Friday, January 05, 2007

Party Like It's 2000

The wife and I are planning on leaving the area in 2007. In preparation for the move, I'm trying to relive a few of my favorite places and moments in the New River Valley. Since we didn't really have any plans for New Year's Eve, I talked the wife, Ella, and my friend Sean, who was visiting from Charlottesville, into reliving December 31, 1999 with me.

I've mentioned New Year's Eve 1999 before. For our last trip of the milennium, we went to the Roanoke Star and Miniature Graceland for the first time. It was a nice day, if a little overcast, and we had a wonderful time tooling around Roanoke.

December 31, 2006 was a little different.

To say it was overcast is like saying that France's military is a little incompetent, or the Dutch language is somewhat harsh, or Keven Federline is a moderately untalented scuzzball hack who prostituted himself for cash and a shot at fame. It wasn't just overcast; it was a three-dimensional diorama of Paris Hilton's thought process.

The cloud cover started something like three inches off the ground. Everything was gray, and visibility was approximately twenty feet or so. It was like being in Limbo.

It perfectly suited our moods.

We should have been scared to drive around in this muck, but we were amazed at the beauty of it all. It was a little clearer on the interstate, but the highway seemed to disappear a few hundred feet in front of the car, and every mountain's edge looked like a gateway to nothingness. In Roanoke, the cloud cover was a little higher, but Mill Mountain was still covered. It was like Mount Fuji, Southwest Virginia style.

We got a little lost on the way to the star, but ultimately found it. Right below the star is an overlook that, usually, has about a 60-mile view. Here's what it looked like on December 31:

That's my sister, Ella, dressed like an immigrant, circa 1906. Here's George in a similar costume:

As always, we had to take "Russian Heroic" pictures of ourselves at the star. Here's Ella, looking like a Soviet recruitment poster, circa 1947:

After we spent a little time looking out over the cloud cover shrouding the city of Roanoke, we went to Miniature Graceland. Surprisingly, we were able to find it very quickly. Every other time I've visited, I've found it overgrown and very shabby looking. This time, it was a different story. The Elvis statue had been cleaned up, and looked pretty sharp:

And the owner's son has done a beautiful job with Graceland itself. He's installed a little wall around it, and is in the process of putting in a replica of Elvis' gravesite. Overall, it looked pretty great. Here's Ella and George menacing it with their best monster looks:

And here's Sean doing his best one-man re-enactment of the history of Rock Music, circa 1976:

When we got home, we had a great Chinese dinner, then returned to the house to ring in the New Year. The next day was clear and bright.

I'm taking the weather as a portent. 2007 is going to be good.

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  • I love the re-enactment pics...and George is adorable. Where will your next stop be??? Happy 2007!

    By Blogger Claudia, At January 5, 2007 at 11:04 AM  

  • I like to tour the state after a storm, too--to assess the damage and calm the people.

    By Blogger Matt, At January 5, 2007 at 11:56 AM  

  • Nice memory.....fog is scarry tho!

    By Blogger Odat, At January 5, 2007 at 3:02 PM  

  • Claudia-
    George was definitely chanelling Fievel mouse. Our next stop is New York.

    Happy 2007!

    Actually, this felt a lot like that movie Silent Hill. Not so much post-storm as post-apocalypse.

    Scary, but pretty amazing, too.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 5, 2007 at 3:38 PM  

  • You're going to leave the New River Valley for New York? Are you moving in with Odat?

    By Blogger The CEO, At January 5, 2007 at 7:52 PM  

  • "three-dimensional diorama of Paris Hilton's thought process."


    The fog reminds me of Sacramento fog. Actually, it's the only cool thing about Sacramento...

    By Blogger Pickled Olives, At January 5, 2007 at 9:12 PM  

  • Poor Federline, if he sleeps with me for a night, I will talk nice of him.

    The weather just seems awesome especially that foggy interstate is exciting. Anyway, be safe.

    By Blogger ramo, At January 5, 2007 at 10:19 PM  

  • CEO-
    I don't think Odat is ready for the horror of George's temper tantrums!

    Pickled Olives-
    It's also a lot like the Oregon coast. Seriously, in the five days I was there, I experienced every form of precipitation known to man.

    Thanks for the concern!

    And good luck with Federline!

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 5, 2007 at 10:51 PM  

  • NYC?????

    By Blogger Claudia, At January 6, 2007 at 11:21 AM  

  • It reminds me of the weather in Oregon, for most of the year. They apparently sell a lot of full spectrum lamps up in the northwest to ward of seasonal depression due to lack of sunlight. I’m actually happier when subjected to extended periods of grey overcast and dark days, don’t know what that’s all about.

    By Blogger slaghammer, At January 7, 2007 at 2:37 AM  

  • Claudia-

    My mother-in-law lives on the Oregon coast. We visited her in March, 2006. It was beautiful, but I had a hell of a time dragging myself out of bed every morning.

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 7, 2007 at 9:24 AM  

  • That is awesome...what a culture shock...but a good thing too!

    By Blogger Claudia, At January 7, 2007 at 11:23 AM  

  • You're moving to NYC! What great news! Do you know what part of the city you'll be in? I lived in the West Village at two different times in my life.

    Is Ella going, too?

    Great pix, by the way. I love fog. It makes everything mysterious and gothic (but in a Good Way.)

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At January 7, 2007 at 11:38 PM  

  • Claudia-
    It's been about fifteen years since I lived in a city. I'm nervous as hell, but also incredibly excited.

    We're looking at Queens or Brooklyn. Ella's going to be living in Pennsylvania, where she's gotten a graduate assistantship at Bucknell University.

    A San Francisco citizen who loves fog? Hard to imagine ;-)

    By Blogger Crankster, At January 8, 2007 at 5:46 PM  

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