Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yupo Hollyhocks

I finished the Yupo Hollyhocks that I started in Taylor Ikin's Yupo workshop at the Boone in June Festival. This is truly a different approach to my painting flowers in that with Yupo the artist isn't necessarily in control of the finished painting! The smooth surface of the Yupo makes for lots of interesting accidents and results. It's fun working with it, though!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We are home!

After a month being on the road, it is good to be 100 degree temps notwithstanding! We have traveled through so many stormy, rainy areas it is actually good to see the DRY heat that is home to us. We have been in Charleston, SC during the time those brave firefighters lost their lives, we have seen the banks of the rivers in Texas exceed their capacity and make swamps of groves of trees, we have survived a night of fearsome winds in Van Horn, TX and made our way to home safely. So, the heat is just a major inconvenience compared to what others are dealing with, I know that we are the blessed ones! Our prayers to those who are enduring loss, whatever the toll.

We will unpack the motorhome and prepare to put it away until the next big adventure. It is too hot here to push ourselves and do it all at once, so we have adopted Scarlett O'Hara's motto of "tomorrow is another day".

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Benson, AZ

We are finally back in Arizona....a month later and much soggier! The past two weeks have been spent trying to do things we wanted to do around the weather, which has been rainy to say the least. I am so happy we didn't decide to push ourselves to do more up the northern east coast, they are now getting hammered. We will come back to the Southwest and recover a bit, then probably will try our north to the Canadian Rockies trip...lots to do before then, though.

Home tomorrow...Yeah!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Van Horn, TX

We arrived in Van Horn, TX this afternoon. Finally, we are out of the rain! The creeks and rivers were going over their banks as we left the soggy eastern part of Texas this morning, I hope they will not have more problems, but it was too much rain for us desert dwellers! We were totally soggy.

This handsome Texas Longhorn greeted us as we arrived at the RV park this afternoon. I apologize for shooting his photo through the fence, but if you had seen the size of this beast, you would be as grateful as I that he was behind a fence! He was huge!

We will head farther West, towards home tomorrow. We probably won't arrive there until later in the week, but we are making progress.

Monday, June 25, 2007

MS, LA and TX

This is a river we passed over, which one it is I can't distinguish. Just know that I love all the rivers we have seen as they all have water in them, unlike the ones at home which carry sand most of the time.
We have been making our way westward for the past two days. Yesterday we started out from Edwards, Mississippi and drove through Louisiana and then through part of Texas. This involved a LONG trip around Dallas/Fort Worth, which we are glad to have in the rear view mirror. Texas can take days to get across so my next post will probably still show we are in Texas.

Last evening and night we had thunderstorms; lots of rain, thunder and lightening here. Hopefully that will clear and we won't have to drive in bad weather.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Atlantic Ocean, Magnolia Plantation and Charleston

We first took a side trip today to Edisto Island so I could see the Atlantic Ocean, I had never been near it before. We found some neat seashells and I got a few photos. We next visited the Magnolia Plantation. We barely touched the surface of this magnificent old plantation, but it was wonderful to get to see what we did. We rode a train around the perimeter, which took us past slave cabins, the main plantation house, gardens and of all, the swamps! In the swamp photo, that partially submerged log in the center of the photo is actually an alligator! The gardens were so wonderful...I bet in the Spring they were really something to see with all the azaleas.

We then drove to Charleston for a little while. We walked along the oceanfront area, lovely old mansions, some newer homes done in the old style, etc. The weather was perfect, a light ocean breeze that was fairly cool.

A good day! We have decided to head back toward Phoenix tomorrow. Tom's done fairly well after his accident, but he still is nowhere near his baseline from before the fall, so just in case there is something that should be checked out, we want to have it done at home. Nothing alarming, it is just that we want to be on the safe side of this. So, we will turn our noses toward the West tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Savannah, GA

We toured Savannah today, it was unfortunately a bad day for photography....rain and dark gray skies. But, we were there and I kept on taking photos, hoping for the best. We took a trolley tour of the historic district and the architecture there is wonderful; such old, well-maintained homes and mansions. The first photo is of Paula Deen's Lady and Sons restaurant. The people were lined up before 9:00 AM, with the line going around the block, just to talk to the hostess, who would tell people when they could come back to eat lunch. We satisfied our curiosity with taking photos of the place rather than using our time standing in line for that!

