Posts filed under ‘Bret H’

Cornhole Addiction

Yesterday was Sean’s mother’s family reunion in Roanoke, Virginia.  Delicious food, great company, but the highlight of the event was the ongoing Cornhole competition.  Haven’t heard of Cornhole?  It is very addictive!  Basically, you are throwing bean bags filled with corn kernels at an angled platform that contains a small hole.  You get one point for every bag that stays on the platform and three points for every bag that goes in the hole (This is a simplified scoring system, in official Cornhole you can cancel out points).  If another throw by you or your opponent knocks your bag off the platform, you no longer get that point.  It is actually more challenging than it sounds.  The bags were unpredicatable– defying friction by sliding off the platform and defying gravity by refusing to fall in the hole.

You can learn more about Cornhole at

Here are some Cornhole shots from our family reunion:

Cory, me (farside), Bret (farside), Sean

Cory celebrates a good toss

Ted with his horseshoe experience was undefeated in Cornhole

Phifer celebrates, Bret throws

Me concentrating on a throw

Cory (foreground) is satisfied with his performance while Sean (with his tongue out) concentrates on a throw.

I had so much fun.  I look forward to playing again in the future.  Perhaps we should have Cornhole at Assateague!  🙂

More pictures of our family reunion, including Cornhole, can be found on my Flickr site.

June 25, 2007 at 1:05 am 6 comments

Driving in Style at the Golf Course

Another article on my brother-in-law, Bret, and his custom golf cars was published today:,0,2689148.story?coll=dp-business-localheads

Jeep Golf Car

December 19, 2006 at 11:36 pm 1 comment

Memories of Meredith – Still Going Strong

In June, my friend Meredith moved from nearby Christiansburg, all the way to California. Here’s a journal excerpt about her going away party. It’s from my June 25, 2006.

When we first arrived – Bill and I walked over to a large grounp standing outside watching one of their friends swinging wildly at a pinata.

I realized I had forgotten the card for Meredith — so I made a trip back to my car. As I walked down the gravel driveway in the dark dusk, I could hear Meredith’s voice above all the others. It made me smile– at her party and her moment, she was shining. However, as I got further and further away from the party and closer to my car, her voice started to fade away. My smile dropped, realizing the same thing may happen to my memories of her. They are loud and clear now and prevalent above the others — but eventually they may fade away.

Well, five months has past and so far so good. My memory of Meredith is still going strong, especially this past week! It seems all week I had little brushes with a Meredith Memory:

  • Friday
    Phifer organized a surprise birthday dinner for Bret. So at 10 PM, Bill, Andy, Phifer, Bret, Larry, Lindsay, Sean and I convened on Kabuki for the traditional gorging on high sodium foods. Kabuki did make me think of Meredith as I accompanied her there often and I believe we had two seperate going away feasts there.
  • Saturday
    Saturday was the tailgate, so I had some wine– a cabernet sauvignon. It was Meredith who helped fuel my love of wine– taking me to Villa Appalachia and inviting me to wine tasting parties at her house. Plus I learned I liked cabernet sauvignon by copying Meredith. At restaurants I would cheat and just order whatever she ordered! 🙂
  • Monday
    Monday on a whim, I took off early and spent the afternoon hiking with Mike E. Daylight is scarce nowadays. Luckily I was able to expose Mike to a nearby gem– the Falls Ridge Nature Preserve in Ellett Valley. Meredith’s memory is strong there. She was the one who first introduced me to the spot. She and I visited on a number of occassions– including the day before my wedding (it proved to be a great way to relax before nuptials)! Frequently while Mike and I explored yesterday, I’d mention Meredith. “Meredith and I once climbed to that rock!”, “Meredith and I walked down that way.”, etc.
  • Tuesday
    Today, Mike E, Tony Airaghi and I tried out Sushi Factory. It’s a new sushi place in University Mall. Once again, I thought briefly of Meredith. She was there when I first tried sushi and she organized a number of the subsequent sushi gatherings I attended.

So perhaps if I keep on eating, drinking wine and hiking– Meredith’s memory will never fade away.

