Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Back in NJ

Our trip from Knoxville to NJ was uneventful. We missed all the storms that have been chasing us since Texas; there was a tornado in Hondo, about 45 minutes west of where we stayed in San Antonio, two nights after we left. More weather in other areas after we had departed. We only saw the occasional brief sprinkle of rain so we timed it just right. Tornados are a major concern in springtime so we are grateful we dodged them all. We travelled from Winchester, VA and skirted around Baltimore using the northwest section of route 695 to avoid the Baltimore tunnel and had no traffic slowdowns at all the whole way. That’s a miracle right there!

We arrived about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon at my daughter Kristen’s house and were greeted by her husband Jason (who was working from home today) and their three boys (who had just finished their remote learning for the day.) Later, we had a wonderful reunion with Kristen, our daughter Catherine and children; and son Tim and his wife, Bernie. 

We’ve been reading about possible fuel shortages this summer so we filled up before our arrival and now we are set for 600 miles more of travel. This week we will visit doctors and spend time with family. Life is good!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

San Antonio, TX to Knoxville, TN

 We left San Antonio almost a week ago—where has the time gone? We spent three nights in Livingston, TX while Bob renewed his driver’s license and we ran errands. Not very exciting. We left Wednesday for Monroe, LA on a bone-jarring trip along Louisiana back roads. We’ve decided not to go to Livingston again until my license needs renewing in four years; we don’t like the roads. 

On Thursday we drove right through Mississippi to Alabama, through the upper corner of Georgia, and then yesterday we arrived in Knoxville, TN.

Our campground is in the Smokey Mountains by a lake. Sites are pretty close together but we have a lovely view and people have been friendly.

I love Knoxville. We first visited here in the fall of 2016, when we crossed Tennessee heading west. This is a two night stop, since I was pretty sure we’d need a little breather after averaging over 300 miles a day since Livingston. So this morning we got to play a little. We drove over to Jeffries Wood Works and found some very cool pieces of wood for Bob to turn.

Afterwards we went to Market Square in Knoxville where we ate lunch at The Tomato Head. It was very good food.

The Burn Memorial, commemorating Women’s Suffrage 

Bob spent the afternoon puttering while Auggie and I sat outside on the wooden deck, knitting. At one point a couple of young teens walked by with a German Shepherd puppy tugging on the leash. When the pup tried to pull them over to me I heard the girl say, “Stop! Leave the old person alone!” Bob said I should have shouted “Get out of here, you young whippersnapper!” Lol!

Tomorrow we head to Dixie Caverns in Virginia, which not only brings us one day closer to our destination but also has AN ANTIQUE STORE AT THE CAMPGROUND! I kid you not. Every campground should have its own antique store, to my way of thinking.

I guess I AM old.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Fort Stockton to San Antonio, TX

Bob and I have been hitting some strong winds on our trip. In Van Horn, TX the winds blew so hard that the flapping of our slide toppers kept me awake all night since they sound like a herd of cattle milling around and bumping into the coach. I was able to keep the AC fan on all night when we reached Fort Stockton, which masked the sound quite well. 

We love Fort Stockton’s sign, visible from our campground.

On Thursday we drove 330 miles to San Antonio, TX, a long drive for us. The topography changed from desert to the green Hill Country along the way.

We settled in and drove over to my sister Gail’s house where we had a lovely dinner with Gail and our brother in law, Mark. Their daughter Michelle and hubby Toby have just had their first baby, Jocelyne. Isn’t our new grand-niece adorable?

On Wednesday we visited our good friends Kathy and Ron. It had been three years since we saw them last and we had  blast catching up. They took us to see a fiber arts show nearby where we saw some very inspiring handmade clothing.

Afterwards Ron drove us just south of Fredericksburg, TX where we were able to see bluebonnets. This is the state flower of Texas, and it’s appearance results in folks coming from all over to catch a glimpse, much like the fall “leaf peepers” in New England who drive up to see the colorful foliage. I can see why. The wildflowers are beautiful this time of year.

At one point we were visited by a donkey who wanted to see if we were giving out free food. When he sniffed Auggie in the car he backed up and bit the car window. Auggie slept through the encounter, and I noted that’s why he has been retired from being a service dog! His vision and hearing just aren’t what they used to be.

We had a delightful lunch at a restaurant in Fredericksburg afterwards. Bob and I would like to spend some time in this area one day! Kathy and Ron pointed out a Sunday House which is a neat piece of Texan history. If you have a minute, click on the link and read all about them.

All too soon it was time to head back to San Antonio and we said goodbye to our friends until next year,

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

My Keel Loom

This morning Bob and I left New Mexico and drove almost four hours to the little town of Van Horn, Texas. Van Horn is a town that has little to offer except a place to get off the road when you’re on the way to someplace else. We leave tomorrow morning for Fort Stockton, Texas.

I wanted to share about my new loom that Bob made for me. On Ravelry, the inkle weaving group has been discussing Keel Looms, which are built using the plans found in the book “Small Looms in Action,” by Elizabeth Jensen. The “keel” refers to the way the loom’s base hangs down, allowing the weaver to hold it between their thighs to weave. Before we left Mesa I asked Bob to build me one, which he did. The book calls for 1/2” furniture grade plywood to be used, but Bob instead took scraps of wood in different varieties to build it, along with 3/8” dowels.

