A dreary, rainy day. The rain stopped awhile to give us a chance to get out and walk, but we didn't go very far because I've had a bad backache yesterday and it hasn't gone away yet. I can tell it's just a muscle spasm, and it's not incapacitating as long as I watch my movements. And use my heating pad and ibuprofen.
Bob figured out a way to work on a puzzle today, with our limited table space. He wanted to do one of the nice puzzles that he got for Christmas, but they are just too large for our circumstances in the trailer. Instead, he bought a small 500 piecer at the dollar store to see if that would work better. He's using a cutting mat that I brought along, balanced on our small end table, covered with a felt pad to roll up if needed. He uses a tray about the size of a cookie sheet to put all the pieces on to sort. And he might get it all together in one day if there is enough time. We can improvise quite well!
Speaking of dollar stores, I should be keeping a score sheet on how many we pass by! They are everywhere!
And speaking of cookie sheets, we have a small one that just fits in our little oven, and we made a homemade pizza with it for lunch today. Buying some fresh dough helps with that part, as long as we can get it in the stores we stop at. We only use half of it and freeze the other half, then put on our assorted toppings. I have some non-dairy mozzarella cheese for my half, and although it doesn't act the same way that Bob's cheese does, it still is good. We've learned to be flexible with time and temp in our small propane oven, it's kind of a guessing game to see how things cook in there. It would no doubt be better with a pizza stone, but I don't have one to fit here, plus it would be extra weight to haul around. I could probably splurge on a better cookie sheet than the old beat-up one that I brought along!
With a large meal for lunch, we need a smaller meal for supper. So tonight was chips and our own guacamole! Except I didn't have any limes, so it was missing that. Bob seemed to really like it anyway!
I got time to work on some of my handwork with English paper piecing on another project, while watching some of Season 1 of The Mentalist! Patrick Jane is still struggling with Red John!
I received this picture from my mom:
She has done a wonderful job with a fabric kit that I had not gotten around to for 3 years! The hardest part was the fact that there were a lot of different fabrics, and in order not to run short on any one color in the complete layout, she had to rely on teeny tiny little pictures in the instructions. I had helped her get started with that at Thanksgiving time, then some more sorting at Christmas, and after that she was on her own! It really turned out beautifully! I think I'll get to quilt it this summer, and then we'll have to fight over who gets it!
We did some cleaning and upkeep in the trailer today, then set out for Quincy and Tallahassee for provisions. Like the pioneers, you know! We searched out a Tractor Supply store to fill a propane tank. Our furnace runs on propane, and we use it every night and during the day sometimes, to keep it around 67 during the day. Our trailer has 2 tanks, each 30 pounds or about 7.5 gallons. LP gas is around $3-ish/gallon here, so it was around $25 for the fill. And a tank lasts a little over a week at the rate we use it. When tank #1 runs out, it switches to tank #2 and we take the empty out to get refilled. At some of the "fancypants" campgrounds, there is a service that will pickup, fill the tank and return it to your site. A regular barbecue sized tank holds 5 gallons, for comparison.
The rest of the journey was to Aldi for chocolate and cashews, gas for the truck and groceries. No other sightseeing today! The best sight of the day was sunset:
No filters and no color adjustments were used in the making of this picture!
Today was a fun day for me to head out on my own, sometimes I really need that! I went to Tallahassee, about a 40 mile drive to the area I wanted to go to. My main goal was to check out the Bernina Connection store for a fabric fix! They had a class going on, so there was some chatter and action going on that reminded me of being at Bear Patch! I did find a couple things that I was looking for, at Target and Trader Joe's. We needed some new Command strip hooks and things, life in the Airstream would not be the same without Command strips!
Back at the campground, we set out for a walk to the Jim Woodruff Dam that creates this reservoir. We walked as far across as we were permitted before the barbed wire stopped us! Jim Woodruff was a Georgia businessman who spearheaded the development of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Project, according to Wikipedia. That's a lot of syllables!
Lake Seminole is the body of water at the top of the picture, and our campground is off to the right along the shore.
We spent part of the day driving to our new home, East Bank Campground on Lake Seminole. It's actually a reservoir. We took our time along the way, and drove the "blue highways" along the FL panhandle. We drove highway 90 from De Funiak Springs to Chattahoochee, which is the same road that our son, Dan, rode on his cross country bike trip. It's smooth, lacking traffic and has wide shoulders!
Our spot is actually in Georgia, and in the Eastern time zone (just barely) so we don't know what time to believe! I'll just go by the sun! Except today is all cloudy, so I'll just go by my stomach! This is an Army Corps of Engineers park, so the spaces are optimized for good views and distance from your neighbor, which we like. We were rewarded by this perfect sunset, complete with artistic reflections on our rivets!