The second photo is of a Savannah River tugboat. If tugboats can be pretty, this one was....all sparkly clean and nicely painted. As we were riding the trolley out of the River Drive, a HUGE container ship from the Philippines came right up by the wharf and the tugboats were pushing it around. If we hadn't been on the trolley, that would have been an interesting process to watch the ship berth.

The third photo is of an entryway to a home in the historic district...a sample of what they look like. They are so large you can barely get the whole front in the photo and they mostly have the tall white columns. Just beautiful.

Tomorrow it is on to Charleston, hoping for better weather there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Downtown Walterboro, NC

We toured the heritage district of downtown Walterboro, NC today. Some of the buildings were pre-Civil War vintage, some in this area go back to pre-Revolutionary War days!

The first photo is of a swamp garden we visited this morning. There are supposed to be gators in the water areas, beavers, etc...but neither of us felt like walking the entire 3-mile pathway to get to those areas, and the mosquitos had already found my skin to be inviting, so we walked as far as we could and then went back. In this photo, the sunlight was coming in dappled through the trees and lighting the water on the ground, which was a dark brown color so it looks like rusty areas, but it is the swamp water at the base of the trees. We saw what we thought were submerged alligators, or rather their air bubbles coming to the surface. I guess that is not a disappointment to miss seeing them in person 5 feet below the bridge we were standing on!

The flower photo is of gardenias, they are growing around us in the RV park where we are staying. They smell wonderful in person!

The house is one of the ones I photographed in the Heritage District. It was difficult to get good angles with all the huge trees, with hanging Spanish Moss covering the front views of the houses. Speaking of Spanish Moss, we drove through an OLD cemetery, where all the tombstones were really old and the trees had hanging moss; it looked strangely spooky as well as beautiful and peaceful there. This photo doesn't show all the moss that was there, but the tombstones and statuary were beautiful.

Tomorrow is on to Savannah, GA. Hopefully, the weather won't be stormy, we could have rain. Later.....

Monday, June 18, 2007

Beaufort SC

We made our way to Beaufort this morning. The first photo is of an old school bus that had been gutted and all the windows removed, making it a perfect vehicle for hauling watermelons! I might be odd, but I thought this was charming and just fun!

The Xterra is parked underneath one of the many Spanish Moss-covered trees here. That is some strange stuff! I walked across the street to the Federal Courthouse and found a wonderful Magnolia tree, with blossoms near enough the bottom branches that I could get some good macro shots. I love these flowers! They are enormous, and so waxy and beautiful.

We went to Hilton Head, also, but the only good thing we could find in our experience there was a wonderful bar-b-que place for lunch called Sticky Fingers. It was great! The beach area we finally found (after several trips around the loop) was so crowded that we could not have parked and walked down to the beach. I did get my first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean, though, through some of the walkways we passed. This was one crowded, hard-to-navigate, place.

We may stick closer to the Walterboro area, which we are using for our home base while in this area tomorrow. There are lots of antique stores, etc., and I need to make a Wal-Mart run, too. The weather is still very warm and HUMID, but is was a bit cooler today than yesterday. It cooled off fairly decently last night and this morning was nice. That sure changes once the sun gets going, though.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Walterboro, SC

We have made our way to Walterboro, SC today. It is so hot and humid! We had to get caught up on laundry today, and you have not lived until sitting in a laundry room with four dryers going full blast while the temps outside are 93 and with high humidity! Oh well, we got it all done and should be good for awhile.

We plan on using this as our home base while exploring Charleston, SC, ...Beaufort and Savannah while in the area. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.

These hibiscus are the size of a salad plate and just glorious! These were on the entry path to the RV park office when we registered so I came back with my camera while awaiting the interminable washers and dryers. No wonder these tropical flowers grow so well here, there is high humidity so often!

More later as we explore the various areas....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

End of Boone in June

I went to the Boone in June trade show this morning and met up with Barb. There were lots of bargains and some free stuff and lots of people! I practiced some constraint (both due to money and space to bring stuff home in the motorhome) but still got some nice art goodies. We also attended a one-hour demo by an artist with Golden paints, which was extremely interesting. Lots of new ideas to inspire us! We asked a stranger to take our photo to show our bags of purchases and she got more of the ceiling than the bags, and of course my eyes are closed, but we only had the one photo, so this is it.

