Friday, September 11, 2009

Road Trip...Naturally Quilt Related!

As an A-1 Quilt Machine dealer I am privileged to be able to setup machines and train new customers on the use of their machines. This is always a joy to get to know fellow quilters as well as a fabulous excuse to get out of town!!

Wednesday we left on such a road trip to set up a new machine for a customer in Yorktown Texas. We decided to take the back roads and enjoy the Texas country side.

We weren't far from home when we decided it was lunch time and looked for a local establishment to refresh ourselves. We weren't disappointed! Bo's Bar B-Q and Sizzling Steak on Hwy 35 in Angleton offered us fabulous chopped beef sandwiches with home made chips. I can still taste the sauce! Should have asked if they bottled it.

Along the way I discovered a quilt shop in Blessing called Quilt Fabric & More and really enjoyed visiting with the owner, Aven, while I picked out some beautiful fabrics to add to my stash. For a small shop, only a year old this week, she had a really nice inventory. Several purples came home with me! If you are traveling in the area be sure to email her for her hours of operation. I'm hoping to visit with Aven again at the upcoming Houston Quilt Festival, she promised to look me up in the A-1 booth.

As we adventured further down the road I received an email from my friend Susan, who also happened to be my FIRST A-1 customer....she was telling me of other quilt shops along the way....unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs when we went through Victoria so we didn't go on a hunt for that quilt shop....hated to complain about the rain because it has been so badly needed...figured we'd pass that way again someday and I'd take a little more time in Victoria.

As our afternoon was getting on into early evening we found our way to Cuero, which is near Yorktown, only a little larger. Our customer was 'in between' in a rural area and had suggested that we would have better luck with a hotel in Cuero than Yorktown. We settled into a local establishment and found a Pizza Hut for dinner. In small towns the quaint places are usually in the town square and they roll up the sidewalks between 5 and 6 pm, so pizza sounded better than McDonalds. Afterward we decided to wander around the Walmart that was next to our lodging. Wow, it's been a long time since I've been in a Walmart that wasn't a "super" Walmart. And they still had a fabric department!! Naturally I got lost there while hubby went to look at the movie selection....

An hour later (I kid you not) we walked out of Wally-world with fig newtons, a $5 DVD to watch on the laptop in the hotel room, and fusible fleece for my next project back home....(which I hope to work on this weekend, sneak peak...visit Jamie Wallen's website and take a look at the new DVD for Jamie's Messenger Bag - I got the DVD the first of the week and I can't wait!!)

Thursday morning, bright and early after a wonderful on the road breakfast at the local WhatABurger, we met our new customer, Gaye. She lives really way out there in the country, dirt road and all. Oh my goodness, it was soooo beautiful! As my husband said, the yard (as in multiple acres) was a squirrels haven -- the trees in this area are just gorgeous! Gaye has a wonderful 40 x 40+ studio separate from her home (with land to spread out, why not!) She has been a longarm quilter for 10+ years and has sold her first longarm and is upgrading to the A-1 Professional Favorite. We enjoyed our day with Gaye as we set up her machine and trained her on all the features, care and routine maintenance. I enjoyed looking at her quilts in the studio. She shared a quilt she is working on for the upcoming Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Quilt Show, she will be representing her county again this year. I'll be eager to see it when the rodeo comes to town in Feb/March 2010.

With thoughts of the rodeo we decided to head toward Yoakum for the evening, with thoughts of finding a friend of ours from our rodeo days when we were the Ben & Jerry vendor, Yoakum Packing Co., who has the best turkey legs in the south! We knew it would be dark-thirty when we arrived, but thought we could spend the night and visit him in the morning, perhaps bringing home some goodies in our cooler...with that in mind we looked for a good place to eat dinner and found Fat Albert's BBQ & Icehouse. Hubby said he thought he recognized it from a TV show about the best BBQ places...don't know it was the same place or not, but he said the BBQ chicken was great - I don't know because we were suppose to "share" but between my baked potato being so large and him enjoying the chicken so much I never got a sampling (grin).

We didn't really find a place that we thought we wanted to camp for the night so decided we'd hit the meat market another trip and headed on down to Gonzales to see for ourselves the town that boasted of the "first shot" of the battle for Texas Independence. We weren't disappointed, a quaint little town that I'd move to in a heartbeat. Upon finding our hotel we went in search of a McDonalds and the "Red box" - decided we could rent a DVD for a dollar, watch it that night and return it the next morning at breakfast! Why not!

