Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quilters Through The Generations - Karen Thurn

Welcome to Melva Loves Scraps and Quilters Through The Generations!
Today I introduce to you Karen Thurn from Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats!

Karen and I participated in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers group on facebook together.  The group was formed to help new quilt bloggers improve the appearance of our blog homes.  It was "peer" oriented, which means all that were participating were offering critiques on the appearance and content of our blog posts.  We were all relatively new and open to suggestions to grow our audience.  Karen & I were able to meet in person at the Tucson Quilt Guild Show in February.  And again when Karen and her husband, Mark (Tu-Na Helper) stopped by for a short visit and tour of my sewing room in the spring as they traveled from AZ to their home in Bismark.

Have you ever made a quilt?  

 Yes, I have made many quilts.  Most of them have been given away.  

My first quilt was similar to a biscuit quilt and the centers of the squares were tied with yarn. 

 “I was sixteen when I made it.  Yarn tied in the center of each puffy blue or white square secured a nylon stocking.  (SAMPLE photos)

When I ran out of nylon stockings I placed an ad through a country magazine’s correspondence column asking for nylon stockings.  And people sent them to me! Lots and lots of them.  Along with them I received love letters, a proposal of marriage, and necklaces… as well as a bounty of nylons.
I machine and hand stitched the squares together. I used that quilt for many years but due to its heaviness, every time I pulled on it I could hear the hand stitching breaking… it needed constant repair. Finally, I made the decision for its future.
“Your old quilt sold first at the rummage sale,” my sister exclaimed thirty years ago as she handed me a dollar. I had been inside the house getting the last of the stuff together and ran to the window. I remember looking out that window and watching my quilt walk away and have regretted it ever since.”

Does your mother quilt?

Yes, my mom, Frances (Huber) Preszler, learned to sew clothing after she was married and eventually started quilting. Back then, clothes that had become outgrown but were still in good condition were saved and used for making quilts. She made a quilt for me when I was a freshman in college using bits and pieces of me and my siblings clothing and left over scraps.  We must have somehow missed the memo about needing to provide our own bedding… my parents went and purchased what I needed at a local store, including a very thin blanket.  When they returned to visit two weeks later, mom brought me that quilt she had made. 

She’s gone on to make quilts for each of her 17 grandchildren to celebrate either their high school graduation or their wedding. The wedding quilts are made from new 100% cotton and the graduation quilts are made from denim that she has hand embroidered pics of the grandchild’s activities and cars etc. She’s also made many beautiful wall hangings. 

In the 70s and 80s, double knit fabrics were sought after to make quilts. They would produce a quilt that was very sturdy but still soft.

Mom had lots of double-knit fabric left over from the clothing she made throughout the years for all of us kids (5) and herself. When they retired from the farm and moved to Bismarck a few years ago, a box of double-knit fabrics and used skirts, jackets, and pants moved with them. She’d been telling me she wanted to make quilts with them and finally, I said, “ok Mom, let’s get that box out and I’ll help.”  It took some convincing to get her to make a snowball/nine-patch instead of just cutting squares using a cardboard template.  

This quilt has a cotton backing and a nice poly batting with a high loft to give it a poofy look.  Because of the poly fabrics we chose to tie it rather than to quilt it.
As we cut and pieced the quilt Mom would mention what the fabric was used for, “Oh, this was from pants that you made” or “this was from your Dad’s jacket”, etc.

I think that polyester fabrics must multiply like rabbits, because that one box turned into 2 boxes, and then two full suitcases showed up as well! I think mom is very good at hiding her double knit stash. Mom’s dream of using those double knits for a quilt has now evolved into us making 5 quilts, one for each of my siblings and one for me. 

The snowball/nine patch quilt includes my sister Sheila’s prom dress. I got her permission first to cut it up but she didn’t know she was getting it back as a quilt.

We made a green/yellow/brown rail fence for my brother, Terry, because he took over the operations of the farm and only uses John Deere farm equipment. We were lucky to find some fabric that looked like farm land for the back and mom appliqued green tractors and barns on the it.

My sisters started hearing from Dad about the fun that mom and I were having on our “quilting days” and wanted in on the fun. These quilts were to be surprises, so I had to come up with another couple of quilt projects for all of us and keep our double knit quilts a secret, at least until Christmas last year when Mom decided to go ahead and gift the two finished quilts. 

