Saturday, July 26, 2014

Later that same day

7/26/14...Day 9...I got my windshield replaced beautifully by a very nice man in Cedar Falls for less than my deductible...the mother and brothers are much relieved that the thing won't be cracking apart during my remaining 5,000 miles of driving...and it's guaranteed for as long as I own my car. Nice people here in the Midwest. My uncle was equally pleased with the brake repair on his car.

Mom's party started this afternoon with the news from South Carolina that Shannon and Chris have a new baby girl...a little sister for my first grand niece, Avery. We are excited to welcome her.

Mom's party was well-attended and Hugh and Connie sang...the party will be long remembered at Friendship Village.

As I write this, I'm taking a brief rest from all the excitement in my basement lair. I may be able to process more photos tomorrow morning...did I show you Connie's photo of the giant ladle in Elk River, MN...

Serene just took the chocolates upstairs, so I must follow...the opposite of a shadow of my former self...Yum!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Catching up, Is it Day 8 AlreadyBarb

Barb Kobe, Pamela, in Barb's Garden

Pamela is delighted to receive a ceramic garden turtle  

Hard to leave each place...Barb and Bill Kobe have made their house so wonderful inside and out. Bob's ceramic creatures hide among the wonderful plantings. Barb's creations and Bill's paintings make every surface inside and out rich and varied. Piles of books I'd love to read. Delicious food. Interesting friends coming over to talk and work.

Barb and Bill each have half of the basement for studios, with a green house and more kilns in the back yard.

Pamela and Barb in back of her lily bed

The conversations continue: how to be an artist and survive. I'm writing as I drive, in a state of semi-contemplation, watching the subtle changes in the scenery, getting ideas about connectivity/layers/stories.

The Gumbies on the top of my car at the Iowa Welcome Center

Reluctantly left Barb and her amazing Minnesota friends yesterday, enjoying Minnesota and Iowa greenery and the lovely Welcome Center, where I had delicious apple pie and coffee and picked up lots of travel information as well as maps for Iowa and Illinois.

Even with leaving Barb's at 10 and stopping along the way, I arrived in Iowa mid afternoon and Steve put me to work chopping vegetables. Steve lives in the house Mom and Dad built when I was in the last of High School...Interesting echos of past lives. Good to be with all the family and more coming. Thayer is still waiting for a flight out of Israel, although he was supposed to arrive yesterday. Some cousins and Mom's brother are on their way as well.

Driving into Iowa, flat with more green 

Mom on the throne as we waited  at Tony's Pizza, with Connie

Mom and Hugh in Steve's back yard

Hugh and Connie in Steve's bakyard

Thursday, July 24, 2014

7/24 Greetings from MN's largest Candy Story...and on to Iowa

Barb's picture of me at Minnesota's largest candy store

What a day we had yesterday! I'll organize and label the photos I took yesterday as soon as I get a minute...sitting in bed typing this...we had lunch with Maureen Carlson, who doll and polymer clay and story afficianados will know...the last picture of yesterday was a staff she is creating...she loves to tell stories and ask questions...wise women all around.

I insisted on stopping at Minnesota's largest candy store, that you see in the background...I swear I just took pictures...I was holding Barb's purchases and beaming. Hundreds of varieties of licorice, soda, bacon floss and bacon soda with chocolate, too.

Dawn Marie lives in a 1908 house in a small town, and has decorated every surface...she has a living showcase for her clients, and is traveling to Sarasota this winter to do a consultation...good deal for a Minnesotan!

I got to meet Barb's son, Chris, a tall computer art guy with black spikey hair and glasses...should have taken his picture, and Bill's friend, Mike, as they were doing a raku firing in the basement or out back...the garden is a delight, the basement holds Barb and Bill's studios. Both Mike and Bill are story tellers, too...aren't we all? Mike is working with teaching troubled youth urban gardening, and has come up with ways to change the way we grow food...Inspiring to hear his passion.

Driving through the middle of this country makes all more obvious how important food and energy and corporations versus people, and how the key to the future of all of us lies here and NOW.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Day 6 Continued...Lots of ART

Dawn Marie's marvelous kitchen

Dawn Marie's Kitchen

Barb and I both use dead branches in sculptures...
Barb's back yard garden is a wonderland, with painted branches and sculptures, dolls, and Bill's ceramic sculptures here and there. I've just started painting beach sticks in purples, mauve, and turquoise...Low maintenance.

