Monday, March 21, 2011

Asilomar MLWeidman Day 1

I confess to falling asleep in the 7:15 pm program last night. Thankfully I didn't snore.

The drive from Kathy's to Pacific Grove was beautiful.

Lawrence got me right here with no hiccups. There simply aren't enough words to describe the beauty out here. SOOOOOO different from Florida (which, of course, has it's own beauty!) We had introductions yesterday afternoon - but I was also introduced to a deer. A very pregnant deer. She was having a little snack on the grass by the path to my room. The deer here must be used to people; she just kept eating, not caring at all that I was there.

I walked down to the beach when I got here so I could get the full feel of the environment. It's quite "retreatful" here; no TV, no phones, right on the ocean. There's lots of conservation here in California and these grounds are right there with the program. There are some great fallen trees that I'll photograph & post.

We took a field trip to Back Porch Fabrics this afternoon to discuss color choices. There was a Farmer's Market, and a great funky gift shop. The nice lady - Judy - that I was riding with lives here in Pacific Grove so on the way back to the conference, she took us on the scenic route. I didn't have my camera but there sure were lots of great opportunities for pics! That drive convinced me to stay close to this area during my 3-day break (between classes 2 & 3). There's a lot to explore, just around here.

The beaches are so rocky! It's as if the Rocky Mountains don't quite know where to stop. There's a great spot where the waves were crashing high over the rocks; I'll definitely get some pics of that next time I venture out.

Today's class was about making Hoochy Mama blocks - how fun! I did take lots of pics and will post them separately. We also learned a lot about color and why white is not our friend. I spent my day cutting so my design wall is still empty but you can expect more from me tomorrow!!

Meanwhile - off to the next activity! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bakersfield to San Ramon

Still more beautiful scenery on the way to Kathy's house!! The route was the rest of US58 to I5 ("the five") to I580. I've traveled a little over 2700 miles so far.

Gazillions upon gazillions of acres of almond trees, in all phases of their life - from just planted little plantlettes to toppled-over-my-fruitful-years-are-behind-me stage. What sight! There were a few vineyards thrown in just for variety, as well.

The mountains are still green, lush, beautiful! To see the almond tree orchards planted on the rolling hills is really a sight to behold! I passed a granite (mine? factory?) place that was apparently powered by the hugest windmill I ever did see! Once I got off of I5 onto 580, there were lots of windmill farms as well. It's great to see California using so much renewable energy!

Did you see the news about the Pacific Coast Highway down by Big Sur? 120 feet of it fell into the ocean.


(pic is from

Oh dear. I'm definitely having 3rd, 4th & 5th thoughts about driving that thing! It will take a long, long time for them to repair the road so access from the north (where I am in relation to Big Sur) is blocked anyway. We'll see if I can work up my nerve by time-to-leave day (3 weeks from now).

Today Kathy is taking me to all the tourista spots in San Francisco, despite the fact that it is raining and cold. I'll do what I can for pics because it's really beautiful here! Remember a few posts back I wondered if the locals saw the beauty that surrounded them? Well ... Kathy thought the drive up I5 would be boring: it was anything but! It was spectacular! I told her she needed to make the drive again - this time with her eyes open! :-)

But for now we're off! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the road again - Las Vegas, NV to Bakersfield, CA

OK I admit it - I never made it outside! Everything's connected so I have a nice fluorescent glow from my Vegas trip. But I found a photo for Kathi, to help her with her Vegas Envy:

277 miles today.

When I left Las Vegas, it was overcast and some dark clouds were hanging around. That didn't last long, though. Before long I was back into clear skies and incredible scenery! The trip was on I-15 to Barstow, then US58 to Bakersfield (at least I think I remember the switch was at Barstow). Anyway, I loved the US58 leg! It was like driving along old highways....then it got really mountainous again. Only these mountains were green. WOW!!! Just incredible scenery! Scary, but spectacular! (I think I might be in the Cascades now). (Update: nope, not the Cascades. Maybe the San Bernadino Mountains .... then am I still in the Rockies? So much to learn! If anyone knows the answer, please post. Thanks!)