This morning, after our preplanned breakfast and having read all the tourist brochures in the hotel room the night before, we decided that we at least wanted to visit the Old Jail built in 1887 which now housed a museum...

I thought I should have sent this photo to family and tell them that my husband spent the night in Gonzales...

And then send this photo...but they'd never believe, he's smiling, and two, everyone knows better! I have a saint for a husband!

I loved the jailer's quarters....

Of course, I really loved the old quilts! Have you ever been watching a movie and notice quilts? We do this all the time and I love trying to name the pattern. Of course, this is a crazy quilt on the bed as a spread and the other one is simple patchwork....but they were hand quilted and wonderful!!

While in Gonzales we went on a driving tour with a local fellow that took us around town. Have to admit when he approached us, introducing himself as a volunteer for the museum, and asking if we wanted to get into his truck for a one hour tour I had this crazy thought of 'I don't know who this man is, no one knows I'm here, if he kidnapped me would anyone even know I was missing?' And then I thought, 'he's awfully trusting to ask two strangers to get into his truck' and then I remembered I was in small town Texas!

Best hour of the day! Leon was most delightful and knowledgeable. History just comes alive when it's an oral presentation. We drove past beautiful homes and city buildings full of such history! I've been reminded of the Texas history I'd forgot...with a renewed pride in the roots of Texas. If you are ever in Gonzales you owe it to yourselves to look up Leon and ask for tour. He'll be quick to tell you too that he's got some ghost stories to tell about the area too, even wrote a booklet about it! Naturally I bought it to remember my day, but I didn't have the heart to tell him that the only ghost stories I like are the ones of the Holy Ghost ~ and how God dwells within us with His Spirit...

Yes, Gonzales was an unexpected bend around the corner of our trip....the real intentions for today was a visit to Shiner - a little town of 2000 that boasts of two quilt shops (and the home of Shiner beer, but that wasn't on my agenda). Earlier this year I'd met Carol at the Square in a Square teachers reunion, she's the owner of The Square Quilter as well as a seasoned A-1 Quilting Machine owner! I just had to see her shop and see her 10 year old longarm! She is one of the gifted quilters who learned to quilt before there were stitch regulators! I loved seeing her machine and how the basic machine and engineering is the same as mine, I just have more buttons (grin). Her machine is a testimony of the A-1 being a true workhorse! No repairs, just routine oiling and greasing has kept her quilting all these years. I enjoyed seeing all the Square in a Square books, fabrics and quilt samples in her shop. She teaches classes at her shop in addition to her longarm quilting.

We also visited another quilt shop in Shiner, Martha's Quilting Corner. Martha is a delightful woman, I could have visited with her all day. Her shop is as cheery as she is! I loved looking over and over, row by row, all the beautiful fabrics. Hubby was quick to point out some Route 66 fabric similar to some I purchased for him on our Oklahoma set up earlier this summer. I, however, went for a beautiful print with sea shells that just happened to be purple with a touch of lime green (grin). Martha and I visited a lot about being longarm quilters (she has a Gammill Longarm) and I shared with her how there were several longarm quilters in my area, so many so that I decided to start a longarm guild so we could get to know each other as friends and not view ourselves as competitors. I shared how we gather to share ideas, resources, and how we are able to bring in national teachers, etc. .... as I said, I could have talked all day, but goodness, it was lunch time and this time we were in a quaint little town before the sidewalks were rolled up so best take advantage of that!

And we did! Right around the corner was Sandwiches and Such, joined to a really neat little candy shop!! I'm talking a great ham and swiss on rye with a glass of lemonade and then next door for homemade fudge! Doesn't get any better than this my friends! Small town Texas is where it's at!

We could have roamed the back roads for days and never gotten our fill....but I knew we had this cute little puppy eagerly waiting on us at we became homeward bound!

Yep, there's no place like home. I love seeing new parts of the country, I love visiting and talking with quilters, I love finding quaint places to eat (can't say I love staying in hotels, but gone are the RV days, for now), and I love coming home to familiar surroundings and the cutest tail wager in town!

Time to do the laundry and settle back into normality (grin)


Susan Loftin said...

Karen - I enjoy reading about your road trips around Texas. Keep them coming.

Muddling Through said...

Wow! You and Johnny really had a full trip. It sounds like so much fun. We're just waiting for the weather to cool down a bit and we'll be right out there with you!