We splurged today and went out for lunch at Crabs. Not a very inspiring name, I'll admit, but it really fits in with the Spring Break mentality that is very obvious around here! It really was a very good lunch and the splurge was bringing home 2 (two) pieces of Key Lime Pie!
And really, the restaurant's serving of pie is 2 pieces, so we felt like we hit the jackpot! We took it back to the trailer and indulged ourselves since it was too wet and windy and cool to walk the beach! Find joy wherever you can! We started sampling key lime pie 3 years ago with our friends, Bob and Debbie, when we vacationed together on Anna Maria Island. It takes a lot of sampling to find the best stuff!
We continued the taste tests 2 years ago when we again vacationed together near Seaside in the panhandle of FL. We had more time to spend on sampling the pie and seafood on that trip. Sure hope we can do something like that again!
After a good long walk this morning, we set to work on making some new video content for my Youtube channel. It can be a little frustrating at times when we're outside trying to plan who will stand where, what I will say (or not say), what angle the sun is shining, etc. And then we have military jets overhead and noisy vehicles driving past! We did get some things recorded, but then I decided that it was not working well so it's back to the drawing board! At least we got a few run-throughs so we can anticipate what needs to be changed.
Do any of you recognize this screenshot? This is a little game called Woody. Bob and I like to play it off and on. Well, Bob is a huge Wordy champ now because he reached a high score of 27,696! My best score is 7,332, and I thought I was doing well! Bob has worked on this over a few days to get up to that total, just doing short spells and never losing. The game keeps running as long as you still have spots open for the shapes that pop up in those boxes at the bottom. If you complete a row either vertically or horizontally, the blocks disappear and you have more places to place the next shapes. As you can see, Bob finally met his match with no way to get that strip of 5 blocks into the puzzle. It's a free game in the app store, and I would like to know if you play it and what your top score has been!
Not much happening today, other than a trip to the grocery store and lunch out at a place called the Shrimp Basket. It was just a small cafe, average food, above average waitress, and the BEST Key Lime Pie so far! It was really delicious, and had some caramel sauce on the plate just to make it irresistable! We had our regularly scheduled zoom call with the Hansen siblings (every other Sunday) and caught up on family happenings. Bob has 7 siblings, and usually most check in for the call, but we were missing one this time. It's a good way to feel like we are all still in sync. We haven't held our usual family gatherings since Covid started, and we miss that.
We are gathering up and putting away things to prepare for leaving tomorrow morning. We have really liked this campground, and would love to come back. We are going to have to make more effort to look for reservations as soon as available for the future. In the FL State Park system, anyone can make a reservation up to 11 months in advance. Often, some of these parks are so popular that the sites are booked up as soon as they are released. Looks like we'll have to set an alarm!
Below is a picture of a big accomplishment for me! This is an English paper pieced design of my own choosing, starting with that green 8-pointed star in the center. I plotted it out ahead to get placement of the rows of color. One key to making this work is choosing the color (red, in this case) that will be in the row that goes all around the circle before it breaks down into the points. These were color choices that I made years ago when I started making this. I had a little trouble finding enough of the light turquoise pieces with the white lines, I thought I had enough but I miscut some and had to literally beg for more! I was working at Bear Patch Quilting Co. and used the blog that I wrote to reach out to a few thousand recipients. And it worked! Someone reached out to me and was able to send me what I needed! When I look at the design now, I wish I had had the forethought to fussy cut the pieces for the star points so there was a red dot in the middle of each one.
To really finish this, I plan on laying it out on a background of white or something similar. Then I will applique (either hand or machine) the star in place. I'm thinking maybe a wall hanging or a tablecloth? Not an everyday tablecloth, and it won't be on the table when the grandkids visit!
There are 288 diamonds in the star. I have removed all of the papers and basted the edge all around. It needs some better pressing at home with an ironing board larger than the 12" x 20" mat that I work with in the trailer! It's so fun to see it come this far!
Now on to the next one! Or rather, back to what I was working on earlier in January, Hex on the Beach. I got bored with it so it went into timeout so the diamonds could come out of the bag!
I'm always interested it what is growing wherever we travel. Certain things stand out to me, like the sea oats along the coastline, cotton fields along the way, and the tough lichens and/or mosses that are growing on the sign below. They look quite artfully placed, don't you think?
Most days at this park we have been out walking on the beach or biking on the park road. It's usually windy, so might call for long sleeves. However, Bob always happy to kick off his shoes and walk barefoot in the sand. My feet get very cold, so unless the sand has been well-warmed by the sun, I keep my feet covered, and deal with the sand inside my shoes!
