Belleville, Illinois...hard part is getting there...... & back

But the in between was grand.

The house sitters were in place, the dog sent to the dot for a vacation, and we hit the road to Belleville, Illinois, just south of St Louis. For two weeks, Dave, the hub, had been giving me updates on the weather in St Louis. "It's in the 80's," he's been repeating. Sounds wonderful to me. I packed my accordingly, I was tired of a sloppy wet winter-spring.

As we pulled out of Bend on an overcast day I looked forward to driving into warmer dryer weather. Hey, we were heading south. I pulled on some early summer clothes hopped into the van and bid the house and studio a fond farewell. This is what we drove into.


In Laramie, Wyoming-May 12, 2010, they closed all south and east highways. With 500 miles a day to do, sitting on the edge of a snowy freeway was not in the game plan. But it was Mom Nature's plan. We joined a long line of trucks waiting for the freeway to be plowed and reopened. Sigh.

Our next decision was to go through Kansas or Nebraska? I voted for the southern route as it had to be drier and warmer, but as we checked we found that route had tornado warnings on. Nebraska it was.

No storm can cover a country from the west coast to the midwest, but seemingly this storm did or it was chasing us. We finally pulled into Belleville, Illinois Thursday eve in the rain. And so the weekend went. Rain, some clearing as a tease, and more rain.

Belleville rain
Belleville rain

The good news is that Belleville folks are no more intimidated by a little rain then they are  in the Pacific NW. The crowds were out, they loved the art, and best for us artists they bought. Hooray! Thank you Belleville. One can withstand a soggy show if company and appreciative clients abound. We were treated like royalty, given great food, show every hospitality by the 500+! volunteers and even awarded a prize for excellence that came with  $! This show rated as one of our best ever shows, even with the rain!

We packed up Sunday eve, damp, but happy and it was on to our next show. Problem is that it won't happen for 5 weeks and is in Des Moines, Iowa. We decided that the best thing to do was store the van with the booth and fly home. This good decision turned into a great decision when it rained the last few minutes as we loaded up and all our carefully dried out things got wet again.

Once in Des Moines we rented a storage unit, unpacked and re-dried off our booth and its various pieces, gave our hard-working van a run through a car wash and locked the door on it all.

drying out the booth
drying out the booth

Now we are thinking we're pretty clever folks. We've braved snow, freeway closures, tornado warnings, torrential rain, figuring out how to dry out and store a very wet booth, and we have our earnings and prize money in hand.

But wait....we're not home yet. We board a plane in Des Moines with a long stopover in the Dallas International Airport. While waiting to fly home we decide to have a meal & we both pick out a healthy, fresh, yummy salad, all sealed up in safe plastic. We arrive Tuesday eve and Wednesday morn Dave wakes me up to say he's not feeling so good. Hummmm. I'm fine....must be HIS problem. By Thursday its my problem too. A raging case of food poisoning hit us both. No details, ya'll been there, done that....but yegawds what a homecoming. We both took to our bed and I didn't pop back up for almost a week. Is this a result of feeling smug and clever, I dunno. But it sure took the starch outta my sails.

Happily we're all recovered, the rain is STILL coming down, its JUNE for gawd-sakes! and I'm back at the bench getting ready for Des Moines. We will reclaim our booth from the storage facility, repack our van, and go to downtown Des Moines and do it all over again.

I hope to see you there!