Whatever. So it comes, and yeah, it was covered with cheese, but not much. I've seen places put less cheese on top of a pizza and get away with it. It was easily scraped off and there was none inside, so it was perfect. Nice yummy meal. And Pop Pop paid for us all. Yippee!
After that we all went back to Mumsy & Pop Pop's, but Dennis or Neil went out with some friends or something. I probably showed my digital pictures on their TV for about the 3rd time. Then Pop Pop decided to put in his tape of The Producers. I'd heard about the new play on Broadway but didn't know there was an old movie of it too. So it was cool to finally see what it's about. Then mom wanted to go see the Night Parade, but the movie wasn't over yet, so we paused it. First I had to bandage my blister somehow because it was a bit of a walk and I didn't want it to get worse or burst or anything. Then mom, dad, Rick and I went to see the Night Parade.
Night ParadeWell all walked down to main street, or whatever it was called. Right before we got there, they shot off a few fireworks to kick off the parade by the old train depot, which is a tall tower that they light up at night and is sort of a landmark symbol around the town. We were walking by a building at the time though, and couldn't see the fireworks.
We finally got to the street, and it was packed. It's a divided street and only one side was used for the parade - the other side was full of people. From there we could see that the train depot, instead of lit up in white light like usual, was not lit up by moving, dancing, patterned lights of various rotating colors. It looked quite cool. I couldn't hold my camera steady enough to get a good picture though.
Most of the floats in the parade weren't all that interesting, I think. My mom seemed to love them, but it looked to me like all they did is throw a bunch of Christmas lights onto a normal float. Half the floats were bandstands. And for every float, there were two emergency vehicles. Ironically, one of the neatest things I saw was quite simple. A few horseback riders with cowboy hats had strings of lights outlining the horse, their arms and legs, and the rims of their hats. It wasn't just a random wrapping of lights, but an accurate outline that creates a representative line drawing. If you remove the horse and rider, the lights alone could tell you what it is. I thought that was worth a picture, but again I couldn't hold the camera steady enough. The "float" that got the most cheers was simply a pickup truck with a hot air balloon's burner. Every so often when the street was clear of overhead wires and trees, they would shoot bright flames up about 20 feet and the crowd would go wild. That's my kind of float. :) I heard quite a few imitations of Beavis and Butthead coming from the crowd as that went by.
It was a long parade, but eventually ended and we all walked back. Then Rick went home with Dave & Peachy to sleep there, but I stayed spent the night there on the couch so I could wake up early and go see the sunrise balloon launch the next morning with my parents.