Traveling part 2: death of a good Garmin

When I lived in California I knew all the roads, routs and haunts.  It was like an old shoe, worn, softened, an extension of my being.  I had lived there all my life and felt safe to go anywhere.  It was all just so familiar.

Then we moved here to N. Alabama and nothing made sense anymore.  Roads changed names at every major crossing, crops are harvested and new ones planted spring and fall and nothing looks quite like it did just a few months previous.  Roads are laid out haphazardly because the farmland is owned and farmers don’t like their property bisected into nice neat grids.  Good for the easily lost, but not so convenient for the owner of said land!  (I do understand this.)

So, after a while, when Bob started answering his phone:  “Onstar, how may I help you.” (yes really) he bought me a Garmin nuvi for Christmas!  One very similar to this…

The above device can be found and purchased HERE.

I liked that little blue car that followed the roads and the soothing voice that directed me to where I needed to be.  It was my Dumbo’s feather, if you will,

and with it “I could [drive]”.

I knew I could go down any road, make any turn, enjoy any adventure, and then hit the home button and it would get me back!  Easy.

Now before I left I knew the battery was going and that the only way to program it was to plug it into the car dash.  I was under the erroneous assumption, that so long as it had a power source, my truck’s battery, it would continue working.   After spending a comfortable night in Mt Vernon, IL, I packed the truck and was anxious to start the second leg to my first destination.  I plugged in the Nuvi, started her up, typed in the address and got the message:

“This town does not exist”


I thought maybe I forgot to enter the new state so I tried it again.  Same message.  I tried it a few more times and still no luck.  At this point I could feel my heart racing and my face was getting hot.  I knew what was coming.  A panic attack. 

All I could think of was how thrifty I had been, how I had planned to spend as little as possible on this trip so I could have fun and not break the bank.  I even packed all my own food and snacks, didn’t buy trinkets, didn’t take side trips.  I was on a mission:

  • Spend a week with my Auntie that I haven’t seen in over 35 years and help her finish unpacking and getting settled in.
  • See the total eclipse at Smithville Lake, in Mo.  (in line for 100% event at that location)
  • Go to Hamilton, MI to see the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
  • Go to the Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs, KS (outside of Kansas City) and see how glass marbles are made.  Hey, I’m a kid at heart.  😀

Frivolous  spending was not an option.

I called my personal “Onstar” knowing he couldn’t help me this time, but needing to hear his calm voice.  So what was his advice?

Just go buy another one.”


‘But they’re expensive”, I cried.

He convinced me I had no alternative and when I hung up I went to the Walmart around the corner and purchased a new one.  Which was not like the old one.  In fact, the silly thing is counter intuitive!  Different messages, but similar outcome.  I was not able to find my next location.  After a second (mini) meltdown, when I realized there were no instructions included in the box, I finally found the US 800 number and called it.

The nice lady on the other end was very helpful and walked me through setting the next leg of my trip.  Setting a destination is anti-logical in the fact that you have to enter the ADDRESS FIRST, and then the state.  Really?  Who’s  bright idea was that?

I now  have my new Garmin programmed, I know I can get there from here (Walmart’s parking lot) and I have given myself a moment to listen to some music and calm down.  I am ready to go.  On the long drive I discovered that with the exception of the big cities of Mt. Vernon, Springfield, and Peoria, that Illinois is a sea of crops and farmland.

I did appreciate that they have instituted a program to plant prairie grasses and flowers all along the interstates, many of which were in bloom in blues and yellows!  I also found that the route along I-55, and I-155 is not as truck packed as the I-65 is through from Tennessee to Indiana!  Driving at the speed limit of 70 mph with trucks and crazy people who like to do 85 mph on the 65 was not my idea of a calm experience!

From Mt Vernon to Auntie Eva’s house seemed to take forever.  There were many rest stops, a lunch was made in the parking lot of a larger gas station.  I parked right in front of the windows too.  I didn’t want to become the next episode of the “Forensic Files”!  (Yes.  I do.  I like the science used to solve the crimes.)

I arrived about 5:30 or 6:00 PM.  She buzzed me in, and I took the elevator to the third floor.  I walked the hall to her apartment to find the door open and her sitting in the kitchen in her wheelchair.

She looked so lost and sad.

I said:  “There you are!” and went in for a hug.

I would spend just over a week with my Aunt.  Helping her to unpack and hang her clothes, hang her paintings and pictures, get groceries, cookware, cafe service so she could cook and eat what she prepared, and in general help her to sort through all the boxes that were stacked chest high in her spare room.  We got rid of the broken, superfluous, and no longer needed items. (*Mostly 😉 )   Talked and caught up on what was news while she sorted through setting up and receiving in home nursing care, housekeeping service, physical therapy, Dr appointments and more.

She had been there three months already and that is all I am going to say about that.

I learned a few things about my mother and father in our conversations.  Things I guessed from my childhood, some I knew, and a bit I didn’t know.  Those will appear on the other site.

We have standing appointments for phone chats on the weekends and visits again in the **Fall and Spring.  These visits will be more about conversation, cooking, seeing the sights and just having fun.

I very much look forward to that!


FOR FRIDAY:  The case of the disappearing sun, a stormy night and an historic  flood in Kansas City…


*On little old ladies and their stuff:  It is a fact that those things we’ve acquired in the years of our lives, and still have when we are old, are precious to us.  Therefore some give and take in our sensibilities about what was a keeper and what was toast and should be discarded had to be negotiated.  She won some and I convinced her otherwise on some.

This conversation will remain with me forever:

Me:  “Aunt Eva you have a closet-full of these kind of shirts.  One in every color I think.  This one is very old and stained.  Do you really need it?  I think you should toss it.”

Auntie:  “I don’t care, I like it and I want to keep it!”

Me:  “But it looks so terrible –  you won’t look nice in it.”

She sat there looking it over, then looked it over again, and finally she balled it up and snapped: “Fine; throw it in the trash!  Are you happy now?”

Me, wearing a wan smile, “No, not really.”

She chuckled.

That shirt is now in a dump somewhere in Iowa.  😉

**On Fall in Iowa:  The season is rushing in and promises to be spectacular!  In the time I was there the maples outside her balcony went from a few bronzed branch tips to pure scarlet leaves in patches!






Excuses, excuses…

But with a good reason!

Craftsy had all their classes running for free all day today!  There were a few I have been wanting to see but couldn’t spend the money on them and, well,

I just couldn’t pass up free now could I?

Hope you will forgive me.  My new post will be published tomorrow!

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.











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…