Along US58, in Mojave, I passed a MASSIVE windmill farm. Gosh it was just HUGE! To me they are beautiful, generating all that power without putting lots of gunk into the air. The mountains were really rolling then! I stopped in Tehachapi for gas (first time I paid over $4 - $4.09) - was it ever cold!!!! I was at just a little more than 4000 feet but it was only 47 degrees. Brrrrr! By the time I got to Bakersfield it was warm again.

There are not any scenic pull-offs on US58, but I finally just HAD to stop at one of the truck pull-overs just so I could take some pics of the beauty. Here's one (I'll put the rest on Facebook)

A large part of my drive today was like this ... Just unbelievably beautiful!!!!

I pulled into Bakersfield just around 2:30 Pacific Time. Here's a pic of the beautiful camellias right outside my hotel sliding door.

If you look close you'll see my little bee friend in the bottom flower of the 2-flower cluster. I took more pics of these because they're so gorgeous - also on Facebook. Tomorrow I head to San Ramon to see my friend Kathy for 2 nights; it'll be such fun to catch up with her again!! Then Sunday I get to my west-coast destination - Pacific Grove / Asilomar. What a great trip it's been so far!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Encore Observations

Two items have caught my eye here at the Encore. The first is decoration done with what looks like drawer pulls and curtain rosettes. Very interesting!

The second is the giant fruit that greets you at the entrance to The Buffet. I'm talking BIG! I think this might be where James found his Giant Peach. Looks like it could be papier mache over a chicken wire base, painted, but the cool thing is that the fruits are covered with those flat glass "stones" you can buy for candle-scaping. Very cool!

Back on the road in just a couple of hours. I'm ready!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vegas, Baby

It's my last few hours in Vegas. Funny thing ... I'm ready to move on. Vegas is great but a couple of days is enough.

I mentioned (in my post on the day I got here) how Vegas changes so much. It really does. Used to be you could take a short stroll down the strip & find cheap eats, a place to buy a couple of sodas, souvenirs, etc. Those days are long gone. Food is expensive as all get out. All the little cheesy joints have been bought out & turned into mega-resorts where a bottle of soda is $2.75 (if you get it yourself; $5.00 if you take the one in the room), and my "small orange juice" this morning was $8.50 (and that was in a cafeteria-style breakfast place - nothing fancy). I guess this is the price paid for staying on the strip. Like I said - this place wasn't built from winners!

Nevertheless, it's been a great rest. I appreciate the room, Mr. Wynn. The buffet is still good but much less extravagant than a year ago. The cappuccino gelato, tho, was to die for! Just two tiny scoops. My favorite thing is the tiny portions so you can taste a lot of stuff.

I've left behind more than enough to pay my room! Mr. Wynn will be pleased enough to probably send me another invite. But it's always fun. (Sorry Kathi - I haven't gone outside yet! You know what it's like once they get you inside! Especially with the two hotels connected by the Esplanade! I'll take a pic when I drive out of here tomorrow.)

Tomorrow, Bakersfield! More mountains! See you soon, Kathy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gallup, NM to Las Vegas, NV

This place continues to grow so fast that it's almost unrecognizable from one year to the next! (You should've heard Lawrence saying "Las Vegas" - I almost didn't know what he was saying!)

You know that trip I told you to take yesterday? Well continue on to Las Vegas. Geez the scenery is just unbelievable! The drive spooked me a few times but I am determined to face my fears rather than let them paralyze me so .... onward I went!

I left my little hotel on Route 66, climbed back onto I40 & headed West. After a number of miles, I was feeling a little sad for Arizona as its scenery couldn't compete with New Mexico. Then I rounded a curve. Wow. Majestic snow-capped mountains rising high above me. The scene was so beautiful that it brought tears to me eyes (I had to hurry and blink them away so I could see to drive!!!) Of course, being so smitten by their beauty, it didn't occur to me until later that I was actually going to have to cross those mountains!!!!!

