Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gem Kitty

Gem Kitty is a fellow artisan with a studio on ArtFire. I love her jewelry. She uses various stones and metals and puts them together in a very eye catching fashion.

She has necklaces, bracelets and earrings in a wide range of colors and designs. I have a few of her pieces here. I love the colors in the bracelet.

It really puts me in the mood for autumn. And since I use a lot of turquoise in my jewelry you know these earrings really caught my eye.

Pay Gem Kitty a visit. I don't think you will be disappointed when you do.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

From Minnesota to Iowa

We have finally made it through Minnesota and into Iowa. Another state under our belts. The western part of Minnesota was much nicer. There were several lakes that we rode past and it was very scenic. The eastern part of Minnesota is mostly farms. Which are nice but after a few miles of nothing but corn you are ready for a change in scenery. We finally did make it to the Mississippi and that was nice. Two nights ago we ate at a restaurant that was right on the river. They had outside tables so it was nice.

The next day's ride took us across the river into Wisconsin but then back again into Minnesota. The route was supposed to take us back inland to farm country again so we edited it and rode straight down along the river. It was a beautiful ride. The road was a little beat up and therewere a couple of spots where the shoulder was tight. That may be why they took you back inland. But for the most part the road was good and the traffic was very light. So it was a nice ride along the river and through all the cute little towns there.

We will be in Iowa for the next couple of days. Then we skirt the southern part of Illinois and go into to Kentucky for the trek east to Virginia. If Jim can keep up at his 100 mile rides every day we should be done in 3 weeks. That would get me home in time for preseason. I will be happy if we are home by the first football game of the season. Preseason is a bonus.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Andrea's Designs

I have to admit that I have never been much of a scarf person. In my defense I have lived in Florida since I was in the third grade. So that makes me an honest to goodness transplant. And one that has taken root and is not about to leave.

Today I visited Andrea Designs on ArtFire. I am now a scarf person. I guess I just had not been exposed to the right kind of scarves. Hers are phenomenal. The colors are gorgeous and she has so many different styles and designs to choose from.

So now you are asking yourself what is this nut going to do with a scarf in Florida. Well we do have the occasional cold snap. And if I don't want to wait for that to happen I do have family that still live in those colder places in the country. And somehow we always manage a visit when it is cold. Why I don't know but we do.

And come to think of it Christmas is right around the corner and I think they could all use a scarf. So I am leaving now and going shopping.

Pictured here are just two of my favorites. But there are many more to choose from. And several different styles and sizes. You have to buzz on over there and check them out. You will be amazed and delighted.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nice People

Today will be our last day in North Dakota. We are in Fargo which is right on the eastern border. As soon as we leave in the morning we will be crossing over into Minnesota. Yipee!!!
Another state under our belt.

We go pretty much to the east and slightly to the south in Minnesota until we get around St. Paul. From there we are going back and forth between Illinois and Missouri. I think it is because they are trying to take us along the Mississippi River. The maps take us on scenic routes where there isn't much traffic so it is pretty safe for bicyclists. But that isn't always the fastest nor the shortest route. But they have been pretty.

I have to say that we have had some really pleasant experiences. I am pretty sure I already blogged about the elderly farmer that bought us lunch a while back. And then 2 days ago when we were in Minot it was very windy. I was getting out of the van and a big gust of wind came along and just flung my door wide open. I had a hard time closing it and it made an awful sound when I did. I went into the store to make my purchases and when I came back out I could only open the door a few inches. Upon further inspection the wind had buckled the door and made it overlap with the front panel. So I had to get in the passengers door and go about my merry way.

Once Jim arrived and I told him what happened we looked for a body shop. Luckily there was one a few blocks from our hotel. So off we went and were expecting a big bill. We told the man there to just fix it so we could open the door and we'd worry about cosmetics when we got home. He said he could do that and it would probably be about $60 more or less. So we took Beau for a walk and he got out his crow bar and set to work. We came back a few minutes later and the door was fixed. There was only one little area on the front panel that was missing some paint. Otherwise it looked good too. And the best part was he only charged us $20. Now how often does that happen where you live. Never in South Florida that's for sure.

And people have been so helpful with directions and telling us good places to stay and eat. It really renews my spirit to know that most people are really genuinely kind and giving. That has been one of the best parts of this trip. And I am sure I will have more stories to tell before I get home too. We are almost halfway now too.

