Friday, April 30, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Even if it is still littered with unpacked bags and stacks of mail.  The trip to remember ended Wednesday as we arrived back in good ole Twentynine Palms.  The house looks good.  The yard has a few weeds and a lot of beautiful greenery.  There were two large boxes of mail waiting for us (Thanks Grandpa!) which I still haven't been through.  It has been very windy since we arrived, but that is part of the fun of living here.  Most of the bags are unpacked and today I've done laundry all day long.  We really accumulated a lot of stuff along the way and packed it all into that little van.  My new fabrics are so beautiful.  I can just sit and admire them for hours.  Joe has already cleaned his new purchase and is probably planning on the modifications he needs or wants to make to it.

I'm happy to be home and I'm very happy to have my spa back.  I've been in it at least twice a day since we got home.  It is so soothing to my still tired and sore body.  I'm happy to have my bed back.  I didn't sleep well the first night back but I'm sleeping better and better each night.  It was difficult maintaining our strict eating plan while traveling and we eventually strayed totally away from it.  My body feels it and needs to get back with it.  The most difficult will be getting away from diet Coke again.  I do love that stuff.

I have a million thoughts running through my head that I want to express about traveling, sewing, etc., but tonight I am tired and just need to rest for now.  I'll be quilting in my dreams.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Days in Heaven!

On Sunday, April 25, we spent the day as close to God as we'll ever get in this lifetime.  When we left Limon, Colorado, we headed to Denver and the scenery remained pretty with expansive farms.  We saw an antelope on two occasions, a herd of about 12 deer, and even a wild turkey out in the fields.  Even though we'd been through Denver before we were really struck this time with the expansiveness of it.  Because it was Sunday morning the traffic was light and we were through the mile high city easily and quickly and on our way to Vail.  This is when everything else we'd ever seen in our lives became nothing!  We climbed higher and higher until we were driving at one time at 10,667 feet.  It was snowing lightly and the snow was swirling and lightly blowing across the road.  The evergreens were frosted with snow.  The awesome beauty took our breath away.  This is something everyone needs to experience at least once in their life.  Without further description, I'll just post some pictures for you to enjoy.  Enlarge them and marvel in the beauty!

A tunnel through the mountain before we hit the snow.

The Colorado River after the snow.

When I thought it couldn't get any better, it did!  Monday we drove from Grand Junction, Colorado, to the end of I-70 and on down I-15 to Cedar City.  I was totally speechless as we went on and on through the rock formations, mountains, buttes, valleys, etc., created by millions of years of water running through and over the land.  I was so awestruck first by the creations and second by our ability to drive through it on a great interstate highway and take in all the beauty.  The mountains and buttes looked like castles carved out of the rock.  At times I thought I must be in the middle of some giant movie set.  Then I found myself asking why it has taken 64 years of my life to get here and see this. I'll never forget it nor ever get over it.  There are no pictures to begin to do justice to what we saw yesterday.  It was difficult to photograph while riding and it was more difficult to photograph when I just wanted to drink in every second with my own eyes.

I found myself thinking surely there is no place in the entire world more beautiful and more awesome than these United States!  I've traveled to a lot of other countries and some of you reading this have been to many more than I, but I just couldn't be happier than I am right now!  This has been the trip of a lifetime.  Someday Came!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cold Colorado

We spent the night in Limon, Colorado.  It is about 100 miles southeast of Denver and it is as cold as I ever want to be.  I am very thankful that we selected a nice hotel (Well, the nicest one in this little rural town - Holiday Inn Express) because the cheap ones would have been freezing all night long.  The second half of Kansas became more and more cold and windy yesterday as we drove along.  Stopping to see things was difficult because of the cold wind.  Driving was a struggle because it was directly into the wind and mostly gaining altitude.  However, Kansas was still lovely and so far Colorado is also.  The farms are still large, wide open spaces of rolling hills.  We also saw lots of oil pumps.  The silos and grain storage are the largest I've ever seen.  From a distance they look like large high rise buildings in a city!  Each little commuity seems to have a quaint and beautiful church with a tall steeple that can be seen from the Interstate.  Throughout Kansas we saw a lot of fence posts, then buildings and other items made from a unique kind of stone called fence post limestone.  Here are a couple of pictures of it.

