Sunrise in Monument Valley

Sunrise in Monument Valley

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hannibal, MO and the Land of Mark Twain

We we[spent a couple of days in Hannibal, MO checking out the sights and enjoying the area. I had been here about 20 years ago and liked the little town, but decided it was a place in which I could never live. The town had added a few new shopping areas, but it is still a rather dismal place to live, but an interesting place to visit.

I remember a nice quilt shop on Main St called the Hickory Stick. Twenty years ago it was in one of the old, original buildings downtown and was actually housed in 2 separate stores next to each other, It was very dark with the original shelving and woodwork and they carried a lot of reproduction fabrics. I enjoyed my visit there 20 years ago, so I wanted to return. Now they have 3 stores all connected together which means a larger selection of fabrics, but they have now gone more modern in fabric style. Lots of Kaffee and brights. They have brightened everything up with paint and light ceilings to give it a more modern look. I found I could more easily see the fabrics and to find things now, but I did prefer the more traditional look of the original stores. It just fit better with the town itself. They had a nice selection of hand dyed wools, but other than that they pretty much carried the same stuff as other shops. There used to be a nice yarn store on the same street, but it is no longer there.

Like I said, everything was Mark Twain, including the local breweries, which we didn't try.

Hannibal is on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River and the river is much wider and deeper in this section that farther down the river in Memphis.
 Just around the corner from Mark Twain's childhood home is a statue of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. There was also a Becky Thatcher Diner and numerous other references to Mark Twain and his characters.

Not far from the campground was a sign that said "Lovers Leap", so we had to turn up the drive and see what it was all about. Here's the story of 2 Native Americans from different tribes.

                                                            Beautiful views from Lovers Leap.

 When we first arrived at this campground on Saturday it was absolutely packed. There wasn't an empty spot anywhere. We had made reservations well in advance, so we had a spot reserved for us. We noticed there was something going on near the entrance.. There were pony rides, a craft fair, vendor booths and lots of bands performing. When we checked in, the lady said they were having a Hootenanny. Not what I thought a Hootenanny was, but there were hundreds of kids, motorcycles and people in the CG. Evidently it was only on Saturday and by Sunday most everyone packed up and left, thank goodness. Then it was a very nice CG. Very spacious, quiet and the kitties had a great time sitting out in their strollers and taking a stroll around the quiet CG.

Sunday night we decided to take a 2 hour dinner cruise on a Mississippi Riverboat. The food was actually very good, much better that we anticipated and the cruise was nice with live music and nice people. We met a couple from Australia that were headed to Yellowstone after Hannibal.

It was a nice memory to take home from Hannibal.

Monday we headed to Springfield, IL where my longarm meeting was being held.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

AHHHHH Better Internet

As I previously mentioned, the Internet in Missouri was sub-par. There was no way I could post any pictures. I haven't done a very good job of taking them, but posting them has been a major challenge.

While staying in Maysville's "no where" campground we did take a ride to Hamilton, MO twice. It's the home of Missouri Star Quilt Company. We went on Thursday afternoon to get an idea of the town and shops there. The town was tiny, but all things quilty. It was busy with people shopping and we lucked out and found a newly vacated parking spot in from of their Main store. David decided he had to take a candid picture of me entering the first shop.

This shop must have been recently redecorated and remodeled. Everything smelled new and it was nice and bright and open. Beautiful flooring and nicely hung quilts, displays and little samplings of quilt fabrics from each of their 13 shops. They had copies of all of their books and individual copies of their patterns that were well written. I did get a few of their patterns since most of their patterns were inexpensive and called for jellyrolls and charms packs. I typically don't buy jellyrolls, charm packs or layer cakes, but I have a lot of fabric that can be cut and used for scrappy quilts and their patterns fit the bill.

I quickly toured all the shops except the Machine Shed and a few on the top floors and we came home. Bentley had a nice stroll around the campground.

The next day I went to Hamilton early in the morning alone. David decided he would sit this one out. He can't understand why I can't go in and just buy something and leave. That's not the way it works AT ALL. A big part of the enjoyment is looking at and thinking about what you could do with ALL of that fabric and then TRY to narrow it down to just a couple of selections. It's not like shopping for an IPA beer for goodness sake.