I needed/wanted to pick up a few sewing notions, so I located a local shop and we drove into Pensacola to find it. It's A&E Fabrics and Crafts, and they have a huge store full of lots of stuff. Even amongst all that stuff, I couldn't get the 3 things that I went for! While I was talking with people working there, they said their schools had been cancelled for Friday due to possible icy rain. One woman said that they have ice infrequently, and everybody goes out on the roads and crash their cars! I was quietly remembering all the really bad road conditions that I've driven through to get places at home, and haven't had a crash ever! Glad I'm not doing that right now!
Only 42 years ago, you turned our lives upside down! We had no idea that our hearts could be even more filled with love and joy! You taught us how to be mom and dad!
Today, we made a move a couple hours eastward, into Florida, and into Fort Pickens Campground, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. We have a week to spend here and we have some good weather forecasted for at least the first 3 days. After that maybe some rain. But no hurricanes in sight! We took a bike ride down the road to the historical fort area and it was close to closing time at the information station and bookstore, so we'll come back. The camping area (we're in loop A) is quiet and we've met a few more retirees who return here year after year. I guess I shouldn't say it's completely quiet, there are some military bases or operations near here so we do hear flights overhead. But we are enjoying our first stop in Florida!
A great morning for beach walking! There are very few people spending time on the beach right now, It's still relatively cool for the area, unless you come from the frozen tundra called Minnesota! Yesterday, on Brita's birthday, Bob and I were reminiscing about the very cold birthday parties for her!
We had to make a run into town for propane, firewood and groceries. We got some small fillets of mahi-mahi which Bob sauteed in butter and garlic for a delicious supper. Followed by a campfire (love our Solo stove) and chocolate and the moonrise!
This was an unremarkable rainy day, spent cleaning and fixing up a couple things in the trailer. I had installed a magnetic knife rack on the wall by the stove, using some strong double sided adhesive tape from the Gorilla glue guys, but it had just come loose. The knives held on well, even during driving, but the adhesive released from the rack. Since it was on a spot that wasn't aluminum, Bob screwed it back into place. As I was cleaning in the bedroom, I found something that I had been looking for since the fall! It's a cutting mat and wool ironing pad, laying below the drawer below the bed, which is a spot only big enough for flat things about 1 ½" high. I'm glad to have them back again!
Bob found a very good BBQ place, Sonny's, so he brought home brisket, ribs and pulled pork! I made cornbread from a Krustaez mix, if you haven't tried that, it's very, very good!
A chilly day, only in the 40's, and it was windy all night. We deemed this to be a day for reading and sewing. Bob is reading 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, and I am reading Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. I've only just started mine so I can't give a review yet. Bob says his book does stretch the imagination but he is not giving it a solid thumbs up.
I must have been feeling homesick for Minnesota this afternoon, because I felt compelled to go to a Target store! I believe there are only 4 Targets in the whole state of Alabama, so I'm counting my blessings that there is one not far away! When I get back home, I will be more appreciative of the Target stores that I pass every few miles!
Today we got to do something that I would say has been on my Quilting Bucket List for a long time. We went to Gee's Bend, Alabama. Never heard of the Gee's Bend Quilters before? Not surprising! You can find information online if you want to know more, but I will try to explain what makes this such a big deal for me.
I'm not sure of the year, but when I was visiting my sister, Jan, in San Franscisco we went to an exhibit of the Gee's Bend Quilts at the de Young Museum of Art. I don't think I knew at all what it was about before we went, so it must have been Jan's idea. I had never seen quilts like these before. They were clearly made from old clothing (especially the denim pants!) and polyester or any kind of fabric. Not made from any traditional pattern like I was used to, looking quite contemporary like color blocking. I was really wondering why these primitive quilts were displayed at such a fine gallery. Then I started reading the stories about the quilts, and grew more interested and was drawn in.
The area of Gee's Bend is in an isolated area of Alabama, around the middle, north to south, of state. The Alabama River is very convoluted there, and encircles this bit of land. There's really only 1 road into there, or the ferry to cross the river to Camden, which was the preferred mode of travel. The population of Gee's Bend is descended from slaves. Part of the history is the fact that the landowner was named Pettway. When the slaves were freed, many were able to own a bit of the land and became sharecroppers. Many also took the last name of Pettway, which was not unexpected then. In the 60's, during the Civil Rights Movement, many of the Gee's Bend residents wanted to go to the County Seat in Camden to register to vote. Camden was like many small cities back then, run by its white leaders. They did not like the idea of the Gee's Bend sharecroppers getting the right to vote, and they shut down the ferry to impede the freedom of the black community to vote. It was non-operational for about 40 years. Here's a view from today's ferry--
Some women of Gee's Bend, all living in poverty, found a community centering around the sewing and making of quilts. Their resources were very limited, so they used whatever fabric in whatever color that was available to make the utility quilts needed to keep the families warm. They were later "discovered" by an art collector and historian, and were then able to appreciate some income from their work.