We did stop a few times, but it was just too cold to enjoy anything.  Without the wind it probably would have been fine.  Our desert blood is pretty thin.  When we see weather reports for the rest of the country, we are not complaining.  We're just happy to be where we are!  It seems we left the south and the Kentucky/Illinois/Missouri area just in time.  We know the drive today is going to be cold also and it is raining right now in Denver.  We are hoping to make Grand Junction, Colorado by tonight.  That will keep us on schedule to arrive home on Wednesday night.  I know there is a lot to see today as it is a very scenic route.

Hope everyone is having a terrific day whenever  you are reading this.  My horoscope on facebook this morning was a great philosophy.  It said the sure way to predict your future is to invent it.  That is what I am doing and a worthy goal for everyone.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In the Land of Oz

Kansas is NOT flat!  It is beautiful rolling hills with wide open, gigantic farms and neat farm houses and out buildings.  Everything appears very pristine.  We think it is prettier than Missouri, which also has beautiful rolling hills.  In Missouri every farm seems to have its own little pond or lake and many of the farmers were fishing when we drove through.  We also had our first and only rain in Missouri.  It rained all night long! 

Seeing the arch in St. Louis was another one of those dreams come true for us.  I couldn't stop smiling.  It is truly beautiful.  Driving through Kansas City was also beautiful and passing by Fort Leavenworth was interesting.  We've made several stops along the way when it wasn't raining.  (We don't like being out in the rain unless it is in the desert). 

I didn't realize how tired I would be from the quilt show.  I'm not used to being on my feet for long days and carrying bags a good portion of those days.  My entire body aches.   My brain thinks my body is still 25, but my body keeps reminding my brain that it isn't.  My brain is still reveling in the wonderful quilts and goodies from the show and my body is saying give me time to catch up to you, happy brain.

We should make the eastern edge of Colorado tonight.  We've had a good night's sleep.  Joe is getting anxious to be home now.  I'm still enjoying every minute of scenery and sights of the USA.  He is too, but he is just very tired.  He'll sleep for the first week when we get home and that's okay.  This trip has meant the world to both of us but it has also been a strain on him.  We're both so grateful for each other and for being able to make this great trip together.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Incredible AQS Quilt Show!!

The is simply no way to describe the American Quilters' Society Quilt Show, but I will try.  I've been to many quilt shows in my quilting years, but all pale compared to this one.  These are the big money quilts and the big talent quilts.  Ther are quilts here from all over the world, with many from Japan.  Most of the quilts displayed took a year or more of constant, dedicated hand work to accomplish.  I am not really into applique but I appreciate its beauty and recognize the tedious and time consuming work it requires.  So many of the full size quilts here are covered in hand applique.  Many also feature lots and lots of thread work.  There was so much to absorb and it was so crowded.  I purchased a CD of pictures of the entire show and also a program guide so I can study it all at my leisure.  I know for certain that I'll never have a quilt here.  I'm just happy that I could be here to see all of this talent!  Oh, the shopping was pretty good too.  There were lots and lots of vendors.  Some had new things I had to have.  There were some vendors from Southern California who recognized me and it was nice to see them.  Joe had a good shopping day at the local sporting goods stores.  We both simply collapsed last night into a very tired and restful sleep.

Here are a couple of pictures I took before the battery died on my camera.  In my excitement I had forgotten to recharge it.

A blue ribbon winner.  All hand applique.
This one was called "Honey, I'm Home" and is much larger than the picture.    All hand stitched.
Machine stitched, oh the matching and the wonderful effects of the fabric.

