Well, we didn't really do much wandering on gravel roads, but it is a pretty picture! After that wonderful quilt show in Sisters, we had to turn our attention to getting back to our home sweet home. Bob had a very important and crucial commitment to be back for on 8/21. Golf. Yes, the golf guys had an outing planned, and just like my wish to be at the quilt show, this golfing escapade was not to be missed!
We had to cross through eastern Oregon, into Idaho, then across Wyoming and South Dakota before we could cross the Minnesota state line. The map below shows an outline of most of our trip. The little green marker marks "Home". All those other little markers are the places we camped, until the letter "Y". At the time I was making the map, I wasn't sure which way we would come back across SD. The little checkered flag marker is on Glenwood, MN, which we knew would be our last night before home.
I don't think I have talked about our driving plan before. One of the things that Bob and I have realized is that although we have taken many road trips, we have usually been hell bent on getting to our destination. Then we have a week or so of vacation, and wait until the last possible moment to get back home before our vacation ends. And interstate highways have been our friend!
Now, vacation time has morphed into "new life experiences away from home"! There's no big hurry to get anywhere, so we can stop and smell the roses. We decided that on this trip, we would limit our daily drives to no more than 250 miles, and avoid interstates whenever that would be reasonable. We pretty much succeeded, I think we did have a day of about 300 miles somewhere, but for the most part we stuck in the 200-250 range. That makes such a difference! We don't have to plan what time to get up, pack up, arrive and get parked again in a new spot. We also did very little with advance reservations. Most of the time, we just had a rough idea of where we could go each day in our mileage range that would keep us moving in the right direction. Then while we were driving we would look up possible campgrounds and make some phone calls. We did, however, try to plan ahead for the weekends and 4th of July, because campgrounds were often booked up for those times. We didn't always end up in our ideal locations for those times, but with a little scouting around, we were never left stranded. Plus, we had the ability to just find a spot for boondocking (aka dry camping, freedom camping) with the battery power and water from the trailer.
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The small city of Sisters, OR, presents an annual quilt festival each July. This is a dream destination for a lot of quilters and fiber artists. I was able to go once before on a bus tour, and promised myself that I would come back with Bob on our own schedule, not the tour schedule! Luckily, we were able to work this destination into our travel this summer. We didn't know very far ahead, so we didn't have a place to stay. Even with quite a number of private, city, county and federal camping areas around there, it took us some work to finally find a spot in Redmond, OR, about 20 miles from Sisters and 20 miles from Bend. It's actually called the Expo Center campground, because it's on the grounds of their outdoor entertainment facility and fairgrounds. And it's pretty nice, if you don't mind that there are no trees! We couldn't really be picky, so that's where we landed.
I spent one day, Friday, at the Sisters High School for a Sit and Stitch group. There are classes by internationally known designers for several days prior to the one-day show. There weren't any class openings on Friday, the only day I could be there, so the chance to sit down, stitch some wool applique, make new friends, and share ideas, was wonderful. Bob's not really much into stitching, although I have offered many times to teach him! And I've been missing the chance to do this as my own form of socialization during our trip.
The people in charge of this annual event are the owners of the Stitchin' Post right on the main street of Sisters. Jean Wells started the store and show quite awhile back, and now her daughter, Valeri, is the owner and leader. But they work together, along with many other people, to make this happen. They receive hundreds of quilts from all over the country to be displayed on the streets of Sisters for 1 day. Mostly they are hung outdoors, but some businesses have room indoors, too. Volunteers start at 7am to hang the quilts on ropes and lines and walls of buildings. It is all planned and choreographed in advance. The firemen volunteer to help hang the highest quilts with their trucks. Here's an example:
I had seen Mt. Rainier from a distance sometime, but never up close. So it was great that we could take a whole day to go there and tour around some of the most popular places. We got up early and started the drive from our campground near Eatonville. We had heard stories about long lines of people waiting to drive into the park. But there was not a terribly long line, and we bought some cherries from a roadside stand while we were in line, so that made waiting a little more tolerable! We were using the entrance in the southwest corner of the park. We didn't know much about where to go, so we stopped in the Longmire valley area first. We took a short hike, and I went nuts with the camera and all of the lush foliage and flowers! I've grouped some of them here for you. We drove up to the Paradise visitor center and had a little trouble finding parking by that time. But we persisted, and it paid off because we were in time to view a movie about the history of the park.