The climb to Flagstaff was definitely white-knuckle! I'm still not sure why. I tried to figure it out but when it comes to some of our fears, reason just can't overcome them. I kept telling myself that I was on the road with other cars that were making this trip; that they weren't sliding down the mountain backwards, they weren't falling off. This is just a road: I can drive this road. Well I drove it but my stomach isn't going to forgive me any time soon!

The scenery makes it all worth it though. There was lots and lots of snow in Flagstaff (none fresh, and the roads were bone-dry). I hadn't seen snow in a long time so that was fun. I had the dash temp displayed as I made my way up the mountain: it dropped from 65 to 55 by the time I got to Flagstaff. (Arizona Divide altitude: 7335. Trusty Steed did great!) Heading back down saw the temp rise right back up again. It's just beautiful weather! Sunny, clear, and VAST!

Again there are no words to describe the beauty of these mountains. Driving through them has been scary, yea, but I'm so very glad to have this experience!! Many times on the drive I would say out loud "I'm soooo glad I'm making this trip!!" And that was even when I was scared! At times you are surrounded by rocks, at other times you are surrounded by air and tell yourself "don't look at anything but the road" (yeeks!!), but at all times you are overwhelmed and awed by what you are seeing.

Kingman AZ was the next big town after Flagstaff. You can tell it's been around awhile but it's fun to be passing through the towns mentioned in the Route 66 song. Arizona has also marked 66 pretty well so again finding it should be no problem. At Kingman you hook a right to head to Las Vegas. Nothing between those points! I saw some cacti but still have not seen a saguaro: I'm looking foward to that.

I stopped at the only scenic overview there was along the way & took this vid:

(Gretchen, there were 2 Indian traders here but I didn't get anything.) I took some stills, too, but of course what can do justice? Nothing.

Then you cross the bridge into Nevada and .... wow ... concrete and neon and traffic galore! Talk about urban sprawl! It's kind of amazing to think about what gambling has done for the state of Nevada. Yea it's got it's bad side, but .... the whole economy of the state, built on one-arm bandits (that have only symbolic arms these days!) ... that's really something. (And of course, being here in my terrific room at the Encore - the twin of the Wynn - I keep reminding myself that Mr. Wynn didn't build these places on the money of winners!)

Here's my room:

Of course I had to hit the casino last night - I DO love it here! I'm here for 3 nights of rest. It feels good to know that this morning I can laze around drinking coffee (have coffee, can travel), enjoying the view, and not have to get dressed until I dang well feel like it! As much as I am enjoying the drive, I'm also looking forward to NOT driving for the next two days.

Leroy remains sleeping in the car. Lawrence re-earned a bit of my trust yesterday. He seems to become confused when I go to a rest area, but now that I'm finding his flaws I can deal with them. The funniest yesterday was that I took the exit he said to take but he got all confused and had to route-recalculate! (Told you Vegas changed rapidly!! :-) But for the most part he got me right here with no trauma. Of course I checked into the wrong hotel (the Wynn instead of the Encore), but the nice gentleman said it happens all the time so I only felt 70% embarrassed instead of 100% and proceeded to walk through the casinos and esplanade to the Encore - where I got lost again and a nice casino employee walked with me. (I must look like I want to talk about politics because when I said I was from Florida he started in on "Obama's global warming" ...No I didn't throw him over the rail; I needed him to show me where I was going!!)

Well OK this post has gotten long enough! I'm off for another cup of coffee (there are no coffee makers in your rooms here, you know! Best you are out and having to walk through the casino! So glad I bring mine with me!) and a little Morning Joe. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Amarillo TX to Gallup NM

Go to the airport. Now. Right now. Fly to Amarillo. Rent a car. Drive to Gallup.

OMG OMG OMG O. Mi. Gawd!!!!!! What staggeringly beautiful views! What a spectacular drive! What a beautiful country we are the current custodians of!

When I left Amarillo this morning, the landscape was flat although I could still feel the car climbing in altitude. Then I was riding through some hilly parts. Then.....BANG!!! There I was in the mountains! I'm so glad that I did not know what to expect; it made the drive that much more thrilling! This is my favorite day so far! I would be driving along, enjoyed the vast views of the majestic mountains, then I would find myself wanting to inhale as I drove right between huge masses of rock. It was exhilarating and a little scary all at the same time.