We are now working on a brick quilt in burgundy and greys for my brother, Gary.  

My other sister, Bonnie, will be getting a pink and white quilt in the modern X O pattern. 

And mine will have pieces of the yellow dress my paternal grandmother, Katherina (Landenberger) Preszler (also a quilter) wore to my wedding and also to my brother’s wedding as well as the green dress my mom wore to my wedding. These quilts have and are turning out beautiful and they will wear like iron. They’ll be around for a long time.

My Maternal Grandmother, Julianna Huber, was also a quilter. She passed away when I was only three months old. Mom has some of her vintage 1930’s blocks that grandma made. When the original quilt had ripped beyond repair, mom removed the leaf shapes and sewed them onto pieces of very thin cotton/poly blend fabric.  My mom, sisters and I recently had a “quilting” day and my sister, Sheila who says she doesn’t quilt, worked on carefully removing the blocks so that we can applique them onto a 100% cotton fabric.

Even my mother-in-law, Ruth (Meidinger) Thurn, quilts.  She’s made each of her 8 married grandchildren a quilt which she gave to them on their wedding day.  She takes her quilting seriously as she can’t visit us or we can’t visit her on Tuesdays as that is quilting day at the church and they need her.

Have you taught someone to quilt?  

Yes, my daughter, Emily.  She had learned to sew clothing like skirts and aprons when she was younger and then told me that she had an interest in quilting and I just kind of guided her.  All her life, she’s been surrounded by fabric and quilting so she kind of learned by absorption. When she first started she would only focus on one project at a time.  She is hooked now and talks of what project she wants to start next and then another after that. She joined us for one day of the Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop this year and we had such fun! 

You can be part of all their fun over at Day 2 on Tu-Na Quilts…

How many quilts have you made?  

No idea, lots! Not counting two small wall quilts, the only one I have kept is my “21 year quilt”.  

Twenty two years ago, I took a quilting class where I learned how to use a rotary cutter and ruler which revolutionized quilting for me. I wanted to make a quilt for me since I didn’t have a good quilt that fit our queen size bed. I remember attending that class and sharing my strips of fabric with other quilters as they shared theirs with me. This class taught me the importance of accurate cutting.

I took those strips and sewed them into nine patches. I sewed many nine patches and then stuffed them into my fabric cupboard. Every now and then, I’d let them come out to play. I’d sew a few more nine patches, arrange and rearrange them, and then reshelf them while family and work responsibilities took priority.

Five years ago, I rediscovered them and took them over to my mom’s house. This quilt was meant for me and I wanted to get it done. Mom drew up a plan for setting those nine patches and together we laid them out and I sewed.
And then the top sat for another year until I rented time on a longarm and quilted it using a computerized program of hearts.  

Other quilts needed to be made and finished first and my quilt was folded and put away. When I was at my North Dakota home for Christmas last year, I unfolded it and machine stitched the binding to the top.

At this point I was tempted to return it to the pile but decided to begin to hand sew the binding to the back.

I didn’t get very far as I had to leave it behind when I flew back to Arizona on January 1st. Finally this spring, while I was on a quick trip back to my North Dakota house, I picked it up and finished hand sewing the binding. There you have the real story behind my quilt lovingly named “My 21 Year Quilt.”
The fastest that I have ever made a quilt was a full-sized quilt that took me one week from start to binding.

Do you have a favorite block? 

I have always liked the star blocks and all the variations of them. When I find a quilt pattern that I really like, I tend to make two quilts from it. I made two giraffe quilts, one for a grand daughter and a bit larger one for my grandson. Those were my first attempts at free-motion quilting on my home sewing machine. I backed those quilts with minky.  

Do you have a favorite quilt? 

I made a “Little house” quilt a couple of years ago for my best friend’s 7-year-old granddaughter in celebration of an answered prayer. Every night since this little girl began talking, she prayed for a daddy (her mom was single). This prayer was finally answered two years ago when her mom married and there was a surprise adoption blessing as part of the wedding ceremony. She loves the Little House book series which made this quilt perfect for her.

One that I aspire to make, I saw when Mark & I were at a yard sale a few years ago. 

