It had been awhile since DH Grant and I had gotten out of town together. We left Tuesday night, later than planned, due to some unforeseen events at home, but made our way to LA/Anaheim to spend the night. The hotel Grant chose was right behind Disneyland, and though it has been many years since I've been there, the charm of the park never fails. We grabbed a late breakfast at McDonald's while we watched hordes of families begin their adventure into the park, and caught a glimpse of Star Wars Land in construction. We then met with Grant's Uncle Donald and his longtime lady at their house, and had a lovely couple of hours catching up and enjoying old family tales, had a tour of their beautiful house, including Ellen's extensive collection of Roseville pottery and heirloom furniture. The next leg of our trip involved a lot of Orange County freeways and several nearly comical detours, thanks to the GPS device. Luckily the toll road we were directed onto had signs of where to pay online if you didn't have a pass! Finally we were climbing into the San Bernardino Mountain wilderness. Due to recent rains, the hills were very green and wildflowers were blooming.
We pulled off into a turnout for a quick selfie. Though the highest peaks were still snowy (11,000 feet), lifts had closed the week prior in Big Bear and the town was very quiet.
Big Bear Lake was calm, waiting for the watersports season to begin. We found our hotel location and settled into the tiny cabin we'd reserved, unpacked, and took a rest. Grant's older cousin Kent lives in Big Bear with his lady partner and we made arrangements to join up the following day for lunch on the North Shore. Kent is a volunteer with the Forest Service and took us on a backcountry tour after lunch, on which Grant had to do the 4-wheel driving as Kent had broken his ankle 10 days before--when another careless skier with a selfie stick cut him off on a downhill run. It was Kent's first broken bone in all the years of watersports, surfing, snow skiing and outdoor life.
Kent was very knowledgeable about the area's history, from the native Serrano Indians who hunted, trapped and fished in these mountains for generations prior to the miners, loggers, and mountaineers who came later, followed still later by Hollywood film crews, ski resorts and vacationers. We much enjoyed our tour and hope to have another someday.
I had brought my sewing machine, to the horror of my daughters, and lacking a dining table, set up on the kitchen counter for some standup stitching, which worked just fine. The LED lights on my Husqvarna Sapphire were really all I needed, though I did bring a separate Ottlite lamp.
I had kitted up house blocks for a doll quilt, having joined Lori of Humble Quilts' swap again this year. While the room had no iron, I was able to finger press the small pieces and sew them into sections for final assembly at home. Red house in progress below. Pattern is from the American Patchwork and Quilting 2009 Calendar (design by Mary Ellen Volt, of Little Quilts).
The pile on the right is from Bear Country Quilts and Gifts, a small but lovely shop with a wide variety of fabrics. Having forgotten my cutting mat, I bought a small offcut mat and a few CW fabrics. I had to have the chocolate dipped strawberry too. The other pile is from Patchworks quilt shop. This open shop in a retail shopping center has a 12 foot longarm machine and hosts quilt retreats on the lake. Surprisingly, there are two quilt guilds in this area, with 60+ members each. Thomas Fire quilt blocks have been donated by both guilds, I was informed. How wonderful of them!
Too soon, we headed back home on Friday after a final lunch with Kent and his lady. The traffic was fairly light going down the mountain.
Not too smoggy but there was a haze on the horizon. It took about 3 1/2 hours to get home, and we were happy with that. Coming home with a weekend yet to enjoy was terrific to keep the vacation feel going. I stitched up the rest of the house blocks and am ready for the sashing. These are 8" finished and are all from scraps and stash.