Gale in front of a poster of downtown Paducah
The carpet in the hallway of Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Metropolis, IL.  This is where we spent two nights.  Almost every hotel we've stayed in has had quilt patterns on the floor if one takes time to notice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm here!  Quilt City, USA.  We arrived around noon today and spent a couple of hours in the American National Quilt Museum.  All I can say is "Oh my God!"  The work there represents some of the best in the country, both contemporary and antique and it is all incredible.  Of course they won't let you take any pictures but they are ingrained in my mind.  Joe even enjoyed them.  I got some really cool new quilting tee shirts there and a few other things.  This town is full of quilters from end to end and beyond.  The show itself starts tomorrow morning.  After the museum we had a late lunch and then made a lengthy stop at Hancocks of Paducah- THE quilt store.  I'd heard legendary stories about the store during the week of the quilt show.  I was not disappointed!  The back room of the warehouse was open and was filled with bolt ends of new fabrics in one yard lengths.  After I filled a cart with those I discovered more tables of one yard batik bolt ends.  Both Hancocks and American Express are happy with me tonight and I am happy with me for getting so many gorgeous new fabrics at great prices.  Then they had the nerve to tell me to stop by again tomorrow because they put out new fabrics every night.  As it was, someone had to carry my bags to the car for me!

Tonight we are at a wonderful hotel in the home of Superman - Metropolis, IL.  This is our first time to visit this state.  It is green and lush so far and is on the river.  We are at Harrah's hotel and casino for two nights.  I blew my $20 at the casino pretty quickly and decided I'd rather have fabric than gamble any more.  Joe is pretty tired and travel weary.  I think he will rest most of tomorrow while I attend the show.  I'm a little tired but too happy and too psyched to totally relax.  When we leave here it will probably hit me all at once.  Right now I am one happy quilter girl!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another Day in Kentucky

It has been a breathtakingly beautiful day in Kentucky.  When we left Lexington this morning we traveled past gorgeous horse ranches with rolling hills and white fences filled with thoroughbreds.  We passed by a racing track and some of the most beautiful houses and landscaping.  The gorgeous scenery continued all day as we drove over to Elizabeth and then down to Bowling Green before coming over to Hopkinsville.  Just before Bowling Green we stopped at a cave museum and learned about Mammoth Cave and the many other caves in the area.  We would have loved to explore some of them but Joe just cannot walk long enough to do it.

Among some of the interesting things we saw today - very large barns painted black, restaurants with smoking sections, very large houses, and one two-story mobile home!  We are at a nice Holiday Inn tonight with a hot tub so I'll post a few pictures and go soak my tired old bones.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lexington, KY

Ah, the mountains of Kentucky are beautiful!  We had a slow and leisurely day today from Knoxville, TN, to Lexington, KY, via many small towns and artsy, craftsy places.  The mountains and rolling hills are so gorgeous.  So are the small towns.  In one small town just south of here we stopped looking for an arts and crafts building and looked up and were parked right in front of a small quilt shop!  You know I had to go in and support the local economy there.

I am really anxious to get to Paducah now.  We'll be there on Tuesday and the show starts on Wednesday!  In the meantime we are just enjoying the leisurely pace from here to there.

I promised pictures, so here they are:

This is Tripp and Murphy, two beautiful Labrador Retreivers who live in Gainesville, Florida and own the next two people, Donna Beach, my wonderful sister, and David Beach, my handsome brother in law.

This is the  cutest dog that ever walked!  He is Jake and he lives in Fernandina Beach Florida and owns my brother Larry Pierce.  When I was there, he pretty much owned me and my heart too.

My handsome brother Larry:

The backyard bird sanctuary of Charles and Judy Yawn in Duluth, Georgia.  This is such a beautiful, peaceful place.  It is a vacation spot in its own right.

Three of the Yawn siblings, Joe, Charles, and Bonnie

The fourth Yawn sibling, baby sister Gail, with her baby, Mallory.  (taken in Gail's home in North, South Carolina)

Joe, Kurt (Gail's son in law and April's husband), and Johnny Corley, Gail's husband
Brian and Mallory Baldwin, Gail's youngest daughter and her husband
Jacob, April and Kurt's son

Barry and Laura Pierce, my only nephew and wife with soon to be born Delainey Rose.  Barry is Larry's son.

