Pat Hardie - Altered Art Studio
Adventures with artquilts, fibres, neckties and 2 very fine flatcoat retrievers - Gypsy & Reo
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
End of story
Thought you might like to know that we are now safely home. Unfortunately disasters awaited us, 3 of them and all in one day.
After travelling of course there are many loads of laundry to be done. Cut to the chase - after about 4 loads (front loader so not that much water) and the drains were making funny sounds. Fortunately there was no overflow inside the house, but I flipped the breaker in the main fuse panel to shut off the sewage pump just in case and laid down many towels in front of toilets and shower. Frozen pipe between septic tank and filter bed. Wearing coveralls and big rubber gloves I thread the hose which is connected to the hot water tank into the offending pipe to begin the defronst de-ice process. While the plumber was assisting Al outside, Leila upchucked the lining of her stomach necessitating a trip to the vet and hence to doggie hospital where she stayed for 3 days. Don't know what she ate, but there has been a bit of an outbreak in the dog population with similar symptoms. She is now home and fine. Our last bit of bad luck was Al slipping on the ice covering the lawn. The next day I finally persuade him to have his wrist x-rayed. Soft tissue damage only - elevate and ice the wrist is the advice.
So now it is Tuesday, many days after our return and I think all is well. Well almost as I await my SAS postcard to tell me my winning quilt has been received in North Carolina which was the reason we returned home over a week early. I really don't want to imagine what would have happened if we had returned on schedule - septic system better or worse?
March break here has been absolutely fabulous if we can overlook those minor inconveniences of not being able to shower or wash dishes or... The ice is almost completely gone from the river and I predict that for the first time in almost 20 years we will be able to cross the lake to our cottage on Easter weekend. I'm going. Anyone want to help put the docks in?
Our patient dogs.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Mar 9 - Vicksburg, Mississippi
"145 of the largest and heaviest cast iron tablets and markers (such as the one shown here), which were then melted down and used in the construction of military supplies and equipment [during WWII]"
USS Cairo (pronounced cay-row), pictures of which I managed to delete
Go here http://www.nps.gov/archive/vick/cairo/cairoent.htm to learn all about this ship and its role during the Civil War as well as its amazing discovery in the river and the subsequent raising.
Union soldiers are buried here - over 17,000, making this the largest in the States.
This particular casino has a very nice RV campground with bus service to the casino. Apparently one gets a complimentary breakfast.
The downtown area is being refurbished. I love the ironwork balcony railings.
A ten minute drive outside the city is Margaret's grocery store, a most amazing assemblage of trailers, block walls. The story is that the Rev. promised his loved one that he would create a wonderful retreat. The drive back was most interesting as we followed a school bus discharging its passengers, some of whom walked to little more than a hovel for a home. At times it seemed that every 10th building was a church.
March 8th, Sunday - Louisiana to MIssissippi
Louisiana, America’s wetland for sure. Woke up at 6:30 feeling very damp. Outside everything is dripping. Daylight saving is now in effect. We’re on the road by 7am – fastest yet. As we leave, I realize that we were in the less desireable section of the park. I vow to be more assertive and ask for better. And pay more attention to the ratings in Woodalls.
The fog lifts slowly to a clear sunny day. I10 has been paved with a layer of asphalt over the concrete. No more lump-d-dumps, very smooth. Two years ago the drive was painful.
Lake Charles. The city’s skyline is dominated by the petro-chemical industry. The usual bungalows are sitting on cement slabs, some with bars on windows and doors, mobile home parks and water catchment areas. We’re in alligator country. First big up-scale casino, Coushatta, where the parking lot is crowded with cars and stretch limos at 10am. Are they gambling or sleeping? The railway line continues to follow us north up #165 to Alexandria. South bound lanes of the divided highway are closed. Road construction is another big employer.
Forest Hill, roughly 25 miles south of Alexandria is nursery country with
over a hundred retail & wholesale container plant businesses. Spring is definitely here; azalea & camilia are in full bloom as well as magnolia. Roadside grasses are green and full of wildflowers – mostly white at this point.
As we travel north the price of gasoline is slowly creeping upward from the lowest of $1.57 in Mercedes to an average closing in on $2.00. One station still advertises $3.25. OK I admit it is closed, but is a good reminder of where we were not that long ago.
Our campground for the next 2 nights is River Town, just a few miles south of Vicksburg. The office is closed with an accompanying sign saying ‘full’. Upon further investigation the camp manager shows us a sheaf of registrations to arrive soon. Gasline construction crews have to stay somewhere. She then allows that this is her first day on the job and we can have the only site available, a back-in near the road. I figure she has yet to figure out what is available and what is not as there must be over 15 unoccupied sites at the moment. A hand coloured chart or Excel would help.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Sat. March 7th- TX to Louisiana
No pictures today as we drove, and drove, and drove, the journey being mostly uneventful. Saw an interesting way to backfill railway ties though. Following #77 up through the King Ranch the State is building what looks like a new line. Railway ties are concrete and roughly 12" apart. Should be a smooth ride for sure. Anyway a giant backhoe was perched on top and straddling two railway box cars Guess there were about 20 of these cars filled with gravel. Apparently at one end was the ramp to get it up there.
The next most interesting sight was an egret rookery seen while speeding by on the highway. I figure there were at least a hundred of the birds sitting around the pond.
Just when I was congratulating myself on sticking with #59 going straight through the heart of Houston, we encountered a sign - I10 closed at 610 (the beltway around Houston). Tons of vehicles were getting off to take the 610 south and then east. Now I know why. Figure we lost an hour there with the detour.
Our day started at 7:30 and finished at 5:30 with only stops for gas. Now that's hoofing it for sure. We are now just over the state line in Louisiana, near a town called Vinton, about 23 miles west of Lake Charles. V RV Park is the name and while I don't recommend it (Woodall's gives it no rating and says it is remodeling although we don't know what), it is good enough for one night. And of course the wireless works or I wouldn't be posting this. I'll take a picture of our site tomorrow.
The dogs finally got a bit of a run with the bike on a gravel road. Not great with my skinny tires, but it worked just the same. Dogs are a bit hyper of course after 8 hours, so who can blame them.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Catch of the day
Rendez-vous with a Red Head. Of course I mean a parrot, the red-crowned parrot, of which there are several flocks that hang out in Weslaco. Our campground is actually in Mercedes, east of there. No matter, as soon as I got the pamphlet on where in Weslaco to go to see them, I heard them 5 min after getting home one afternoon. They are loud for sure. At 12-13" these birds can be seen flying in masses like clouds and then landing in a tree or two. These fellows were seen in the morning having announced their presence loud and clear, a kind of cleeoo, cleeoo then ahk-ahk-ahk.