Jun 28, 2010

Pre-Retreat: I'm On My Way...

I decided to leave a day early (last Wed) and make a couple of stops prior to arriving at the retreat in St. Charles. I woke up at 4am to a lightning flash illuminating my bedroom. I counted one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, etc... all the way to ten before the thunder boomed. By 5:30am, I got to one-thousand-two before thunder went off. When I got up around 6am, the news said a severe storm went through and another was on it's way within the hour.

The rain had stopped, so I quickly threw the rest of my things in the car and left for the retreat, hoping I could beat the storm.... which I did... in my area. As I got farther south, the Chicago Nat'l Weather Service was telling people in the north Central Illinois area (Mendota, LaSalle/Peru, I think) to seek shelter underground. Yikes!! I was headed toward that area.

View through my windsheild before the BAD storm hit...

I got caught in heavy storms... so bad I was going about 40mph on the interstate and could barely see past the front of my car. The car in front of me didn't have his lights on (dumb!) and the only way I knew he was there was he kept tapping his brakes (I imagine because he couldn't see). Notice how I refer to the driver as a HE? LOL

I finally made it to Peru. I was so glad to be done driving for a bit. Why did I stop in Peru?? I met up with Pam for breakfast. We are in a Yahoo stitching group together. What a nice gal she is. :) We chatted, and chatted. By the time we were done with breakfast, it had stopped raining and the sun came out. Then I made my way to Bloomington, IL where I stopped at an LNS. I was really disappointed. There was very little cross stitch stuff, and after I explained to the clerk where I was from and where I was going, she said to me: "OK, well if you need anything let me know." Then she promptly walked away, sat down at a table, and continued her needlepoint. I left within 15 minutes.

My trek continued: On to Springfield where after I drove around... and around... and around... looking for my motel. At first, I stopped at a grocery store and was going to go in to ask for directions, but there were "unsavory" looking characters coming out of the store so I decided to try somewhere else. I stopped at a nice looking building... it turned out to be a rehab clinic, LOL. The ladies there did give me easy directions to the motel, though. Turns out had I followed the Interstate, I could've just taken the off-ramp right to it. Gotta love mapquest. *hmph*

Since I had gotten into Springfield later than I planned, I didn't get to do a lot of siteseeing. I saw the Old State Capitol Building and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The Lincoln Memorial Museum stopped taking tickets at 4pm... I got there at 4:03. :(

The architecture inside of the Old State Capitol Building is amazing. There are four staircases (North, South, East, West) that lead up to the second floor where the House of Representatives and the Senate met. The House was on the East side. The Senate on the West. The ceiling of the House is a half sunburst that represented the rising sun. The ceiling of the Senate had the other half of the sunburst which represented the setting sun. the ceiling of the dome had a full sunburst representing the noon sun. It was prety cool!

In the House, there is a top hat at the place where Lincoln sat. They also have Abraham Lincoln's actual desk on display.

More Springfield photos can be seen HERE.

I saw this bit of trivia on a sign near the Old State Capitol Building.

(Click to enlarge for reading)

Since everything closed at 5pm, I headed back to the motel to do my homework and finish Test #2 for class.

Would you believe Springfield had severe storms also?!? Between 8:30 and 10pm, the skies turned dark, the winds picked up, and the rain poured down. I sat in my motel room wondering, "Can't a girl get a break?!"

The next morning, I woke up to beautiful weather and cooler, less humid temps. Great weather to continue on to the retreat!


Anonymous said...

Glad you made it out of the storm safely. What cool pics and a bit of history. Thanks for sharing.

Shari said...

same storms came thru here those days/nights.
Glad you made it safely! Sure wish I could have gone.....what a great time you guys had!!!

Cyndi Harris ~ said...

Good thing you had stitching on your mind or you might have not braved those storms LOL
Great history lesson too...is there a test?

Donna said...

We will weather any storm to get to our designated stitching area. That is the sign of a true stitcher. Glad you made it there safe. I really enjoyed the pics and the article on braiding. Very interesting.

Julie M said...

Sounds like you had quite the adventure on your journey to retreat! I'm looking forward to hearing more. Sorry you were disappointed in the LNS. I've had that same experience!

Carol said...

Interesting article about the "hair braiding," Meari--who knew!! Hope your journey continues safely--enjoy :)

Sue said...

Meari, you are one brave woman; driving in all that bad weather! The photos are so beautiful! Glad you had nicer weather to continue on to your retreat.


Debra said...

I see you are still looking for a way to store your buttons. Good luck. Love the bird pictures. Great pictures of your trip. The hair jewelry is a little weird. LOL!

lenna said...

Great blog I will continue to follow. Enjoyed it so much. Glad you found your book I bet I have that one it looks so familiar.
Your stitching is so pretty I like the ABC's one I have that one to do also.
Hope you enjoyed your retreat looking forward to reading about it. Pictures were incredible!
Come by and see me at http://theflyingitchesneedle.blogspot.com if you have the time.
God Bless ~

Terry said...

Glad you made it there safely through all that nasty weather. Looking foward to hearing about the retreat.

Nice pictures! Glad you were able to do some site seeing.

MaryT said...

Meari hope the rest of your trip goes well. Springfield is an interesting city. I was there once years ago and would love to go back. Only live a little over 100 miles form there so guess we ought to make the trip.

Shelley said...

Glad you made it there safely. I would have hated to be driving alone in storms like that.

Cindy said...

You must have stopped at the shop that is on the south side of Bloomington / Normal that is in a little strip mall. I forget the name, but I stopped there a year or two ago and also was not impressed.

It sounds like you had an awesome time at the retreat :)