It was covering up some equipment on a shelf. I opened my mouth and told them about how they were using (abusing) a valuable piece to cover up all their dirty, greasy stuff. We went to the car to get our camera to take a picture of it and when I returned, the quilt was neatly folded on a shelf. Had I not said anything, I probably could have bought it from them for a really good price. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the picture of it at this time...

Do you participate in any quilt groups?  

We reside in a retirement village in AZ during the winter months and I am part of a group there.  I made a presentation to our HOA board asking for our group to accept a donation of a longarm quilting machine and proposing putting it in a large room that would function as our work and classroom. Emily helped by submitting professional floor plans of that room (she is an interior designer). The board allowed us to accept the donation but could only give us a small space (8’ x 16’) to house it. The machine had been well used by the members quilting over 200 quilts in less than a year so the decision was made last spring to replace the original machine with an industrial Gammil machine. We are in the process of negotiating for a larger room, hopefully a building where classes can be held and a general work space for everyone. 

The group hosts a quilt show once a year although we have our own show and tell of our projects each week. I chair the membership committee and am a member of the longarm and program committees.  

Have you entered any quilt competitions?  

No… I quilt for fun, and don’t think that my work is good enough for anything like that. 

Have you sold any quilts? 

No, but I have donated some for fundraising auctions. I was amazed that my quilt for the church auction fetched over $250.00.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Several places… I get a lot from other bloggers and patterns, books, and magazines that I buy.  If I plan on making a quilt as a gift for someone, I like to hear from them what they like and then I try to figure out how I can make something special for a certain person.

Like the second Little House quilt that I made for my Grandson, Arlo. I modified it and included a few more masculine blocks than the original pattern included.

I designed the covered wagon block and added the dog, mittens, Steam Engine, bookshelf, and cat and mouse (which were my first paper piecing attempts) to represent the different stories from this series that he really liked. You can find pattern links to these blocks here You can find the original block patterns over at During Quiet Time.

What is your favorite part of quilting?  

Oh, that’s easy!  It’s the shopping!  I love looking at the fabric, the colors, and all the possibilities.  The challenge of finding the perfect fabric combinations is always fun.  I love cutting too! Even my dad has noticed when I am quilting over at my mom’s house that I like to do the cutting.

I have a stash of fabric, quilt books and patterns at each of my houses. I shall never run out of ideas to quilt or fabric to use. But somehow I still find myself back at the quilt shops looking at fabric because the color I have at home just isn’t right.

How many quilting projects do you have?

I have 10 projects that have started right now and in various stages.  

I have been collecting 1-1/2” squares of fabric for a Postage Stamp quilt.  The finished size will be 70”x 80”.  This means 5600 different fabrics! I have heard projects like this referred to as a sour dough quilt, just like making sour dough bread you have to let the starter sit for a few days and then stir it.  But I call this one “my back burner project” – it just sits there and every once in a while it needs to be stirred or a few squares cut and sewn together in this case. At this rate, it will probably take me 21 years to finish, too!

I have another 10 that I have the pattern and fabric selected and waiting to get started and another 10 or so UFO's that won't get finished - some were from classes that I took to learn a concept or technique.

I personally, get anxious if I have more than two, three max, going at one time... I would be a nervous wreck!  But that is just me... Karen seems to handle it just fine!

How many projects do you like to have going at one time?

Happy Quilting!


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Forrest Teegarden

Today it is an honor to feature the first adult male quilter in this series and to be able to say that he is my Uncle and a part of my family tree, makes it even more special!

Forrest R. Teegarden became interested in making a quilt several years ago because his sister, Carol & Melva were making a lot of quilts.  It must have been about 15 years ago...

Very early on in our quilting endeavors, Mom and I made fence rail quilts for numerous people.  I donated a good number of them to the assisted living facility where Grandma (Tressie Teegarden) lived.

This was apparently enough to spark an interest for him and given his physical limitations, it was good "brain" activity and something that he enjoyed.

Uncle Forrie shared that "One day I noticed a note in the local paper about a quilting class that was going to start so I went up to the small shop and signed up for the class. The lady that was going to teach the class showed me a bunch of different patterns and you had to pick one out for a $1.  You then needed to purchase the fabric.

You could use a cardboard template and scissors to make the block.  But the lady at the store showed me how to use a ruler and a rotary cutter which made it a lot easier and faster and more accurate and true.  They had a few sewing machines, but they filled up fast so I would take my own machine with me and piece the blocks there in class.  In each class we made a different block."

