Friday, July 19, 2019

Kayak Hits Our Motorhome on I-84 (Grants Pass, OR)

NO INJURIES: It's been a long time since I have had an auto accident, but this is the first time I have had a 'boating' accident with our coach on I-84 just 9 miles out from our new destination in Viento State Park.  Jokes aside this is turning into a  major mess.
Damage to compartment's door and latch
Due to the kayaks NOT being properly secured to the car's front and back the two came flying off the passing Durango with the rack still attached. The kayaks dropped into the left lane and were hit by the car behind them which caused the biggest kayak to slide right in front of the coach. I tried to miss it but did not have enough room or time. By the time I had stopped, the kayak was wedged up against our front tire. We had to use our Air leveler to raise the front and pull out the kayak.
Generator's muffler torn off - cannot dry camp until fixed
There was damage done to the fiberglass on one compartment door and tore off our generator's muffler. We were lucky that no damage was done to the coach's front wheel or to our Honda. I am also happy that the Tesla driver was keeping a good following distance. They could have had a kayak going through their windshield. We have video from three different angles thanks to the Tesla cams and our dashcam.
Quick response from the State Trooper and the Deputy Sheriff. They did a great job of helping us, but they did not cite the kayak owner.  Within a few days, this whole incident had become a nightmare for us and for the Tesla owners.   Along with damage to our home, we will need coverage for hotel and food while the coach is in the shop.  

The coach is fine for traveling, but we will not be able to use our air conditioner while driving on hot days until the generator's muffler has been repaired.  You are probably thinking we should travel during the cool early mornings.  That would be great except we are booked with quite a few parks with 1pm check-outs and 4pm check-ins  Since we are only a couple of hours away from our new locations, we have to find a rest area to wait out the differences.  Such fun on these hot days.  
Because the kayak owner is now claiming the kayak rack was defective and is in the process of filing claims against the company, his insurance is dragging out our claim for damages to our home and to the Tesla. Dan and the Tesla owner have sent instructions from the rack company showing that they specifically instruct rack owners to secure all items to their cars with straps and not just to the rack so he doesn't have any grounds to make such a claim when we have video of no straps securing the kayaks to the front or back of his car.
Almost two hours later, we finally made it to Viento State Park and were able to destress with these wonderful views of the Columbia River.
We also took a walk to a nearby fall, but I'm going to save the photos for the next posting.
I promised a friend that I would post more photos of our cats this time.  So here are a few mugshots that they allowed me to take of them.
Hitch surveying his surroundings
Dusty being a big quilt helper.
Dusty told me: "your lines are crooked."
Caught cuddling - Dusty and Max
It was your idea. 
Now, she thinks we look cute and keeps snapping pictures of us!
Time to backtrack to Sturgis, SD.  

While I was waiting to get my license renewed, Dan's sister invited me to the Black Hills Quilt Show.  The link will take you to the Winner's Gallery if you would like to see more quilts.
Unique Giraffe quilt
Since I did not take my camera, I limited my photos to the quilts that really inspired me and I really needed the inspiration.  For a couple of months, I have not felt like quilting just embroidering or reading.  Spending time talking and shopping quilts with my sister-in-law was also a major push to my quilting recovery.  Whew! that was a close one.

Since I love the more unique appliqué work.....well as you can see...that is about the only photos I took.
Love this Harry Potter's Bookshelf!!
This is my favorite quilt because it has three of my favorite pastimes: Harry Potter/Hogwarts along with lots of books all appliquéd into a quilt.
Crabapple Hills quilt
Speaking of witches, I love the Crabapple Hills designs.  I just can't see me spending all that time coloring fabric when I would rather be embroidering or sewing the design.  I might try some of their new blocks without coloring and see how it looks when I am done.  Have you seen their latest designs?  Check out the Witches and their vintage campers in Autumn & Halloween
Okay, here's a few more appliqué quilts that I would like to make...
....someday.
I have the Art Deco pattern for the quilt on the left in the above photo.  I started one block and now it is a UFO.  If I'm going to make a floral quilt, I should probably start with that one, right?

I added this commentary from The Quiltfolk website.  Michael really caught our spirit and passion for quilting or any other hobbyist.  I can't imagine life without some kind of hobby.  The Quiltfolk "Quilt & Time" by MICHAEL MCCORMICK

On The Cutting Board
With my new found inspiration, I started working on my last, yes definitely my very last large quilt (not written in stone)😌 before we left South Dakota.  I have been wanting a Southwest theme quilt for our bed for a couple of years, but I don't have the energy to work on a large quilt in a hoop.  
I have decided to try 'quilt-as-you-go'.  This is my first time trying this technique.  I will need to applique 12 blocks altered with patchwork.  I will have to come up with three new designs to make the quilt larger since the Native Flair pattern only has nine.  So far, I have decided to add Kokopeli, a gecko, and a hummingbird.  I might make a fourth design because the Llama doesn't fit in too well with my SW theme since they are not indigenous to North America.  I think a Quail would be more at home in this quilt.
I'm still working on my A to Zzz Snowman quilt.  Here's the latest block for U, T, and V!  This one took me a while to finish.  I can't believe that I am down to W, X, Y, and Z!  Then I'll have another quilt to make and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it.
Time to get back to my quilting.  I need to cut out my sashings today and start on my nine-patch corners.  Sew much to do...where to start?
Happy Quilting!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