There simply aren't words to describe the views as I drove along. Any time I've gone to Las Vegas, I have loved the view of the mountains from my hotel window, but it is nothing like actually driving through them up close and personal. I wonder if the folks that live here still marvel at them? I want to make this drive again, but next time with a driver so I can gawk and take videos as we're driving.

It was a day of many firsts, as well. I've never stepped a toe in New Mexico before, so that's a first. It's the first time I stopped at the Welcome Center - but it sure won't be the last! Wow, they were great, and gave me tons of information! First time I ever saw a tumbleweed - then I ran smack into it & smashed it to smithereens. Fortunately it wasn't one of those huge ones we used to see on Gunsmoke. I also saw what I'm almost sure was a wolf. He was, unfortunately, being lunch for some big birds. He was still pretty whole, though, so he couldn't have been there very long. I also got caught up in a little whirlwind of many tumbleweeds when I was driving down one of the declines. I saw it in front of me & couldn't dodge it so I held on tight! The wind rocked me a little and the tumbleweeds are no more, but all was well in the end.

What I did NOT see today were RVs. Maybe 3. Are they banned on that stretch of I40? Or is it just good sense that they don't take it & get caught in that wind? I'll have to look it up. I know I was having second thoughts about that Winnebago Aspect I showed you yesterday. Man! I can't imagine that thing in those winds!

I stopped in Moriarty, NM at a rest stop. Elevation just about 6500 ft. That's where I posted about the winds. They were crazy wild! Gallup is the same elevation - 6510 to be exact (or so says the "welcome to Gallup" sign) but it's not nearly as windy here.

Here's the view from the New Mexico welcome center (which is where I took the first pic)
Oh look! More cows! Still looks like Texas, but I can see the mountains!

My hotel is on ...........

Yea, baby! Kicks await!

Right down the street is one of the many Indian Reservation casinos (Navaho). Of course I had to scoot right on down & give it a try! All I can say is - it ain't Vegas, baby. But it was fun nevertheless.

Route 66 is awesome. New Mexico has it marked very clearly on I-40, so the trip home will be fun through here - I won't have to go searching for the road.

Trusty Steed seemed to want to moan on a few of those climbs, but she made it just fine. Leroy slept the whole way - his purpose in life!! 407 miles today, and no sass from Lawrence. He took me right here. Of course how could he miss? My hotel in Amarillo was on the I40 service road, I drove I40 the entire time, and Route 66 might as well be the service road - it runs along I-40 here. If he'd've screwed that up, I may have had to permanently disable him! He has a challenge on his hands for tomorrow - we'll see how he does.

No problems with the altitude except for a bit of a headache. If someone would send me some humidity, though, that would be nice.

Between the time zone changes, the daylight savings time change, the time on the phone, the time on the computer, the time on the clock car - I have no earthly idea what time it is!! The nice thing? It doesn't matter!

Another great day! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dallas TX to Amarillo TX

Seriously? This trip is AAAAAAAAAAWE - SOME!!!!!!

Man, there is just about nothing between the two points! 348 miles today. Only about 30 miles on Interstates; the rest was on US287. The nice thing about not being on interstates is that there's really a lot more to see - even when there's nothing. Today was filled with cows, oil rigs (I'm sure they have a proper name), and skunks.

After I got out of Dallas/Fort Worth, the rolly-ness stopped. I think I was in a flat spot for awhile. Lots and lots of beef cattle and hay fields. Just HUGE ranches! I'd drive for a few miles then see the (ranch) house. Drive another few miles, another ranch house. Most were not South Fork- type homes. NICE homes, yes, but not South Fork. I loved seeing all the cattle just roaming the fields. I did pass one ranch that had all the cattle penned into (relatively) small pens; that made me sad. I'm sure the roaming cows were happier, leaner, and probably will taste better (ewwww that's kinda yucky to think about!)