I had to put the picture of the oil well in this post. I never would have imagined that I would see an oil well in North Dakota. Farms and animals yes. Active, working oil wells no.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Magic Me

These pictures alone would be fun. So what makes them special you may ask? My Magic Me does. She takes your face and incorporates into what ever type of picture you may want. She will also take your picture and maybe change the eyes to give you a little vampire type look. Or maybe change you into a cat or unicorn.

She has some really unique looking prints in her studio. You would do yourself a big favor to check them out. And if you have any teens in your family or friends circle I know you will find some very interesting gift ideas there. I know my granddaughters are getting a certain one for Christmas this year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Circle to Culbertson, Montana

This is our last stretch in Montana. Yesterday's ride was kind of hilly as shown in the picture below. At times it was like being on a roller coaster. You go up and then you go down and then right back up again. There weren't many flat patches. Today there were some rolling hills again but longer stretches of flat ground to cover.

When we got into Culberston there were two motels and a campground. So I figured we would not have a problem finding a place to stay. Right? Wrong! Both motels were booked. So we figured we would stay in the campground. They were booked too. The lady at the campground told us that they are doing major road construction. It is a really big project so they had to bring in a lot of workers and they are all staying in the motels and campgrounds there. Since we didn't need any hook ups for our van she let us park it under a tree near the bathroom and spend the night there. So at least we had a place to sleep. We went to the local casino for dinner. Every town we have gone through so far has a casino with a restaurant in it.

After dinner we came back to the van and settled in for the night. Later that night we were startled awake by severe lightening and thunder like I had not heard in Florida. It wasn't the loud cracks that I was used to. It was long low rumbles that went on forever. And sometimes louder than others. Then the wind kicked up. When I saw the van was rocking I am not using that saying as a figure of speech. It was rocking baby. And it wasn't rocking me back to sleep. I was afraid to look out the window. I was sure I would see Dorothy and Toto flying by. At some point I finally went back to sleep and it seemed like as soon as I did then Beau was whining to go out and it was morning. At some point you just have to give up and get up. And that is what we did.

It was off to the local diner for breakfast and then off to start another journey. We are hoping the road work wouldn't be too bad and it would be smooth sailing into North Dakota. One more state under our belts.

Jim took this picture when he was riding today. I knew the Boyce's had a cabin in Georgia but I didn't know they had a ranch in Montana too. Life must be good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bead Lady 5 Designs

Don't these poppy jasper and antique copper earrings make you want to reach for the stars? And these dark topaz and brass hearts have a romantic Victorian feel to them.

These are just a small sample of the great jewelry Bead Lady 5 has in her ArtFire studio. She has designs with a vintage feel but also some that are modern and all are gorgeous. There is a little bit of something for everyone no matter what you taste in jewelry may be. I know you will find her jewelry as exquisite as I do. Check it out today.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We're Heading East

Here is a picture of the entire group. From left to right it's Tom, me, my hubby Jim, Bob and John. And in the front row is Beau and Eli. We met Eli along the way. He was riding with another guy who decided this wasn't the thing for him after 7 miles. So we have been meeting up with Eli at rest stops along the way. We took this picture outside our motel in Missoula.

On our trip to Adventure Cycling we looked over the maps and decided to take a more direct route east and end the ride in Virginia instead of Maine. That meant that we would have to go solo and leave the group. Which was very sad as we really liked traveling with them. But it also meant that we would get home sooner and we also might be able to get another visit in with the kids in Ohio. And I have been getting very homesick. I miss my house, my bed and the beach. And mostly I miss my Florida kids. I haven't seen them since April. So we made the hard decision and decided to go for it. Do I have a great hubby or what? I know he altered his route for me but I'm taking it while he still wants to do it.

So when we left Missoula we went east and ended up in Lincoln. It was a cute little town. We stayed in this little cabin. It was set back off the road and surrounded with lots of pine trees. Very cute. And all the amenities including internet. Yipee. Then we had dinner at Ponderose's. We had a yummy dinner and the atmosphere was great. Wood carvings everywhere and super friendly people that love to tell us about their little neck of the woods. And Jim asked the waitress if she knew where he could get a little American flag for the back of his bike and she gave him one off the top of the bar left over from the 4th of July.

