Victory and Beyond, 2003

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The route to Victory and Beyond

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Ricketts Glen State Park, PA was a winter wonderland and one of the few PA parks open for camping at this time of year and this level of snowpack. Our furnace and sleeping bags kept us warm, but as Bog wisely observed, "There's not much between my butt and 11 degrees".

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Can't have a picnic, ...

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So we took a little walk in the snow ...

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And wound up at JenO's in West Chester, PA. How did that happen?

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There was laughter, gaiety and merriment when the Jens and Bogers got together, and of course, beer.

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No, Janie did not knock Bog out with a Mets mug. Maybe what was in the mug put him in the bag.

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What was in the mug? Could it have been Victory Dark Lager?

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Dueling cameras - no one was quick enough to get JenO with her camera drawn.

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Hostess gifts from the Wizard of Clay for the Wizard of PA.

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Run and get the bucket, get the baby some beer! If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? Stand by your man. If you don't get it, guess you had ta be there. Thanks, JenM and Don.

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How many idiots do you suppose have posed for this picture? There was no "Place Feet Here" sign, but there were many Victory signs.

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Saints preserve us. Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Attributed to Ben Franklin.

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The Victory Beer Sampler. According to our waitress, "It's only alcohol, it's not like it's bad for you", so we might as well try all of them once. Let's see, there was Dark Lager in lieu of Teddy's Bitter, E.S.B., regular Lager, Hard Times Lager, Workhouse Porter, Hop Devil and Hop Devil Cask Conditioned, Mad King Weissbier, Festbier, Prima Pils, Old Horizontal Barleywine, Golden Monkey, and the winner and still champ, Storm King.

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Our waitress didn't say, "It's only fat and calories, it's not like it's bad for you" about the nachos, french fries, chicken wings, pork sandwich, gorgonzola burger, and cheesy pizza, but we ordered it anyway.

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Where to go after dinner? Follow the yellow paint road to the Beer to Go Go.

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Let's see - a 6 pack of Golden Monkey for you and a 6 pack of Old Horizontal for me and a 6 pack of Dark Lager for her and a 6 pack of Storm King for him makes everyone a full sampler case to take home. Like party favors, only better.

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JenO earns her hostess gifts by making like Aunt Jemima. Pancakes, strawberries, maple syrup from Parrish, NY. What, no beer?

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All good things must come to an end. The On to Victory part of the Tour is a pleasant memory.

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The And Beyond part of the trip begins as RVan heads out for Bowie, MD and visits with Janie's family.

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Janie and Bog were chauffeured into Washington, D.C. by big sister Margaret (back right) and her husband Dan (behind camera) to meet next-to-youngest sister Therese (back left) and her husband Bill (front left) for lunch at the Irish Channel Pub. 

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Ah, there's Dan, out from behind the camera, but just barely! Therese and Bill work for all of us via the GAO and Army Corps of Engineers, respectively. Dan, Margaret, Janie and Bog only work for themselves. And "work" this day included a long afternoon lunch for all of us.

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The nomads are ready to climb back into their home on wheels and visit brother Bill in Damascus.

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Nephew Sean knows how to pose for the camera.

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Sean's fabulous rendition of a Cardinal.

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Sister-in-law Val, Sean's Mom, is amused to be told that other family members think she "doesn't really exist". She just has sense enough to avoid Bannigan family gatherings whenever possible. Those gatherings sometimes included as many as 11 siblings, their mother, their spouses and as many as 24 of their children ranging in age from 24 to 4, which can be a might intimidating. Even Bog has been known to be left speechless in such a crowd.

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A-tisket, A-tasket, an overflowing basket ... Sister Kathy made the basket and sister Mary filled it to overflowing with various and sundry goodies from all over the world. Thanks, ladies!

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One of the goodies that overflowed the basket was an Afghan Freedom Fighter Hat brought back by brother-in-law Dan. He was in Bahrain while we were in Bowie, so we didn't get the whole story. The hat came with an MRE, but hell, no, Bog won't go to war. He's already done his part to save the world from, er, for democracy. Thanks, Dan!

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Rice Candy, Peppermint Candy, Chocolate Candy, Turtles Candy ... Life is Sweet! Thanks, Mary!

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Janie's a Basket Case: eating snacks carried on the Ugandan/Kenyan basket from adopted brother Joe, ready to leaf through seed catalogs waiting in last Christmas's Kathy basket, enjoying a Maccabee Beer from Mary & Dan, opened with a Ugandan/Kenyan bottle opener from Joe. Thanks, everyone!