Catching Up in Knoxville, TN

This shall be an attempt to catch up.  It will probably also be random thoughts.  So, it's Sunday I think, and we spent last night in Knoxville, TN, in a so-so Marriott hotel.  Amazing the differences in what $100 will get you from town to town and hotel to hotel.  In Charlotte we had a wonderful 3 room suite at the Hyatt for the same price we have a tiny little room here.  But we had non-existent internet connection in Charlotte and fast, wonderful connections here.  And this room in decorated in black and white and lime green with a touch of orange - I see the color scheme for a new quilt!

Backtracking a bit now, we've had a great time for two weeks visiting relatives in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina and are now headed to Paducah, KY, and then westward and California.  At Aunt Eunice's in Hazlehurst, GA, we had time with each of the cousins and enjoyed them very much.  It was hard to leave them all.  I know Aunt Eunice is lonesome without us.  From there we went to Duluth, GA, just north of Atlanta, to visit with Joe's brother Charles and his wife Judy.  His sister Bonnie was there also.  We had a grand time there in their beautiful home and back yard.  I think the two boys had the best time visiting that they've ever had.  We all laughed a lot and had lots of fun.  Charles's hobby is wood turning and carving and he has wonderful wooden objects all over the house.  He is quite accomplished at it and has promised me some items.  Bonnie is doing amazingly well after having had a brain tumor removed 3 weeks ago.  It was difficult leaving them.  They were so accomodating and we felt so at home and at peace.  We got lots of rest while with them.  On Thursday (Tax Day) we drove on to North, SC, a small area just south of Columbia, SC, and the home of Joe's sister Gail and her husband Johnny, and her oldest daughter April and her family.  We had a wonderful visit with them in their nice homes and a terrific meal.  All of her children and grandchildren except one were there for dinner and it was a fun time.  We spent the night in April's guest house behind her lovely house in a beautiful wooded area.  She has two teenagers and I can just see the parties going on in that guest house!  It was so comfortable and furnished so well, with an outdoor hunter theme for her husband Kurt who is quite the hunter.  On Friday we stopped to see April's flower shop before heading on to Charlotte, NC.  In Charlotte we had dinner with my nephew Barry and his wife Laura.  They are expecting their first baby on July 2.  Laura looked beautiful, as did Barry.  We had a terrific visit with them and wish we'd have had more time.  They brought a large album of wedding pictures from the wedding almost 2 years ago which we didn't get to attend.  Now I almost feel as if we were there.  By the way, my brother Larry (Barry's father) was totally handsome at that wedding!  Delainey Rose Pierce is destined to be a beautiful baby when she arrives.  And yes, she will have pink quilts waiting for her.

We left Charlotte on Saturday morning for a short drive to Knoxville and it ended up being a long drive.  I-40 through the mountains was closed due to rock slides and we were detoured over 100 miles out of the way.  But it was a beautiful drive through the mountains, which were resplendant with green and flowering trees.  The little mountain communities  all appeared so quaint to us and we had trouble keeping our eyes on the road.  We stopped many times to enjoy the scenery.  When we arrived here we had a nice dinner and an early bedtime.  Joe is still sleeping this morning as I'm writing this, but it is time to get him moving.

I've pictures but haven't had time to edit them yet- maybe tonight.  We've a relatively short drive today to Lexington, KY, so if the internet connection there is good I'll try to get some pictures up.

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Laid back days in Duluth, GA

Yesterday we arrived at Joe's brother Charles and his wife Judy's home in Duluth, GA, just north of Atlanta.  His sister Bonnie is also here.  This house and yard are a vacation in itself.  The back yard is a bird sanctuary and I could just sit on the enclosed porch and watch the birds all day.  There are cardinals among others and those are my favorite birds.  The trip here was uneventful except for when the hen turkey flew across the road right in front of us just north of Macon.  The scenery was beautiful.  I didn't know there were so many colors, shades, and values of green on this earth as there are in the trees along the interstate from Macon to Atlanta.

We had a great time with Charles, Judy, and Bonnie last night and so far today.  Charles took me to a small quilt store where I found some great new fabric.  He and Joe are now gone gun store hopping.  I hope they find something good.  It is nice to just relax and sew a little, read a little, compute a little and watch the birds a lot.  Tomorrow afternoon we will be going to Columbia, SC, to visit for one night with Gail and her family. 

