Last year we made the announcement that 2016 would be our last year of significant touring. At the end of this year, we will be “hanging up our car keys” and only available for short “run outs” or flying tours – we will be more particular in the gigs we do. It is the end of an era.
Since September 2000, we’ve been on the road for between 6 and 8 months every year, mostly by car. It has taken us through every province and state in the North America, throughout Australia and New Zealand (both Islands, top and bottom), England and Scotland, and Europe (France, Germany, Belgium). We get to big cities and little, urban and rural, and get the advice from friends and family for “must-see” places to go while we’re in the area. It has been beyond wonderful, and the end of it is certainly bittersweet for me.
We’ve just returned from our spring tour, which took us to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas (FIRST TIME!), Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Massachusetts. We have only one more state to sing in to complete all 50: Mississippi. This time I’ve kept a personal journal to keep track of every day of the tour – so I can remember the joys (and the challenges) of this kind of life. Mostly, the joys.
Looking back at the tour, there are some notable stops. In between the gigs, we were able to do some interesting touristy things. We stayed in several Air BnBs, and got to see places we’d never been before. We also got to meet many wonderful quilters, and see some old friends as well. Here are some of the highlights:
We are huge fans of the Eagles (best road music EVER!) and had to stop off in Winslow Arizona to pay homage to the song “Take It Easy” by Jackson Brown. There’s even a statue of him at the corner. We now have (yet another) new Eagles “best of” CD for the car!
The picture above was taken at “Cadillac Ranch”, just out of Amarillo TX, where everyone was spray painting these upended Cadillacs. The paint is so thick on these cars that it looks like it’s dripping!
The best part of driving Route 66, though, was definitely just east out of Albuquerque New Mexico. Our Air B&B hosts told us about the Singing Highway. As you approach Tijeras NM from the west, there’s a rumble strip embedded in the road that plays “America The Beautiful” – but ONLY if you’re doing the speed limit! Sponsored by National Geographic, it is the coolest thing we found on the whole tour.
We did a lot of shows and classes on this tour, and it was very busy at some times. We did find a few days off in Atlanta Georgia, though, where I got to meet a second cousin for the first time, and visit both the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Martin Luther King National Historic Site. Both places were deeply moving.
Our next real touristy time was in Nashville TN, when we got to take a tour of the Ryman Auditorium. This is the original venue for the Grand Ol’ Opry, and the inspiration for Prairie Home Companion (on NPR). They were setting up for the last performance at the Ryman for PHC the next evening. Beautiful, historic venue, still hosting great shows.
We even got to see a concert with Emmy Lou Harris while we were in Nashville, courtesy of the gal working the door at the Winery there.
After that, it was pretty much full-on. During our time in Lexington KY, Bowling Green OH, greater Detroit MI, Ann Arbor MI and Boston MA, we had very little time to sit back and relax. But we still got to see some family members, got awakened in the middle of the night by a hotel fire alarm, visited the amazing Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI, and dipped our toes in the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Cod.
Here are some pictures of the classes I taught during this tour – there were so many! I was thrilled to have had a sponsorship from the Hobbs batting company for ALL of the black batting for my Mock Mola classes. It sure filled up the car, but was very very much appreciated. The first slideshow is from all the Mock Mola classes on this tour.
The next is from the Notan classes:
And finally, here are some of the Lucy Boston blocks that were designed (and ready to sew) during the “Hexagons: State of the Art” classes.
Our next adventure will take us up to Alaska in July. Then: one more 2-month tour in the fall! Thanks, everyone who helped make this tour absolutely exceptional! I hope our paths cross again sometime.