Today we headed out again and made it to Great Falls. On the way here we stopped in Fort Shaw for lunch. It was a tiny place with only 3 tables in it. An older gentleman came in after we were there and said he saw our Florida plates on the van. From there we struck up a conversation. He had lived his whole life in that neck of the woods on a dairy farm milking cows. He said he doesn't milk them anymore. Now it's just him and his dogs. He was a right friendly guy and when he was leaving he even paid for our lunch. He said it was his contribution to our adventure. You don't run into people like that everyday.

On Jim's ride today he went over the continental divide. That was quite a ride up in the van. And the ride down was spectacular and twisty. Glad I wasn't on a bike.

So tomorrow we leave Great Falls and are off to Geraldine. It should be a flatter day. There were a lot of rolling hills today and some were steep too.

Silver River Jewelry

Silver River Jewelry is the Artfire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops featured artist. She has some amazing pieces in her studio. She works with different stones and wire and creates lovely works of art. I have posted two of my favorites here but believe me this is just the tip of the iceberg. You have to visit her studio to see what I mean.
Here is how this artist describes her work:
Fine artisan jewelry made with a variety of techniques including wire wrapping, metal smithing and lapidary (rocks). I make elegant, affordable, well made jewelry with a touch of whimsy. Custom Orders are always welcome

Have fun browsing and shopping in Silver River Jewelry's Artfire Studio.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winchester Lake in Idaho

We camped at Winchester Lake State Park in Idaho. It was right on the shore of the lake. It was a beautiful campsite. The town of Winchester was very small. But everyone was very friendly. We found a nice little tavern for dinner and a great diner for breakfast with the biggest pancakes I have ever seen in my entire life. This is a picture of us at our site with a nice fire for the evening. It really got cold once the sun went down and by the morning I was frozen solid. We were at about 5,ooo feet elevation so the temp really dropped. This was one of our nicer campsites on the trip so far.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ArtFire Jewlery Artists and Supply Shops July Giveaway

The Ajdjss Guild's 2nd Blog Giveaway begins--And this time it's all about the color Green!!!

Green is the color of nature, fertility, life. Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being. Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color, if you don't know what color to use anywhere use green. Green is favored by well balanced people. Green symbolizes the master healer and the life force. It often symbolizes money. It was believed green was healing for the eyes. Egyptians wore green eyeliner. Green eyeshades are still used. You should eat raw green foods for good health.

Okay so here goes:

1.Nine Guild Studios--9 green items--
2.Visit each studio with the special green item. If the item is a piece of jewelry describe the outfit in detail what you would wear with it. If the item is a jewelry supply piece then describe in detail what you would make with it.
3.Come back to our blog and leave your comment and the following: Studio name, name of green item, your name, your email address so we can contact you if you are the winner.
You receive one entry for the above mentioned info.
You receive another entry if you have a blog and you mention this giveaway on your blog with a link directly to our blog. You must include your blog link so we can check it.
You don't have a blog? Promote the item on twitter, facebook, google, etc You must include your link to the promotion and receive another entry.
Buy one of the items and get 5 more entries. You must include the info about order for us to check. The "bounty" for this giveaway will be 3 items from our guild.

To enter go to the ArtFire Jewelry Artists and Supply Shops web page at or click on the link above.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We are in Idaho

Oh No Mr Bill we are actually in Idaho now. Tom has Mr Bill strapped to the front of his bike. So I had to include him somehow in my blog.
I now know where the Amber Waves of Grain came from in America the Beautiful. And they are beautiful too. We are definitely in grain country. And there is a lot of it too. As far as the eye can see. And that grain loves to grow on hills. Today's ride was beautiful but very hilly. There was one downhill that I was a little freaked out on in the van. I would have been screaming on a bike. Besides going down and down and down you were going around some nice curves and not all of them had guard rails. But it was nice country and we made it to the campsite. We are right on the shore of the Clearwater River. It is very peaceful here. Beau is laying in the sun enjoying the peace and quiet. It was very cold last night because we were up in the mountains on Winchester Lake. We had a nice campsite right on the Lake. It was surrounded by tall pines too. I will download those pics and post in next update. That's it for now.