I am switching it up from flowers to fibers! I am always in tune with the towns we pass through and the interesting quilt and yarn shops that I encounter. So these pictures will tell you a little about that side of this trip. And pictures of proof that I do more than just support the local economy, because I make good use of my purchases! When I pick up something from a new shop, it is like a souvenir for me so when I use it in the future, I remember where I was and what was happening there. Better than knick knacks for me! First, a shot of a beautiful budding flower that came from our Mt. Rainier trip. Keep on scrolling for a slideshow!
I really like to take pictures of some of the flowers and grasses as we go from place to place. Up in northern Montana, the growing season is short. There are a lot of the early flowers in bloom. I don't know the names of most of them, so this is mostly just for the fun of looking at the colors and variety. Some of these pictures could provide the color story for new quilting or knitting!
We have been having such a great time in and around Glacier National Park for over a week. We had not driven over to the east side of the park, and I've always wanted to ride that Red Bus, so we killed 2 birds with one stone! Our 6 hour tour started at St. Mary's Lodge at 10AM. We left our campsite at 7AM and didn't have much spare time. It's a long drive from where we were on Hungry Horse Reservoir, combined with some road construction waits, lots of curves and hills and valleys so I'm glad we allowed enough time! These Red Buses have been in operation for a long time, and you can read the history here.
We have set out on our first long trip with the Airstream. Well, March was a long trip, too, to Charlotte. But that one was a little different because we just had one destination in sight. On our present trip, we are moving from spot-to-spot as we steadily make our way west. With the plan to be gone from home about 7 weeks, it's a new situation for us. The picture below shows our rig on the day we left home. We actually had to drive only about 15 miles and then stop for lunch! The little town of Nowthen (yes, that's the name) was right on our way and we had been to wrapped up in packing up to think about making our own lunch! There were a lot of things to take care of, in addition to just packing up! Figure out what we wanted to do about our mail when we were gone - we decided to forward to our son. We also have "Informed Delivery" from the USPO, which emails us a scan of mail addressed to us. It does not include hand-written addresses. And it's free.
Then we had to stop our garbage and recycling pickup, they have a "vacation status", which is also available from our TV provider (Direct TV) and the insurance on my car which will not be used during this time. Had to hire a lawn service and activate our security system.
And, we informed the county Sheriff's office of our absence, and spoke to some trusted neighbors, as well. Not only to be observant of anything happening at our house, but to also please pick and use the lettuce in the garden!
I can hardly wait! We are leaving soon for a road trip! I would be ready to hop in the truck tomorrow if I could!
What I am actually doing is plotting and planning what to take along and what route we might take. But I have had something niggling in the back of my mind, taking a back seat to whatever is on our list of to-do's. It's music. I mean, the music in my sweet old iPod.
Last weekend, Mother's Day weekend, Bob and I got to spend some time with my mom, Sally, in northern Iowa. It is a late and wet spring there, which effects a lot more than how fast your perennials come up. Down there, it is all farming all the time. My brother, Jared, retired from farming last year but still lives on the farm he owns. It's nerve racking for farmers, both men and women plus families, to predict when to get started planting crops. Namely, corn first and soybeans to follow. And there are a lot of negative feelings due to the newest tariffs imposed, which are really hitting the agriculture industry. China buys LOTS of American crops, soybeans more than corn, I believe. They won't be buying all those crops when they have to pay an additional tariff. I sincerely wish that there could be some relief for farmers, to make it feasible for them to not only work very hard and very long hours, and be rewarded by a profitable marketplace. Otherwise, there will many that don't make it.
Although it was cool and wet, we went for an exploration of the Kettleson Hogsback Nature Area near Spirit Lake. The name "Hogsback" really has nothing to do with pork! It refers to a raised ridge in the nature area that served as a landmark.
Thought I would share a little bit about my experiences with one of the joys of senior living. Namely, my eyes. They have sure gotten a lot of attention lately. For starters, I have worn glasses for a long time, but not about my 40's. My husband and grandson, on the other hand, both have had glasses since they were very young. Bob's need wasn't really recognized until he was in school. Ian's need was picked up on an exam following an eye injury when he was maybe 3 or 4. Lots of eye business!
I did attempt to use contacts for a bit, but found them to really not suit me. Plus, as most any woman over 55 can tell you, tissues all over the body become more friable and contain less natural moisture as our aging progresses. My eye balls were too dry to work well with the contacts, and, in fact, I ended up with a scratched cornea from removing the lens. So I have been using glasses with trifocal lenses for quite a few years.
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!