10th Anniversary On The Road (Sturgis, SD)

In May 2009, we sold our house with most of our belongings in it and started traveling in our motorhome.  Hard to believe that we have been full-timing for 10 years!  Let's see if we can do another 10 years before we retire from the road.
Leaving Albuquerque May 2009
This seems to be the year for record-breaking weather throughout the US.  We have managed to be in a couple of the areas with higher than normal heat indexes during fall/winter in Florida and the cold, not to mention, very soggy spring in South Dakota.  We have been very lucky during our 10 years of traveling when it comes to weather.  No complaints about what we have experienced over the years.  

Just a couple of weeks ago, we woke to 5 inches of snow in Piedmont.  Not too bad considering the other areas in the Black Hills received over 10 inches.  Welcome Spring?
Dusty, of course, had to be convinced several times during the day that the snow was not gone by opening the door for him.  He would stand on the steps, look around, and stomp back in with his back twitching.  He looked very depressed at times.  Then he figured out he did not have to walk in snow if he jumped from the bottom step to the underside of the coach.  What a smarty cat! 😸
We moved to Sturgis a week ago.  The weather is starting to improve and the Sturgis RV Park is a little more sheltered from the wind, but we are still exposed to hail from severe thunderstorms.
This storm came down fast and furious with nickel-size hail.  It was deafening to have it hit directly on our roof and yes, we did end up with some damage to two of our vent covers and a side signal light.  I'm just glad we were not driving and the hail did not get bigger!
We have been getting flood alerts to stay away from the creeks during the storms.  A couple of days ago, the downpour developed several runoffs on the hill behind us. 
We are not in any danger of our coach being in high water, but it was amazing to see how fast the campground turned into one big muddy pond.

On a brighter note, we spent one sunny day driving through Spearfish Canyon.  A good time to visit some of the waterfalls in the area.  Our first stop was at the Roughlock Falls Nature Area with easy paved walking trails and plenty of viewing decks.
Roughlock Falls
There is some green vegetation, but the trees haven't quite filled out yet.  I bet the Fall colors are spectacular in the Canyon.
Roughlock Falls
 I loved the view looking in the other direction from the falls.  Look at those canyon walls and imagine trying to travel through here with a wagon and horses.
I had to have some photos of the wildlife.  We did not see a lot of activity.  Just a few deer near the road.  
Baltimore Oriole
No luck with sighting a Mountain Goat, but I did get a good kink in my neck.  Saw a mouse, sort of.  I did know that I had company in the bathroom until the field mouse ran to the door.   By the time I turned around, he was halfway under the door.  All I saw was a furry grey behind, a tail, and two back feet scrambling fast to squeeze under the door.
Dan spotted this feathered guy eating a berry in the tree.  I was hoping he would clean his beak for his photo op.  Oh well, the berry did match his feathers.
He did pose and did not look alarmed to see me walking closer to him.
Yes!  I am a pretty boy!  Did you get my good side?
The chipmunk wasn't skittish either.  He ran down the sidewalk in front of us.  I tried to get a photo of him running with his tail straight up, but he was too fast for me.
We played peek-a-boo in the grass until he decided sitting on a rock would be better to keep an eye on me while he munched some food.

We stopped at Spearfish Falls but decided not to walk down to the lower end of the falls.  The last stop was at the Bridal Veil Falls.  This one can be seen from the highway as you drive by, but it still makes for a nice stop.
Bridal Veil Falls
My fingers are crossed that the warm weather will hold out so we can enjoy more of the area.

On The Cutting Board
I had my own record-breaking moment this year.  I haven't worked on a single quilt project since we left Florida in February.  Well, I have been embroidering on quilt blocks, but no sewing, cutting, or quilting.  No New Projects!  That is the longest I have gone without quilting in over 20 years.  I'm trying to finish projects that I have started before starting others, but it doesn't seem to be working out too well.

I was stuck big time with the quilt blocks below.  The pinwheel blocks were driving me crazy, so I just put them aside where I could see them every morning and growl at them.  I could not get the points together or get the blocks sewed to the correct size which is 4.5 inches.  Talk about some wonky looking blocks!  I thought about sewing them by hand and just could not find enough energy to make and mark new pieces to sew together.  Finally, I decided to paper piece the block.  I made my own pattern in EQ7 since they did not have a pinwheel-on-point block.  It took me a couple of tries to figure out why the seams were not laying right.  Once I got the sequence correct, the blocks ironed flat.
Soooo much better!  I turned our snow day in Piedmont into my quilt day and set up 4 stations and managed to finish 20 of the 35 blocks needed for the quilt.  Plus, I got a few steps in walking from the bedroom to the living area.
I'm still working on my A to Zzz Snowman quilt.  Here is R for Reindeer....
and my favorite block - Q for Quilts.  I did not realize until I started working on this one that the word 'Quilt' was not included in the block's pattern.  
I'm tempted to add it in using letters from the other blocks.  I'll have to think about that one.