Along one stretch of road there were loads and loads of (small) rigs drilling for (I assume) oil (could be natural gas, maybe). At any rate, the rigs remind me praying mantises (manti???) with that big ol' head. Some of the rigs were bright blue! You sure couldn't miss them out in the fields! I guess different companies have different colors; I'll have to look that up.

Also today I saw more skunks (both living and dead) than I think I've seen in my whole life! I guess they like it here.

US287 runs alongside railroad tracks most of the time (I love trains!), so I saw lots of train cars today, too. Man those suckers are L-O-N-G! I'm just amazed that the locomotives can pull that much weight. And where does all the fuel get stored? (I bet Nelda can tell me). The drive today was really interesting because there were a bunch of small (and I DO mean 'small') towns along the way. Traffic would have to slow down to 35 or 40, but it was great because I could look all around & see what was there. One town in particular needs a return visit - Quanuh . There were so many cool looking stores there! But I had miles to log so did not give in to the temptation to stop.

The color of the ground is very interesting. Something between light green and yellow. It's very pretty! I'm sure it'll all be nice and green in a few more weeks so I'm glad I saw it now. The hay fields were like Neapolitan ice cream: a big patch of brown, a big patch of green, a big patch of that cool green-yellow color (hey maybe it was alfafa, not hay??) It's great to see what Texas (and the other states) really look like.

About 80 miles outside of Amarillo I started seeing some hills. Then I felt the car going up up up. Amarillo's elevation is 3672 feet - a far cry from our flat Florida! The rest of the trip was something like this:

I took that pic at a rest stop (of which there are not very many - I don't recommend staying well-hydrated on this trip, should you ever make it!!) Here's another pic from the same place:

DUDE! You don't have to tell me twice!

OK. Apparently you DO have to tell me twice! This sign was on the path to the picnic table. I'll eat in the car, thanks!

All too soon I was in Amarillo (I could've driven another 100 miles today I think), and ready to follow Lawrence's guidance to the hotel.


Lawrence was clueless and had no idea where he was. Fortunately I had also gotten Google Maps directions (because Lawrence had already shaken my trust), so I did not give in to his continued insistence that I "turn around", regardless of how many times his exasperated voice decried yet another "route recalculation". Lawrence has let me down! I'm going to keep him on while I'm doing Route 66 (on the way home) just to piss him off! I bet that "route recalculation" spot will be totally worn out & skipping by the time I get to Oklahoma!!

You know what's on my mind?

That's a Winnebago Aspect. I saw one on the road today & thought "I could handle that!" It's not too big. And I'm definitely diggin' this traveling! I could deck it out for sewing.

All in all it has been a very good day. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shreveport, LA to Dallas TX

Look what I found in Dallas!

A really short trip today - just 181 miles. My new blogosphere BFF Dianne Springer (of Threads From My Head blog, and Quilt-in-a-Cup company) told me about the show just 2 days ago. I already had a hotel booked in Dallas sooooo ... I drove a gazillion miles to Shreveport yesterday so that I'd have an easy, quick drive to Dallas this morning. And it WAS easy (until the last 10 miles when I got stuck in construction traffic, then missed the exit for the show - but still got to the show at 11:15 Dallas time). OK here's the really synchronistic part ... that hotel room I already had booked? One block from the quilt show.

Where I stayed in Shreveport was spitting distance from Texas so probably 176 of today's miles were driven here in the Lone Star State. Again the Welcome to Texas sign was in a photographically inaccessible area. (New Rule: the welcome centers have to have a "welcome to ___" photo-op spot.)

The weather is again just ... just... BEAUTIFUL! Big blue clear skies, just a little cool ... beautiful! And lemme tell ya there are some biiiiiiiiig ranches here! I'm sure I passed one that needed a plane to get from one end to the other. Lots of steers on that one, just doing what steers do - getting fat & juicy.

I can say that I20 here in Texas is definitely not boring. There is some beautiful scenery to go along with all those South Forks I saw along the way. It's also very rolly here - and very wide-open. And so many trees - big, small, dead (I love dead trees - they're beautiful in their own way) - but not so many that you can't see the trees for the forest. I was really enjoying the drive.

