By: Frank Nixon
Not to say that Samantha is a control-freak or anything, but she has the tendency to guard most projects that she completes (or in this case, manages) with extreme care. So, when she offered me the opportunity to write an entry on Flame Run, I was both shocked and honored. I will write my best and convey my ideas the best way I know how and hopefully, you all will enjoy it.
I never really got to have many "real" family vacations. Of course, there were the so-called vacations where we visited family in other parts of the United States, but those never really felt like vacations to me at all. The trip to Louisville, however, was an epic first family vacation.
We went to a lot of cool places. The Louisville Slugger Museum and the Orangutan exhibit at the zoo were two of my favorite adventures from the trip. We also went to a place known as a "hot house." It's basically a glass art studio and we learned how glass art is made, watched the owner create a piece of glass art, and then we got to create one ourselves...under extreme supervision, of course.
Flame Run was more personal than any other place we visited because it was just us. The Wonder gang. The workshop wasn't open to the public and we got an exclusive look at the studios and the work spaces and the hot house where the glass art was actually made.
The owner was real friendly. He was open to all kinds of questions and it was obvious he takes a lot of pride in what he does. I asked him about the furnaces, like how hot they got and did he ever turn them off, because there were four of them and I could only imagine how much the gas bill was every month.
Come to find out, though, he keeps them on all the time. Unless he was on vacation for two weeks or more at a time, the furnaces stayed on. I learned that if he cut them off and on all the time, it would waste a lot of money, not to mention time and eventually damage the furnaces. The furnaces heat up to 2000 degrees and if he cut them off because of vacation time, it would take four to five days just to heat back up to an operational level. Another reason he keeps them on is because when the furnace loses heat, the bricks become brittle and like I said before, will eventually damage the furnace.
Some of his furnaces were bought, but I know at least one of them was custom built by one of his friends. If even one of them gets damaged, that'd be a lot of money thrown into the fire. Hence the supervision needed when it was time for us to make our own glass ornament. :)
All in all, Flame Run was a cool experience (despite the fact that there were four furnaces burning over 1500 degrees at a time). I learned about how difficult it is to make glass, I got to make my own glass ornament, and the best part of all was that I got to spend another day of quality time with my family.
2012 is gonna be a great year. I can feel it.
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