Monday, April 30, 2007

One Day Blog Silence

In honor of the victims at Virginia Tech and in honor of victims throughout the world.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Etsy

Ashley, Joy and I are now "in business" on My Etsy. I have just posted Ashley's beanies that she is doing so well. Stop in and see them (and buy one for yourself or for a child. They fit me!).

I will be posting Joy's stitch holders, credit card holders and cell phone cases very soon.

Have a beautiful day!

The last day!

Aren’t you glad? Aren’t you thrilled? After today, I can get back to the humdrumness of my normal life and stop the traveling in my mind. Although I will remember and look back for a very, very long time!!

We got up early in Fayetteville, Arkansas, had breakfast at the motel – those continental breakfasts are really handy, even though there isn’t much protein, which I really need to keep going. But it’s a start and I can grab a handful of jerky to help with the protein needs for awhile.

We had done a mapquest study to see how long it would take us to get home and which path to take to make it home that night.

Heading north, always north, we hit Missouri very quickly and enjoyed another beautiful state. We had a few disappointments, however.

We saw a sign for the George Washington Carver museum; it was closed – not only because we were too early, but it looked like it was to be closed for a while because of construction or something – no explanation at all!




In St. Joseph, we found that the Pony Express Museum was somewhere there, but found that out after we had passed it and felt we shouldn’t go back if we wanted to get home that night.

Also in St. Joseph we found that Jesse James had been born in the area, but it was somewhere east and, again, too far away for us to see if we wanted to get home at all!

I would have liked to see Mansfield, as well. This is where Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almanzo lived out their last days. However, I didn’t even THINK about it until we were far too north to even consider it! Guess I was getting brain dead by this last day!

We DID stop at an antique mall and enjoyed an hour of browsing – however I bought nothing for ME – just for others, and actually spent under $10 ... a first in a very long time!



We finally got into Iowa, which felt like the home stretch, but the road we chose was slower and more windy and jiggy-joggy than the interstate, so it seemed like Iowa was going on forever. There were also tornado warnings on the radio so we had rain that slowed us down even more.


Back to the square houses like I saw on the east side of Iowa


Finally we arrived at Spirit Lake – this is the “Great Lakes of Iowa” – a touristy place but close to home. We could feel like we would make it, for real!



And the home stretch – through Spirit Lake (supper there), up to Jackson, Minnesota and up and up and home by 9:30 that night – only 13 hours on the road! Whew!!!

Home at last! A wonderful trip was over and now it was time to unpack, find everything we couldn’t find in the car

Peanut was glad to be home, to be able to run around without a harness on, to recognize that she was HOME!

The chickens recognized me (yeah, right!) and were doing very well. We collected Goldie Monday and SHE recognized us and SHE was glad to see us and very glad to be home.

So, our trip is over. Thank you, again, for your patience!! I won’t fill this blog up with it any more. I have hundreds of pictures and now need to gather my thoughts and the pictures. I hope to put them on a CD so I can share them with friends and family.

It was a beautiful trip – the weather was, for the most part, beautiful – just a few rainy days and only one really bad storm. Low humidity and not too hot for traveling. You have a beautiful day!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Arkansas!

The land of the Ozarks; the land of diamonds; the land of crystals!

A beautiful state but then, all states are beautiful; however I think Arkansas might be my favorite.

We spent the night in Nashville, Arkansas, a very little town close to Murfeesboro, which is close to the Crater of Diamonds, the world’s only public diamond mine. This is located in the Arkansas Mountains. It’s “finder’s keepers” at the mine. You pay $6.50 per adult to go in to the area – a state park – and dig in clay and rocks for diamonds. There is no guarantee, but it’s fun thing to do, anyway, and it’s a cheap gambling game. Some people HAVE found diamonds of worth; we saw some in one of the stores in Murfeesburo that were selling for $500 and up, so you know the finders made a bit of money on them in selling them to the stores.

After several hours of digging, Norm came back to the car (Peanut and I gave up early and went to fix lunch) for lunch; we then headed out through the mountains, heading north. First we stopped at a rock shop (why not?); I found a traveling crystal to replace the one I “forgot” in Florida and found some for the girls. Norm got a couple of agates – his favorite stones. I asked where the crystals came from and the owner told me that they were, indeed, Arkansas crystals (famous for their clarity) and were just a little bit north of us.

As we traveled, we found we were getting close to the town mentioned (Mt. Ida), so I got excited ... I might find a place that actually MINED the crystals. And sure enough – there was a sign that we flew by, so I got Norm to screech to a halt, do a U-turn and head into the Wegner
Quartz Crystal Mine.

There was the store front with unbelievable (let me repeat – UNBELIEVABLE!!) crystals of all different sizes. I simply went ga-ga, over the top, uncontrollable. Now, I know I am accused of being volcanic in my feelings, but this was a spot that I overflowed my volcanic lava of feelings more than normal.

A real "rock garden" full of crystals for $3 a pound! Your choice!

This picture was taken from the Wegner web site

Here she is next to two sisters ... an awesome sight!

The sizes of these crystals are unbelievable! (I'm repeating myself!)