Remember my sledge-hammer OMG moment on day one? Today, rolling up & down the hills, that sledge hammer was replaced by a huge grin and the realization of how awesome-wonderful-fun-exciting it is that I am taking this trip.

I met lots and lots of people at the quilt show today and have told them all my story. They were all so encouraging, and many had their own cross-country stories to tell. How fun, and I'm learning so much! I definitely need to take more pictures, though.

Here are some random thoughts I had while driving this morning.
  • There's something very oxymoronic and quizzical about a big fancy RV pulling two Harleys
  • Don't just look: SEE!!
  • There's a brownish haze hanging over the view of Texas from I20. I was trying to decide if it was oil fumes, or just Gov. Rick Perry's secessionist bull puckey.
  • How bad did Stagger Lee shoot Billy?
  • Mile marker 638!!!!! Are ya kiddin' me??????
I'm getting senior citizens discounts at all my hotel stays. There ARE good things about having lots of birthdays! Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pensacola to Shreveport

I had not originally planned to drive this far in one day (474 miles) but that's the beauty of not having too tight of a plan!

The day started like this:

In no time at all, though, I passed the "Welcome to Mississippi" sign, but it was not in a place where I could get a picture.

Two lessons learned today: Mississippi is not Lawrence's (*) strong suit; he misdirected me twice and tried for a third time but I wouldn't listen. Then he said "drive 200 miles" and proceeded to shut up for awhile. That was probably a good thing. The other thing about Mississippi .... when they cut their budget, they won't be taking any money away from roads. I know this because there's definitely not been any put into the road budget in, apparently, a very long long time!

I only spent about half the trip on Interstates; the rest was on US highways. Lawrence took us up Mississippi on US98 (I think I remember that right), and I must say it was beautiful! I definitely left "flat" behind! Very hilly (practice for the Rockies - kinda like bunny slopes for cars), and just gorgeous. Before getting to that section, though, I passed some of the most interesting places! Like something from American Pickers. I so wanted to stop and explore - and take pictures. But Shreveport was the target and I knew I was already in for a long day.

Crossing the Big Muddy is for some reason always meaningful to me. It's such a defining river, defining east from mid-west, and so full of history. I crossed on I20; the river is quite wide there and you can certainly see where it gets the Big Muddy name. The sign welcoming you to Louisiana - in both English and French - is placed in such a location that there was no way for me to stop to get a picture. Too bad - I would have liked to have had that one. Maybe on the way home .....

There are lots of casinos here in Shreveport. That caught me by surprise. I'm kind of near them, but way too tired after driving all day (literally) to go give them some of my money. I also saw a sign for Ralph and Kacoo's (a great Cajun restaurant). I ate at the one in New Orleans a number of years ago and they served the best hush puppies EVER... ANYWHERE.... period. In fact you could order boxes of 100 for take out, and there were plenty of people in that line! I wonder if they're still that good?

The weather today was sheer perfection. Beautiful blue skies with only the occasional puffy cloud, and cool. And in spite of Lawrence's attempts to misdirect me, TS (Trusty Steed) managed to get us all here to Shreveport safely, without TOO much time lost.

* Lawrence the Navi system
FTC - faithful traveling companion is now known as Leroy the Decoy

Just for fun: You don't see this every day!

(Truck carting a helicopter. Couldn't they just have flown it?)

Quilters: These are the pics that were in my Pensacola hotel room. Don't they look like lots of applique patterns we see?
Tomorrow will be a surprise!!!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jacksonville to Pensacola, FL

Well I'm on my way! How does the car look? HAHAHA! It's going to take me a few days of hotel stops before I can easily schlep in & out of each hotel. Trust me, I only take in a few things! Poor Asilomar will have the full load.

First gas stop:
Ok ya can't see it but its $3.49 a gallon.
Second stop a few hours later????
$3.57 - and I'm still in Florida! (For the record, I'd be happy if gas was $7 a gallon because maybe THEN the carmakers would make fuel efficient cars :-) I also find it extremely humorous that the prices are skyrocketing just as I'm taking my extended driving tour. There's humor everywhere if you just look for it!)

