Adventures in the Midwest

Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.

Last Tuesday, I was packing for my yearly visit to the Midwest to see my family. I grew up in the Midwest. The British Hubby says I’m a Midwestern girl at heart, but the longer I live in the PNW the more I realize just how flat my part of the Midwest is. I miss the trees and mountain views. Let’s not forget the rain.

 

I did have a chance to do some antique shopping with my mom. We found a flower pot made out of an old tire, vintage button bracelets and necklaces made from old silverware.

I also had a chance to take a lovely stroll along the historic canals.

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And watch the sunset over cornfields.

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Burt and Ernie wanted to come along, but I didn’t have room in my suitcase.

 

So they spent the week sleeping.

Up next, an update on my TDS and sock wips progress.

How many is too many?

Jobs fill your pocket, but adventure fills your soul. ~ Jamie Lyn 

I’m preparing for travel to the Midwest.  Right now it’s actually warmer in the PNW than it is where my family lives. Every time I travel, the hardest decision is what knitting to bring. Do I take one big project or several smaller ones? I’m always tempted to check an extra bag just for my knitting, but that just seems silly. Knitting has become my security blanket. I can handle any traveling crisis provided I have my knitting.

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Sometimes I even wind extra yarn to take just in case I’m stranded for days in a freak snow storm. (I know this is highly unlikely during the summer, but hey I’m prepared.)

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Burt loves winding yarn.

Stay tuned for my Midwestern adventures.

Off Roading

Follow no path. Make your own.

The past few weeks, we’ve been doing shorter journeys to practice maneuvers and get comfortable with Ulysses. This weekend, we wanted to get an idea of what a longer road trip would feel like. We plan to avoid freeways when possible, but that won’t always be an option.  Yesterday, we got in some practice on the bustling freeway. We even managed to pass a semi or two. Then the real fun began. We followed a forest service road that hugged a river for a bit before we located a gravel/dirt road that’s only open during the summer months. Here’s the view from the trail:

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We crossed over steel plates and grating. (This made us both giggle.)

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There were many bumps.

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We entered the National Forest.

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And Ulysses officially has trail dirt!

I even had a chance to knit while we took a break on our tartan picnic mat.

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If only the weekends were longer! Maybe next weekend we’ll take the kitties.

 

Ulysses at Speed

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles M Schulz

Today, our Ulysses adventure took us at top speed. It’s exhilarating! Our goal was to get in some freeway speeds to simulate what a longer road trip would be like. We’re still doing shorter journeys to help practice our maneuvers. Straight roads are boring.

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Our journey today took us to Tolt in Carnation. Carnation is a cute little town that was founded in 1912. I was tempted by several skeins of sock yarn. Ultimately, I couldn’t make a finally decision so I put the yarn back and decided to stick with patterns and a new project bag that doubles as a back pack (the British Hubby thought I needed this one). My new patterns are Blaer, Okanogan and Skogfjall. The British Hubby picked out Okanogan. He’s been dropping subtle hints he needs more hand knit socks. Eventually, I will have my wips down to one bin. I plan to start knitting more garments in the near future.

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Gracie’s idea of an adventure: hiding from the vacuum.

You’ll also notice a progress photo of my Twisted Lumberjacks. Sock number two is on the gusset decreases! It does seem a little odd to be working on a thick pair of bed socks while the temperatures are slowly creeping up. (It was in the upper 80’s yesterday!) Winter is coming, and I’m going to be ready.

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I don’t know about you, but enjoying the great outdoors makes me want to quit my day job.

Historical Picnic

Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit. ~Edward Abbey

Over the weekend, the British Hubby and I had our first outdoor adventure on Ulysses. We only made a few wrong turns before finding our destination, the historical Coal Creek.  Here you can see the remaining foundation from the Coal Creek Hotel that was built about 100 years ago in 1918.

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Here’s the view from Ulysses.

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Hiking in new motorcycle gear isn’t exactly the easiest hiking equipment for contemplating nature. New leather is a bit stiff for long walks. Instead, we had a picnic and some knitting while contemplating what the area would have looked like 100 years ago when the coal mines were active.

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Sock number two is coming along. This pattern, Vanilla Latte, is perfect for traveling. I don’t need to bring the pattern along. Maybe I’ll finish these before Stage 2 of TDS begins. (I know that was funny, right?) Stage 1 currently has about 175 completed pairs!

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I’m not sure Gracie even noticed we were gone.

 

The First Ride

I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me. ~ Walt Whitman

Today, the British Hubby and I took our first ride together on the Ural (we’ve named him Ulysses). Traveling on a sidecar is exhilarating, engaging and just plain fun! My face muscles actually hurt from grinning and laughing. Did I mention it’s a workout too? Two wheeled bikes use gravity in turns to assist maneuvering. Ulysses doesn’t operate quite the same. Driver and passenger must use their body weight to help corner. We found an empty parking lot to practice our choreographed leaning and start my first lessons on clutch control with my left hand. Since the States drive on the right hand side of the road, I’m used to shifting with my right hand. On Ulysses, the clutch is on the left handle bar. I managed to get a few action shots while the British Hubby rode sole.

I’ve made steady progress on one of my Color-Along Wips, African Violet Shawl. I’m on border chart number six. I really love how the lace charts make a ripple effect on the garter sections.

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Ernie longs to be out in the wild. Last time he was out, he sat under the bush where he sees our yard bunnies, Steve and Stevette. I think he was waiting for them to come to him like how I toss his toys at him.

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Musings on the Midwest

I grew up in the Midwest. The British Hubby always says, “You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl.” I’ll always be a Midwesterner at heart. Here’s a few highlights of my favorite things to do when I visit my family.

Lightening bugs also known as fireflies. I used to spend hours chasing lightening bugs as a child. Sadly, the Midwest is the only place I’ve lived with lightening bugs.

 

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The lightening bugs would pose for a photo shoot, but the corn was willing.

Summer thunder storms. When I landed, it was in the 90’s with much more humidity than the Pacific Northwest. This creates the perfect conditions for a summer storm with thunder and lightening. A good one rolled through that actually knocked out the power for a few hours. This provided an opportunity to knit by candle light. I didn’t think to get a photo, but here’s one with my knitting and a snack on the plane.

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The food. I learned how to cook and bake at a young age. My mom and grandmother still make almost everything from scratch. In the summer, much of it comes from the garden in their back yards. I also love a good taco pizza. This is a specialty item that I’ve never been able to find outside of the Midwest. Think taco on a crust with a refried bean base instead of pizza sauce.

It’s the last day of June. I would love to say I liberated four orphans while I was in the Midwest, but I didn’t. A few just need some finishing touches. I did manage to find a lovely little yarn shop to buy more yarn. Below is hand dyed sock yarn from a local shop and cotton for dishcloths. I think I was missing the water while in the Midwest as I only bought blue yarn.

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I also decided to start over on the TdS stage one socks. Here’s a photo of my cuff hanging out with the cuff from Stage three.

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Update on other wips:

  • Earth & Sky: Finished skein two! Sadly, it’s still not long enough to start the border so I’m going to have to acquire a fourth skein. Hopefully, I’ll find a good holiday sale this weekend.
  • Chairty Malt: No progress made on this one.
  • Washington Mist: Fourth short row lace section is complete. I’m on row 2 of 12 of the end . It doesn’t sound like much, but each row is around 400 stitches.

I would love to say I can liberate additional Orphans in July, but if I’m honest I will probably just add another month on to my quest. Or maybe I can try for nine Orphans the next few months.

I’m going to leave you with a bonus chicken photo along with the normal cat picture. Oscar the chicken is sporting his cheese head.