Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Traveling on...

Finally able to make an internet connection - frustrated all day because my mifi (wifi card) wouldn't work and the tech who promised to call me back didn't.  However, I am now connected to Cambria Pines Lodge wifi and am much happier.

Today was a full hooking day - three meals, and every other minute  hooking from 9AM until 9PM.  I finished one flower and one cherry on my six foot long "Big Momma" (a Gene Shepherd pattern).  Gene was a huge help with the color planning - my flowers will all be bright colors made with Gene's beautiful wool - my background will be five different almost black recycled wool from my stash (my stash of dark, drab Michigan colors),

Since I only told about the beginning of my trip in my last blog, I'll fill in the rest of the trip.  Saturday, I started the morning in Colorado, driving from the northeast corner where the land is open rolling hills with some cattle and scattered homesteads.  The sky was a clear bright blue with a variety of white clouds that I wanted to remember for painting, so I took a number of photos while I was driving along (at 85mph).  One photo was especially interesting because there were great large billowing clouds at the top, but unusual lacy clouds at the bottom of the sky.  Another 50 or so miles further on, I realized the lacy clouds were really the tops of snow-capped mountains. Lots more snow than I remember seeing before.  When I got into the mountains, I thought I deserved a little touristy break, so I decided to make a fast trip up to Lookout Mountain.  Driving up the mountain was easy and exciting because the road was shared with many bicyclists and hikers - it was like driving into a huge party of very active healthy young people all wearing spandex.  The top of the mountain offers interesting views and a really nice nature center.  I didn't think I should take much time, so I did a fast survey of the displays, saw some great coyote paintings, and started driving back down the mountain.  I was driving very slowly with a bicyclist following me and when I came to a stop, he rode up beside my window and told me I had a seriously wobbly rear wheel.  That must have been what the fellow on the expressway the day before was waving at me about - I had fixed the wrong tire (but it was a good thing I did since it had a hole on the inside and was losing ten pounds of air per day).  So I had to drive down the mountain, through dozens of hairpin turns, think my wheel might fall off at any moment.  I was pretty sure the wheel was going to fall off, the car was going to go into a flip that would take me right off the mountain and I was not going to make it to rug camp.  Also, I had forgotten that I have trouble breathing in thin mountain air, so add the wheel worry to my oxygen anxiety and I can tell you I was very happy to get down to flat ground.

Then I had to backtrack to the city of Golden to try to find a tire repair facility - which turned out to be very difficult since all of the tire repair people were riding bicycles and hiking in the mountains and not working on Saturdays.  I had to drive miles looking for a Pepboys that someone told me might be open, but couldn't find it.  I accidently drove past a truck stop - the kind of place where I usually feel safe spending the night - so I did a fast U turn and drove around back to the truck repair section and literally begged for help.  Three men went to work to figure out the wobble cause, which finally was eliminated down to the wheel nuts not being tightened properly.  My mechanic at home had repaired a flat for me and not cleaned the road dirt out of the wheel.  It took a long time to chip away the hard packed clay, even after a power washing, but with the afternoon completely gone, my wheel was finally back in place - and the mechanics wouldn't even let me pay them. I think they were going to tell their friends they spent the afternoon helping a hooker.

So, starting about six o'clock, I drove through the rest of Colorado, past all of the beautiful mountains without stopping again, then into and across Utah which never seemed like such a big state before.  It was pitch dark out when I was going through the beautiful sandstone mountains and bluffs, but I couldn't see them at all - for 500 miles I felt like I was driving through a very long tunnel.  The only good thing about driving like that is there wasn't much other traffic at all and I could go as fast as I dared.  I finally reached my turn that would take me south into Nevada and toward Las Vegas, and I decided I would have to get at least a little sleep - even though that meant leaving at least a thousand miles to go on Sunday.  I found a rest stop provided by a Chevron gas station, and pulled in where there were a couple pick-ups pulling U-Haul trailers - it seemed safe enough and I parked right next to the building where it was well lit.  What I didn't think about until I crawled into the middle seat with my pillow was 1) the car was parked on a hillside so laying down I was practically standing up, and 2) it was very cold (about 40 degrees) and I didn't have a blanket.  I ended up sleeping under some of the recycled wool that just happened to be left in the car from my last trip to Nova Scotia.

I awoke a few hours later after the U-Hauls left and began the last leg of the journey, through a little of Arizona, past Las Vegas, through the Mojave Desert into California, past beautiful vineyards in wine country, and finally to Cambria.  My gps took me on a longer route than necessary and then turned me around in circles around Cambria so it took me an extra chunk of time to finally find the lodge - and, even though the tire and wheel problems took away a lot of my travel time, I arrived just in time to register, get my hooking stuff unloaded in my classroom, find my room and take a shower before dinner.  Eventually I'll post my photos of the trip and you'll get to see how great cloud formations look when photographed at high speed through a bug splattered windshield.

Last year, I did the same trip in two and a half days and got here early enough to spend some time seeing the ocean.  This year, if I add Thursday night to Sunday to count as one day, the trip took three days and I still haven't been to the beach.


Christine Hoskins said...

So glad to see you made it to Rug Camp safe & sound albeit not without some drama!!Have FUN FUN FUN and learn lots & lots!!

Rughooker said...

Hey, Chris -
I did learn a lot - and am coming home with my car full of wool and a new kind of frame for a new kind of rug making called Proddy. Everything was/is wonderful!
Buenas dias!