Corner of inside Barb's house

Maureen and Barb in one of Maureen's studios...wise questions and answers

Barb's back yard, a bower for outside dining

Minnesota's larges candy store

Pam and Barb outside the candy store

Rows and rows of hundreds of varieties of liquorice, 144 kinds of sodas, and other gourmet delights

Candy Store

Candy Store

Dawn Marie's living room

Dawn Marie and Barb, Dawn-Marie's

Barb's sculpture in the garden

Sculpture in the corner of Maureen's office

A staff Maureen is working on

Barb took me around to visit some of her friends, and the pictures are not in order, like the already- memories of the never-ending visual stimulation of this trip...I've captured a few.

Day 6, Enjoying Friends

Bathroom at Space Aliens Grill and Bar...a Real Roadside Attraction

Day 6, a very pleasant morning in Crystal, MN. Bill made us blueberry buckwheat pancakes and bacon and watermelon. Barb and I are going to Maureen Carlson's retreat center, then some friends are coming over tonight...Lots of talking to make up for not seeing each other in person for 6 or 7 years...All her dolls and books and everything!

The posting is getting away from me...but better to be Experiencing. I was able to get up slowly yesterday in Fargo and listening to a James Taylor compilation that Annie or my brother, Steve made for me, perfect traveling music...the journey is the destination. Watching the country get greener and more treed. 

The issue of energy is big in the Midwest...huge power poles going up and signs in the rest area about not impeding traffic to gawk.

Barb and I stayed up late talking...the art versus need for making money dicotomy...her husband is an artist as well. The multiplicity of ideas. I thought of taking a series of landscape photos out my car window and then using Illustrator to have them melt into each other. In some ways it would be easier to do this with another person to drive, but I am being Very Safe, I promise.

A rest area with windmills in the distance...was this Eastern WA? MT?

I have my return trip scheduled with more stops, and I May get my documentation more  organized...Dang! this elderly much slips, slips away, but I do remember greenery, music, wanting to multidimensional art work when I get home...learn computer tricks...some way to express visually what music can...

Space Aliens Ceiling...I need to get more patient about taking pictures in focus

Green rest area in MN 7/22

I choose Experience over recording...but I'll try to fit in more recording, too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The journey is the destination, Day 4, Dark night of the spirit, better on Day 5

From Fargo, ND: Mixed blessings...I kept driving toward the light and missed the heavy thunder storms with golf-ball-sized hail...though I hear thunder now...The difficult thing was that my windshield sustained a silver-dollar sized craze from a rock in Bismark...I need to contact Ray Gruver.

I am still happy to be seeing the country side change from my beloved Honda Fit...So pretty and clean when I left and somewhat battered now...all will be well. It's nice to be in a comfortable motel, cheaper and cushier than last night in Wolf Point...except the WiFi doesn't work consistently....all stuff. I may unplug to avoid any back flash. Finish in the am.

Day 5, Sleep helps

Sleeping well from 9:30pm to 6:30am EDT really helped my attitude, plus the green tea and homemade oatmeal cookies I brought, Plus support from my two Davids, one in WA and the other in VT...and the fact that the tornadoes and golf-ball-sized hail went west and south...sorry folks, I do feel for your pain...watched pictures on the weather channel last night...such awful life-changing things can happen in an instant. All I have to worry about is a silver-dollar-sized craze in the passenger side of the windshield, and I've already sent an email to Ray Gruver in Port Angeles, and David H has sent me contact information for the Honda dealer in Cedar Falls, near where we'll be staying for Mom's 90th birthday party.

Oh, if only my mind were a movie camera! The subtle changes traveling across the northern part of Montana and down through the middle of North Dakota, aiming for the light spots in the sky. I remember the heavy layer of dark clouds that could slowly gather and turn into points, giving birth to tornadoes.

Montana, scrubby hills in the distance

Montana, scrubby hills start to rise

North Dakota, giant windmills

I was delighted to latch onto North Dakota Public is a huge issue least to Public Radio listeners. Through Montana and North Dakota I saw trains of tank cars and peradactyle pumps working next to holding tanks. Also the HUGE magestic windmills stretching far across the rolling landscape. I saw a truck, with a bed as long as three or four regular trucks, carrying one of the three blades for a windmill.

Green cropland in ND, we need the food they can grow
 Sad towns with gravel streets and no trees, prefab towns, thrown up to house workers for the oil industry, abandoned farms with broken windows...people need work. What is right? How about sharing more of the profits with the workers whose lives are being affected?