Uncle Forrie was a machinist by trade, so the importance of accuracy spoke volumes to him!  

"When I finished the blocks I had enough to make a nice sized Sampler Block lap quilt.  We had a "show and tell" at the end of the class and then we were on our own.

After the class I ended up making a quilt for each one of my grand-kids, a total of seven.

Here he is pictured with five of his grand-children and four great-grand-children.

This was the first quilt by Forrie for his grandson - Brandon, born in November, 2002

Brandon's younger sister, Karissa, has a quilt that has a border and a signature square noting that Grandpa Teegarden made it in January, 2004.

Do you have any memories of your Grandmother quilting?
Grandma Teegarden quilted - Lala.  (here we are again!)  I remember that she always had a quilt frame set up for the quilting ladies from church - they were always hand quilted.  I remember that she made one for me - I don't remember how old I was - but it was just the 4" blocks sewn together (the comforters that were talked about in Lala's story)  

She made a regular quilt for me as well.  I don't have it anymore but I recall that it had a red and white (checker board?) border and some red blocks in the center, but I do recall having that quilt when we lived in Pueblo as a child.

My favorite pattern that Grandma Teegarden used was a Double Wedding Ring where the circles would intersect.  I liked how they locked together over the entire quilt to form the pattern.

My wife, Evonne, had made some "Memory Quilts" for our three girls after they had grown up and moved out on their own.  She made four patch blocks using fabric from the clothing that she had made for all three girls growing up.

Mom and my cousin Kodi had discussed this quilt and how there was fabric from her shorts and some other items that she remembered.  How fun!  I think that Evonne had made a memory quilt for herself as well, since this one was still at the house and yellow was Evonne's favorite color.

Forrie also stated that Evonne had made some (blankets for the first two grand-children) with pictures on them...

Since Mom & I can't recall ever seeing these, we are guessing that they were printed panels, backed with flannel and tied,  something like this one >>.  Uncle Forrie is unsure of where this came from, but it seems like a project Evonne would have completed.)

What is it about quilting that interests you?
When I see quilts I enjoy looking at the different patterns and colors.  Some are simple square blocks and others are more complex and make secondary patterns over the whole quilt.  

I enjoy visiting the quilt shows they have at the fairgrounds and fundraisers at the local churches - they have a lot of quilts all different sizes, colors and patterns.  

I never made one of my favorite quilts, but it had a sun in the corner with rays coming out to a point.  With all the different colors I always thought that I would like to try it but I never got that far.

I believe he is talking about a paper-pieced New York Beauty block...

It is unfortunate that Uncle Forrie's physical limitations have become ever increasing over the years and is no longer able to enjoy quilting.  But what a unique guy!  As my husband Dave says, "he can sit and have a conversation with me and discuss machining techniques, equipment and hunting & shooting and then turn around and have a conversation with you about quilts, fabric and patterns."

Thanks for stopping by Melva Loves Scraps and Quilters Through The Generations!  

What is your favorite quilt pattern?
Have you ever made a New York Beauty?

I'd love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below...

Quilt Happy!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quilters Through The Generations - Alessia Harmon

The third grand-child of quilter Sue Harmon is Alessia Harmon, age 9. She may be young, but she is not be out done by her sister Julia  or cousin Johnny, both 12 years old.  Follow along as we wrap up the visit to the "Harmon Tree" of quilters...

Have YOU ever made a quilt?

Yes, I’ve helped make many quilts.  I have made 2 baby quilts, a wall hanging and a quilt for my American Girl doll by myself.

When I was 3 years old, I started by helping Grammie (Paternal Grandma, Sue Harmon) make quilts by sitting on her lap and pushing the foot pedal. 

She is the one that taught me to sew and quilt. I have made seven quilts so far. I used my first quilt as a rug.

Above, Alessia is enjoying some quilting time on 
Grammie's lap...  Sue noted that she was 
closely supervising since "it was my new machine."

Does your father quilt?

My Dad, Mark Harmon, made this quilt when he was in the 6th grade - 1984

You will notice that it has been well loved

Alessia and her older sister, Julia Harmon, worked together to make this baby quilt...  You just know that the quilt was made with care and filled with love... just look at the joy and pride on those little faces!

