My Travel Journal

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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 19, 2017

A bit of Kansas City

Okay - I jspent several hours last night typing up a report to go with all these pictures, hit "preview" to take a look, got a message saying they couldn't open the page, try again, saved the entire page before trying again (being somewhat used to Blogger problems), couldn't preview again, so saved it again and closed it.  Opened it back up and it was blank.  Gave up and went to bed and now Monday, will try again

The entire trip was somewhat fraught with issues, not least of which was Siri and I trying to navigate Kansas City!!  But by today, I can't remember most of them, fortunately for me and for you too since I can't whine on about them. (tee hee)

First, I'll start with the library's parking garage facade.  

This is looking up the block-long facade to the cross street. The bright white area is the entrance... 

The entranceway also uses books as a place to sit and watch the world go by.and then the right side is more books going to the next cross street.  

This is a close-up of the first two books on the left side (dealing with Missouri's history) and I went close up to try and show what I thought at first was a surface that had been textured to look like a leather-type binding but is actually a very good paint job. simulating that type of binding.

The bright yellow book is "Plato" and I didn't notice the author's name.  I'm pointing it out for my philosophical daughter. :)  And next is "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".

Here are "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Charlotte's Web" among others

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Brandbury and...

"Catch 22" by Joseph Heller with a collection of popular children's books beside it including the very short but delightful "Goodnight Moon" which I never heard of when Chris and Heather were little but discovered it with January and it was read almost every night.

This lovely gold book is "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson.  And next to it is "Oh, Pioneers" by Willa Cather.

And lastly, (next to "Romeo and Juliet") at the far right end of the row of books which were not nearly as visible as those on the left side) is "Truman" by David McCullough.  Kind of neat that the full row starts and ends with Missouri-related books.

And here is the actual library - it's housed in a lovely old bank building and the whole time I was around taking pictures, people were going in and out so it has good patronage apparently.




This and the one below are and the side of the garage.  They're painted "fabric" panels like I've seen on various and sundry buildings that are being renovated but I think maybe these are just there for decoration.

And now on to the Miniature Masterworks event held at the National Toy and Dollhouse Museum which if you're ever in Kansas City and love miniatures, I suggest you visit!  My pictures were all taken with my phone in rather hurried, cramped conditions, so not all that great.
Art glass vases, bowls, etc., all unimaginably tiny.  The candlesticks with candles probably didn't measure any more than 1-1/2" at most.

I thought this would be an adorable nursery rug in a rich baby's room. :)  The parts of the surrounding objects that you can see are all handmade wicker pieces.  She had chairs, settees, rockers, tables, hanging lights, and a number of pieces that I had never seen in miniature wicker.
This marvelous sewing cabinet is entirely hand-made by Elga who I had the pleasure of meeting when I met up with a few of our Yahoo Petitpointers group in Amsterdam.  When she first joined the group, she had made two Chippendale chairs (her first woodworking project I think) because she had stitched two petitpoint chair covers.  And, as they say, the rest is history.  She is now an IGMA Artisan 6 short years later!  Everything you see here was handmade by Elga, not just the wood cabinet.  And the petitpoint panel on the "lid" is also her work.  I marvel at her ability - woodworker, metalworker, needleworker, and all exquisite.
I took a picture of this crazy quilt because making a miniature one such as this is on my bucket list but I am very intimidated by it because, like this one, I would want my pieces to be quite small and am not sure how I would go about constructing it.  Maybe someday...

The show was a once in a lifetime experience, I'd say.  The museum itself has an outstanding collection of miniatures and had put all the "toys" away so that all the display cases, rooms, etc., were  showing miniatures.  And to top it off, there were two or three small sales rooms and every vendor there was an International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA) artisan.  So, for an ardent miniature fan, it was basically heaven even though a lot of it was very much beyond my reach.  But even lingering over some fabulous, beaucoup $'s items was pleasant - you look from all angles, marvel at it's beauty/inventiveness/whatever it is that makes it so very special, give a little sigh, and move on happy that you've been able to encounter such workmanship.

Went back to my motel and had a later than usual lunch which left me not too hungry for the dinner that a group of us petitpointers had together.
But that was okay because I ordered what turned out to be a delicious "Santa Fe chicken salad" and a baked potato with the works!  I never eat baked potatoes that way anymore and it was so good.  I asked if I could have the "works" on the side so I wasn't too bad.  It started thundering and lightning right after I got back to the motel so I fiddled with my pictures for a bit and then snuggled down in bed and slept like the dead for about 5 hours.

Oh, oh, oh - I almost forgot!  Driving through Missouri they had those moveable light-bulb type signs every now and then.  The first one I saw said "Camp in the Ozarks, Not in the Left Lane" and I had to laugh out loud at that one.  I think they should have those every 25 miles or so on every interstate highway.  The other one said "Leave tailgating at the stadium" which is also a good one.  Anyway, just a little tee-hee on a really long trip.



A picture showing a small portion of the building I mention in my response to Chris in the comments below.





