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No Room in the Inn

Miles of stopped traffic on I-71 in Kentucky south of Cincinnati, north of Louisville 6.10.2022

I wasn't riding a donkey. I'm not pregnant. But last night or actually very early this morning, I needed a place in the inn — Hampton Inn in this case. There as no room in the inn but the kindly innkeeper took pity on an old lady traveling alone at 3 a.m. with no place to lay her head.

I had a plan when I left Columbus, Ohio, about 5 p.m. last night. I'd drive the four hours from Columbus to Louisville after my final class at Quilt Surface Design Symposium. I'd camp in Louisville, rise early and visit the Sanford Biggers' exhibition at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Only problem, four hours became 10 hours. Just into Kentucky south of Cincinnati,

I-71 became a parking lot. Other than a few seconds here and there when we'd inch forward, the traffic — hundreds of cars, campers, semis — was at a standstill.

I'd planned to call quilt bud and amazing friend Janet Bozzone once I was on the road. I called. When she heard my plight, she accompanied me on the phone for hours. She had more luck searching online for information on what the hold up was than I did. The close to seven hours I sat not moving were only tolerable because of her. Thank you, Janet. I owe you big, big time!

Once traffic finally moved — sometime around 2:30 a.m. — I was able to exit for gas pretty soon after passing the semi that had caused the delay. It wasn't clear what had happened. The truck was really messed up. There were several dozen police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks and more on the scene. The road was terrible. Wet from the rain. Unusually hydroplane slick. Banked higher on the left side than right around major elevated curves. It was not a fun drive with Emma — my 18-foot camper — in tow. It would not have been a fun drive in a semi. Shoot, it would not have been a fun drive even in a fun-to-drive car.

Finally an exit with hotels. They were full to overflowing. But I lucked into the best Hampton Inn night manager ever. He saw no problem with me parking Emma in the hotel lot and sleeping there. An angel just when I needed one.

I slept soundly and too long into the morning to make my scheduled ticket time at the Speed Art Museum. Instead I headed straight to tonight's destination, a campground near Paducah.

Emma settled in at Birdsville RV Park on the Ohio River.

A Good Day of Driving, A Lovely Campground

When I arrived at Birdsville RV Park, I was warmly greeted by the owners who escorted me to my site, which was an upgrade to a riverfront — the Ohio River that is — site. It's a gorgeous campground with widely spaced sites. I was surprised to find I could barely reach the electrical box, quite different from most campgrounds that require you to get on your knees to plug in. When the owner saw me on tiptoes trying to connect, he laughed and explained the riverfront sites flood from time to time so the electric has to be above flood line. I remembered the year I came to Quilt Week in Paducah when there was massive flooding. The convention center was under water so the show had been moved piecemeal to every available space around the town.

Tonight as I write, I'm hearing an occasional boat pass. The crickets are singing. A dog is barking in the distance. All is right with the world.

My plan is to visit the National Quilt Museum tomorrow then head on west Monday morning. Best laid plans. I guess I'll see what tomorrow actually brings.

Random Thoughts from the Highway

I drove a short distance on I-71 this morning but when traffic backed up as I approached Louisville, I exited. I spent the rest of the day off the interstate with most of the drive on Highway 60, which parallels the northwestern edge of Kentucky, defined by the Ohio River. It was a peaceful, relaxed drive. Here are highlights of a laid back day. I love noticing quirky things as I drive:

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  • I passed a Lustron house. I've always been fascinated by these "modern" homes that are just a bit older than I am. Most I've seen have been yellow. The one today was blue like the one pictured above. They seem to pop up randomly across the country. Years ago when I was in the market for a house, I looked at one. It wasn't for me but my intrigue with them remains.

Wikipedia says of these houses: These prefabricated enameled steel houses were developed post-World War II in response to the shortage of homes for returning G.I.s. They were the brainchild of Chicago industrialist and inventor Carl Strandlund. Considered low-maintenance and durable, they were expected to attract modern families who didn't have the time or interest in repairing and painting conventional wood and plaster houses. Lustron production ceased in 1950 when the company's couldn't pay back the startup loans it had received from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. More than 2,000 homes were constructed during Lustron's brief production period, and many remain in use today. Several have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

  • I saw five barn quilts. The most interesting one was a 4-H design on a community building. It wasn't exactly like the one pictured here but was quite similar. Turns out, Kentucky 4-Hers have made dozens of barn quilts. Pretty cool.

I wish it was easier to photograph barn quilts but it usually requires invading private property, not something I can do subtly with Emma in tow.

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  • I filled my gas tank for $4.52 per gallon. It seems a crazy to be excited about getting gas this "cheap" but it was the lowest price I'd seen in days The station attendant was super nice. When she found out my cup was just ice she said, "No charge for that today." Thank you. Little kindnesses are so appreciated.

  • I passed a bargello house. Well that's what I called it. It was made of four colors of bricks that were positioned at diagonals like the pieces in bargello quilts. The house almost looked like it was spinning. Sorry I couldn't get a photo.

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  • I have shed envy. There is no reason I need a shed in my yard but I want one. If you can think of a reason I must have one, let me know. For now, I'll just continue to drool each time I pass an outdoor display area of sheds. One with a porch would be nice. But then again, I have three decks on my house. It's not like I need a place to sit.Yet, a shed with a porch...

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  • Hawg's ass anyone? This in Harned, Kentucky.

  • So what does it take to have a "Congested Area" sign posted? I've always been baffled by this sign appearing on the highway over the Grand Mesa in Colorado. You might pass three or four cars in a 30+ mile stretch.

Today I saw one of these signs posted right before the entrance to the campground where I'm staying.I didn't pass even one car along the five or so miles into the park.

Congested area? Think I-71.

  • Who knew? I kept seeing campaign signs today for candidates for "jailer" or "jailor." I couldn't remember ever voting for a position called jailer. Good reason. I've never lived in Kentucky, and Kentucky is the only state that elects jailers. One website described a jailer's function as follows: "The constitutional duties of a Kentucky jailer are defined within Chapters 71 and 446 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. All county jailers are "Sworn State Peace Officers" as are their deputies with all rights and responsibilities connected to the power of arrest and other functions of the office."

Say what? Still not sure what they do.

Kentucky’s first constitution made no specific mention of jails or jailers. A provision requiring each county to elect a jailer was adopted in 1850 in the state’s third constitution. Turns out, not every Kentucky county has a jail. That means that there are jailers with no jails to oversee. So I'm still wondering what they do and why they are elected in 2022. If you're from Kentucky, please explain.

  • I'm not going to debate abortion here. I'm clear what I believe and many reading this blog are equally sure of what you believe. That said, I did have to wonder at an anti-abortion sign I passed today. Quoting Scripture and showing a photo of a very pregnant woman, it quoted Scripture: "Come to me all who are heavy laden." Yep. In the last weeks of pregnancy, women are pretty heavy laden. Anybody proof this sign before putting it up?

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