After too long (in Norm’s view) in the store, I finally picked out a crystal for me, sacrificed another I “needed” and got two more for the girls.


This is the crystal I picked out for me

I have GOT to go back!!! Simply HAVE to – I’m going to try save money so I can go back and get some really large, LARGE crystals.

After Norm dragged me, kicking and screaming from the store, we headed north, again, passing over the Arkansas Mountains and then going into the Ozarks and passing over the West end of them.

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In the Arkansas Mountains

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Heading to the Ozarks

On the top, heading down


Supper and nightfall was in Fayetteville, still in Arkansas. The next day was to be our last day --- so, with patience, you will see the end of the trip next post!!


Friday, April 27, 2007

Are you tired, yet??

I am almost done, but not quite!

We left Alexandria, LA in the early morning, planning on going to Shreveport, with a short stop in Natchitoche along the way. It took me over a day to finally remember how to pronounce it.



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The Red River


I thought it was “Nat Chi Toe Chee” but in actuality, the town’s name is pronounced “Nat Chi Tisch” with the emphasis on the “Nat” .... it comes from an Indian tribe that lived around there.

This town is the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase. It was originally a French fort, established before 1714 because the town was established that year.


We saw iron work like I have see in pictures of the French Quarter in New Orleans. So I was content to have missed that spot in order to see this one.


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Iron work balconies

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Iron work stairs

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Iron work benches

We went into the oldest continual running General Store in Louisiana and purchased some things that I have been looking for. I got a stainless steel 1 ½ cup measuring / cooking pot; a liquid 4 tablespoon measurer; a sandwich sized square cast iron pan. The prices were as good or better than in any catalog that I have seen them.



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We saw some awesome houses and churches

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We stopped at the Visitors’ Center (a great place to find out THINGS about the area) and discovered that there was Living History in a reproduction fort.

We introduced ourselves as Living Historians so we got a special tour; it’s kind of like a “Cooks’ Tour” – you get to see things that normal visitors don’t get to see. And the two interpreters were waiting for a school group so we got to talk “shop.” Both of the people were fascinating. The fort is set up as 1733; they have plans and drawings and letters to verify what the fort looked like. The ’33 fort was not the original one; that one was set near the Red River which overflowed it’s banks too many times so the fort was moved to higher ground. That ground is now a cemetery so digging for fort things is not allowed.

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Outside the fort

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Inside the fort

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Officer's quarters

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Church
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Oven
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Bread Peel with Peanut as comparison
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Look at the size of the Rosemary!
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Scarecrow
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The Cado Indians use palm leaves for their housing

And, of course, some awesome trees! Some of these trees are older than I am, and you know I'm older than dirt!!!

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After spending not enough time, but way too much time, we headed to Shreveport. Once there we headed to Texas!!! It was only about 30 minutes away so we wanted to put foot on Texas ground. Once there, we decided that we could follow Texas up to Texarkana and arrive in Arkansas that way. We spent that night in Nashville, Arkansas.

And Arkansas is another day – so hang in there – we are nearly done!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

From Panama City onward

We followed the coast from Panama City until we got to New Orleans .... There were some lovely spots to see but there was also way too many condominiums that hid the coast from not only the casual driver but from anyone on the other side of the street. And more being built all the time!


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One of the few places you could see (or get to) the beach

There was a long, long bridge outside of Panama City with a warning sign “Check your gas, it’s a long bridge!”

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It was a rainy day so we didn’t stop much but DID stop at a seemingly deserted beach ... and found the best shells that we had found, plus Brown Pelicans that were playing and courting (I think) in the water. We also saw signs that warned of nesting plovers, with that area fenced off. I took a million (well, maybe thirty) pictures of the Pelicans ... they are so graceful in flight. I love watching them dive into the water. These were not fishing, as they were splashing FLAT rather than diving IN.


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On the way from Panama City along the ocean, we saw lots of houses very close to the beach. Many of these had been damaged in one of the last hurricanes (not sure which one, but does it really matter?) and had been left deserted with for sale signs on them.

We also saw many (most) houses on stilts ... really funny looking but necessary when high tide creeps into your front yard.


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We headed through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana; we drove through New Orleans at a very fast pace as it was nearly rush hour .... we were unable to stop but I clicked pictures through the window (again ... so what else is new?).


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Lunch in Mississippi

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There were signs of much damage along the route. I wish we could have gotten off the main drag and driven through some of the housing areas, but we saw enough as it was. We saw glimpses of the modern part of town and it looked pretty good from where we were driving. We did NOT get to the French Quarter (sigh ... one of the many places we could not go to because we wanted to get home before Christmas). We drove over the Mississippi and the bridge there was longer than the Panama City one, but there was no warning of a long, long bridge!

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Then to Baton Rouge and up to Alexandria, where we spent the night. This was day one of “breakfast, one state, lunch another state, supper a third state;” Breakfast in Florida, lunch in Mississippi, supper in Louisiana.

We headed to Natchitoches the next day, but that’s another post.


It was a beautiful day, I hope yours was just a beautiful!