Barb and Charlie left right after the demo to head back to the Chicago area, then to Wisconsin and then back to Surprise. We are heading toward Savannah, GA tomorrow to explore that area. Lots of art stuff to repack this afternoon! The weather here has been so rainy and foggy that we will not be sorry to leave, and hope for sunnier weather in the next area we visit.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Yupo Workshop - Day Two

This is the only painting I completed today in the Yupo workshop. I have two more uncompleted ones that I will work on as we travel onward. Tomorrow is the big trade show, which I will attend, and then on Sunday will continue on toward the East coast, touring Savannah, Charleston, etc. and then up the coast highway and possibly on to Virginia, and a few more historic site there.We will aim for being home before the middle of July, but will hit all we can before then.

The workshops with Taylor Ikin were invaluable to me as an artist. They certainly gave some sort of validation of my artistic skills and increased my confidence a lot, which is a very valuable thing. She is a wonderful instructor and artist and an enjoyable person to learn from.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yupo Workshop - Day One

This was the first of two Taylor Ikin Yupo paper workshops this morning. I am showing a photo of Taylor, Barb and I at the workshop, as well as the Yupo painting I did on the first day. Taylor was very complimentary on my painting, and I was pleased with it enough since it was a workshop painting. I generally don't do great paintings in a workshop setting. This photo is deplorable, though, as it is raining outside and I can't take it in natural light and without reflections from the flash. I'll have to retake the photo when it is not cats and dogs weather.

Taylor is an excellent artist as well as instructor so it was a good session. Plus, Barb and I had a nice time painting together, as we usually do. This is certainly a remote venue for us to be painting together, though! Another plus of this follow up on yesterday's blog entry regarding Cheap Joe....I had my book with me this morning and saw him again at the workshops and he signed his journaling book for me, with an additional hug! It has been a good day, despite the weather.

Tomorrow afternoon we have our last session with Taylor, then Saturday is the trade show. I will be interested in seeing what vendors are there and what samples, discounts, etc. they are offering!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Happy Day

Today we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed it a lot, took lots of photos, and had a great morning before it started pouring rain. So, we decided to run back to Cheap Joe's to get a few more things for my workshop with Taylor Ikin tomorrow. When I arrived there, Joe Miller himself happened to be in the store. I told him how pleased I was to meet him, but disappointed to have missed him the two other times I visited the store, with this journaling book in hand, to have him sign it but he wasn't there at those times. Then, when I finally met him I didn't have my book with me! He said "Oh, I am so sorry that happened that way, but I would be honored to sign a piece of paper for you and hope to catch up with you and your book during the art festival". He then gave me a huge hug! Here is the note he signed for me and I will have his book with me at all the workshops and the trade show on Saturday! He is truly a nice guy. For those of my artist friends, you know that he is like a star as far as art supplies go and a lot of us depend on him for our mail order supplies. So, this was great!

As we were leaving the store, my friend from the Sun City Grand Art Club, Barb Lang, and her husband arrived at Cheap Joe's. They were vacationing in the area and we had agreed and arranged to meet in Boone for the festival and take the workshops together. So, it was a happy reunion for us, too. I was so caught off guard by their showing up when we were there that I didn't think to have my husband take Barb's and my photo there at Cheap Joe's....drat! I'll ask someone at the workshop tomorrow to do that and post it tomorrow night. This is fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Boone, NC - Day 2

We are in Boone still, will be here until Monday. We went to Cheap Joe's this morning so I could buy a few art supplies while they were handy. We also scoped out the venues for where the workshops and trade show will be for Boone in June. This is definitely a mountain town...we twisted around and around to find these places.

We will plan on going onto the Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow to take some photos, so I will post some of those tomorrow. Weather is nice here, much cooler than in Phoenix....the low this morning was 58 and the highs in the low seventies. We even had about a 15-minute thunder shower this afternoon, which cooled the afternoon off even more.

More tomorrow....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Boone, NC

We made it to Boone, NC this afternoon. This is the campground we stayed in before, and made reservations in again. The creek in this photo runs RIGHT behind our motorhome. The campground is much more crowded this trip, we made the trip in 2005 in May, apparently June has more people in RVs out and about. We will spend tomorrow on housekeeping details (grocery store, some laundry, etc.) and then vegging out here at the motorhome. It will be SO nice to stay in one place in the motorhome for seven days....much different than being on the move every day for so long.

The weather so far in this part of the country is nice, highs in the seventies, which is so much better than at home right now. Starting Thursday will be the workshops for Boone in June and then on Saturday will be the Boone in June trade show. Supposedly this is a big event for Boone.