Isn’t it sweet? I modified the plans to include a tension peg rather than use moveable dowel pegs to tension the warp. And it weaves very well! I am able to get almost a yard of finished inkle band from it.

I’m going to have a lot of fun with this little loom.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

New Mexico Fun

Bob and I have been having a lot of fun in NM. On Monday we drove back to Palomas, MX to get my permanent crown from the dentist. It went smoothly and we had a nice lunch afterwards (I recommend the veggie tacos without cheese and a margarita,) and enjoyed some shopping. 

On Tuesday I felt like checking out some local shops so I popped into the Yarn Emporium in Deming. There I met a most delightful woman, Judy, who owns the shop.

Judy and I shared so many interests and we had a blast talking fiber arts. And the shop was a real inspiration—a must-see if you find yourself anywhere near the area. Judy specializes in yarns for weaving and knitting and she is a Louet dealer, too.

I also visited Sew-N-Sew quilt shop in town, which had a very nice selection of quilting fabrics. The store was full of women who had driven in from Las Cruces for shopping and lunch. It was fun listening to their conversations as I shopped.

On Wednesday Bob and I visited the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum, considered by many to be the best museum in New Mexico. It features so many aspects of the area’s history, including the Mimbres, a prehistoric tribe which was part of the Mogollon (pronounced Muggy-on) people who settled in the area. The museum has a fine collection of Mimbres pottery. You may note that many of the Mimbres bowls have holes in the bottom. These were former cooking bowls that were later placed over the face after the individual died, the hole being punched out to allow the soul to escape. The museum also features paintings, quilts, woven blankets, toy trains, dolls, vehicles, gems, and household items from historical times.

On Wednesday afternoon Bob and I checked out a local winery, Lescombes Winery & Tasting Room where we sampled some of their red wines and bought a few bottles to take home. A delightful day, one we will not soon forget. So much to see here.

Monday, April 5, 2021

From Tucson to Mexico

 I had almost forgotten how much fun traveling can be. On Saturday, Linda and I set out to find some fun places to visit. I was saddened to learn that SAS Fabrics had closed, and that Grandma’s Spinning Wheel was only allowing people in by appointment, one person at a time. I feel guilty just browsing when I’m only one of three people per hour shopping, plus Linda and I wanted to go in together, so we crossed that place off my list. Instead, we went to The West, a volunteer-run store specializing in needlework supplies and gifts. I have rekindled my interest in tatting lately so I wanted to see what they had. As it turned out, they didn’t have tatting supplies except for a couple of shuttles but they did have some nice scissors I needed. Next we drove over to the Quilt Basket, a great shop with beautiful fabrics and lots of samples to tempt a sewer. No tatting supplies, though. We realized that we were in the same plaza as Grandma’s Spinning Wheel so we decided to knock on the door without an appointment. We explained to the saleswoman that we were both fully vaccinated so she let us in together. Nice! We both found some small items we had to have.

After that, it was on to Pita Jungle where we sat outside and enjoyed a lovely lunch. This was the first time either of us had eaten at a restaurant in over a year and we enjoyed it thoroughly, sitting outside on the deck with a pleasant breeze. The food was great!

Later we returned to the park and had fun hanging out together with the menfolk, checking out their new motor coach and seeing the trains run, just for us.

This park has a very active railroad club of which Chuck and Linda are members, but usually when we visit the trains have been put away for the season, so this was a real treat.

On Sunday it was time to say goodbye, and Bob and I headed off down the road to Deming, NM. We’ll be here for the next couple of weeks.

And on Monday we drove 45 minutes south to Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico to get our teeth cleaned. I also needed a root canal which I’ve been putting off for a while. It’s been two years since we’ve been to Mexico and the town was pretty quiet. We were told that the vaccine rollout has been slow and this affects tourism here.

After our appointments, Bob and I ate lunch at the Pink Store and shopped a little before driving home to Auggie. We’ll go back next week for my permanent crown. In the meantime, Bob is going over the motor home with a fine toothed comb and I’m finding things to do as well. 

Friday, April 2, 2021


 Bob and I have been working hard packing everything up and moving things into the motor home. We finished Thursday and left about 1:00 for our first trip in a year and a half. It felt good! We drove about 2 hours to Tucson and have settled in through the weekend, visiting our friends Chuck and Linda (and their Corgi, Tucker.) It was so good to see them after such a long time. We hung out all afternoon and into the evening, then this morning we all drove to the Sonoran Desert Museum. 

This is a place we haven’t been to since we were here years ago with our friends, Mike and Retha. It was a beautiful day and we walked all throughout the museum (most of which is outdoors.) They have quite a nice collection of local plants and animals, plus gorgeous vistas.

Afterwards we stopped at a restaurant and bought some takeout food which we ate back at Chuck and Linda’s house. Linda and I did a little local shopping and we have decided to shop a bit more tomorrow. It has been so long since we’ve done that, and we are looking forward to a girls’ day out.