Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"We are Virginia Tech"

That is the poignant phrase that graces the plaque on the memorial that now sits in front of Burress on the drillfield in honor of those lives that were lost during the shootings of April 16, 2007.

It was important to all of us that we visit the memorial and that we pay our respects to the 32 lives that were lost that day. Each victim has a Hokie stone with their name on it, and even a year and a half later, there were little trinkets and fresh flowers at almost all of the stones. The most emotional part for me was seeing a bouquet of flowers that were placed on a stone to celebrate the victim's birthday, which would have been November 21.

Seeing the amazing way that our Alma mater chose to memorialize these innocent victims made us all even more proud to be Hokies.

"We will prevail, We are Virginia Tech."

VT's beautiful campus...

On Sunday morning we all woke up relatively early again, grabbed our Starbucks, and went for a long walk around the campus. Fortunately, the wind had died down so the weather was cold, but comfortable.

It was great to walk by all our old dorms and academic buildings. It really is a gorgeous campus, especially with all that Hokie stone gracing the walls of new and old buildings.

I had a few goals, one to get a picture of my old dorm window (which by the way, had a McCain/Palin sticker on it, my how the tennants have changed!), a picture in the arch where my buddy Jon and I spent many hours chatting, and of course, a photo of Burress, the cornerstone of the VT campus.

After we were done with our walking tour, we packed up the RV, and drove it to the stadium lot for one last photo shoot. Family portraits to commemorate our fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Night game in Lane Stadium...

Obviously the whole weekend was centered around the Virginia Tech v. Duke football game. We were thrilled when it was announced that kick off would be at 5:30 as nothing compares to a night game in Lane Stadium. After spending all day tailgating we were ready to make the journey to the stadium and were counting down the minutes until we heard "Enter Sandman" blarring through the speakers!

The walk to the stadium was fantastic as it gave us our first glimpse of the campus. We even got to walk across the drill field which as the Hokies out there know is an activity done a least a thousand times in your college life.

As we got closer to the stadium, Andy and I broke off from Greg and Erica to quickly visit my uncle Paul who sells merchandise for Virginia Tech. I was excited to see that he now has the family "Ripley" logo on his trailer and that he had included "In memory of Thomas Ripley and Dr. Louis Ripley." My uncle and grandfather who both loved Hokie football.

Once we got into the stadium we were amazed at how awesome our seats were. I'd never sat so close to the field. The energy was undescribable, especailly when Metalica's song started to play. We were all jumping up and down ready for our beloved Hokies to take the field. Once they ran onto the field, fireworks starting going off in the background--who wouldn't want to be a Hokie?!

The game itself was not quite as memorable, but a win is a win right?! And if watching them fumble and faulter their way to a win was what we had to do to hear the Marching Virginians play "The Hokie Pokie," then that's fine with me.

When the game was over we were all happy to make the trek back to the RV as we knew heat would be there to greet us. Erica was the only one who could still feel her feet, and that's only because she was rocking some new Uggs (which will now be gracing my Christmas list!) After warming up for a bit in the camper, and regaining feeling in our toes, fingers, noses, and just about every other part of our bodies, we bundled back up and walked to BW3's for some post-game beverages.

The last stop on our list of "must do's" for the day was a late-night visit to Gumby's for some pokey sticks. We brought the food back to the camper and all you heard for the next 20 minutes were "mmmm's" and "I die..." as we savored each amazing cheesy bite dipped in ranch. There's no better way to end a game day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Game day in Blacksburg...

We woke up on Saturday morning ready for an amazing day of tailgating and of course, the big game. First on our list of activities was to get some morning coffee at Starbucks. While this is a normal occurance in our lives, it is not something that we were ever able to do in Blacksburg, and now, five years later, you have your pick of three how times have changed!

Once we had some caffeine in our systems, it was time for the boys to head to Super Walmart (love it!) to purchase a cheap charcoal grill and a few other items we had forgotten. Erica and I on the other hand, had appointments at Tivon, a local hair salon and spa. Erica had gone there throughout college and made the recommendation that we take advantage of the super cheap treatments, and so I bit the bullet and got an appointment with a random stylist to have my highlights touched up. I was definitely nervous, as I'm typically particular about who does my hair, but for $50, I couldn't resist! I am happy to report that it all worked out and I am very happy with my cut and color, all at a 50% discount from what I normally pay here in No. Va!

After our appointments we headed back to the RV to get the tailgating started. The boys had already set up our table and chairs outside, which would end up being used for all of five minutes as the wind was whipping and it was far too chilly to spend any time outdoors...again, love the RV and the heater! :)

On the menu for our tailgate, wings from BW3's, buffalo chicken dip, texas caviar, veggie platter, and grilled chicken sandwiches. Yum! After we stuffed ourselves to the gills, we played some football in the parking lot, in true tailgate fashion, and then got bundled up and ready for our trek to Lane Stadium! Let the game begin...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Camper...

The RV itself is perfect! We couldn't have asked for a better set up for the weekend. With heat, potable water, electricity, and even a flat screen HD tv, what more could we ask for? Oh right, how about a bathroom, windows, oven, microwave, stove, freezer and refridgerator? Check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

Here's a quick look at our home for the past few days....


One of the things we were all looking forward to about this trip to Blacksburg was getting downtown and hitting all of our favorite spots from our college days. Stop one, Sharkeys!

Sharkeys was definitely the bar that I have the most fond memories of. It was one of the first places that I can remember hanging out with Greg, Erica and Andy, and so many other great memories took place there. The only down side is that they moved locations a few years back, and their new place doesn't have the same cozy intimate feel, but the menu and drink specials remained the same, so I guess we can't complain too much!

We all started out with their Friday special, Strong Island Iced Teas. When the bar tender told me the bill was $8.00, I automatically assumed that meant for one, but no, that's the cost for two tall Strong Islands...amazing! We had lots of moments like that this weekend, where we were just blown away by how inexpensive everything is. We even got carded, which of course made us all very happy, and we even got stamps on our hands, ahh the memories!

We all enjoyed a fabulous dinner of terribly unhealthy food. Who can resist the fried zuchinni, pulled pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries!? Not us.

After dinner we made our way to another favorite night spot, Champs. We were a little disappointed at how crowded and smokey it was, but we did enjoy a few beverages and some music I picked out from the juke box...Michael Jackson anyone?! :)

Around 10:30 we all looked at each other and almost simultaneously suggested we head back to the RV (we fear we are getting old!) Once we returned we did rally and played several rounds "American Idol" on the Wii and Catch Phrase...perhaps we really are getting old! :)

It was a great night though and we were happy to be saving our energy for a full day of tailgating and of course, some Hokie football!