It was Friday and day 2 of their 3 day Birthday Bash. It was just a coincidence that I was their on that day.Lucky Me. I thought I was early and would beat the crowds, but I was so wrong. I arrived at 9:15 and there were already bus loads of people there. I decided I wanted to visit all the shops first again before selecting anything because I decided to limit my spending. I prefer to spend my money at home at my local shop which has a wonderful selection of great fabrics and patterns..

Each of the 13 shops at MSQC had a different theme. The Main shop was a central shop with a little of everything.

Penney's Quilt Shop which was an original JC Penney's store (as Hamilton was his home town) was  solids, blenders, and Minky fabric. Every color and hue you could think of.

The Sew Seasonal shop was upstairs and had Holiday fabrics.

Missouri Star Mercantile has 1930's, Civil War repro fabrics and vintage style fabrics.

License to Sew had all licensed fabrics like Disney, sports teams, cartoon characters or movie themes.

Kids and baby store had kids and baby fabrics.

Modern had tons of Kaffee fabrics, and similar.

Backing & trims had that.

Primitive and Wool had a lot of shirting fabrics and rusty, gold, greens and red. Their wool selection was not great. They had some wool layer cakes, but no hand dyes,

The Floral store was just that, all florals in every color, design possible. This was my favorite store and by the number of people in it, it was others favorite also. When I walked in there was a lady standing at the first selection of bolts looking glassy eyed at me and fondling a bolt of fabric with a big smile on her face. Most of the other customers were doing the same. This poor woman had just stepped inside and was already in a trance. She was never going to make it through that store at that rate. I did find some beautiful dragonfly fabric and when I took it to the cutting table a happy smiling lady said, "we must think a like, I just got some of that same fabric". I never saw so many happy, smiling women.

For the men that didn't know what they were getting in to there was Man's Land. It's a "store", not really full of leather recliner chairs with a big screen TV and magazines for the guys to relax while the ladies shopped. I did however see a few men in the shops. More often than not it was a husband coming in to find his wife, wondering why she had been in there so long fondling fabric. They just don't GET IT.

Then there was the Machine Shed where you could buy a new machine.

And the Sewing Center where you could sit and sew or have a class or retreat.

There you have it. Hamilton is certainly a great quilt stop. The prices were good and the staff couldn't have been nicer.

MSQC has done a wonderful job in revitalizing this town. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, but not the area.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Missouri and the Void of Internet Access

We stayed in Columbia, MO at a nice, clean campground for one night. Bentley enjoyed a nice stroll around the park in his new stroller which he thoroughly enjoyed. There were no dogs about walking, so he had a great time checking out everything in the campground. It was a nice relaxing overnight stay.

The next day we headed for Maysville, MO which is literally out in the middle of no where. I can't even say it was in the middle of a corn field because they didn't even have that. Our (huh MY) goal was to visit Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, MO and this was the closest decent (???)  campground. The drive was uneventful and the kitties were pretty content as you can see.

The campground (Pony Express Rv Park) was not as nice as their website led you to believe. It sounded like a nice ranch with a petting zoo and entertainment on  sprawling acreage. Well, the sprawling part is right. The RV sites were sprawling all over the place with no rhyme nor reason for the layout. The only good parts were you were not on top of each other and the laundry was cheap.
$1.00 to wash, .75 to dry. What a bargain. Fresh clothes for us. The grounds were however, awful. The grass was ankle high. They had a fenced in area with some alpacas, but the grass there was really high. Do alpacas eat grass? I didn't see any other animals in their "petting zoo" and even the alpacas looked pretty sad. No restaurants, grocery stores or ANYTHING near by. The song "I Could Drive for Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles" was going through my head.The weather and high grass made it uncomfortable to sit outside.You could have fooled me, I thought it was almost Fall. At least we have clean clothes.

There was almost no Internet service even with our hot spot so I wasn't able to post anything on my blog. That has been the case for every campground in Missouri. What's with Missouri and the internet???? I will post more on Missouri Star when I have better access to the internet. Hopefully by Monday.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Day in Paducah and Heading to Missouri

We had a nice quiet day in Paducah. Just lounging about. David did want to go to a store he visited years ago where he found a great deal on an air compressor. The store was still there---sort of, but it was now a Bargain Hunt store. We have not had good luck with buying things in the BH store in Chattanooga, but we decided to walk through anyway. We didn't NEED anything, but what the heck. We had time to kill. We did find a pet stroller for Bentley that was 50% off and still in the box. We have a couple of strollers, but their days are numbered as they have been used quite a bit as we always take them with us when we travel. This one was a Pet Gear with a latching closure rather than a zippered enclosure. That seems to be the part that causes the most problems with our strollers. So, we bought it. It came with a fluffy PINK bed in it which we will have to get rid of. Bentley can't ride around on a PINK bed. It's actually too hot for that bed anyway. I forgot to take his picture in it, but I'm sure we'll get another chance later.

