Opening the new year with

Honesty

Christmas this year was Bob installing a new sink faucet in our bathroom and fixing the tank on the toilet in the guest bath.  There were cards, one from me to him and one from him to me.  It was quiet all day.

New Year’s eve, was quiet and ultra cold.  All day.  The chicken’s water froze even with a heated base and I had to go out many times to pour very hot water onto the ice to melt it for them and then use a hammer to crack the ice layer on the goose’s water.

And now, about my last installment on my vacation to see my Auntie.  Well, it has been a very long time of thinking and (most likely) over analyzing why I couldn’t write about it.  This is hard to share, but I think it will be good for me to just say what I have been thinking.

Getting out and traveling over 2,000 miles was good, but in my mind’s eye it was a sham.  Why?  Because for most of the trip I wouldn’t allow myself to stop and enjoy the things I passed on the highway.

Here is my reasoning

Traveling in my truck was like traveling in a box on wheels.  Just like staying inside when I am home.  You may not get this, but I see it as no different when I wouldn’t allow myself the freedom to explore all the historical sites, museums, and just get out and walk in some of the little home town’s I saw from my windshilded, rolling red box.

There is one distinction I give myself, and that is that I went so far while locked inside my little red box and that I was able to go out and do errands for my Auntie, because she needed the help.  Well, really, how different is it to shop the grocers or Wal-Mart in Iowa vs. Alabama?  There was a familiarity, a comfort zone, in that too.

I have pictures for you of Hamilton, Missouri, where inexplicably I felt OK to spend the morning exploring.  Go figure.

 

In answer to “Where is everybody?”  Well, they’re all inside shopping or hiding in the Man Cave!  😉

And a question:  Does anyone in Missouri know what kind of cricket that is?  I have searched and can’t come up with the answer.

So that’s all of it  🙂

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Traveling Part 3: the middle bit with the pictures

After leaving my Auntie I traveled along I-80 to Urbandale.  The whole way was more crops, but this time they were attractively planted over rolling hills.  I loved one farmer’s signage along the interstate in which he lauded his/her own practices in an “integrated farming system for sustainable agriculture”. ( This is a very popular idea and everyone has something to say about it if you Google it.)

Much of what I saw looked like this with crops planted to fit the hillsides and runoff channeled to collect into natural sumps of grasses and wildflowers native to the area.  I liked it!

Along the way I stopped into an outlet mall because they had a Wilson’s House of Leather there.  Auntie said she was sad that good leather purses were impossible to find and that hers was over 30 + years old.  Trust me when I tell you that it looked it!  Scratched, stained, grommets all popped, in short, it was a mess.  I found her a lovely black bag that I think she will like and it is in the mail to her.

After all the farms Urbandale, a suburb of DesMoines, felt like a megalopolis!  Sprawling, modern, traffic ridden.  Too boot, there was some big deal golfing tournament going on that weekend!  I looked forward to the quiet rest at my hotel.  I was smack dab in the middle of the state that night and slept soundly.

Next morning I left early to sunshine and a lovely drive that would take me to Smithville  Lake, Missouri, where I was going to sit on the path of Totality and watch the eclipse!  However, getting there would prove to be treacherous, as the weather would not stay lovely for long.  The clouds moved in, the interstate squeezed down to one lane of traffic and I was essentially sitting on a very long parking lot for 12 miles.  Six of those miles were adusting 3 lanes down to one, and the other six were actually traveling through the construction.

The rain and traffic looked like this. Do you see the final narrowing down to one lane up on the hill?   HA!  55 MPH? No 5 MPH.

This took two hours to drive and there was no place to stop.  That’s right.  No potty break on this stretch.

My much-needed break was in sight!  However, this is precisely where the road work was happening and there was no way to get across!

I gritted my teeth and crawled on.

Once the traffic emptied out of the bottleneck I looked in vain for sign with information on rest rooms or small stores, anything!  I finally saw one and got off of the I-35 and the sign said 4 miles to the left.  It was a two lane road in the middle of nothing.  No other cars, no buildings, barns, houses, cows, or crops.  Nothing but bumpy hilly land as far as I could see.  I was desperate and took the chance of finding that gas station.

I traveled for some distance and thought surely it would come up, but it didn’t.  I thought that perhaps as it all was so deserted and the roads had turned to little tracks in the mud that maybe I would just pull over into the weeds.  But you know that every time I thought about it a pickup truck would come rolling out of a track in the hills and brush and I would think against it.  I was desperate by this time and finally found my way back to the interstate.  I got on and traveled several miles to find the only gas station  I had seen in almost 50 miles.  I rushed inside and had to wait in a long line while 5 ladies, one with three kids, also waited for the only two stalls available.  I was in pain and certain I would embarrass myself at any moment.

Finally, the three kids came out of the stall, their mom ran in, and then it was my turn.  I was saved from public humiliation, but barely.

I finally arrived at my hotel worn out and ready to view the eclipse and then rest.

