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4th November - back together again

Sunday night and we are all back together spending the last night in Houston in the Days Inn we started out at a week ago.

Today Ryan and I went into Houston to pick up the girls luggage. No real problems there, other than one of Susan's bags which weighs more like 50 kilos than the allowable 50 pounds (23 kilos). It is very heavy and took some loading into the car and from there into the room. 

All the ladies seem well and happy - probably tired but happy. Both Ryan and I continue to struggle with colds. Mine seems to have come back and Ryan struggles on.

After Ryan and I had returned to the hotel and carted the bags upstairs we had a necessary rest before heading out again to the Reliant Stadium for a football game. The girls checked out of the hotel and returned to the Convention Centre for the last day of the show.

Ryan and I parked near a Shipleys Donut store about a K from the stadium. We had donuts for lunch and then found some guys doing rickshaw rides from where we were to the stadium. Feeling unwell we took the opportunity to take a ride, which cost a $6 tip.

The stadium is huge - 70,000+ capacity, has a closed roof and so well set up. Lots of rest rooms and food facilities. Like all stadium food, it is very expensive. This is the same stadium that Scott and I went to for Wrestlemania XXV back in 2009.

The usual fantastic build up to the game like they do so well in the USA. Much patriotism and recognition of servicemen. The coin was tossed by former President George H W Bush. He looked very frail and came out to the middle of the ground in a golf buggy and needed to be held up as he stood. I am no great fan of either President George Bush but I considered it a great honour to have seen him. He certainly got a rousing reception from the crowd.

The game was good to see but it just seems such a slow game compared to Aussie Rules. The Texans beat the Buffalo Bills in front of a capacity crowd and Ryan and I are both glad we experienced the game.

We used our friend Rick Shaw to get back to the car and headed downtown to pick up the ladies who were waiting.

Then we returned to the hotel, where we arrived a bit after 4:00pm. Time for a ladies show and tell before a rest.

6:30pm we headed to a Cracker Barrel, all the ladies seem a fan of that place - good food as well as the gift shop.

After the meal Susan and Leanne sat in rocking chairs playing draughts.

On the way back to the hotel we called into a Dairy Queen for some desert.

We have the airport shuttle bus booked for 8:30am. Too much luggage for the mini van.

Tomorrow we fly to Philadephia via Nashville. Then we aim to drive the 150 or so K's to Lancaster, PA.

3rd November - quiet day

A quiet day for us men - an exhausting day for the women.

Rayls tells me they have finished with all the stalls and will spend the day tomorrow looking at the quilts. Apparently Susan got to do the tour of Minute Maid Park.

Ryan is stlll suffering from his cold, seems a little better but we took the opportunity to rest most of the day.

We did get to a few stores in the morning, a Best Buy included. 

Rest and TV in the afternoon. Then for dinner we did a Hooters. Nothing that exciting there.

2nd November - Back to Houston

Sixth Floor Museum
Gaz at the Sixth Floor Museum

Just on 700 K's today and we ended up back in Houston.

We started off in Texarkana and soon were back in Texas and heading for Dallas, a distance of 290 K's.Dallas is just a city like any other but it keeps bringing me back because of Dealey Plaza, which is the location of the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Part of Dealey Plaza includes the Texas School Book Depository building, from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired a rifle that killed JFK. There is also a grassy knoll on the northwest side of the plaza. The Plaza is a National Historic Landmark and is typically visited daily by tourists. The Sixth Floor Museum now occupies the top two floors of the seven-story former Book Depository. Since 1989, more than six million people have visited the museum.

Ryan and I visited the museum and then wandered around the plaza for a bit. The photo at left is JFK made up of 50,000 small portraits of his wife Jackie.

I only felt the need to stay a short time as I have been there before and so we hit the road around 1:30pm.We decided to head for Houston and see what happened.

We were attracted by a billboard, which advertised Bubba's Bar-B-Q & Steakhouse and decided to stop there for lunch. It is in a town called Ennis, as we were lost when we exited the Interstate Ryan pulled up in a shopping area car park where we noticed a sports store called Hibberts. We wandered in to browse and I asked the guy behind the counter where the cricket equipment was!!!  The guy was Joshua and we all got chatting, he thought we may have been from New Zealand....... fail!!!! When he heard we were from Oz he suggested Western Australia and even Perth - very rare. It turns out Joshua has a customer who use to live in Perth! In fact the customer is about my age (old) and was a cop in WA. He married a girl from Texas and they moved to the USA to look after the girl's mother. Sadly the girl passed away but the guy stayed on in Texas but will soon move back to Perth. Joshua didn't remember the customers name but will find out when he is next in and let me know by email. One of the things I love about the USA is chats with people we meet like Joshua, nice guy.