Charles doesn't have a router on his computer so there are no pictures.  I have lots, but don't want to upload them to his computer.  I'll post some later when we have a wifi connection.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Weekend in South Georgia

Yea, I know, 'bout time for an update.  We arrived in Hazlehurst, Georgia, on Friday afternoon and were so happy to see Aunt Eunice and the rest of the family as they came by that night, Saturday and today.  We've had no internet connection except when we visit one of the cousins, which we are doing now.  We are out at Betty's place on the lake right now.  It is a beautiful day today.  When we leave here we are heading to Phil's for a cookout.  Aunt Eunice has treated us like her own children and she says we are like her own.  She is certainly the only mother we have left.  Phil and Joe have been going turkey hunting and this morning Phil got one.  Tomorrow is Joe's turn.  He is pretty tired from getting up early to go hunting and then going hunting again at night until late.  Tomorrow we are letting him sleep in half the day and he'll be ready for the turkeys when Phil gets off work.  Here are a couple of pictures of todays turkey.

In the first picture that is Betty's son, KJ, with Phil.  He is growing up so fast.  Here is one of Aunt Eunice.  She is aging and it seems to me to be the first time I've ever seen her slowing down.

We're having fun visiting everyone and spending time with each one.  I went out to Evelyn's last night while Joe was hunting.  I could have taken one of her cats home with me.  Oh, and she gave me a great bottle of sweet red wine.

This internet connection is slow so I won't post more pics right now.  We are planning to leave on Tuesday for Atlanta and look forward to seeing Charles and Judy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Enjoying Life in Fernandina Beach, FL

We arrived here on Tuesday afternoon and are loving relaxing with my brother Larry and his adorable dog Jake.  Larry prepared us a wonderful steak dinner on Tuesday and North Carolina style barbeque last night.  I am in heaven!  Yesterday he drove us around Amelia Island and down highway A1A, which was quite scenic and enjoyable.  Other than that, it is nice to relax in his comfortable home.  Joe needs to catch up on his rest and he worked on a gun or two of Larry's.  That made him happy.  I have fallen in love with Jake.  After a day of running and chasing squirrels, he was content to lay back in my lap last night and sleep with with me rubbing his belly and rocking him for about an hour.  He is just the cutest and sweetest dog I've ever seen.

We've made arrangements to meet our longtime friends the Nelsons from Tampa today near Starke, FL around noon.  We can hardly wait.  There are two grandchildren since we've seen them.  We'll spend another night with Larry and then head up to Aunt Eunice's in Southern Georgia tomorrow. 

You'll have to wait for pictures because Larry doesn't have a router on his computer so I can't use my laptop where the pictures are transferred.  As soon as I can, I'll send a bunch of new pics.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Joy of Quilting, and Butterflies

Some of the many joys of quilting are collecting fabric for a special quilt for someone, spending many hours designing and making it with love in every stitch, and finally presenting that quilt to your loved one and seeing their reaction.  This is a picture of a quilt that I couldn't post until now.  I did all of the collecting, designing, an sewing over a period of a couple of years and was finally able to give it to my dear sister and brother in law when we arrived here in Gainesville.  The joy and happiness on their faces told me it was all worth it.

I named this quilt Sea Glass because of the colors of the fabrics.  It is for their house on the Gulf Coast of Florida at Cedar Key.

Another joy of quilting is oohing and awwing over other people's quilts.  I got to do just that yesterday.  Donna took me to the museum at the University of Florida where the feature exhibit right now is 104 quilts depicting Florida.  There were some real beauties there!  The Sea Glass one I made for her would have been right at home there.  Here are a couple of pictures of quilts.  My camera was running out of juice and I wanted to save it for the butterflies so I only took these two.

Also at the museum is a gorgeous butterfly garden.  Both the flowers and the butterflies are breathtaking!  Here are a few pictures I took.

Aren't these gorgeous?