What is your favorite part of quilting?
The sewing of the quilts is my favorite part of quilting because it is fun. I get a lot of inspiration from books or my Grandma Sue.  I sleep with some of the quilts that I have made and I use them for my American Girl Doll.  I have given away the baby quilts.

Here Alessia is showing off the quilt she made for her cousin Garrett - Johnny's little brother.  You can catch the entire story of Johnny Pfaff here.  I have no doubt that Johnny's little brother will soon have his turn learning to sew on Grandma Sue's lap.

Alessia and Julia have an older brother, Parker Harmon (now age 14), as well.  Sue stated that he no longer seems to have time for quilting, but he has had his share of quilting time.  Sue shared these photos from 2011...

One thing I have noticed with all of the first projects that Grandma Sue has used to teach her grand children to sew and quilt is that they are small - they come together quickly so that the kids don't lose interest in the project.

I am sure all of you out there have more tips and suggestions for beginning quilters, no matter the age... 
Be sure to share in the comments!

Happy Quilting!


Photos courtesy of Tu-Na Quilts and Sue Harmon

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Johnny Pfaff

Today Johnny Pfaff - age 12 - is in the spot-light.  Johnny is a third-generation quilter. His Grandma, Sue Harmon, recently shared her story with me.  Johnny has also been mentioned over at Tu-Na Quilts by Karen. Karen met Sue Harmon and her grandchildren while participating in the Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop in August. 

Have you ever made a quilt?    
Yes, my maternal grandma, Sue Harmon, taught me to sew.  

Sue  shared these photos with me  of Johnny from 2011 as he worked on the layout of a wall hanging.

I helped my grandma make the animal quilt I have on my bed as my bed topper, a whale quilt.  (shown here)

So far, I have made two quilts and have another one in the works.  My bed topper is my favorite, because it was the first one I worked on by myself.  I picked the fabrics and did most of the work.

My favorite part of quilting is piecing the final blocks and seeing the finished top.  I get a sense of accomplishment.  Quilting is fun and a good break from electronics.  It’s like meditation when I’m using my hands and my mind.

Does your mother quilt? 
My mom, Deb Pfaff, has made a couple of quilts, the first one when she was in 6th grade. 

It is a pink and blue Rail Fence and tied, like the one his Uncle, Mark Harmon, made, as shown in Julia's story.

Do you have a favorite block?  
Yes, it is the friendship star.  

^^This is Johnny's latest project... 

Grandma Sue shared with Tu-Na Quilts that He did everything himself from cutting strips to squares, marking the 1/2 square triangles, sewing, and pressing to arranging on the design wall. His introductory photo is from the day he was picking out the fabric for this, his latest quilt.

Where do you get your inspiration from?  
My inspiration comes from my passions in life - animals and nature.

I feel that his inspirations speak loudly through his fabric choices that feature animals (in the wall hanging and the whales in his bed topper), as well as the rich blues that he chose for his latest quilt - they remind me of the waters that surround the Caribbean islands... 

And isn't it just magnificent that Johnny enjoys quilting and that his Grandma Sue has taken the time to teach him.  

But I think the best thing is that he uses it as meditation!  This young man seems wise beyond his 12 years!  Be sure to leave some words of encouragement for Johnny in the comments... 

And, be sure to come back next week to meet another of Sue's Quilting Grands... 

If you need me I will be found meditating in my sewing room. 

Happy Quilting!
Photos courtesy of Tu-Na Quilts and Sue Harmon

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Our Mountain Towns Vacation...

We had a trip all planned out... we would drive to a location in the middle of Wyoming, enjoy an evening and the following morning in a state park and then continue on to the Grand Tetons for two days followed by four nights in Yellowstone National Park.

I had been watching closely the air quality predictions for the area since the fires in Montana had been getting increasingly worse and the jet stream had been pushing smoke as far south as we are in Southeastern Colorado.  For days the haze hung in the area and my allergies had flared up.

They began reporting that there was a storm moving into the Pacific Northwest that was pushing moisture and cooler temps in the direction of Montana and Wyoming.  Good news for the fires and the fire fighters!

At first we were undaunted by a few days of rain/overnight snow.  We were prepared... we had purchased rain jackets and pants so that we would not get soaked through.  We added our winter coats, boots, hats and gloves.

