Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blacksmith Chic - Five Points Blacksmith Shop at Night

Here's what greeted Phil and I on arrival in Charleston, IL.. the halfway point between Kalamazoo and Memphis.
There's nothing better than a pink neon anvil!
If you haven't checked out Lorelei's website ( you're really missing something.

Wednesday January 6, Safe and Sound in Memphis

Good Morning from the Mid South!

I am sitting in a pretty room and the sun is shining outside. I can hear the barges as they make their way south down the Mississippi. Phil is snoring happily on the bed.

Some highlights from our (Phil, the german sheperd dog, with a loppy ear, and I are a team this trip) Road Trip:

Michigan did not let us go easily, the first hour on the road was terrifying with white out conditions and cars in the ditches. I cut our speed and forged ahead (!) determined to get south where its warmer and less, well, snowy!

Drove 5.5 hours the first day and stopped in Charleston, IL. Had the sincere pleasure of staying with Lorelei Simms, (see Lorelei wrote "The Backyard Blacksmith" ( ), a fabulous book that I teach out of regularly, and she is a fabulous smith and person. Phil and I had a lot of fun at Lorelei's! We even got to hang out with some horses on Lorereli's new 130 acre farm!

Rural King (southern Illinois' version of Tractor Supply Co.) is a great store. Where else in the world can you buy two pounds of banana taffy, a horse lead line ( I forgot Phil's leash), and Amish jelly?

Stopped at a tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere and was shocked to discover they had no gas, no bathrooms, and no cigarettes. The next station, 20 miles down the road had run out of gas the day before, but had a few drops for me to get on my way. This kind of thing makes me wonder. It also encouraged me to stop for gas before the tank was on empty!

We arrived at The National Ornamental Metal Museum (affectionately known as the Metal Museum) at 5 o'clock central time and were greeted by the metal smithing crew of the museum, Mary Catherine Floyd, Kevin Burge, Jim Masterson, and Jake Brown. We promptly had a beer and swapped tales before getting dwon to the heavy lifting of unpacking the car. Phil made friends easily and seems to already enjoy his new job as Musuem Dog, demanding pets from everyone.

After unpacking and settling in, I crawled into my bed and listened to the barges and the strange humming sound made by cars passing over the bridge across the river to Arkansas. Phil sighed heavily and I knew we were in a very special place, about to do some very special things, and surrounded by special people. I'm so happy to be here.

Today, I'll get to the grocery, and visit amvets to pick up some small things we need, but couldn't get packed in the car. I'll be thinking of my friends at home, my upcoming projects and all of the wonderful things life has given me.