This was my view of the eclipse:

Click for clarity and captions

I can’t complain but one of the visitors I met there was having a meltdown over this.  She was so nice to me and gave me a pair of glasses to wear, but then when the clouds moved in she started crying to her 5-year-old about how sad she was and how she had wasted money they didn’t have to travel there.  This was a very big disappointment, sure, but I felt more sorry for her little girl as mom’s meltdown was clearly upsetting her.

I guess we all felt a little jilted in Missouri over the sun’s hidden position.

The clouds hiding the eclipse were the worst of our worries!  That night they brought an epic storm in.  Thunder, lightning flood warnings for the whole area from Smithville all the way down to Kansas City!

Ever see pictures of when they open the sluices on a dam and the water boils out of the end of the openings?

OK, I exaggerated a little bit here, the openings were only 8 to 10 inches on the hotel’s gutters, but the effect of the rain coming out was the same.

So I get ready for bed, and then I see it…  it is raining sideways out there and it is coming in through the seams along the base and sides of the window!  The management brought me plenty of towels to block and sop up the mess.  YIKES!

The rain leaking in made my room smell even worse than when I first got there.

I had paid for two nights here, but couldn’t take the smell.  I was grateful when I asked for my money back on that second night’s stay and they said, Yes.

So why did I book here?  Well, this is what was advertised online.

Not fancy, but it looked clean and adequate…

Looks OK until you actually get there.  Not quite as advertised…

I’m sorry this took so long to get done, but I have been busy with a bunch of quilting and quite a few baby bantam chicks (who demanded a cement floor in the old well house) and more! 

Which I will tell you about, but the next stop is Hamilton, MO!

Thank you for your patience.  🙂

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Traveling – Part 1: Those things forgotten

Every trip begins with a list of things you have to have for your journey.  It doesn’t mater if it is for an overnight visit or, as in my case, a two week over 2,000 mile epic trek “*There and Back Again.”

Preparations included a new storm door for the dogs so they would not have to be crated all day through the weekdays… Nope, I couldn’t ever do that to my little furry friends!

That-moment-whenYou saw this door in a previous post when my washing machine flooded the mud room.  😉

And the procurement of a new sound device that works with my smart phone to play all my favorite music (saved on said phone) through my radio, because my disk player is kaput and I couldn’t afford a new one.  Bob found this for me and it came the day before I left.  It is amazing how much music you can load onto your phone!  I never listened to the same songs/albums the whole trip.  Oh yes, and a bonus feature is that you can talk hands free on the phone when it rings!

I planned for over a month, made lists both

mental and on paper, then finally I was on my way!

Bob took the day off to help me load up the truck and to see me safely on my way.  I drove down our little street, over to the highway, and was just over the state line when it hit me:

I have forgotten the **self inflating air mattress!

(My octogenarian Aunt Eva doesn’t have a spare room, much less a spare bed.)

Thankfully, that little jaunt was only about 25 miles round trip.  Bob met me in the drive with the air mattress, linens, my special pillow, and more hugs and goodbyes, then once again I was on my way.

I made it all the way to Mount Vernon which completed the first leg of my journey.  So far so good!   Of course my cousin Bruce, the truck driver, had said I could make it from home all the way up to Iowa in one day…  Well, good for him I say!  I’m not willing to mentally or physically kill myself trying that kind of trip.  😉  I know my limits and it just isn’t in me.

~*~

FOR MONDAYWhen a certain technology dependent traveler finds herself stranded in the Hotel parking lot with a broken GPS device.   

~*~

*There and Back Again, the title of Bilbo Baggins Memoirs – from the Lord of the Rings

**A sincere thank you to my In-laws Kathee and John for the, erm, permanent loan of that item!  It has served both Bob and I well on several occasions over the years.

~*~

Well, according to WP this is my 500th post.

Doo-dah!

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What a busy month!

Wondering where I was?  Well, I wasn’t here…

 

But let me back up.  First I want to tell you about my friend Kate Chiconi in Australia who assembles donated quilt blocks into quilts for Ovarian cancer.  She sets the theme, all based on a teal colorway and then sews them up, quilts them, and donates them for auction!  The latest quilt is called “Signed, Tealed, and Delivered.”  My donation was featured HERE.  Go visit Kate at Tall Tales from Chiconia She is a fabulous quilter and you won’t be disappointed.

I had chosen to participate and mailed these to her for inclusion…

(I have no clue why these did not display when I posted this!)

This was an enjoyable paper pieced project for me!   I received notification of their arrival on the day I got back.

Back from where?

I went on an over 2,000 mile (including side trips) excursion through 5 states!  Yes, me…

The ex agoraphobic!

And you can call me Han, as in SOLO!

Because, yes, I traveled alone on this two-week trip.  I am so proud of this breakthrough.  I am owning the saying “Go big or go home!”  I went BIG, came home and it was exciting!

I will be posting a few pictures and telling more about my trip over the next week.  But I wanted you to know how excited I am about these blocks and my road trip.

Posting soon with more…

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