While in Hancocks I spied the Row X Row fabric with Chattanooga Quilts tag in it. (Piece Yal'll), so I bought a yard and a half. Cute fabric.

For dinner we weren't very hungry so we went to TGI Fridays and had an appetizer. David had one of their beer specials, which was quite tall. He said it was excellent. I have never acquired a desire for beer. It tastes like pee to me. It works out well for us. I'm the designated driver when he has a beer at dinner.

On Wednesday we left for Columbia, MO. It was about a 300 mile drive and a very, very hot one at that. The temperatures were in the 90s, but felt more like 103. The A/C in the MH couldn't cool enough so we ended up turning on the generator and main A/C while we drove. The poor kitties we so hot too. Here we are in St Louis crossing the bridge.

We are staying at the Cottonwoods campground in Columbia which is very nice. After we stopped and sat everything up the kitties were all laying on the floor trying to cool their little tummies.Poor kitties.

 Tomorrow we are headed to Maysville, MO so we can visit Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton. I hope the weather cools off.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Quilty Day

We had a nice day in Paducah, KY. After breakfast we headed over to Hancocks of Paducah to check out the fabric selection. They have an enormous selection of fabrics.  There is nothing I need, but it is still fun to browse. It would have been more fun if I needed something. I did find a few white and off whites with writing or scripts on them which will be good to add to some of my scrappy light backgrounds. I also found the Row by Row fabric with the tags of various quilt shops across the country. This was something I HAD to get because it has Chattanooga Quilts RXR tag in it, I don't do RXR, but I thought Kim might like a little piece of it. Usually I'm really excited about going to Hancocks, but not his time. I guess I just so overwhelmed with all of the fabric I have at home that I need to piece.

Next, we went to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. The quilts there are show winners and absolutely outstanding quilts. There were many from the 1980's which were very traditional and also more modern, recent show winners by Caryl Beyer Fallert, Janet Stone (who always puts sheep in her quilts) and others. We really enjoyed our visit there. The quilts are always fantastic to see with spectacular quilting. It is against museum policy to take pictures in the museum, so I wasn't able to photograph my favorites.

While in the museum there was a horrific storm and a lot of rain. We had left our chairs outside the motor home along with Bentley's stroller, so they were drenched. Oh well, they'll dry out.

After the museum we went for lunch at Boudreaux's Swamp Shack a new Cajun restaurant here in Paducah. David had fish (we're aren't sure what kind) and red beans and rice and I had fried shrimp, It was very good. A nice relaxing day.

Monday, September 18, 2017

On to Paducah, KY

We had such a nice relaxing time in Cave City. The campground was so nice, but yesterday it was time to move on to Paducah. We have been here and through here many times, although not in a while. The big Spring AQS show is here in April and it's impossible to get a place to stay at that time of year due to the thousands that come each year to attend the show. This year the show that used to be in Chattanooga moved to Paducah in Sept and it was just held here last week. We purposely planned to miss it due to the traffic and numbers of visitors in town. We did hear that the show was not as big as the Spring show with fewer vendors and attendees. I'm sure AQS is disappointed.

What we did want to go to in Paducah is the National Quilt Museum and Hancocks of Paducah. The Quilt Museum holds many of the Best of Show Quilt winners from previous years. When a $10,000 or $20,000 prize is given for a quilt, the winner gets the money and the museum gets the quit. The exhibits change regularly so there is also something new to see. Hancocks of Paducah is a huge fabric store and it's always fun to walk through and see what they have. I don't need anything,but it's always fun to look.

The campground we are staying at is mediocre at best. The gentleman checking us in could not have been nicer. The campground seems older, not well laid out or well kept and we are rather cramped next to some trailers. The WiFi, electricity and water  works so I guess we are good.