In the meantime, we better get the cats outdoors.  They know it is nice outside and are gathering at the door.
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Holy Crap! Snow! (Piedmont, SD)

We spent most of this month traveling and visiting family.  We managed to dodge several severe thunderstorms along the way, but not the cold fronts.  This was our first morning greeting to South Dakota.  From the posts I saw on Facebook, we are not alone with the surprise snow covered ground.  I am hoping it will be the last for this Winter....hmm, I mean Spring.
Dan spent a lot of time searching for the perfect campgrounds for us to stay along the way.  This is the first time we have driven this route.  We stopped to visit my brother in Huntsville, AL while staying in Redstone Arsenal FamCamp.  A very nice RV park with plenty of walking paths and close to shopping.  
US Space & Rocket Center
From there, we drove through Tennessee and stayed at Cherokee Landing Thousand Trails in Saulsbury.  
Cherokee Landing Thousand Trails
This park needs a lot of work.  The employees do a great job of keeping the areas clean, but the building and sites need to be renovated.  If you are looking for a more back to nature experience then this is perfect for you.
The cats loved this park with all the trees and wildlife to explore.  Since the park was not busy, they were able to explore quite a few sites away.
Dusty did not want to leave, but he was very happy with our new location at the USACE Maumelle Camp near Little Rock, AK on the Arkansas River.
All three cats even took a walk down to the river with us.  The park was busier than the last one, but the sites were large with plenty of space for the cats to explore without going into another site..
Maumelle Camp Near Little Rock AR
And Dusty did not want to leave.  Then he saw our new location at Chicken Creek Camp Tenkiller Ferry Lake near Gore, OK and he was happy cat once again.  This time I wasn't too happy to hear that the campground had emptied out earlier that day due to warnings of severe thunderstorms with hail and tornado warnings.  There were only four campsites in use besides us and the camp-hosts.  We decided to stay because there really was no place to get away from this storm front.  Lucky for us, the storm went around this area.  We got a little bit of rain and some gusts of winds, but otherwise it was a quiet night.
Chicken Creek Camp Tenkiller Ferry Lake Near Gore OK
Dusty was once again 'not a happy cat' about leaving.  Are you wondering how we know he is not happy with us moving?  Well, he starts crying as soon as the motorhome starts moving.  He'll even go to the door and cry.  If he doesn't like the site, he just goes to sleep.  "No worries.  I didn't like it here anyway." 

Dusty was not happy with our new site in Ft Sill either because he did not beg to out every other hour.  Sites are tight and boring according to cat's standards until we had visitors.  Dusty says Celeste gives very good belly rubs and makes rolling in the grass more fun.
We spent Easter weekend visiting with our daughter, granddaughters, and getting to know our soon-to-be son-in-law.  We spent Saturday afternoon at Ft Sill so the girls could enjoy the FamCamp's lakeside playground and had a delicious Easter dinner on Sunday.  It was wonderful to see our grandchildren again and to visit with Misty and Jeff.
photos by Misty
Back on the road again and heading north to South Dakota, we stopped in another US Army Corp of Engineer's park near Alma, NE.  Here's a unique sight.  While driving on the road to Hunter Cove, we passed a guy leading two packhorses down the street.  We saw him again the next day about 8 miles down the road in Republican City.
After we were settled into our site, we let all three cats out knowing they were going to love this park.  The first thing Hitch did when he was allowed outside was to climb this tree.  He climbed it a couple of more times and must have decided it was too easy because he took off at a full run towards the other trees.  He never got as high, but he was happy.
Hunter Cove Army Corps Of Engineers, Alma NE
Max was quite happy to find a nice soft spot among the big tree's roots for sleeping.  The campground wasn't busy when we were there, but it sounds like it will stay busy once school lets out.  In the meantime, we had a pleasant stay and the cats did a lot of exploring.
And of course, once again, Dusty was not happy about leaving.  I told him there would be other great sites, but I don't think he believed me.
Yeah, right...😒
We made an unscheduled stop at Wall Drug since it was along the way.  A nice change of pace from all our traveling lately.  We did a little shopping and had lunch.

This guy looked like he had a snack and was looking for his lunch....grrr
So, we are done traveling for the next month while we take care of our driver's licenses and do a little sightseeing in the Black Hills area.


On The Cutting Board
I haven't been in the mood for starting a new quilt.  I have been spending most of my time embroidering the A to Zzzz Snowman blocks.
Kris and Lights
I'm amazed how fast these are going.
Mittens
At this speed, I should have all the embroidery done before the end of the year.
Noel
Maybe by that time I'll be back in the mood to sew together the blocks into a quilt.
and Ornaments
Until then, I will keep on 'Stitchin'!
Happy Quilting!

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