August 24, 2017

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

We left for Hopkinsville, KY (or as they were calling it - Eclipseville, USA) Sunday afternoon hoping that when we got close the traffic wouldn't be too bad and it wasn't - it was clear sailing all the way to our AirBnB place right over the border in Clarksville, TN. Even before we got out of Huntington, we saw our first eclipse "activity".  Turns out our downtown central library was giving out free glasses and they don't open till 1:00 on Sundays so this is what we saw as we drove towards the library...

The library is the bit of building on the left so the line continued on up to the entrance.  We had our glasses (thankfully!)

The trip took probably about 6 hours with a stop for lunch.  It was a beautiful sunshine-y day and we were keeping our fingers crossed.  After we had checked in, we went out to check the sights and one sight we came across was the local Krispy Kreme donut shop.  I had read that KK for the first time ever was going to make a special donut for the eclipse which instead of having their regular glaze on it, would have a chocolate glaze covering the entire donut.  The very large parking lot was filled with cars so we had to pull in and investigate all that.  They were pumping them out steadily and people were buying boxes of them, I suppose hoping to beat the rush in the morning.  But since Chris was insisting that we get an early start in the morning and KK was open 24 hours, we decided to wait and get them fresh.


Chris was smart enough to reserve a parking space which if I had gone by myself I would never have thought to do.  We had no bad traffic getting to it (the Casey Jones Distillery and, no, we drink wine...) They have huge grounds there  with, on that day, RV's packed into one front "yard" and cars into another one.  Don't know how many people were there - I think a LOT, but it wasn't crowded feeling because they've built a large man-made lake in the back with a landscaped area above and a hill going down to it.  Lots of trees there but at high noon after the eclipse had started, you could sit in the shade and periodically stroll into a sunny patch with your glasses to see how things were coming along.  I loved watching the sun become the moon as it was very gold looking through the glasses and once the sun was more than half covered, it looked more and more like a crescent moon on the rise.  When it first started, it looked like a PacMan with a round mouth instead of a typical PacMan mouth. :)  We had both said we wouldn't take pictures of the eclipse and Chris left all his gear at home so he wouldn't be tempted.  But we both ended up trying to get something with our phones and that simply didn't work.  I did take a few pictures of the lovely surroundings though.

Looking towards one end of the lake on the left, and towards the other end of the lake on the right.  And, incidentally, loving that "lone pine" with all its many empty boughs.

And the picture below is part of a beautiful man-made waterfall they have created going from the top of the hill where we were situated down to the lake.  Strangely enough, they turned it off probably about 15 minutes or so before totality...

There were numerous good-sounding food trucks there and we planned to get a "made on the spot" bar-b-q, but never did get around to it.  We had our Krispy Kremes that morning and I brought a bag of grapes for in the car and actually, I don't think we ate again until about 10:00 that night.  That seems hard to believe...


I truly enjoyed every minute of the experience (partly because I was enjoying it with my son who was thrilled with it all).  The totality wasn't quite what I had been led to expect - it didn't get black-night dark with all the stars out - it got sunrise/set dark with a planet shining near the sun.  But we did see the 360 degree circle of sunrise/sunset around the horizon which was just gorgeous and we did see the lovely corona around the sun during "totality" which the literature said lasted for 2 minutes 42 seconds!  You could feel a definite drop in the temp.

I had told Chris that I thought I had experienced the edges of a total eclipse back when he was not quite 2 and I was pregnant with his sister.  I remember we  went outside and the light got "strange" - kind of golden and the bird/bug noise all stopped.  So he looked at some site that lists every eclipse known to man, I guess, and sure enough in March of 1970 (2 months before his sister arrived) there was a total eclipse and whatever its path was it was enough to impact on where we were living.  

I got tickled at him because the whole time the light was changing as the sun became more and more covered, he couldn't stop exclaiming about how strange/weird/eerie/incredible the light was.  At one point I reminded him that he shouldn't be all that amazed, after all, he had seen it all before. (tee hee)  And look what I managed to dig out...


I won't go into detail on the trip back home because you'd have to live it to understand just how truly awful it was.  We managed to keep our spirits up through most of it but by the time we reached Elizabethtown around 7:00 p.m. after leaving the distillery around 2:00 p.m. and realizing that we had only traveled about 120 miles in the 5 hour period (about 24 miles per hour!), and then finding Elizabethtown almost totally jammed, we pulled over, found a route we thought would work, called ahead to our hoped-for destination to reserve a room and drove another 30 some miles to it, arriving around 10:30 p.m.  Even that little bit of miles went through a small town midway where it took who knows how long to get through the one traffic light the town had.  I'd guess we were in an at least a mile long line of cars - each going through one at a time because it was a blinking traffic light at that time of night.  But we got home early Tuesday and were once again happy we had made the journey.  My big suggestion for traffic control in a similar situation would be to have traffic police at these small town intersection waving traffic through because of course there is hardly any traffic going towards where we were all coming from.

We are already looking forward to the 2024 one.  The one on Monday and the 2024 one's paths intersect in Illinois on a farm.  We wonder if the people living on that land know what a gold mine they're sitting on!

Chris - if I've left out anything important, you can add it in your comment. :)  Sure am glad you came along!

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