Wednesday, July 19, 2017

We are in Illinois but we aren't home ...yet!

It's been another beautiful day. We began with cloudy but not dreary weather 

and then later, we were in full sun. 
corn fields in Illinois
We still have excessive heat and evidently it's only going to get worse according to the weatherman on TV.

We left Indiana and ignored the interstate highways for a while. Our first stop was Arcola, IL, home to the largest Amish settlement in Illinois. It was also the home of the creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy.

We went on another 10 miles or so to Arthur. On the way we stopped at Beachy's Bulk Foods. I enjoy visiting Amish and Mennonite stores. 

We had lunch in Arthur at Country Cheese and More. The sandwiches were delicious and the hand pies were fantastic. They only had two left so Ray had peach and I had cherry.

We found a fabric shop - Stitch & Sew Fabrics! Most of the ladies working were Amish or Mennonite and so friendly. I found some flannel for the border of a quilt I'm making and also flannel for the backs of two quilts.

Next stop was Tuscola but we didn't spend much time; the temperature was in the 90s and we didn't like being in the bright sun.

We are staying is a small town just 2 1/2 hours from home tonight. We have a cool loft - cool as in neat AND cool as in great A/C! The space is very open and comfortable.

We love the ceiling.

Ray was unpacking coolers in the kitchen.

Notice the barn doors on the bedroom in the back of the photo.

Tomorrow, we'll probably drive the back roads and should arrive home sometime midday. By the time we get unpacked, buy groceries, get the mail,... we'll be tired! We have lots going on throughout the weekend. On Monday I leave for a few days on a quilting retreat - guess I'd better get ready for that too! 

We still have a number of hours to relax so it's time to put my feet up!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Great Hike

It's been another beautiful but very warm day. We got an early start and headed to Brown County State Park. 

At the North Gate entrance, you have to go through this covered bridge. However, I took the picture as we were leaving instead of arriving.

It was foggy early this morning and the fog was almost burned off when I took this photo. Notice the little cloud of fog in the center of the picture. You might be able to tell that it was a little hazy from the humidity.

Many of the roads in the park are well shaded by trees. We both loved seeing the sunlight peaking through. Ray was walking back from our parking spot to get some pictures.

It felt so good to be wearing our hiking boots - we hiked around Ogle Lake and saw some gorgeous reflections.

It was in the 70s with high humidity as we began the hike and in the 80s with high humidity as we ended. Come with me around the lake but beware of the mud and puddles.

It was very quiet and peaceful.

I loved this light shaft.

There was moisture on the leaves and in the air. We were both drenched when we finished.

Can you see the spider web? There were many webs but it was really hard to get a picture of them.

Sometimes I could see the reflections on both sides of the lake.

This little toad was guarding his doorway. 

We headed 'home' for much needed showers and lunch. Just as we were ready to eat, we had a visitor in our yard. Can you see the deer? Sadly, he saw us in the house and left.

This afternoon we went into Nashville for a little shopping and some delicious ice cream!

We are thinking about going back to Brown County State Park tonight. If it looks like there will be a pretty sunset, we'll try to get pictures.

Tomorrow we'll continue traveling toward home.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nashville... but not that one

Today was another Interstate travel day - definitely not our favorite kind of travel day but thankfully, the traffic wasn't too bad and we had some good country music playing for company.  We left West Virginia and crossed the state of Kentucky to Louisville. I love seeing the horse farms, especially the ones with the white fences. Sorry I didn't get any pictures of horse farms this time. Here is just a neat shot on the way.

We headed north on I-65 into Indiana

to just south of Columbus. Then we traveled west on a much less traveled road, State Road 46, to Nashville, Indiana. We have visited this area in Brown County a number of times and always love coming back.

We usually stay at Brown County State Park but found a rental place this time. We are only about 1/2 mile from downtown Nashville. We are delighted with the rental - the outside is as nice as the inside. 

As I write this, Ray is in the massage chair. He is loving it! We are going to stick around here for another day - maybe we'll go for a hike or wander around Nashville or sit outside and take photos of the finches, cardinals, woodpeckers, morning doves, ... Ray will be the one taking photos; I might just kick back and do nothing!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Huntington, WV

Yesterday we visited friends in Durham, NC. Yoshi was our minister a number of years ago when their daughters were quite young. We got to be acting-grandparents for the girls because they didn't have any grandparents who lived close. 

