Monday, June 18, 2018

Two Road Trips

Roadtrip #1 (FYI- this is totally knitting related)
Roadtrip #2 (Cross Country Adventure follows this story,  skip the knitting if you want.) 

The fascinator was in honor of the Royal Wedding 
Each May in the Pacific Northwest many of the Local Yarn Shops in the area sponsor an event they call The Puget Sound LYS tour.  This was year 13 and the theme was 'Celebrating Community from mountain to river to sound through country and city and town.  It lasted 5 full days and included 26 different yarn shops.  Each shop has worked very hard all year to get ready.  This year each shop had 3 patterns for each guest.  One was an afghan square and all 26 will make a beautiful afghan representing the Pacific Northwest.  

Each shop has created a knit pattern and most had a crochet pattern, exclusively for the 2018 Edition of the LYS tour.  Then they feature a yarn to use with their pattern and sell it at a 10% discount.  There are also daily drawings at each store and the more stores you visit the more chances you have of winning amazing gifts from the generous sponsors of the tour.  I have won several times in the past,  this year Kristen and Gretchen both won daily prizes.  There is also a canvas tote for your knitting and each store you visit has a special pin made to go on your bag.  It is a great marketing ploy for all the yarn shops as business usually slows down in the summer when everyone takes to enjoying the outside.

It is also a great adventure with friends. I have done parts of this tour many times before and I have finished the entire tour 4 or 5 times now with Kristen.   Last year’s health issues made me start to think it would not happen again but thanks to Kristen and Gretchen and Beth we did it.  Over the 5 days, I was as far north as Lynden, south to Kent, east to Issaquah, and west to Port Townsend.  Gretchen and I even took a short tour of the Western Washington University Campus where our granddaughter Halie is going this fall.  It is such a beautiful campus.  I put just over 500 miles on the car, and two ferry rides.  I did find a couple of new projects to cast on.  Kristen and Beth, Gretchen and I spent the night at the Captain Whidbey Inn in Coupeville, WA.   We had a delicious dinner and a good night’s rest.  The next morning we headed different directions, Beth and Kristen covered a lot of territory that day and Gretchen and I did the islands, determined to get to all 26 shops.  Every shop is different and very unique and each pattern created was special.  The pattern from Bazaar Girls in Port Townsend was the first one I cast on and had it finished in just a few days.  The style and color spoke to me and I thought of my friend Cindy W.  I thought she might like this piece.  The Colinton 100% kid mohair lace yarn was so soft and shiny and elegant.   I just couldn't resist it.   I did buy the yarn in a couple of other colors..... 

I loved the headband pattern from Knitty Purls.  I have been working with a yarn this spring that has a reflective thread in it and I was looking for a headband pattern to use.   I am sure to make a few of these for the gift box I carry around at the holidays.   I also was interested in the crochet baskets from Maker's Mercantile using a new to me fiber called HiKoo Woodi that is 53% Abaca pulp and 47% cotton.   There may be some baskets in the gift box by the end of the year.  I also loved the cute knitted skirt for little girls with butterfly lace from PinchKnitter Yarns in Stanwood.  Their crochet pattern was a cute little bolero to go with the knitted skirt.      Quintessential Knits in Duvall had one of the best afghan blocks featuring a bridge that you cross coming into town. There were lots of scarves, shawls, and cowls in beautiful stitches and colors to encourage and inspire any knitter.  

Bill had recorded the Royal wedding and for the next two days I rested, knit and watched the wedding. 

ROADTRIP #2 – cross country,    

June 1st I started another road trip.   This one is from Seattle to Vero Beach Florida.   My friend Karen S is moving to be near her father and she asked if I wanted to ride along with her and her two cats.  

We got a late start on the first day, heading out of town at 11:30 am.  It has been so long since I have driven that direction, crossing the pass I spent a few minutes remembering the very first time I crossed that pass.  It was January of 1977 and I was pulling a U-haul trailer filled with all my earthly possessions into Seattle.  Then we continued on past Vantage and I remember all my trips to Ephrata and all the weekends of flying gliders. After we passed Moses Lake I started remembering my trip to Pullman with Linda D R to visit nephew Nathan at college for mom's weekend.   I thought that was a very long drive. We blew through Pullman and headed for new territory and new memories.  

South Fork of the Snoqualamie River 

Leaving Missoula the second day we saw a sign for the Testicle Festival. I am sure it isn't a political statement that the Testicle Festival is in ‘Clinton’ Montana.   All the music, beer, debauchery, nudity and Rocky mountain oysters you can eat.  Too bad we had to miss that. We passed the sign so fast I didn't get a photo but I Googled it and it is the real thing. 