Ryan took this photo with his pan aroma function on the iPhone
Dealey Plaza

Onwards to Houston and we just ended up going the entire way and are back in the hotel we stayed for the first three nights. After checking in we went off to AT&T to get Ryan a phone and Subway for dinner.

Rayls, Michelle Hill, Leanne and Kerry
Rayls, Michelle Hill, Leanne and Kerry

Just spoke to Rayls; she seems more than happy as are all the girls. Susan tried for a tour of Minute Maid Park today but picked a day there was no tours and will try again tomorrow.

They met up with Michelle Hill, quilting celebrity from Australia. They has their photo taken and the following comment appears on Michelle's blog "And then I heard an Aussie accent and just had to say Hi! Turns out these girls are from Western Australia and they had come with a photo of their dear friend Cheryl who is going through chemo treatment....Hi Cheryl and sorry you couldn't be here XX"

1st November - To Memphis and back

Ryan at Gracelands
Ryan at Gracelands

Just 660 kilometres today. We left our Lonoke hotel around 7:30am and headed east towards Memphis which was 180K's away. We crossed the Mississippi River and from Arkansas into Tennessee around 9:15am.We had three main targets to get too and headed straight to target one, Gracelands. I had been here with Rayls back in 2008 but Ryan was interested and so I went back. The Graceland Mansion tour includes Elvis’ living room, music room, parents' bedroom, dining room, kitchen, TV room, pool room and the Jungle Room.

After touring the Mansion, we checked out the other great parts of the 14-acre estate including Vernon Presley’s business office and Elvis’ racquetball building. Also part of the Mansion tour is Elvis’ trophy building that houses an amazing collection of his gold and platinum records, as well as other great memorabilia from Elvis’ early career, his movies, his charitable endeavors and more.

The final stop on the tour of Graceland Mansion is Meditation Garden where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest.

Target 2 was the Gibson Guitar store in Lt. George W. Lee Avenue. We took the tour of Gibson's Memphis guitar factory, which consists of a viewing of the facility as Gibson's skilled workers craft some of the finest guitars in the world. It was an opportunity to witness the intricate process of binding, neck-fitting, painting, buffing, and tuning that creates the guitars.

Lorraine Hotel

After this we took the opportunity to have lunch in Beale Street. Beale Street is a street in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee, which runs from the Mississippi River to East Street, a distance of approximately 3 K’s. It is a significant location in the city's history, as well as in the history of the blues. Today, the blues clubs and restaurants that line Beale Street are major tourist attractions in Memphis. Festivals and outdoor concerts periodically bring large crowds to the street and its surrounding areas.

We ate at the Rum Boogie Cafe. Ryan had a pale ale and BBQ Pork sandwich and I had a Philli Cheese sandwich. Best part of the meal was watching around 100 elderly ladies arriving for some sort of lunch meeting. They all had to go up a spiral staircase to get to the upper floor. It was interesting to watch as they carted their walkers and canes slowly up the stairs. Took at least 20 minutes to get the entire group upstairs.

Target 3 was the Lorraine Motel at 450 Mulberry Street where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Around 3:00pm we headed back over the Mississippi and retraced our steps back to Texarkana on the Texas border.

We are at a Super 8 hotel just 200 metres from the border, in fact we missed the hotel turnoff when we arrived and had to go into Texas and turnaround to get back into our hotel.

iHop for dinner, lots of cricket computer work for me. At 10:00pm I got a text from the ladies, they are home, huge show and tell. They all have sore cheeks from laughing.

31st October - on the road

Today the ladies were up early and did a load of washing before Ryan and I saw the light of day. I am feeling better but still recovering from last weeks illness and the flights. Ryan is dragging himself along and slowly coming good. The ladies all seem fine. 

We packed and loaded the car and headed out around 11:00pm for the Hyatt Hotel in Houston where the ladies will spend the next 4 nights whilst the Quilt Show is on.

After dropping the ladies off Ryan and I hit the road for Memphis around 920 K's away. Driving was pretty easy and we made good time. Ryan gave me a break and drove for about 3 hours. We stopped for lunch at an In and Out Burger and had an afternoon break at a Dairy Queen - 99 cents for a banana split!!!!

We ended up at a Days Inn just past Little Rock in Arkansas, still 150 K's short of Memphis.

All good here and no word from the ladies at this time, tonight they were scheduled to attend the Quilt Show Preview Night.