Now, back to the deYoung - I watched a video about the quilters that day, and I was really moved by their stories. I especially identified with one woman who described her joy in the touch and feel of fabric. It was exactly the same way I felt sometimes with quilts that I was making. I remember I almost cried, because her words could have been my own! So ever since then, I have been attuned to the work of the Gee's Bend quilters. I have a beautiful coffee table book at home with wonderful pictures. When I realized that we were not out of reach of visiting this community while we're here in Alabama, Bob agreed to go along on this latest quilt boondoggle.
The pictures you see above are actually paintings on display around the community. We rode the ferry (now all electric with lithium batteries) and spoke with 2 of the ferrymen about the quilters. One knew Mary Ann Pettway, a leader of the quilters, and gave us some back story and directions of how to find the building that the quilters often work in. We were instructed to take the right fork in the road after leaving the ferry, and we would drive right to the place. On the way, we encountered an elderly man walking along the road in the direction we were headed. We stopped, and spoke, and it was clear that he needed a lift if he was going to make it up the hill and all the way to his destination. We talked awhile, and he pointed out the building before we stopped and dropped him with some people he knew. We went back to the building, and I was disappointed that there was really nothing happening there. My pie-in-the-sky version of this story is that I sat and sewed and talked with the quilters, but that was not to be. They aren't involved in a daily tourist attraction just for my benefit! But just making this trip, riding the ferry, visiting the community, all combined to make this a very good day!
After getting some groceries at Publix last night, we enjoyed the guilty pleasure of apple fritters for breakfast! Today has been a low key day for hanging out around the trailer most of the time. Bob does all our bills and banking online, so he made it through that and we still have a little money to burn! It was very pleasant outside, which made a good day for washing windows all around the trailer and truck. My mom would be happy, she's the Queen of Clean Windows!
One thing I really like to cook is my own mixture of black beans and rice. I picked up the ingredients I was missing and cooked it up for supper. I always put in some spicy andouille sausage, this time purchased here in Alabama instead of Minnesota. Whoa! This turned out too hot to handle! I had a clue when I raised the lid and breathed in the steam, causing me to cough and sputter! On the heat scale, it was incendiary! We ended up eating a bit of it, but wasting the rest, unfortunately. Now I have 2 more of those sausages in the freezer that I don't know what to do with! Maybe we'll meet someone who likes it hot HOT HOT!
A good day to go to Dauphin Island! There is a long causeway and bridge running south to the island, Dan rode his bike to the island 10 years ago when he crossed the country by bicycle. As we drove, especially up that hill and in the wind, I admire his resolve to get out and experience that bucket list trip. It's so easy by car! At this time of year, there's not a lot of activity out there. A lot of homes are vacant now, but probably occupied during the warmer months. And I imagine that even during the hot summers, the ocean breeze would keep it cooler. Most of the houses are elevated, and for the length of the island to the west of the bridge, there are very few trees. We couldn't drive down to the end that way because the road was closed for hurricane clean up. That must be a frequent occurrence in that location. We did some beach walking in the sun, but eventually got too much wind so we turned back. On the way back to the truck we watched several kite surfers. In the last picture below, you can see the kite surfer, a fishing boat, a cargo ship and an oil rig!
Today we had to pack up and move out of the Davis Bayou campground. While we have been here, we had hooked up to electricity and water, but a sewer connection was not provided at any of the campsites. Now, if talk about sewer and disposing of it makes you think that I'm sharing too much, you can skip ahead to the next paragraph! But if you are curious about the real world of living in this trailer for weeks, just stay with me! Anyway, we have 2 tanks under the trailer to hold waste water: gray water (from our sinks and shower) and the black tank, which is not totally water, if you get what I mean! So when we are parked for a week, we have to be a little conservative on our water usage for the gray tank, because we use more than there is room for. We conserve on water going down the drain (quick showers, showers in the campground facility and paper plates, for example), but by the last day, when the gauge has been telling us 100% full for 2 days, we keep our fingers crossed that it will hold just a little bit more! So this morning we hitched up and stopped by the dumping station on the way out of the campground to unload. And that's not really a big deal, just takes a little more thought and planning. Honestly, a lot of the places we stay have sewer hookups at each campsite, and we don't have to give it a second thought. We could also get around it by hitching up and visiting the dump station sooner, or using one of the little containers made to transport your dumpage from the trailer to the station. That then means that you have to have a way to store said container while traveling, and we don't have a spot for that. Is that enough said about the disposition of our waste water? I think so!
