Monday, October 29, 2012

Wisconsin to Texas

Two uneventful 600 mile drives and we are sitting in a hotel near Hobby Airport in Houston.   I have to tell you about eatinf on the road.  On Saturday shortly after we left Wisconsin, we realized we would be going past Sikeston, MO at the right time to eat at Lambert's the home of the Throwed Roll.  If you have never eaten there you have missed an experience.  I would tell you more but it would ruin your first time.  So we skipped lunch looking to have an early evening meal.  We get ther and the parking lot is sort of full, which is pretty normal.  Find out the wait is one and a half hours.  No Lambert's on the way to Houston, we will try on the way home.  Last night we went to a Tex-Mex for dinner.  Stay away from Gringos.  Food lacked flavor and was served cold.  There was a huge crowd, so somebody likes it. Maybe tonight we will have a better experience.

Today we are going to spend the last day of Market walking the floor to see what’s new and exciting for our customers.  This year we added wooden hoops into our inventory.  Now we are seeking more new quality items to add to our own assortment of quality Quilter's Rule products.

Tomorrow we will get up early and go stand in line with our truck and trailer to wait to unload.  I am looking forward to that about like I look forward to a toothache.  On the other hand we will have plenty of time to catch up with old friends.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Almost Ready for Houston

It has been a week filled with turmoil.  We have been learning to use our new silk screener.  You would not think something a little bigger would be so different.  Oh well, we are getting the hang of it.  Today we were printing 48x96 mats. 

Tomorrow we will pack the trailer and on Saturday we will head for Houston, just a short hop lasting a couple of days.  We have not had to do this trip for a number of years as we had a contractor who did Festival.  But this year the show falls to Patricia and I.

Remember, if you will be in Houston for Festival on Wednesday evening for preview.  Join us for the  fun come in costume and have the pass word for special savings.  Challenge is “Who Rules” Answer is “Quilter’s Rule” the correct answer will get you a special discount on your purchase.

I think the best think that will happen is while I am traveling home from this show the election will be over.  I will be able to watch TV without political ads. Both sides can stop telling lies and making unfounded accusations.    And maybe with a little luck and a lot of hard work things will start to get better in this great land of ours.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

California to Wisconsin what could go wrong?

We finished up at PIQF with sales ahead of last year but lower than our best year.  We did something right getting out of the show because we did it in less time then we have ever done. Then we started home with the intention of going to Tracy.  Missed a turn and crossed a bridge at Vallejo that cost $20.00. Wee rn into congestion, road construction and heavy traffic at Travis Air Force base near Fairfield and it was 10PM.  I cannot believe how much the roads have changed in 36 years.  They actually built roads that weren’t there when I lived out there and I thought the State was broke.  We ended up in Auburn for a short night’s sleep. 

Next day we set out for home and got about 30 miles from Battle Mountain, NV with a failure in a wheel bearing.  We limped into Battle Mountain calling everyone we could find to help us.  A company called Atlas was able to help.  They did not expect to find any parts in the town but a local Napa dealer had the bearing and seal we wanted.  Of course it did not end there; we had to find a new hub because the race had spun and was no longer tight.  This meant we had to drive 70 miles to Elko and back again to replace it.  They were kind enough to stay late and complete the repairs and we were on one our way again about 6:30 PM. We spent over 6 hours getting going again, fell way behind in our effort to drive 750 miles each day.  We ended the day in Wendover, UT on the west side of the salt flats at 11PM.  At that point we were 126 miles behind our goal.  And we really need to be at work on Thursday morning and I wanted to watch the debate Tuesday night which meant we had to be in a hotel room early.

Tuesday I woke at 4:30 and we left.  About a half hour out of Wendover on the salt flats I sneezed and got a bloody nose.  Pulled over and let Patricia drive while I nursed my nose.  Got it stopped and we continued in to Salt Lake City, then up to hill to Wyoming.  Of course there was a high wind advisory.  Started at 35mph wind gusts and got up to 50 plus by the time we got to Laramie.  The best thing was the wind was from the West and we got great gas mileage.  We made it to North Platte, NE by 7:55pm and got to see the whole debate.