Unless, of course, I take the wine drinking part of the equation a little too seriously. 🙂

November 14, 2006 at 8:35 pm 2 comments

Family News Day

Two of my family members made appearences in the press this week!

Bret Herrala (brother-in-law)
Get a customized ride of a different type
October 22, 2006 Issue of The Tidewater News

Adam Sawyer (cousin)
In Iraqi Villages, Troops See Strides and a Big Challenge
October 29, 2006 Issue of The Washington Post

October 29, 2006 at 11:51 pm Leave a comment

Get a Customized Ride of a Different Type

Below is an article from the October 22, 2006 Issue of The Tidewater News about the customization work my brother-in-law, Bret, is doing on golf cars.  It was written by Wendy Walker, one of the staff reporters for The Tidewater News.

FRANKLIN – You don’t have to be on the green to enjoy getting around on your own customized wheels.

Walters Outdoor Power Equipment is selling stock and customized golf cars at the business on Walters Highway.

According to Mechanic Bret Herrala, who conducts all of the work on the vehicles at the establishment, folks use them for a variety of reasons.

“Sometimes people who have large yards or long driveways use them to get around their property,” he said.

“Older people who can’t get around very well use them to get their mail.”

Farmers, often other businesses and industries also utilize them for their workers, who may need to carry a lot of tools from place to place.

“We started doing this last August,” said Herrala.

“We got one from a guy in Chesapeake, and it sold before we got it to the shop.

“We had stopped at a store in Windsor on our way home and someone asked about buying it.

“I had been looking around and saw some kits that you could use to make them look like hummers and jeeps.

“I thought it would be fun.”

Herrala said the vehicles are made just like little cars, hence the use of the word “car”, rather than “cart.”

“We sell some stock and others that are customized,” he said.

“I fixed up one by painting it red, putting chrome wheels on it and installing a radio.  It sold soon afterward.”

One couple brought their own in and had it customized.

“We work on and sell any Club car,” he said of the models.

“I don’t usually work on anything else.”

Walters OPE has sold approximately 30 of the golf cars, most coming from a wholesaler outside of Lynchburg.

Although the business has sold a couple of the electric ones, most of the ones that they have in stock are the gas-powered ones.

“Some people like the quietness of the electric ones,” said Herrala.

“We try to keep several different models and at least one electric car.  We usually have six or so at a given time.

“We like to keep some different ones out as examples.”

The cars are on display across the street from the building.

“There is an endless number of things you can do to customize them,” said Herrala.

Lift kits, radios, speakers, rims, specialty wheels that look like car tires, and flip-flop boxes are just a few examples.

“Decals, doors, headlights, brake lights, air conditioning, heating and enclosures are some other options.”

According to Herrala, the cheapest golf car would run a customer about $2,200.

He added, “After that, if you’re customizing it, the cost could be limitless.”

Walters OPE will be providing service as well as stocking parts for these specialty vehicles.

“And if we don’t have it, we can get it in a couple of days anyway,” he said.

Because all of the golf cars are used, there is a six-month warranty on major parts such as the engine or transmission.

“We will deliver them just as if you came in and bought a lawn mower,” he said.

And if you’re driving by, make sure you wave to Lulu [the mannequin].  She’ll be sitting in her favorite car waiting to greet customers.

For more information, call Walters Outdoor Power Equipment, 562-4760

October 29, 2006 at 11:48 pm 4 comments

Boston Pictures

Got back today from Boston and just like after the Smokies, time is tight.  I have some narrative attached to my Flickr uploads and my brother-in-law has his pictures uploaded to Facebook. 


My Boston Pictures on Flickr

My Lowell Pictures on Flickr

Bret’s Random Boston Pictures

Bret’s Aquarium Pictures

Bret’s Brewery Tour Pictures

Bret’s Fenway Park Pictures

Bret’s Virginia Tech vs Boston College Pictures

October 15, 2006 at 9:39 pm 1 comment

Worlds Collide at Larry’s Tailgate!

One thing I enjoy about weddings (besides dancing and the cake, of course) is the “worlds collide” effect. A number of people who all know the bride and groom in different contexts convene together for a common celebration. I like to see extended family and friends mingling together, sharing their memories and antedotes.