We had a short drive, about 60 miles, I think, to Theodore, Alabama. We traveled east on Highway 90, which roughly parallels I-10. We are staying at a park we visited 2 years ago, All About Relaxing! Doesn't that sound like a good spot? It's a private campground with full hook-ups plus other amenities. No worries about tanks this week! First thing we did was some laundry and long showers! We got all settled in, and didn't really cook supper unless you count heating leftovers in the microwave! We watched some episodes of Bones and just relaxed, which is required here!
It was a quiet and restful night, and mostly sunny, about 50 degrees today. We decided to see the city today, so we got some directions and recommendations from people here, and drove into downtown Mobile. We found the Visitor Center and parking, then walked along Dauphin Street. It's the old city center, with some stores and parks and eateries. We ate a a restaurant named A Spot of Tea, and had a good lunch. Bob had a seafood bisque and crabcake, he gave it a thumbs up, and I had a good chicken salad sandwich on a very fresh croissant. I think this is the second time we've eaten in a restaurant on this trip.
We walked to the History Museum and found a lot more to look at there than we had expected. Some interesting displays about the history of the city, all the way back to the native Indian population. And extensive information about the early slave trade, the treatment of the slaves and eventually the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. This seemed to be to be a non-partisan display of history. Also learned a little about the history of Mardi Gras, which is showing up in outdoor decorations now. Plus, there was an impressive Vikings exhibit from Uppsala, Sweden, to get us remembering our own possible ancestors!
We took some time today to drive over to Biloxi. There’s a beautiful big bridge on US Highway 90 running between Ocean Springs (where our campground is located) and Biloxi. On the Ocean Springs (eastern) side of the bridge there are some nice public beach areas. We continued westward on 90, through an area of casinos and all that goes with them to some more open beach parallel to the road. There are frequent pullouts to park and take a walk on the sand. There are a lot of historic homes facing the beach, one of them being Beauvoir, a one-time home of Jefferson Davis. They offer public tours so we decided to do that. To be honest, I had some misgivings about spending time at a place that celebrates the man who was president of the states that seceded from the US because they wanted to continue slavery. But in the interest of learning more about everything that is a part of the American history, I thought it would be good to participate and learn how the topic of slavery was addressed. Sadly, it wasn’t even mentioned by the young woman sharing the history of the man and the place. I kept waiting for her to say at least some little reference to the reason for the establishment of a separate nation and the subsequent civil war. I did ask some questions to try to open up the topic, in a non-confrontational way, but that did not seem to matter. So I left there feeling let down about that, but there were some other redeeming factors. Like the design of the Italian frosted glass, a fancy old crazy quilt and the interesting view through the old wavy glass windows. So we’ll just have to leave it at that.
We found out that the white sand beaches that are an important part of this coastline are man made in some areas, like here in Biloxi. There really was not a beach when the Beauvoir was built. When the decision was made to dredge up the ocean bottom sand and deposit it on the shore, the future of the people and towns here became suddenly much brighter. I’m not sure what effect it had on the marine life, I might have to find a marine biologist to explain that!
We enjoyed a good lunch at The Reef, overlooking the Gulf and that lovely white sand beach! And we even made a stop at a nearby quilt shop, Peace by Piece. I was able to liberate just a bit of fabric from there! I’ve seen other Marci Gras fabrics, but this one appealed to me most even though it’s sort of understated. It reminds me of being in New Orleans 2 years ago, where the wroughtiron fences at homes and businesses were adorned with beads and ribbons in the traditional gold, gree and purple.
Not a lot happening for us today,except that we spent time cleaning the trailer. Inside, not outside. There’s always a fair amount of dirt tracked in from somewhere! And we have a whole heap of cords and cables under the table that need to be dealt with,so I’m looking at ways to conquer the cords! In addition to our usual charging and electric cords, we’ve added a maze of cords for a Weboost antenna. This is a 2 part antenna that pulls in cellular signal and amplifies it inside the trailer. We had something similar before, but this one is beefed up with the external portion. It allows me to work on photos and blog posts much more easily.
This morning we took off for a long walk, which turned into a longer walk than we expected when we ended up in a cul-de-sac instead of a through street! It was a good temperature when we started, but heated up. And it had rained during the night so the humidity was dripping down my back! Later, I got some sewing done so I am closer to showing you something near the finish line!
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate the time you have taken to look for and read my story. I hope you find something that you like!
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!