Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We got up and on the road fairly early.   I decided to play some music instead of listening to my book.  The first song was Helen Reddy's  "I Am Woman"  Such uplifting music.   Here I am - Single and with the freedom of the open road.  How empowering!!!

While stopped for gas, I chatted with a fella at the next pump.  He had a huge 5th wheel.  I asked him how long he had been hauling it - 15 years and 400,000 miles.  Wow!!!!  He said he was tired of travelling and tired of being re-tired.

As the day went on, I kept moving my next campground stop further west - I eventually made it half of the distance I had left to Grand Forks.  

I found a KOA near Eau Claire, WI.   It was a beautiful setting.   My tent site was in the trees, with a tree lined path to the nearest washroom.  There were no other campers within sight of my tent.

However, the mosquitos were voracious.   After my tent was up, I set my thermacell lantern in the tent to scare out any bugs that had gotten in it.   I then turned off the lanterns - or so I thought.   About 45 minutes or so later, I tasted something in the air - Oops.   I put the lantern outside, pulled off my tent fly (the actual tent is mesh), grabbed Tucker and went for a walk around the camp.  Great.  I'm trying to poisen us - especially wee little Tucker.  By the time we returned, the tent air was clear of what ever is in a thermocell.

I just pulled the fly over the tent, not bothering to tie or peg it.   We then crawled into bed.

Sometime during the nite I awoke to the pitter-patter of little raindrops - I reached out and pulled the fly over the end of the tent, but I was too late -  the bottom of my down comforter was wet, my sheets,  and Tucker's bed  The down comforter still kept me warm though.

Generally, Tucker sleeps at the foot of the bed, on top the covers.   This night was the first time he crawled under the blankets and slept next to me - he was shivering.

We woke at about 5 a.m.  I read a while, then decided to get on the road.  

Wisconsin:   Wisconsin has no regard for travelling pets.   At each rest stop, the pet area was far removed.  The Welcome Center, I had to carry Tucker over piles of construction debris to get to the pet area, and it was nothing to brag about.

At another rest area, I had to walk clear across the picnic area, and across the huge truck parking lot to a narrow swath of mowed weeds - stiff and stickery with piles of cigarette butts, trash and garbage to pick our way around.  It was the worst in all the states I had crossed

I then crossed into Minnesota, and at the very first and every rest stop after that - the pet area was close to the car parking lot, and of lush green grass!  

Just as I arrived in Minnesota, I ran into a severe thunder storm, rain so hard I could barely see in front of the truck.  Luckily the welcome center was within a mile, and I sat out the storm for about 45 minutes before continuing.     I'm reading "Game of Thrones" so it was no hardship.

I safely arrived in Grand Forks ND about 6 p.m. Saturday night.   My truck stuffed with wet gear from the night before.  The rain continued  - it is now Tuesday, and it is still raining.

Next blog will be about discovering family.

Til next time,
Bear Hugs
Luv 'n Boots and Tucker
And don't forget Wee Beastie, also

She believed she could do it so she did

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I finally got on the road at 9 a.m. Wednesday – instead of 6 a.m. Monday – but finally, we were on the road.   Over the Potomac bridge, stopped for groceries, through Fredericksburg, where there is a Civil War Battlefield – been there, once.   Located a K-Mart and picked up a one burner stove and some fuel.

On across Hwy 95 – past the Chancellorsville battlefield, stopped for gas, and started through the beautiful rolling hills toward Charlottesville, VA  The green fields are defined by white board fences, and wooded areas.   We rolled pass some magnificent farms – Strawberry Hill,  Tall Oaks, and Bridlespur farms.  The names alone were inspiring.

 About Charlottesville, we started getting some rain.   We continued in and out of showers most of the rest of the day – made it a little past Charlestown WV – which actually was my goal for the day -   Stopped at a KOA for the nite.

For a first night as a camper, Tucker did remarkably well.   He was quiet for the most part, and when he did bark, it was done in his “inside voice”.   I checked in after hours (about 6:30 p.m.) so I needed to wait til the office opened at 9 a.m. to settle my bill.   I was up and raring to go at 6:15; but I put the time to good use – organizing and moving some stuff around – I found the matches – now I have them in my pocket, purse, go-bag, food bag and stove box.  No more dinners of crackers and peanut butter.   I also found my clothes – so I have my pj’s for tonite and clothes for tomorrow all bagged up and ready to go.