This morning we are taking our time and sadly packing up again to leave Donna and David.  We've had a great time and been treated royally, as usual.  But we are looking forward to seeing my brother Larry in Fernandina Beach, Florida, tonight.  Next to Joe and Jody, he gives the best hugs in the world!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in Florida

Happy Easter, Everyone.  We are in Gainesville, Florida, with my sister Donna and brother in law David.  We arrived late yesterday and the weather is beautiful.  I have no pictures from the last two days.  For some reason the camera wasn't working properly and the pictures I took just aren't worth printing (probably operator malfunction).  We left Slidell, LA, on Friday morning and made it to Panama City, Florida, Friday night.  We had breakfast in Slidell at Cracker Barrel and let me tell you, that is the southern capital of "stout" folks.  They had to have those chairs reinforced.  I felt really badly for some of those folks who could barely walk.  Anyway, eastward we headed and when we could we stopped on the beach because Joe wanted to put his toe in the Gulf of Mexico.  Gale did, too. The beaches in Mississippi were beautiful white sandy beaches and very clean and not crowded.  When we got to Biloxi I insisted on stopping at a casino so I could gamble away $20.00.  In ten minutes I had $50.00 and decided that was a good time to stop.  Onward we rolled through Pascagoula and then Mobile, Alabama, and on down to Pensacola, Florida.  There we took highway 98 through Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and on down to Panama City.  Trust me when I tell you it was not the highway to be on on Good Friday afternoon.  But we made it to our hotel in Panama City and good dinner and then collapsed for the night.

We started the next morning at a very nice quilt shop in Panama City, FL, where I picked up a piece of fabric to be used in a quilt for my unborn great neice Delainey Rose Pierce.  Then we stayed on 98 all the way over to Perry.  We went through some great little beach towns and the sides of the highways were a real treat with plentiful wild flowers blooming all the way.

Needless to say we were tired and happy to arrive in Gainesville.  We were treated to a wonderful dinner, great company, hot tub, margaritas, and our own suite with internet connection!  What more could anyone ask for.

Joe got to sleep in until after noon today so he is happy.  I've caught up on laundry and we are having a leisurely day and enjoying it to the max.

Great to hear that Joe's sister Bonnie is doing so well and was released to home.  God does answer prayers.

Thanks for the comments and emails.  If ya'll are reading this and like it, let me know either with a comment or you can always email me.  I do like to know that someone is out there.

Will be here for a couple of days and will update again later.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We've done Louisiana

Neither of us can recall ever driving through Louisiana before and now we have.  We just left New Orleans and are spending the night in Slidell.  Some first impressions of Louisiana were that we've never seen so many highway patrolmen ever on a stretch of road.  We must have seen over 100 along interstate 10 all the way through the state!  It is all two lane and the speed limit is 60 most of the way.  It was a pretty drive through woods and swamps and over many bridges.  About halfway through the state we saw lots of rice being raised.  I'd never seen that before and thought it was really neat.  We actually stopped for lunch in a small town at a place call the Rice Palace.  They had good food and everything was spicey!  We even had a bowl of real gumbo.  Then we headed eastward and into Baton Rouge.  It is a beautiful city.  It is gorgeous and just about took my breath away when we crossed over the Mississippi River on a high bridge and into the city.  From there we took highway 12 over to where the 24 mile toll bridge crosses Lake Ponchatrain down to New Orleans.  That is the longest bridge that is totally over water in the world and it was pretty amazing.  It had 7 crossovers where one could turn around and go in the opposite direction if the need arose.  Here are a couple of pictures but they are through a dirty windshield.

Then we hit New Orleans French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and the regular tourist spots.  The place is certainly old and very dirty.  We didn't see where the storm came in or any damage from it, but were just generally impressed at how unkempt everything appeared to be even in the busiest tourist venues.  We did have shrimp dinners there and did a lot of walking and looking around before leaving.  Here are a few pictures.

Overall, we are glad we went to New Orleans but have no desire to go back.  We just don't see what the big draw is, but then we weren't there for the night life or for Mardi Gras and I'm sure it is different then.

Tomorrow we head for Florida and the beaches along the panhandle.  The traveling is so much fun and we love it but we are about ready for a couple of days of doing nothing but resting.  That will happen very soon.