Nothing at all happened today. I saw lots and lots of cows. OK steer(s), really. Oddly enough there was the occasional donkey in the same pasture, just hangin' with the steers. Bizarre. Florida is the #2 producer of beef cattle, by the way. About halfway across the state it started raining. Well ... maybe deluging. We(*) slowed to about 45 mph for awhile. It tapered off the further west I got, but it's still raining here in Pensacola.

I did run into possibly the nicest passel of good ol' southern boys that I've seen in a long time (when I stopped for late lunch at the Waffle House - a particular favorite of mine). Somehow I picked THE Waffle House where all the good-ol's hang out for lunch. They were very nice, as was my waitress. A good time was had by all!

I was hoping to take some pics of Escambia Bay to post but not in this weather! When I was a wee one, I would dive for scallops in the bay. Funny the little things you remember. We have cousins here and at the time they lived just across the street from the bay. Mom & Dad would drive us over and the adults would send the kids into the Bay to get scallops for dinner. What a fun memory. (Scallops are mean little critters! I guess they must sense they're about to be eaten.)

So since it's raining, I'll just catch up on email and some reading. Tomorrow I head to Alexandria, LA. I'm looking forward to seeing sites I've not visited before. One parting comment: when I first hit the road this morning, about 2 miles into my trip, it suddenly hit me - I mean like a sledge hammer!! - that HOLY CRAP I AM DRIVING TO CALIFORNIA! I think I might be crazy.

Leave some comments if you have time so I'll feel connected ... but you don't really have to say anything about the "I might be crazy" part. ;0)

* "WE" refers to FTC (Faithful travel companion - the decoy bear), Lawrence (the always-so-exasperated navi system) and me

Sunday, March 6, 2011

California, Here I Come!

I think it might be a rule that you have to take a long trip very soon after you retire. It seems many of my retired friends have done so, in any case. Now it's my turn. I am Pacific coast- bound.

For my quilty friends - I will be heading to Asilomar (Empty Spools seminars) to attend 3 weeks of classes with MaryLou Weidman, Freddy Moran/Gwen Marston, and Laura Wasilowski. I'm thinking it's going to be 3 weeks of fun and my face will hurt from laughing so much. There's not a traditional piece of work to be found in any of these classes!!

For my quilty AND non-quilty friends ... what an adventure! I am driving from northeast Florida to northern California. How fun will THIS be???? (I have a big ol' bear with a hat, pillow & quilt set up in the front seat so that, at 70 MPH, it might look like I have a traveling companion.) I've decided to drive only between 300 & 350 miles per day so I can actually see some of the country as I travel. My plan is to take pictures along the way then blog each evening; that should make me feel like I'm still in touch with everyone and also get me out of the car to take pictures.

I'll be making a little detour to Vegas on the way out (hey, free nights at Wynn Encore??? Why wouldn't I go!!) then meeting up with one of my Philips-life friends (Kathy Burkle - thanks Kathy!!) in San Ramon for a couple of days before settling into the 3 weeks of classes. I figure 12 days to get out there; I should be able to see a lot of country in that time!

Asilomar has no television, no phones, is directly on the Pacific, and (I hear) is very "retreatful" (in an almost spiritual sort of way). However ... I have my mobile wifi (hopefully there will be reception there) so I can post each evening regarding the events of the day. (And I can't stand to be out of touch for too long!!)

The trip home will satisfy (ok - half-satisfy) one of my dream vacations, which is to travel Route 66 (and get some kicks). It's not all there, sadly - parts are torn up - but I'll do as much of The Mother Road as I can. I should see some REAL interesting sights along that road! (World's largest ear of corn, largest plastic hot dog, etc. I'm definitely into the kitsch!) I'll cut off in Oklahoma to head on back home and I'll take the Oklahoma-Chicago piece at another time.

I have all my fabrics pulled together and most of my clothes. I'm leaving Wednesday, so I'll spend the next two days dealing with the details of packing. I'm very excited! I hope you will post some comments here as I travel so I'll feel "in touch". Thanks for stopping by!