 They had 2 pet rules that left me scratching my head -   1) Do not leave pet unattended   2) no pets in buildings.   I asked as I was checking out how I was expected to get a shower.   The manager said since I was travelling alone, to go ahead and take him in with me (private showers)

While I was packing up camp this morning, I set up Tucker’s playpen, and on a whim, I put “Wee Beastie” (Those of you who have followed my blog will remember Wee Beastie as my Teddy Bear)  in with Tucker.  Tucker took one look at him, jumped up and kissed the bear on the nose, knocked him over and promptly crawled on it’s belly and took a nap.   Looks like Tucker has a friend forever, now.

I tried to avoid the heavy traffic in the Chicago area by skirting along Kentucky/Ohio  around Cinncinati (How DO you spell that?)  and Indianapolis.   It may have saved me some traffic and miles, but it sure didn’t save any time – too many 45-55 mph.

 Late in the a.m., my air conditioner quit.  It got a little warm after that.  I was hot and sleepy when I pulled into a rest area with no shady parking spots, of course – but I decided to disobey the sign about pets in the picnic area -   and we sat at a shady table for a bit.   A lady came along walking a tiny Yorkie.   Tucker tried his best to make friends with “Charlie”, but he was afraid of all other dogs, even those smaller than he was.   The lady, Teresa, and I chatted for several minutes.  She and her husband had been missionaries in St. Petersburg Russia for 15 years – raised their children there – lived the life style – a healthy one for all those years – good, basic food, lots of walking to get wherever they wanted to go.   She returned to the US and within 6 months gained 100# and was on several medications.   She said in Russia several of their friends were doctors, but they used the holistic approach – and they all stayed healthy.   She has gone back to basic foods, quit the medications and has lost 40# and is working on the other 60. 
What does that have to say about our lifestyle in the US?  Fast food, and doctors who are quick to push the pills.

 Well, it is now about 8:30 pm – we are camped at a KOA about 50 miles west of Indianapolis.   2 more days of heavy travelling to get to Grand Forks ND.

I hope to be up and on the road by around 7 to make up for lost time – get in 450 – 500 miles and hope to find a campsite somewhere along the way (Friday nite of Memorial Day Weekend – wish me luck)

 Until next time
Bear Hugs
Luv ‘n Boots, and Tucker, Too.
And we must not forget Wee Beastie!!!!
"She believed she could, and so she did!"

She believed she could do it, so she did!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

R. I. P.

Last post, I introduced you to Gabby - my new travelling companion.  This post, I am reporting her death, which was tragic, violent, senseless and needless.  Our hearts are broken.  Brooke even more so, since Gabby was the second of her little dogs to die in less than 2 months.  Gabby had been with Brooke all her live.  She will be missed sorely.

Brooke seemed more concerned about how I would take it than for herself (I was in Virginia Beach at the time)

I returned to Brooke's on a Saturday, and after dinner at the farm on Sunday, Brooke walked in with a bundle and handed it to me - and it started wriggling.   And, so appeared in my life, a 2 1/2 pound bundle of joy.   He had a tag that said:  "Hi, my name is Pumpking and Gabby sent me to help heal your broken heart"     I laughed, I cried.  And he has become my constant companion.  Never more than 6 feet away from me.   He likes to travel, loves people.  I'm looking forward to watching his personality develop.  He visited the vet last week, got a shot, that I'm convinced hit a bone cause he set up such a yowling and didn't stop when the needle was removed - that's why I think it hit a bone - he's so tiny and the needle was so large.   Then, to add insult to injury, he was fixed.

He also told me he didn't particularly like the name "Pumpkin"  so we came to an understanding and he is now known as:  Tucker

I wanted to add photos to this post - but............. I can't find my camera.   I need to find it today, or leave without it.

I'm packing up - Had planned to leave yesterday -  Then changed it to today cause I just finished my sewing projects Sunday.  Then I checked the oil, Oh-oh - I can't leave until I get an oil change which means I have to stay put until tomorrow.   It's raining - started yesterday, and will continue all week - so when I go to town to get the oil change stuff, I'm hauling in clothes to dry.

So, tomorrow morning, I'll be off and runnning.  Headed first for Grand Forks ND then on to Montana for the summer.  The packing seems like an endless task.   I had planned to start last week, but I had a load of trash and recycling in the truck waiting for Dennis to arrive so I could show him where to take it.

Dennis is a friend of Brooke's from way back who has come to be a mentor for Seven, and to help out Brooke.   He can do all that I did, plus a whole lot more.

In any event - once I'm on the road, I'll have a lot more to say

So, until next time:

Bear Hugs

Luv 'n Boots, and Tucker too  (And don't forget Wee Beastie)

"She believed she could do it, so she did"