Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Quilt Shop to End All Quilt Shops

I left you last Monday after we'd been out touring with Don and Bernie in the rain. There's that word again - it follows us around - the huge black cloud that seems to hang over our heads.

Tuesday it decided not to rain and give us a bit of sunshine, but it was COLD. And, of course, being from The Far North, we (Ole) would never admit that he needed a leather jacket to ride the bike that day. So I followed suit, thinking that Ole knows best and just wore my light Harley jacket and darn near froze my buns off. We took a tour through the historic loop of Eureka Springs, and then turned around and did it backwards when we met this wonderful invention called a TOUR BUS. Actually it was a tram that took you through the historic section of town with a tour guide that spouted all the historic rhetoric. It really was interesting, and much warmer to say the least. At least I'm not afraid to admit when I'm cold ~ ~ ~

Here's some of the facts that we learned: Eureka Springs was settled in 1829 (pretty old for this far west) by trappers and hunters, who of course didn't get along very well with the local Indians. Later on people settled the area because of the springs which were thought to have healing powers. The city is full of old Victorian mansions built into the sides of the hills/mountains and the entire city is on the National Historic Register. In the Early Days there were lots of houses of ill repute, many of which are now bed and breakfast facilities.

One of the most elaborate that we saw was the Queen Anne Mansion, owned by some guy from New York who has completely restored the entire mansion to the tune of several million dollars. The mansion was originally built in Carthage, MO, dismantled and moved to Eureka Springs. Can you just imagine???

I had read on the Internet that Eureka Springs celebrated the month of May with something called the Grand Illumination. When Ole and I had been touring downtown we noticed all the paper lanterns that were hanging all over throughout the downtown section and in the residential sections. Everything was supposed to light up at dusk, and the way things were decorated we thought it would be beautiful. Well, being it was actually MAY and we were actually THERE, we thought we would take it all in. So that evening I bundled up, hopped on the back of the bike preparing to freeze and rode the 3 miles back into the downtown area to see this beautiful spectacle. All the paper lanterns were hanging where they had been for the previous three days and only about 50 per cent of them were giving off a very faint glow.

Not only that, but I think they roll up the sidewalks at 5 o'clock in Eureka Springs. This was about 7 o'clock and I think we actually saw two whole people strolling down the street in the downtown area. Talk about a disappointment. So we hightailed it back to the motor home where we turned on the heat and a good movie.

Being totally bored in Eureka Springs as all it seems to do there is either rain or be cold, we decided to strike out the next day for Branson. After a stop at Walmart where we put in a few supplies we ended up in Branson about 3:30. I was going to be so smart and direct Ole to go on some of the back roads in order to avoid taking the RV/trailer through all the downtown Branson traffic to get to our campground. Yeah, well, did I screw up. Ole is guiding "the bus" down this narrow back road with no shoulders (165) up and down the hills and around the curves where we were eventually supposed to go across and bridge and come into our campground through the "back" way. Around a curve and down a hill and what do we come across but a great big sign that says, "ROAD CLOSED AHEAD." So how do you turn around a 40' foot motor home with a trailer behind? Not very easily. We managed to find a spot where he could at least get the rig somewhat off the road when a county truck hauling a load of logs pulled up behind/beside us on the off-road side. I got out and asked him what the situation was - if there was a place to turn around up ahead or not. He said he didn't know but would go ahead and take a look. He came back shortly and said we wouldn't have a problem as there was a visitor's center up ahead and we could turn around there. Apparently all the rain that has fallen over this part of Missouri caused the road that goes across the dam that was ahead to wash out in places to close the road.

So we got turned around - went all the way back on the twisty, windy, narrow road, back to Hwy 65 where we ended up going right into downtown Branson, through all the traffic, wending our way back to the campground. I initially tried to make reservations at the campground that was close to The Landing in downtown Branson, but when I called they said they were closed due to the flooding of the previous week. Must have been a mess.

So last night was spent "unwinding" a bit and making plans for today. This morning (Thursday) dawned with bright sunshine and a temperature that was actually climbing. When we left the rig about noon it was in the mid 70s (nice). How long were we going to luck out this time?

Our first stop was at the Veterans Memorial Museum which covered all the wars from WWI to present day. It was amazing. Even I enjoyed it - Ole was enthralled. In one of the central rooms was this bronze statue depicting a company from WWII. There are 50 bronze figures that are casts of actual soldiers that died in WWII, one from each state with a brass plaque beneath each figure stating his name and where he's from. There were so many things exhibited in this museum that just gave a person chills - especially the exhibits from the prison camps like Dachau and Auschwitz. Being a former sailor, Ole particularly enjoyed the Navy exhibits.

By this time it was 2:30 in the afternoon and we decided it was maybe time for lunch. So we drove down to The Landing and found a saloon called Rocky's where Ole could get a burger and a beer. Of course at that time of day things weren't very busy so the bartender, named Layne, entertained us with lots of stories. She was a very interesting person who was born in South Africa, and lived portions of her life in England, Scotland and Australia before she came to America.

THEN, it was time for the best part of the day - Quilts & Quilts - a quilt shop to end all quilt shops that a couple of my quilting friends had recommended. I'd been salivating over this stop for days on end - anticipating how much fun this was going to be and how much "stuff" I was going to acquire.

Ole waited patiently out on his Harley while I went in and came out a half hour later empty-handed. Ole had this look of panic on his face, thinking I had gotten sick or something and couldn't imagine why I wasn't carrying any packages. This store encompasses over 7000 square feet of "stuff" - anything and everything that you can imagine that's related to quilting in any way, shape or form. I was so overwhelmed all I could do was walk around and look and get confused. I came out of there with my brain spinning and thinking I'd probably dream about this place tonight. (I'll let you know tomorrow, 'kay?)

Big sign in the front of the store as you enter "NO CAMERAS" - yeah, well, - - -

So we're back at the ranch - er - campground. Ole's had his afternoon nap and walked Daisy in the rain - I'm playing catch up on my blog - but I do think it's time for a 5 o'clock toddy being it's already 7:00.

Love, Lena


~ Sil in Corea said...

Thanks a lot for the guided tour! It sounds like a nice place to retire, beautiful. That quilt place is really something!

Marge said...

Once we had to turn the fifth wheeler around because of an overpass that was about 2 feet too short. We had to back up onto a small road with a train track crossing it, and guess what? Yup, a train was coming! So we sat in the middle of the road and waited for the train to pass....harrowing experiences with those big rigs sometimes!

Okay, we've never been to Branson, but have been thinking of a trip there sometime. Now I know I'll be going! The quilt shop sounds great! Of course when I move all my fabric across the street to our new home, I'll be wishing I'd pass by some of those quilt shops!

Have fun! By the way....might hit upper 60's today!