We had a wonderful time. We visited all day into the evening - we haven't seen them for over a year and a half. We introduced the girls to Mexican Train and visited more - it was fun to catch up. We enjoyed some great food - lunch at Guglhupf, a European Bakery, popsicles at Locopops, Did you know there are gourmet popsicle shops?! We didn't. and Amy fixed a fantastic steak salad for dinner. 

Today we began heading towards home. We drove across the Piedmont section of North Carolina and headed north  past Pilot Knob,

and on through Virginia and most of West Virginia. Tonight we are in Huntington, WV. Our rental is very close to Marshall University. For the last three days, the weather has been uncomfortably warm. Today it was in the mid 80s - still quite warm but bearable. On the news tonight, they said it was now okay to take pets outside for a walk on the sidewalk/street. It's been so warm, the paved surfaces burned the pads of their feet. Tomorrow, we will travel on...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hillsborough NC

We said goodbye to our son and his family yesterday and headed south to Staunton, VA on the backroads. The quilt shop I remembered was still there but much smaller and, well, it didn't take long to see.

We then drove more main roads for a while until we had to take a road less traveled to get to Crabtree Falls, "the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River". This is the lower part of the first falls - it's pretty difficult to get the higher falls in the picture from where we were. And it was much too warm to hike even a mile.

We traveled on enjoying a gorgeous but very warm day.

We arrived at our next rental in Hillsborough, NC. It is very nice, especially the wonderful air conditioning! Have I mentioned that it is very warm - the heat index today was in the triple digits. Outside our door last night, I noticed a couple of deer. It is very quiet here.

We both went to bed early last night and slept in late this morning. We used a lot of energy last week and we are catching up. 

Today we visited the Hillsborough Visitor Center. 

Even though we found interesting things to do, we stopped by the yarn shop, bought a few groceries, and came home to read, nap, knit... It is just too warm to be outside.

Have I mentioned that it's very quiet here - I already miss those 5 grandchildren.

Tomorrow we will visit some friends in Durham.

Shenandoah Mountains continued

One night the kids all helped make dessert. The recipe said to use Brownie Bites but we made brownies and they wouldn't stay on the stick so we improvised. Most had caramel sauce but some had chocolate sauce.

When we finished, Grandpa began drawing on oldest grandson's plate.


Then everyone decided to help or take pictures.

On the last full day, we had a treasure hunt - actually two treasure hunts that joined at the end. This is one team working out a clue

and this is the other team working on a clue.

The last clue was to see Grandpa. He gave each of the five kids a Wackie Wordie to figure out. Then they had to figure out a coded message that said to tell Grandpa the theme of all 5 Wackie Wordies. 

Finally they got the treasure which was wrapped in lots of Saran Wrap. So we all sat on the floor and played the unwrap the Saran Wrap ball game.


I already miss you five!
 

Shenandoah Mountains

When we weren't at Bryce Resort, we found lots to do. In this picture you can see one reading and three making paper airplanes - I showed them how to make rubber band launchers.

I'm not sure how many puzzles were put together.


One day three of the kids learned about codes. This one was learning the Morse Code


and this one learned about binary and ASCII code.

There was lots of cooking and I always had helpers when I was in the kitchen. Our oldest granddaughter didn't need much guidance...

she even let her younger sister help.

One night we had a campfire and S'mores.


Ray wasn't as fast loading his Nerf gun as the grands. The gun battles eventually died down about day 4 or 5. We were there 8 days.

We decorated wooden letters. I can't believe I only got this one photo. They were all so neat! Can you see his J on the table? 

Two large gift baskets and a pie were left at our rental to welcome us. One of the baskets had glow sticks.

I woke up the last morning to find these two playing War.

Four of the kids made hot rocks. I think the other guy was watching a movie. There were lots of movies to watch.

One night most of us played Mexican Train, a fun dominoes game. It was fun to watch the kids think about their moves.

The night we had rootbeer floats, we put little umbrellas in each glass. Then people started putting the umbrellas in their hair and Grandpa really fixed this guy up!

The girls were riding with us when we went out to eat one night. It was a 20-30 minute drive to a restaurant and the older one was using my phone to take pictures of the mountains to send to her friends. Then the cute selfies began...

There was a little sewing. The two younger kids each made a jean bag.


The cooking wasn't limited to inside.

Our oldest granddaughter played her ukulele and sang for us! She doesn't sing for anyone, not even her parents. We were very honored! At that time, we were home with the two girls and everyone else was gone.

One day four of the kids went on a walk with us - we went around a block - at least a mile. There was lots of going up and down - we were in the Shenandoah Mountains - and they did great. 

We had a kid's zipline in our yard. It's near the back of the photo.

to be continued...

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