As the day that we were scheduled to leave drew closer, the weather showed increasingly more chances of moisture and lower hi temps for the days we were to be there... even more so than the shot shown above.  I'm talking 90-100% chance of rain/snow and highs not even in the 40's! And some days only in the upper 30's.  

It was early on Saturday, September 16th, as I was preparing to leave for a day long meeting two hours away that Dave said, "How about if we change our plans and go somewhere else?  Somewhere that it won't be raining or snowing."

Ok... where do you want to go?  He suggested the Southwest Colorado, and possibly Utah.  I left for the day, with plans to meet up with him at a wedding that afternoon.

As we met up, I was anxious to hear what plans he had made.  Dave came up with a few days in Ouray, CO, onto Mesa Verde (and possibly the Four Corners) and Pagosa Springs.  OKAY!  Let's go!

We "re-packed" added some clothing so that we would not have to dress as Nanook of the North - we left all that was packed already...  (We never did actually wear any shorts, but certainly could have enjoyed a few afternoons in them, but we were away from the camper...)

As we pulled out of Trinidad it was cloudy and misty...  We headed just a bit north and then west with a destination of Ouray, CO.  By the time we arrived in Gunnison the sun was shining!  Yay!

As we approached Ouray, we were watching for places to land with our camper.  We passed up a State Park and continued up the road until we reached a KOA Kampground.  Dave has never favored KOA's but this one was just right for us.

We enjoyed their hot tub, our happy hour, dinner and a campfire.  Ahhh, day one done.  It was dark, the free wi-fi was sluggish and uncooperative and it was cool out so we headed in to the camper at about 8 p.m. to read... as we did most every night! 

Of course, this means we were early risers as well!  Coffee & tea were the first items on the agenda each morning...
(Notice the "real" mugs rather than the small wimpy ones that are often associated with camping gear...)

That first morning we threw some water into a backpack and jumped on our bikes... we weren't really sure where we were going, though it was in the direction of Ridgeway (6-1/2 miles north of the camp site) on a well maintained county road, with some great views.  Ooops, we didn't have a single camera... But this was not far from the KOA in the direction of Ridgeway... You will simply have to trust me on this one. ;)

We enjoyed some coffee and tea at a local shop where we discussed that we needed to plan a little better for the next day and include extra water and a snack or two.  We wandered through some of the other local shops and then headed back to camp. 

As Dave napped after lunch I sat and enjoyed the little chipmunks and hand stitched on an English Paper Piecing project...

We had visited with a local resident while on our ride to Ridgeway about the road that led to Ouray.  She assured us that once we ascended the very steep 1/4 mile road we would enjoy the remainder of the ride to Ouray.

She was NOT kidding when she said that it was steep!  We walked our bikes up 90% of the way and we were still huffing and puffing from the strain of it! Once we reached the top, yes, it was a very pleasant ride to Ouray.  Short in comparison to the day before...

Because we were a bit stiff and sore from the previous day's (longer than planned) ride, we had decided that if there was a long descent into Ouray we were turning around to return to the truck and drive in.  We were not in the least bit interested in another uphill trek to return...

We were pleasantly surprised by a few things along the way...

A serene pond...  

This basketball hoop that was mounted to the side of a rock wall... and the court was actually the one lane road that passed by!

And there was no other long hill!  Whew!

We enjoyed the shops, lunch at the Ouray Brewery...

and our little souvenirs... 

And the ride home was an easy coast... ALL THE WAY!

As I edited pictures upon our return home, I realized that this shot (or something close by) had to have been the inspiration for the quilted card I purchased.

As we pulled up camp the following morning and wound our way through Ouray to the Million Dollar Highway and over the pass to Silverton, it was spectacular!  The colors continued to be more brilliant and wide spread.

After wandering the streets of Silverton and its shops for a short stretch of our legs... still a little stiff and sore from the bike rides... we happened upon the arrival of the Narrow Gauge Train that travels between Durango and Silverton.

After we left Durango we discussed our options for camping that night... Mesa Verde had no sites available with electricity so on a whim we opted for the Mancos State Park - a small park (also no electric hook ups) for a much lower cost.  We would find out if the truck battery that been replaced prior to our trip could sustain the furnace for the night...

We enjoyed a very short ride, but mostly enjoyed the view from our site... (You may notice that we have "real" beer and wine glasses - another "comfort of home" that we opted for rather than the plastic cups we have had in our camping gear for years)  The woodpeckers were in a nearby tree pecking away, and we viewed an actual sunset - you see, when you are in the high country, unless you are situated on the peak of a mountain, you don't really see the sunrise or sunset...  