On a sadder note I got a text from Ryan yesterday. They still do not have power at their house which means no A/C in Florida, UGHHH. So they went to Pam and Randy's to get a decent night's sleep since they have A/C. Trevor fell out of bed, hit a table and broke his collarbone. Poor boy, but he is still smiling.
I love that face.

Leaving the hospital with his new dinosaur sling.

                             Perhaps tomorrow I'll less traumatic pictures to post.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Visiting Mammoth Cave

We had a great visit to Cave City, KY and Mammoth Cave. The weather was great with no rain and cool breezes. We are here for 3 nights and the campground is so nice, clean and quiet. The young man checking us in was very helpful and nice.

For some reason, Nicky likes to hang out on the back of the captain chairs. This morning when I woke up he was sitting straight up on the back of the chair. What a character.

 Mammoth Cave was very impressive. We had no idea it was so large and so long. The park area around it is just beautiful.

 The cave walking was easy, getting in and out was hard due to the number and steepness of the steps going down and then back up on the way out. I knew it wasn't going to be easy when I saw a bunch of young people huffing and puffing on their way up and out.

                                   We had Ranger Ryan leading our tour into the cave.


After the cave visit we had a nice Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich at the restaurant and then back to the motor home for a nice nap. Then we sat outside with the kitties in the stroller and playpen. 

Bentley enjoyed a nice stroll around the campground. The weather was perfect.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Quick Trip to Tulsa, OK

Over Labor Day weekend we made a quick trip to the Tulsa area to pick up a used longarm quilting machine. When I say quick, I mean 5 days which is as quick as we could do it. Two and a half days there and two and a half days back. We like to travel no more than 300 miles  a day, so that's the way it worked out. The first night we stayed in Tom Sawyer's RV Park which is right on the Mississippi River. It was right after Hurricane Harvey and we were a bit concerned about the river flooding or being too high, but it was fine. It was a pleasant stay. We always enjoy watching the barges go up and down the Mississippi.It's one of our favorite campgrounds.

On the road while traveling I always have to have a project to work on. This trip I worked on a pair of tweed gray socks. I try to do a couple of pairs for each winter.

Bentley enjoyed riding on the dashboard and looking out, at least for a little while.

The kitties each have their favorite places to lay while traveling. Finny likes the back of the couch or on the couch. Bentley likes riding in the bed under the quilt or on the couch and Nicholas likes under my chair or in David;s lap.

At any rate, we made it safely to Tulsa and back with a new (to me) quilting machine.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Wonderful Visit in St. George Island

We had such a great time visiting family and new friends in SGI. We were only able to stay for a couple of days, but it was a fun time all around. My cousin Becky and her daughter Emily and SIL Ryan rented a 4 bedroom, 4 bath house on the beach for a week. We stayed in our motor home in Eastpoint, but visited the family during the day.

The house was really nice with a big great room and kitchen in the middle and the bedrooms split on opposite sides of the house. There was lots of food and friends all around. Becky and her other daughter Elise shared one bedroom, Emily and her family (Ryan and daughters Graysen, 4 and Katherine, 2) shared another, Ryan's parents (our new friends) Millie and Allen shared another and two new friends, Dina and Gaby arrived from Guatemala and shared the 4th bedroom. Also,Kathy and Alan Windham, Becky's in laws were staying at a local hotel. Lots of people, lots of fun.

Graysen and Katherine had a wonderful time on the deck feeding the birds.

It was a perfect beach vacation spot with lots of room for family and friends.It was also a perfect place to share memories and honor the life of Mike Windham, Becky's husband and Emily and Elise's father and Alan's brother. Mike passed away in September and this beach and the fishing here was one of his favorite places and things to do. It was only fitting that friends and family gathered here to remember him and enjoy each other. Mike would probably never approve of us even mentioning him in any way. He was always the one to stand in the background and observe and let everyone else take the spotlight. He had a great sense of humor You often could not tell if he was serious in making a remark or not, which would catch you a little off guard. He had a tremendous work ethic and energy and always loved and supported his family and friends in every way no matter what.

My first visit to Chattanooga was because of Mike Windham. When he and Becky were newly married, Mike was in the National Guard and would leave for camp training. I would come and spend time with Becky while he was away in whatever small town they lived in . Once when Mike came home from NG and they lived in Trion, Ga he said "let's take a ride to Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain". So we rode up to Lookout for the day. I remembered that day fondly and when I received a job offer in Chattanooga that memory popped in my head. So, in a way Mike was responsible for my love of Chattanooga and my moving here. You just never know in how many ways a person can change your life.

