Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Sounds wonderful! And think how lovely it'll be in the spring! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 10:35 PM  

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Thursday, December 06, 2007  

Oh dear! I better write about my trip before Christmas completely takes over and I forget I even took it.

In September, LD took a job that will have him moving about the country some – hence all the furniture moving and shifting in our house, as we made room to store some of his bigger items. While it's hard to say goodbye to a loved one, it's tremendous fun to visit him in a new location. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting him when he was in the navy and went places we'd not likely ever have gone otherwise. South west Indiana is another location that would not have ordinarily drawn me west, but coupled with a beloved son, well, it's a no brainer. When I said “we'd sure love to visit you out there” and he said “can you come the weekend after Thanksgiving?” it was an easy answer to say “Yes!”

We have always driven little cars around home but when we travel out of state we nearly always rent a bigger car. BD had to make a quick trip up to NYC and had already reserved a vehicle so he just switched it from a daily rate to a weekly rate and we were all set. It took us a while to actually get out of town on Thursday but by 11 we were on I64, just west of Richmond and I was doing the driving.

Now – I will drive. You can't live in the stix and not drive – but I never like driving. But this summer, with BD's eye problems, I've had to do a lot of driving. I'd girded my loins and calmed my mind to maneuver a strange, and bigger, car on the interstates, but I got lucky. With the exception of Beckly WVA, and that nasty stretch between Lexington and Clifton Forge, where 81 and 64 use the same roadbed, there were maybe 400 cars on the road over 700 miles. 64 west is the nicest drive you could imagine and once out of VA, the speed limit is 70. Nice. We were in Charleston by 5:30 or so and pulled off to spend the night at the first exit.

The traffic had been so light and easy that BD took over the wheel on Friday and took us into KY, but at Olive Hill, the town where Hailes settled with their covered wagons and mule teams some time shortly after the Revolutionary War, we pulled off and BD looked up how many Hailes/Hails/Hales were in the phone book. 16, I think he said. The old high school was now the local historical society's headquarters.

Kentucky is a rolling landscape that reminds me of the central portion of Virginia – only it goes on for more miles. Rolling hills, lush green grass, lots of horses, lots more horses. I64 goes through both Lexington and Louisville – which is the nicest city to drive either through or around. We pulled off the highway there, to have a look at the falls of the Ohio.

This is where Louis & Clark met to begin their explorations west and here is a present day explorer standing with them.

From here on, our trip was strung along the Ohio River, which is dammed and locked to allow for river traffic both ways. Here at Louisville, though, you can still see a little of the falls since there are really two channels in the river. There is also a state park on the Indiana side where they had a diorama with both a mastodon skeleton and a life sized figures representing the different people who had lived at the falls – including the Welsh Prince Cormac who some say found his way down the Ohio in either 600 or 1100 or sometime in between. Right.

Once back on the interstate – and downtown Louisville is the easiest nicest city to travel through – we had only about 160 miles to go. We called LD and he gave us driving instructions to Newburgh – where he actually lives – and we were there before sundown. In fact, we had time to take a bit of a river walk into the sunset.

There were hugs and hugs and hugs, you must know, that whole weekend long but that first one was the best. Saturday morning we went first (after coffee, of course) to see the Alcoa plant where LD is working. Something about big industrial sites really speaks to most guys – even the poets.

Our next stop was Angel Mounds – the Indian mounds outside of Evansville.

This place has been carbon dated to 1100-1400 when Middle Mississippian Peoples occupied this area. They're not the same folk as the nomadic tribes nor are they “woodland” peoples. Who knows, maybe they're the sons of Cormac?. It is a large area where a stockaded town of about 1000 people used to be – perhaps 200 acres? Maybe less. On a blustery weekend in the Christmas season there were few visitors and we thoroughly enjoyed prowling about with the guide sheet, looking for mounds and taking photos.

But oh my we got cold and around 1:30 we went to get Indiana Bar-B-Que – delicious and not so sharp as our own east coast knock-off of North Carolina BBQ. Happily, the rental car had those heated front seats so my tired and cold legs didn't seize up and I could walk about Evansville after lunch. The architecture of this area all dates to around 1840 and it has the robust grandiosity of the 19th century that always makes me feel energetic and proud. I confess. I am a complete sucker for what I call Stone Lace. Elaborate edifices full of scrolls and rosettes and civic pride. The old courthouse stands almost alone now, with only parking lots and a few municipal buildings representing different eras. I'm glad the building looks so good from the outside – but it's a little forlorn too.