And, no, the battery did not last all night for the furnace.  Thanks to the warm sleeping bags we had, we survived.  We had an early wake up call from a nearby donkey - that we giggled at - that then set off the coyotes.  As we made our way out of the camper we discovered that we had some visitors - Oh Deer...

Mesa Verde was on our agenda for the day.  What a fascinating place!  The fact that people actually built houses and lived IN the cliffs was amazing.  

We enjoyed the Balcony House Tour that included several ups and downs and throughs...  

Down a set of stairs, up a ladder, through a small opening... Up another ladder, through an even smaller opening and then up a final ladder!

You can see that the second opening is not very big at all! 

As we left Mesa Verde we arrived at an RV Park and settled in for the night.  ONLY because we needed the electricity to be warm as we slept...  

We quickly concluded that we prefer Campgrounds... NOT RV Parks. Oh, and there IS a difference!

Campgrounds have trees and dirt and offer a little more privacy and solitude.  RV Parks are like gravel parking lots with very little space between sites.  We kept repeating to ourselves... "It is only for one night."  And once we went to sleep, we really didn't notice... and we had heat. :)

Everyday we checked the weather forecast and each day it was predicted to be partly cloudy and a chance of rain.  But when in reality, we had sunshine... and lots of it, every day!  Until we pulled out of Mesa Verde, that is. Chimney Rock shown...

It was overcast, but no rain, at least.  As we passed through Pagosa Springs we saw several RV parks, but had decided we would see what the Bruce Spruce Ranch had to offer for camping...  

SCORE!  The pine tree setting that we enjoy, and electric hook up.  We were set!  We got settled, went for a walk as it sprinkled and explored the San Juan National Forest.  But we didn't let the weather dampen our pleasures.  As we called it a night the rain really started.  

And, did you know the sound of rain on a metal roof, just inches from your head, gets on your nerves after a while?  We didn't sleep well. At. All.

But it was Saturday and we wanted to visit the farmer's market in town and do some exploring of Pagosa Springs. 

As the day progressed, the rain never really let up... Thank goodness we had purchased the rain coats in our plans for Yellowstone!  (Each day I had checked in with what was going on in YSNP... snow!  Not just a little snow... enough to close roads and require chains or snow tires!  Boy, were we glad we changed our plans!)

(Dave's youngest brother, Chris, had one of these monkeys... Zippy!  And while I was picking up a vintage quilt to look at a chipmunk jumped out and ran across the store!  It certainly made me jump!!!!  Oh, and the owners of the store were well aware of its presence and were in the process of capturing it...)

After checking out some gift shops and antique shops and two breweries, 

we headed back to The Ranch which was located at the base of Wolf Creek Pass.  The weather was calling for clearing overnight so we extended our stay.

To pass the time that evening we played Mancala, read and did some sewing...

It finally stopped raining as we turned in for the night.  YAY!  A quiet night was so welcome! Oh, notice the snow capped peak we saw the next morning... 

We investigated two trails, the one in the morning was a nice 3 mile ride that wound its way along the west fork of the San Juan River.  The afternoon ride took us up a trail that was headed to near the summit of Wolf Creek Pass.  We learned that it was the original pass from around the 1920's... we were just below the overlook...

As we walked up the incline, we humorously came up with two rules for our bike rides....

Rule #1 - Never begin a ride by going downhill

Rule #2 - Never be afraid (or too proud) to get off the bike and walk

So far, so good!

As we chatted we enjoyed the views and surrounding foliage... 

And we could not help but ask, just how long does a tree take to grow around an obstacle such as this one did???

When we approached a couple downed trees on the road we decided it was time to make our descent... 

As we headed home the next day, we were a little sad that our week of "tiny house living" was done and that we needed to return to our normal routine...

But we were sooooo grateful for making the change in our plans and that we were able to enjoy so much sunshine, fresh air, exercise and time together...

And we look forward to planning our next trip... Hmmmm.... where should we go next?  Leave your suggestions in the comments. 

Thanks for tagging along on our vacay!  Hopefully I didn't bore you too much. ;)



PS... I didn't get very far on my EPP project, but I did get the second round completed.