Monday, August 1, 2011

Traveling North

Each summer I head north to Canada. I was born in St Boniface and grew up in Niverville, Manitoba. I taught first grade in Winkler and my parents spent over 25 years living in Altona before Dad died, Mom moved to be near my sister and ultimately they're in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. It's always weird saying I'm going "home" to Moose Jaw. However, wherever they are is always "home" in Canada!
The drive is just over 2000 miles one way. I burned several audio books on CD, actually downloading them from the Knoxville library website and burning them directly onto CDs. Once I've listened to them, I"ll put them back into the stack and copy new books onto them since they're rewriteable!
That was happening Tuesday and Wednesday before I left this past Thursday. Nothing like waiting til the last minute!
My drive goes west to Nashville, up through Paducah, St Louis and Kansas City and then straight north up I-29 to the border!
Somehow, in Paducah, my van automatically veers off the exit and pulls in at the Hancocks less than a mile from the interstate. This is such an unassuming building, metal, bland, you know, the kind we wouldn't take a second look at. Well, go inside and it's another world. The entire building, plus a bigger warehouse to the right that I didn't photograph, is all fabric! Aisle after aisle of wonderful quilting fabric. I have their catalogue, get their web updates, but there's nothing like actually seeing the fabric first hand, what all the fabrics in the series look like, how they work together. I don't really go to buy anything, just to take a nice break after driving about 5 hours to stretch my legs, walk up and down each aisle, smile at the fabrics that make me happy and just absorb color. Plus, they have a bathroom!!
Once I"ve walked through the whole place, I usually pick up a piece of two that spoke to me. Last year I ended up calling my sister several times because just before we left we'd decided Mom needed a new warmer winter quilt and I was to pick the fabric. That year they didn't have much with flowers on it. Mom loves flowers. We ended up getting a bunch of pieces that coordinated with a big print of poinsettias and the quilt is great. I posted pictures last summer when we pieced it while I was here. It's weird, last year they had so few prints with flowers. This year they had a bunch! figures, eh?!

 That was the first day driving. I got to just north of Kansas City. I purposely went beyond Kansas City, driving almost 14 hours (including the half hour at Hancocks) because I knew the next day could be iffy. I'd heard via the grapevine that I-29 was closed at one spot about half an hour north of St Joseph. I'd only been driving less than half an hour when there was a sign saying that at the next exit turn right, go about 60 miles, then north up to Des Moines before cutting back to Omaha to go north. That seemed a bit excessive so I stopped at the Love's truck stop at that exit and asked. The lady said the interstate was closed all the way to Omaha (about 120 miles, I think) and don't go to Des Moines, go west about 20 miles then straight north up #75 to Omaha. That worked. Country roads but good ones that you could go at the speed limit and would have been wonderful except that half way up #75 there was another sign, detour to the left about 20 miles and then up another road to Omaha. About every 20 miles it did say that it was a detour. Once at the edge of Omaha I asked someone about the interstate and I was on the right way but had to ask again later because you couldn't get on I-29 there. Had to go east about 20 miles and then backtrack to what actually was I-29. That was noon. I'd been on the road 5 hours, went well over 100 miles more than I should have and finally was back on the road.
There hadn't been any fast food places on the way so I was very ready for a pit stop, took the first exit and stopped at the McDonalds.
 Those are sandbags with just 2 entrances to get into the restaurant. There were floods up here how many months ago? They still have the sandbags there. This place wasn't at a low spot either. The floods must have been awful!!
 You couldn't go through the drive through either yet. That was amazing.
What kind of bugged me was that there wasn't any warning about the long stretch that it was out. My DH went to AAA to ask about it and they didn't know that the highway was out for so long a stretch. I will have to go back another way. I haven't opened the map yet because I'm here several weeks but I'm not looking forward to finding another way south!
The next 20 mile stretch or so I guess the highway is a bit lower than normal because on 3 sections they had sandbags on each side of the highway, both directions. I'm talking about bags that are over 3 feet high and big! I am not comfortable taking pictures while I drive so you just have to imagine long stretches of highway, the 2 lanes really down to 1 because the sandbags were placed closer in than the edge of the road to make sure the highway stays open. Somewhere down that stretch I noticed a bunch of water on the field and in the middle a home, still underwater.
The rest of the trip, thankfully, was uneventful. I did have to spend the night in Fargo instead of going on to Grand Forks because the hotels in Grand Forks were full. I'd asked DH to help by finding me a reservation. Turns out that this weekend was a long weekend in Canada so alot of Winnipeg was down in Grand Forks to relax! The Canadian dollar is much stronger now and it pays for them to go down to shop. They have a Kohl's and alot of other stores down there!
I spent Saturday crossing the border, heading to Altona to the IGA store to pick up farmer sausage and a bit of New Bothwell cheese. I take a cooler along so I can transport it to my sister's place. You can't get Pioneer Sausage out here and I can't take it south so have to enjoy it now. For lunch I went to see my high school friend Bettie in Steinbach. It's a tradition I don't want to stop. Then on to Winnipeg to stay at my sister in law's for night, heading west late Sunday morning and getting to Moose Jaw about 5:30 their time.

At Hancocks I'd bought a few pieces of fabric for my sister. Today I pulled it out for her to enjoy. She's been wanting some fabrics like the 30's reproduction fabrics or the reproduction flour sack fabrics. Now she's got a few.
I had a bit of trouble logging onto our site. Somehow the blog knew that I wasn't at home, that my sister had had to get a new password, etc to get her signal so I was posting from a new place even tho I'd written from here last year already.
Hopefully there won't be another problem and I can post from here again next week. I have no idea what we're going to do that will be deemed worthwhile to write about! My nephew and his wife are coming for a few days. I do have my sewing machine along and a few projects.......and it's warm here. No air conditioning and it's over 80 degrees but it's better than the 107 that I saw it was in Columbus Missouri on Thursday!!
It's good to be with family!


LA said...

With all the debt ceiling news lately, I guess they forgot to mention that people are still recovering from the flooding!!! Aren't you glad you weren't making that trip a few weeks ago! Have fun with all that fabric! (and give your Mom a BIG ole hug!)

Bonnie said...

I am exhausted jusst reading about your trip. I am glad you made it there safe and sound. Have fun with your family and friends.
I tried around 4:00 for 10 minutes to log on and it would not let me. I went around and around in a loop. Hope that this works.

Tina J said...

Thanks for the update! Have a great time with your family, it is worth the trouble!