This weekend even though Virginia Tech’s bout with Northeastern did not promise to be a nailbiter, it still managed to draw a collision of worlds at Larry’s house. Many different aspects of my life were represented by the people in attendence:

  • My Blacksburg/Tailgate Life – All the normal tailgating people were in attendence. Larry, Ann, Penn, Gwyn, Andy, Bill, Sean, Keith, Jonathan Couch and even new father Brian Vandervort made a surprise appearence!
  • My Hiking Life – My reigning Hiking Buddy, Mike E, was present and he got to converse with my original hiking partner– Tony Airaghi.
  • My Married Life – Both of Sean’s brothers and their significant others came down for the event. That meant 66.66% of my brothers-in-law were in attendence (Carolyn‘s husband, Clint, was the only one missing from this brother-in-law reunion).
  • My QualTrax Life – ZJ Palasz, one of our QualTrax programmers, came in from Virginia Beach with his girlfriend to join our festivities.
  • My NOVA/Camping/Skiing Life – Kipp and Stacy came down for the event. On Friday night I found out that Shannon, Christian, Beth, Wayne and Shehab were going to be in town as well. I extended an invitation and all seven of these individuals from Northern Virginia came to Larry’s tailgate …and all seven of them got to witness a rare “Tipsy Vicky”.

I think these two pictures are a solid representation of the worlds colliding. The first one depicts some of the usual crowd– Me, Larry and Lindsay. The second one is the same shot— only this time, Kipp has made his way into the scene!

And here comes NOVA bursting in! 🙂

More pictures from the Virginia Tech vs. Northeastern Tailgate are available on my website.

September 4, 2006 at 11:36 am 1 comment

Ian Fund, Corn, Ian Fund

Been a busy, busy, week and it’s past my bedtime.  But here’s a quick update of some things that have been going on.

Ian Open
Last Friday, CCS hosted a Charity Golf Tournament for Ian Herbst.  Ann Bowman Jones of Bowman Handbags, Ted Bowman, Jennifer Blankenship and I participated as a team. 

Vicky Herrala and Ann Bowman Jones 

Although my game certainly struggled, our team did not hold up the entire event like I feared the night before.  And surprisingly, we did not come in last place!  We were 9 over par…. and some poor team faired worse.  Regardless of scores, it was a great event in wonderful weather and it brought in a good amount of money for Ian Fund as well.

Chic-A-Que and Sweet Corn
Despite hearing multiple sources rave about Eric Axilbund’s 4th of July party, Sean and I continued our tradition of visiting his parent’s.  I always, always eat extremely well in Zuni– both on the quality front and on the quantity front.  On Sunday, we went to the Bowden’s house to enjoy Ted Herrala’s tasty Chic-a-que.  Not only is the chicken delicious, but it is a very interesting event to spectate as you watch Ted and his companions flip and sauce hundreds of chickens over the makeshift cinderblock grill. 

On Monday, the timing was just right to get the first of the “How Sweet It Is” sweet corn.  You couldn’t get more fresh corn than what we had!  Literally just an hour or so before ingesting it, Sean, Bret, Phifer, Ted and I were picking corn in the field (braving a looming thunderstorm and freaky-looking brain fungus).  The corn was absolutely delicious!  So far, I’ve ingested 6 ears of corn this week…and there is more to come.

More Ian Fund
Another Ian Fund project in the works is Pine Cone Wreaths. 


They are making them to sell at Craft Fairs and raise money for Ian.  A crafting company donated most of the supplies– all we need is pine cones!  Well for a month or so, I’ve been collecting pine cones on and off. 

As we neared Sean’s family’s house, I kept eyeing the nearby scenery for pine trees. 

“Look, there’s some pine cones!” I’d say.

Sean assured me, “There is no shortage of pine cones in this area.”

Boy, was he right!  In fact– Sean’s family’s backyard was COVERED with pine cones.  On Monday afternoon, I was able to fill up two giant black trashbags full of pine cones…. and the yard was still littered with remaining cones!  My collection should keep the crafters busy for a while.  When they do eventually run out, I know just who to hit up for more.

July 5, 2006 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Flickr Photos

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