Fascinating to watch the landscape shift slowly mountains,  creases, lumps, flat. Wonder about the people who live there, spending all summer under the sun without shade...satellite dishes...I don't want to stereotype. The grizzled guys at the truck stop in Washington's mountains, talking about the devastation the forest fires were wrecking. 

When I used to just visit WA for vacation, the plane would fly in over miles of burning forests, and we are not even in the season yet.

Osaka Sushi & Hibachi dragon overlooks a tangle of highway interchanges in Fargo

Funny to eat fresh sushi in the middle of the country, but it tasted good after eating out of my cooler all day. Will I find the Space Alien Bar and Grill in Fargo? I saw one in Bismark, but was in the middle of 6 lanes of traffic, just before I got on I 94 and got hit by the rock.

I did see the World's Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND, but only from the car as I raced the storm. The Lewis and Clark explanation center is growing crops typical of the era...and promoting using Heirloom seeds--good cause against too much homogenaity. I posted that picture on Facebook..of the statues...I'm sure there are LOTS of stories about what happened much of what looks like open land, but a radio program on trying to recover some acres of farmland from a lake that flooded...Are we thinking long term?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 4, Good Morning from Wolf Point, MT

I'm a little disoriented in time and space, a little tired...the blog and the travel journal may be a bit much to keep up with. Today I'll be driving a few hours less...heading for Fargo, ND, and another time zone change...time being an artificial construction, anyway. I'm eating some of June and Mike's cherries and my oatmeal cookies for breakfast, time to round up my scattered art supplies and hit the road.

The nice lady at the WOW food cart in Spokane

I keep learning new things about all my electronic equipment in the process of Stretching what I do with it. This is the first day when I won't be seeing someone I know along the way. Tomorrow I'll be getting to Crystal, MN, and Barb to sit and play here, but I'd best get on the road...more from Fargo.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day three

The Gumbies on the ferry Friday. They're been all over the world with me

Mountain time today. 649 miles from Hope, ID, through mountains with lovely lakes, Glacier National Park, rain, softening landscape in MT. Farming in valleys sheltered by mountains, to wheat plains, to dry bumpy mounds with scrub grass. The houses are tucked into folds in the hills, some folds have groups of horses.

Eastern with smoke from the forest fires...I could smell it yesterday in ID. My shiny car is no longer clean

Found a cool truck in Spokane, selling all kinds of home made food...I finished the recommended Mac and Cheese with bacon for dinner tonight. After having to take I90 on Saturday (only yesterday) to avoid the forest fires in WA, I took SR 2 through Spokane and along that amazing glacial lake. No highways today, although the speed limit on 2 is 70...potentially scary, especially through all the construction.

My car survived the night, parked in front of June's house...the dog treed a quite large bear in back of the house before dinner

Little towns in the middle of plains of wheat in MT...baked by sun, and probably buried in winter snow...only gravel roads and a couple of grain elevators...long tanker trains of oil and coal tank cars silhouetted against the horizon. Not too many people to complain about possible many places I've driven: road, RR tracks, water on one side, hills on the other. I could not live so far from an edge, but there are whole lives and dramas occurring out here in the middle of the country.

June and Mike's pretty house in the woods above Hope, ID. I've been eating cherries from their trees today

I'm thinking about art work in the subtle colors of the fields, the light edge of a field against the of my iconic images...layers, textures...It's hard to capture the ever-changing images...I tear pictures out of travel brochures...the large round bales repeated over miles of Eastern WA, it's large boxy bales stacked under white plastic quonset hut things. Even my projected 37 days is not enough to take it all in.

North Central MT looks something like Iowa, something like Eastern, WA   
The patterns repeat, with variations. I'm glad I decided to do this...especially avoiding the thruways as much as possible. Seeing all this USof A gives me a more sound sense of where I am in the world...happy to be living between my Mountains and salt water, in the cool blue north...

I read about this in one of my books...on Route 2 before Wolf Point...I've seen LOTS of other stuff, too

9:37pm Mountain Time...time to sleep and get up early and drive to Fargo. I saw a series of hills sporting a wide variety of animals (fiberglass?) We do like, we weird ones, Roadside Attractions...keep the public on their toes.

Day 3, Good Morning from Hope, Idaho

The sky is getting lighter, but overcast and smelling slightly smokey. A distant train, a rooster, birds, wind rustling through evergreens and fruit trees. Looks like my car survived the bears. A lot of miles across northern MT with you later.