Monday, May 2, 2011

The Travelling Quilters

Right now, traveling seems to be all that we do. That, and preparing for travel. Now, this last trip. What can I say? Where to start?

Day one, we drove as far as Monticello, Arkansas, where my husband has a little apartment. (I think I mentioned that he has recently taken a job as a Dean at the University of Arkansas, Monticello.) I woke up with my back hurting so badly that I could barely move. Do you believe in signs? Looking back, this sure seems like one.

We left Monticello on Monday morning. (Remember, the week prior to this trip, we were at the beach, eating, tanning and playing beach croquet--waaay funner than watching the news.) The ride went smoothly until we were about an hour from the hotel in Sikeston, Missouri. Our friends, Barbara and Mike, called to say that the flooding was causing all kinds of changes and at that point all setting up was canceled.

Flooding? what flooding? I mean, duh. Every where you looked the fields, yards, streets, were either flooded or water was encroaching. Regardless, the severity of the flooding had escaped us. Our hotel was 48 miles from Paducah. So much for that. The bridges to Paducah were flooded so the only way to get there was to go north and come back south to Paducah. This meant a two-and-a-half hour drive instead of an hour's commute like we had expected. Add to this, the part where the toilets in the hotel stop working. Not nice, not nice, at all.

Mike got busy and made us new hotel reservations southeast of Paducah, an 82 mile drive. Remember, this looks good compared to the two-and-a-half hour drive. So far, so good. Well, the check-in and unloading went amazingly smoothly. The folks at AQS who were in charge of this whole thing deserve a HUGE round of applause. I still do not know how they pulled this whole thing off.

Good bye to "smoothly." Remember that fabric that did not arrive at my house? Well, on Thursday when I spoke to the "gal in charge," she had said to call on Monday to confirm the order and to give her the address of the hotel in Sikeston. So, while driving, I called. She had called in sick. Panic!!!, After being referred to two other folks, I finally got some sympathy and this new gal got the ball rolling. She arranged for the fabric to be sent to the hotel in Sikeston. Anyone remember that we changed hotels on Tuesday? The fabric arrived on time, on Thursday. So, after working all day on Thursday, Brandy and I got in the car and headed back to Sikeston. As we left the show, I asked two guys in uniforms what the road conditions were, especially the bridge situation. After all, aren't guys in uniforms "in the know?" They said, "You are good if you just head down Hwy 60. It takes you straight to Sikeston." Hugely relieved, we headed out. We drove about 30 miles. Our first "sign" that this was not a good idea? The road was under water. The sign was stuck at the water's edge, another DUH. Yep, you guessed it. Uniforms do not mean, "in the know." Back to Paducah. So much for that hour ++ drive to no where. Now we were back on the road that meant 2 1/2 hours to Sikeston. We arrived around 10:30 p.m. Fabric loaded, we headed to Hopkinsville. Home. Only 94 miles away....

About 30-35 miles later, another "sign." Road closed. We pulled off the road to check the GPS. The problem is when you enlarge the map, unless you know the area, it is too close to see relationships. Make the map small enough to see relationships and there are no road names, no numbers, nada. So, as we were fighting tears, a policeman drove up. I probably hugged him harder than his wife does during hanky panky and asked him if he had access to a helicopter! "I want to go to my hotel, NOW." (NOW being dangerously close to midnight at this point) Unfortunately, the only way was back to Paducah, then, south to Hopkinsville. We arrived at the hotel at ten 'til 3:00 a.m. Two hours later, we were getting dressed to go back to Paducah for the show. I felt like Steve Martin in the movie where he asks God for a sign...any sign...anything....and, just like the movie, lightening strikes, bells ring, etc. but, oblivious, we head in the same direction.....

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