Here is a rare picture of Mike, probably giving me some sage advice at Ryan and Najla's wedding.I think about Mike a lot. He has left a massive imprint in the lives of everyone he has known and is greatly missed.

Friday, May 19, 2017

On Our Way to St. George Island

We are on our way and so far have had a very uneventful and smooth start. Packing our food, clothes and things and gathering the kitties seemed to be the easier ever. We have everything packed in the motor home yesterday, so all we had to do today was straighten up the house, sweep, mop the floors, load up the kitties and head to the motor home.

I gave Finny his ACE in his first bite of food in the morning and he was good to go. It was easy, peasy loading them into the carriers for the ride to the motor home and away we went.The traffic in Atlanta was a usual mess, but once we got through Atlanta it was smooth sailing. We stopped at the KOA in Tifton, GA  for the night. We've stayed here before a couple of times and it's a nice CG. It's not fancy, but nice and quiet and has a nice walking trail around the back of it complete with a pond, horses and cows. We took Bentley for a walk in his stroller and he enjoyed the walk and his visit with the horses and cows. We called them and they came running over to the fence to say "Hello". At one point the cows backed away from Bentley. I guess they had never seen a cat in a stroller.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Stop In St Augustine

On our way back to Tennessee we stopped in St Augustine, since we had to stop somewhere. We had trouble with our slide on the bunkhouse and bedroom wall and although David was able to "fix" it, it still needs to be adjusted by someone who knows how to do it. We called 4 places in Jupiter, but no one even returned our call until we left on Monday. I called ahead to have someone in St Augustine come look at it, but we may not be able to have it looked at here. There has been a horrible rain and thunderstorm going on here since right after we arrived. It will probably last all morning here.

We did get a chance to go out to dinner with Ryan and the kids last night. Najla was not feeling well, so she stayed home. We missed seeing her. The kids were so much fun. Trevor likes to copy everything Emma does, so I had dinner with Emma on one side and Trevor on the other. They were so good. I didn't get a chance to take any good pictures since we were running in the rain and thunder to our car. I did get a couple of silly face pictures, but not good enough to share,

Hopefully, the rain will be gone this afternoon, so we can get our side repaired and get out and about for a little bit.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Wonderful Retirement Party

Mark's party on Saturday was fantastic. There were probably 150 people there from cancer centers in South Florida and current or ex Varian employees that both David and I knew. Having lived in the the area for 20 years, you meet and work with a LOT of people. It was embarrassing since many and I mean many came up to us and gave us a hug and we had no cue who they were or where they were from. If we were lucky, they introduced themselves.Several people came up to me and said, "I'm______, I was one of your students or I worked with you at _______. Uhhh clueless. There was a Radiation Therapy program in Broward county that turned out about 15 to 20 students per year for at least 15 years. That's a lot of students and they are all at least 12 years older, including us!!!! Usually after they walked away it dawned on me who they were. It was a wonderful night. Nancy did a fantastic job getting the word out to everyone and organizing the party. Mark had a great time and it was like a big reunion of friends. We just wish our memories weren't so bad. Everyone was really happy to see David. Everyone clapped and cheered when Nancy thanked us for coming so far to be at the party. All the people really missed David. He got a tons of hugs. This is a picture of Mark and Nancy's 3 "kids" (or they were "kids" when we knew them.

Sarah, David, Nick and Leah

The motor home park "resort" we are staying in is right across the highway from Mark and Nancy's house. It is a very fancy, smancy place which is only half completed & still under construction, but is renting out sites, The sites are actually for sale for a very high price. The pads are brick pavers, it is very nicely landscaped and  well lit. It's a beautiful resort, but your motor home has to be a Class A, at least 34 ft long and relatively new to get in. Yesterday when we looked out the window there was a man walking across the grass being followed by a sand tail crane. No matter where he went, the crane followed. He must be feeding him or something for the crane to be so loyal.

We had a great night on Sunday visiting with Mark and Nancy and are headed to St Augustine now. This is the way our Nicky likes to travel.This is a really quick trip, but the kitties are probably more relaxed than ever before.