Just 751 miles left, what could go wrong.  It started raining just past Des Moines and rained the rest of the way home.  Nearly 6 hours of rain and the last 3 in darkness.  What could go wrong?  Trips like this I wonder why I do what I do.  Oh I remember it pays the bills and I like people.  I will write again when I leave for Houston.  Pray for a better trip.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

PIQF Preview

Yesterday we set a record for set up!  4 and half hours and we were done.  We did leave behind the bargain barn and the books and patterns which would have taken about another hour, but I put together a hand quilting frame and that took me an hour.  I guess that makes things about even.

The quilt frames are quite nice.  Very smooth and they come unfinished so you can finish they to compliment your home d├ęcor.   Quilters Rule will be carrying these frames in several sizes and shapes to meet your quilting needs.    Just a little different from the machine quilting supplies for which we are known.

Most people came to the show last night to see the quilts.  I was actually surprised by the crowd last night, but as I said most came to see the quilts and will start shopping today.  I hope.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Santa Clara

We arrived in Santa Clara last night about 10 PM.  The good news was that we got the truck back on the road for under $250, including an oil change.  We lost a bearing in the tensioning roller on the fan belt.  I was really worried that we had a much bigger problem.

Spent the afternoon with my brother and got to see my great niece.  She has grown so much in the three years since I last saw her.  Unfortunately everyone else in the family had to work yesterday.  So after dinner we left and drove the last 134 miles to Santa Clara.  It started to sprinkle just as we arrived and while we were unloading the truck it poured.

Today we have to set up and preview is from 7pm to 10 pm.  It will be a long day.  Let’s all hope a lot of people come and are in a buying mood.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Reno, NV

Arrived in Reno yesterday about 7:30 PM, the truck is making a funny noise so I have to check it out today before we start over Donner Summit.  Really did not sleep well as I kept worrying about it.  So I am up early and checked my email and now I am trying to find something constructive to do or say.

Fuel keeps getting more expensive the further west we go.  Makes me wonder if people will still come to the show?  Of course Santa Clara is a fairly affluent area, but I have to believe that even rich people will think twice about spending $5.00 a gallon to drive to things they don’t have to attend.  Will they save the gas for the trip to work?  What a horrible thought. 

On the bright side, I will spend much of today at my brother’s home.  We do not see much of each other as we live over 2000 miles apart. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rock Springs, WY

We traveled just over 750 miles yesterday.  My cell phone has decided it can’t upload to my Facebook page.  We got a rock chip in the windshield that is only one week old.  Not much else can go wrong so we are looking forward to a great show at PIQF.

Gas just keeps getting more expensive as we go west.  Got a call from a friend who told us by the time we get to Reno today we will be looking at $4.05.  The cost for gas by the time we get there will be $900.  If it this show is soft as many have been this year, it will go under the microscope for next year.  We simply have to make enough money for us to come this far.  The difference in fuel will be over $500 round trip.

Oh well my problem not yours.   Today will slide down the hill to Salt Lake City across the salt flats and then across mountains and broad valley to Reno.  Another 700 miles and then on Tuesday we will go up and over the mountains and be in Sacramento at my brother’s home for the afternoon.  In the evening we will drive to Santa Clara so we can be in line early for setup.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Council Bluffs, IA

Fall is here, I have put up all the hay I can this year.  I have enough for my wife’s horses and my cows.  Most of my customers are short and asking where to get hay.  Really I can’t tell them because I do not know of anyone who has extra.  It is going to be a long cold expensive winter.  On the plus side the calves are growing well and I think the last cow is pregnant again.  If so the last calf will be born on or about June 20.  There should be plenty of fresh grass in the fields.

We left about noon yesterday and went by Nolting in Hiawatha, IA to pick up some samples of wooden hoops for the show in Santa Clara.  So if you are looking for a hoop to do hand quilting we will have some samples for you to see at PIQF.  These are the Hinterburg wood hoops.  Nolting purchased the company a couple of years ago.  Great quality and if you hand quilt you will enjoy these hoops.  We will have lap stands and floor stands for you to see.  Orders will ship directly from the factory and for this show freight is included in the price.

For those of you who attended the AQS show in Des Moines, I hope the show was great.

Stopped last night in Council Bluffs, IA, which is about as far west in Iowa as you can get.  Today we will drive and drive and drive some more and if we are lucky we will end up in Rock Springs, WY.  Not a lot to see along HWY 80 and I am sure the drought has made things even worse.   At least the snow has stopped in Western Nebraska.  Dry roads are great.

We will try to post pictures on my Facebook page.