Still in Washington 

Four wheeling is a real thing too.   Just out of Ashland Montana on "well it's called highway 212" the road turned into a plowed up dirt field.   I am very glad it wasn't raining because I am sure we would have been mired in the ruts.  I think Karen may have said a bad word as those giant mud rocks grated on the bottom of her brand new Chevrolet Camaro. We got the first ding in her windshield on Snoqualmie pass just out of Seattle. It seemed like a long stretch but it might have only been a couple of miles. 
Edgar and Chlo
Day three was the longest day by far just because of the scenery, there wasn't any.  We traveled through part of Montana and South Dakota that day, spending the night in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.  The funny thing was we went through Rapid City.  If you read my blog last year, Bill and I went to see Mount Rushmore and didn't have time to go into Rapid City.   I wanted to see the Avenue of the Presidents. 
On The Avenue of the Presidents 

 It is really just the main street through town but there is a life-size bronze statue of each of the presidents.  We didn't want to leave the cats in the car for too long as it was 80 degrees but we did drive through and I got a few photos.   It was pretty cool and if you are interested in cool statues it is pretty special.  I think I saw herds of antelope, through that part of the country lots of them.   I know deer and I know cattle and I am pretty sure these were antelope. There were also a lot of dead ones along the roadside and one unrecognizable animal that was big hunks of meat by the time we rolled over it. We were wishing we had one of those big grills on the front of her car like all the big trucks in that area had.  There were also swarms of bugs. There were so many bugs that the gas station had a bucket of 'special sauce ' called bug off.   It worked so well a cleaning off the bugs that Karen asked about it.   The guy working there said it is a secret recipe.   So if anyone out there has any suggestions please let me know.   She said she thought it even left the car slicker so that we got fewer bugs after that. We were both exhausted that night when we got to Omaha.   Funny, Bill and I had crossed the very same path the year before and I was sure it was a once in a lifetime adventure and less than a year later there I was again.   There is no predicting the future. 

Day four we started out slow, again.   We had crossed two time zones but our bodies didn't seem to care what time the clock said. Karen was very gracious to let me sleep until I woke up on my own.  Waking up with an alarm is a big stress on my Addison’s disease.  She was really great to travel with and very understanding.  We traveled from Omaha to Marion Illinois on day four; our speed was slower due to lots of construction and the increased traffic.  We stopped every two hours to stretch and walk around a bit.   
Karen at Wall Drug,  Wall South Dakota 

The cats, Edgar and Chlo have got the hang of traveling by now.  We opened the doors to their carriers and they poked their heads out and proceeded to sleep all day.  I think I stayed in Marion Illinois before back in 1975 or 1976. I was helping ground crew at a glider flying contest.  We were camping at the glider port and I remember it being very cold in the morning. This trip has been fun and special in so many ways but I didn't realize memory lane was going to be so much a part of it.   Karen had to hear me tell stories of other road trips that I had memories of; traveling with my parents back when my daddy was a cowboy, pulling a horse trailer and going to rodeos.   He would put a pot roast along with onions, potatoes, and carrots in triple layers of aluminum foil and place it on the manifold of the car engine, the car would smell good all day as the meat cooked.   I guess that was our traveling crock pot. I also remembered two other trips with them; one to Washington DC and the other was through the Smoky Mountains.  My dad’s mom, Mom Avo was my 'partner ' on both of those trips and we had great adventures.   Mom Avo was always knitting and I continue to channel her knitting energy.

Day five: We drove from Marion, Illinois to Macon Georgia that day.  We passed through Kentucky and Tennessee and into Georgia.  I have a girlfriend that lives in Marietta Georgia and as luck would have it we were passing through at dinner time.  I text Janie the night before and gave her a ‘heads up’ that it might work out.  We met at a Panera on the side of the freeway and had a short but really special visit and then drove another hour and a half before we stopped for the night. 

I might have been tired but Janie looks great.
Alice, we missed you.   

Karen and I were both getting antsy to get in the next day and the earlier the better.  I talked to BK on the phone this night.  We both were happy I was managing my Addison’s disease so well.    I have planned three different trips to Atlanta to visit Janie and three different times I have ended up in the hospital and had to cancel.  I considered this whole trip a small miracle.  Thank you again to my fabulous doctors at Kaiser Permanente who have helped me find a way to evaluate my status, look at my schedule and adjust my meds in a healthy way.    So far it has been working well, even though I started this trip with a cold.  

BK asked me when I was coming home.  I said well I have made it to Florida and I am not sick so I am going to stay with Karen for a couple of days and then I think I will go to Orlando and see Animal Kingdom the new home to Pandora – the World of Avatar. I love the movie and I thought it would be fun to see.  I also have wanted to go to Universal Studios and see the Harry Potter sections.  There are three separate theme parks to Universal Studios and you need a ticket to two parks to see all of the Harry Potter stuff because you ‘need’ to ride the Hogwarts Express from one part to the other. Bill is rarely this spontaneous but when I asked if he wanted to come and join me he said yes.  This was Tuesday night.   I got the airplane ticket for him to come down and the tickets for both of us to fly home.  He got the hotel and rented a car.  I did not expect that, another wonderful surprise.