There is also a gambling casino in Evansville, but what we were interested in was the river walk and the frilly Victorian houses lining narrow residential streets. LD says their library is superior with very friendly staff. Somehow I missed a photo opportunity there. I did get in some great shots of my favorite guys as they studied the locks and levy system.

Once we were back at LD's apartment, we didn't feel like doing much- not even going out to eat. Instead we ate popcorn and watched college football on TV.

Now – this may not sound like such a much to you – but we don't have television and LD never has had it before either. His apartment came furnished with two televisions and since none of us had watched a football game in what?...?... 5 years? Ha! We got sucked in and watched Pittsburgh defeat WVA, Missouri go down in defeat, and the boys watched the Hawaii game too. I conked out before that, for remember, I was now on Central Time – like daylight savings all over again.

Sunday we toured the Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve – an old growth forest in the heart of Evansville's strip mall shopping district.

I believe that once a forest gets 100 years old you can't really see much evidence of aging. Our own forest is about that old and it's also about that big – but of course, Indiana doesn't have the heavy holly and mountain laurel undergrowth we have here on the east coast. The preserve is laced with wooden paths which proved to be terribly slippery when sprinkled with wet leaves. We had to be very careful as we walked, but happily nobody slipped.

Heavy with 10 o'clock pancakes, we didn't feel much like lunch but we all wanted a good hike around Newburgh.

This is a darling little river town. It's very prosperous looking and there is nothing of a blight to it – all the shops are open and lit and full of goods to buy. It has its own strip mall area too, but of course we were interested in where we could go on foot. The town was hosting it's Christmas House Tour, which tempted me but not my guys – who were much more interested in seeing the Toyota plant up in Princeton. There were only 3 houses but they were all quite prettily done up for the holidays. One, was very colorfully decorated, even without adding Christmas trim. One had the feel of an old homeplace that had housed generations. Along the route, I ran into this guy
and put in a quick Christmas wish for someone I love. It began to rain as I walked to the last house, which was actually a law office, though the owner had turned it back into something of a home, and besides, she had a piano and musician in the front parlor, adding music to the air. Happily, I had seen a forecast and brought an umbrella.

My last stop, one I'd hoped and planned and slightly schemed for, was here.

Yes. Newburgh has a yarn shop. A lovely friendly happy cozy warm yarn shop where I spent almost an hour enjoying a chat with Docia Peveler, the owner and her fellow knitter Debbie. I'd seen a number of hostesses and docents on the house tour in beautiful hand knit shawls and scarves so I wasn't surprised to find the shop so welcoming. Just delighted. There was a wonderful selection of yarns, especially sock yarns – some I hadn't heard of yet! Docia also carries Jamieson's Shetland, some of which had to come home with me, and a Dolce Handknits pattern which also jumped into my bag. There was also a whole room full of books and patterns!! And in honor of the holiday weekend, there were homemade chocolate chip cookies with nuts – and coffee. Sigh. Bliss.

I hated to leave the shop, but I also hated to miss time with LD, so after an hour, at a moment when the rain let up a bit, I stepped out just in time to see them parking the car beside his apartment. Yup. My son lives half a block from a yarn store.

They hadn't been able to get a tour of the car factory but they'd had some quality guy time – something just as important. The rain kept falling, though and we decided to do the football thing again since it is such a rarity for us. We chose different teams and cheered them on, fueled by popcorn and pizza delivery.

But all too soon it was Sunday night and Monday morning and time to pack up and load up and lock up and drive off. We left at 6:30 – a rare time in the morning for BD to be moving at all, but since we were awake, there wasn't any reason to delay. Sharing the drive, we tooled east down the highway, retracing our path through Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and by 5 o'clock we were over the state line and then who would have thought – we were in Charlottesville and really – there's no point in stopping when you're that close to home – so at 9 o'clock we were walking through the front doors of home sweet home.

You can find more photos - including some of the historic houses - here.


It was a grand weekend. Lots of driving for only 2 days but oh so sweet those 2 days were. I fell in love with southern Indiana. I could move there if I ever had to. I thoroughly enjoyed West VA – which is the sort of place I love to visit and love to populate with fictional characters, but which is entirely too mountainous for this flatlander. But east or west, home is best and now I'm back for a while.

No more serious traveling till warm weather gets here again.

posted by Bess | 7:56 AM