More tomorrow as we begin to explore....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gem Mining in Franklin, NC

We went to a gem mine this morning and used sluice boxes to pick out gemstones. It was a lot of fun and interesting to do. I don't think we had any miraculous finds, but did well overall and we like what we are bringing home. The first photo is of some of the larger gems/some just pretty rocks we got. There are amethysts, turquoise, lapis lazuli, rose quartz, green quartz and lots I will have to research on the web to identify. The second photo is of the finer gems. The first pile on the left is made up of emeralds and topaz. The second pile is sapphires and rubies (only two dinky little rubies!). The largest pile is small garnets, got lots of those. The lower right corner is amethyst and the lower left corner are moonstones. Pretty cool, huh? I don't know if anyone will ever see me wearing any of these, but I am thinking of trying some wire wrapped jewelry since that looks really cool with gemstones.

We are leaving Franklin tomorrow morning and will head toward Boone. We will chill out for a few days before the art festival starts, which after having so many traveling days will be a good thing to just relax for awhile.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Alabama and North Carolina

The first photo of the tree flower is of a Mimosa tree...thanks Cia for identifying that for me! These trees are all over the place here, and are magnificent in large groups. We traveled today from Knoxville, AL through the width of central Alabama and on to Georgia. We made our way, carefully and frightfully, through Atlanta....not for the feint of heart! This was a frustrating and terrifying experience! We will probably never try that one again! I cannot imagine how anyone can do this trip through Atlanta on a week day...we did this on a Saturday afternoon and it was terrible. Of course, driving a 35-foot motorhome and towing a car probably was frightful on its own.

We will give the gemstone mines here in Franklin, NC a try tomorrow. I don't know how this is supposed to go, but if I end up with a bauble big enough to post, I will show you. One should always start out these ventures with high hopes! We will try to go on to Boone, NC on Monday and chill out for a few days before the art festival begins. After the last few days of pushing ourselves with travel that sounds great!

More tomorrow....Susan

Friday, June 08, 2007

Mississippi and Alabama

We left Lousianna this morning and have gone through the entire width of Mississippi and will go through the western part of Georgia tomorrow (including Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA) and will then head north toward Franklin, NC. We have promised ourselves a stop in gem-hunting country (as seen on the Travel Channel) and will do some hunting for valuable gems :>) for a few days. Then, it is on to Boone, NC for the art festival and workshops for three days and then....???? We will have to see how it is going at that point and decide where to go from there. We have had good traveling and good RV parks so far, we are hoping that will continue. All is well here, hope it is for you all, too.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ranger, TX

No photos to show you today...driving a motorhome with a huge windshield through farmland in Texas, in the summertime, yields a very sticky windshield with bug splats, so no photos through there as we drove. We are staying the night in Ranger, TX where we will get a good start on Dallas/Fort Worth at a time AFTER the rush hour commuter traffic has smoothed out a bit. We are doing well, though not traveling as fast as we had hoped. We will head toward Boone, NC to get there by June 13th, that is our new goal.

Today is our wedding anniversary....37 years! Amazing, but true. We are usually on the road for our anniversary so this trip is part of our celebration. It is good to be still traveling, enjoying being on the road together, and looking forward to more trips to come together. Life is good.

I'll try for some photos tomorrow now that we are finally into some of the greener parts of Texas hill country.

Monday, June 04, 2007

New Mexico Pause

We decided to delay going through Texas by one day to allow the stormy weather ahead of us to clear, so we got a bonus, rest-awhile day. I decided to enjoy the morning by painting on our patio...had a wonderful session involving John Denver on the iPod, birds singing, a temperature of 71 degrees and painted five petroglyph small paintings. A morning doesn't get much better than that! We'll make a run at getting past a third of Texas on our eastbound trip tomorrow morning. It takes forever to go across Texas! Hopefully, the bad storms are past and we can make our way through and on to LA, ALA and GA for exploring before going to Boone. We may have to change our minds and head north before we go to those states if the weather requires more waiting. We are keeping an eye on Intellicast and proceeding with care. So far, so good. More later as we roost for the night in various places.

Friday, June 01, 2007


This will be our home-away-from-home for the next month as we travel eastward to explore more of our country. There are many photos waiting to be taken! This photo was taken two years ago when we were in Boone, NC and we are revisiting the area again on this trip, staying in this same RV Park. It has a lovely creek running behind the motorhome and we have asked for that site again. I love the fact that everything is so green in that part of the country and all the rivers have water in them, as opposed to our dry washes and sand rivers here in the desert southwest.
I'll post progress photos as we travel and share sights and experiences, so drop in as you can to see what we are up to!