Day six:  This is the last travel day. And the only day we saw rain, tropical rain, refreshing warm rain.  We have several friends that live in Florida and there was no time to visit any of them.  This was such a special thing to get to do.   I would have loved to reconnect with several others but it just didn’t happen.  We got into Vero Beach mid-afternoon and her Dad and his partner were waiting at her new condo for us to arrive.   Bill and both Karen’s mom in Washington and her dad in Florida had been watching the whole adventure from an app called Life 360 so her dad knew exactly when we were going to arrive.

The Knitting Part:
I cast on the stitches for a new top before we left Seattle.  I wanted to make sure I had it ready for the road.   Karen is doing all the driving and I have had the luxury lots of knitting time.   My sweater was growing every day.   The goal of mine was to wear this new top home on the airplane going back to  Seattle but when we hit the halfway part of the trip I was not at the halfway point on the sweater.   I am not the fastest knitter.   I knit a lot but there are lots of people that knit faster than me. I  have a  few photos of my progress along the way. 

The pattern is from a book:  Simple Stitches by Eva Wiechmann
The yarn is:  Brilla by Filatura Di Crosa.  It is 58% Rayon / Viscose and 42% Cotton
It is a discontinued yarn but it is one my all time favorite yarns.  I have been knitting since 2011 and I have knit a lot of tops, pullover types because that is what I  wear.   I run hot and you are not likely to ever see me in a "fair isle" sweater no matter how beautiful they are.   The tops I knit, that I still wear and haven't gone to the Good Will have mostly been made of Brilla.  
Getting Closer. 

My very first LYS was Tricoter in Seattle, WA.  I  took a friend with me to get my first project.  I got the book with the pattern.   The Tricoter owners have published several pattern books and each one is a work of art. The patterns are lovely and I learned to knit using their favorite techniques.   It is not 'unique ' to them, I have taken classes and read books since that teach this style of knitting.  I am very glad I started here because this technique of construction design is just how my brain works, the rewards were immediate, the projects were successful, I learned the value of quality yarn and I made a lot of friends, some I see more than others today but there have been many women sitting at those tables that helped me embrace this passion and skill and also get through life, listening and extending kindness that I think about often.  'Back in the day' the Thursday night crowd around those welcoming tables was my favorite place to be. Those friendships are still precious to me; especially Patty, that I met and brought to the shop her first time, and Gretchen and she brought Ann.  I also met Jason who always brings a smile to my face. I looked forward to seeing all the others and hearing lots of good stories. I didn't learn how to 'read a pattern' for maybe 6 years when I finally wanted to start making something that someone else had made. I still struggle more with figuring out patterns than any other part of my knitting.  
Just to digress:  Stacy was the designer/ teacher/ salesperson who first taught me there and I think the technique might have been 'her way to teach' but basically you knit a swatch, take your measurements, and create your pattern.  It was the perfect way for me to learn to knit 

Friday BK flew all day.  He was delayed by the same thunderstorms in Orlando that we were driving through.  Karen, her dad, and Marilyn left me at the hotel and drove 2 hours in tropical rains to get back to Vero Beach.  I was too tired to knit but I studied the maps and apps for the next two days.  

Saturday we slept in, had breakfast and headed to Animal kingdom.   My 'wish' was to see the World of Avatar,  Pandora.  I loved that movie, the animation, and the story.  Bill and I started there walked around saw a couple of shows; “It’s tough to be a Bug”  and “Nemo” the musical.   I say Disney does everything right.   Even though it was over 80 degrees it felt much like the Oregon Country Fair; lush with plants, serious fans were mounted above all the paths and they emitted sporadic moisture.  
BK having fun too 

We marveled at the creativity it took for each piece that made the whole thing happen. We walked through trails over bridges and we took an African safari ride to see monkeys, rhino, giraffes, hippopotamus, elephants and other animals I have never heard of or seen before. Then we ended the day with a ride on the Na’vi River through the Valley of Mo’ara.    The reed boat drifts through caves and passes exotic glowing plants of every color and we ended up face to face with Na’vi Shaman of Songs and she demonstrated her deep connection to the life force of Pandora.   It was magical and beautiful and I loved every minute of it.

Sunday we were at Universal studios by 11 AM and I followed my friend Gretchen's advice.  We went straight to Diagon Alley.  We saw the triple-decker Knight bus with the talking heads.  We went into Ollivander's and watched a young magician and his wand get matched up.   Then we headed to Kings Cross Station and the Hogwarts Express. This train ride actually takes you to a different park and we decided to see all that we could by walking back.  At the end of the day, I had over 20,000 steps on my counter, even more than the day before.  What we did not do were the thrill rides,  we are mature folks and BK's neck injury from falling off a ladder 4 years ago was aggravated on the safari ride by bumps and turns so the thrill rides were not going to work.  We had a full wonderful day.  I managed my meds well to deal with the heat and at the end of the day, we were exhausted and happy. 
All Finished Folks 
Monday was a travel day with all the usual manipulations;  checking out,  returning the rental car,  getting through security, our flight from Orlando went to Chicago where we changed planes to get home to Seattle.  
What a wonderful adventure I had.  More than I could ever dream. 
We were unpacked and resting when the doorbell rang,   our next houseguests had arrived. 
Finished Road Trip Top