Might I begin this 2013 CCA blog post saying I NEVER worked so hard or such long hours as I did coming up to and into this National? Not even when I was in Art Center during deadline week? I love to sleep and when I was tired I went to bed. Not the last 2 months....Omg....but it was worth it. I was exhilirated with my new passion for creating porcelain art. Now I await my kiln.....
Laura and I left at 9:20 pm Saturday, March 30th. We both were already extremely exhausted and I finally pulled over somewhere out of Reno to sleep for 4 hours. Like always the "Protector Lizard" accompanied us. I love him.
Along the Bonneville Salt Flats. T & I were suppose to come here with his Viper....I can only dream now....or watch my favorite Anthony Hopkins movie....
Going thru Utah ~ Laura and I were on a roll.
At a Flying J near Salt Lake we saw this Viper.....sent it to T ~ T's an expert texter now and we could keep in contact easily. So far our trip was going excellent.
Then somewhere between Utah & Wyoming (???) this happened. Of course no one wants to get a flat, but being on the side of a hwy with not a sign in sight to describe our location to Auto Club was very stressful. I called AAA and had someone with a very low IQ helping me. 30 minutes later we figured out where we were and as she was ready to send out help, she found out I was in an RV and my roadside assistance didn't cover blown tires. I about lost it. She gave me the name of a company that would come out independently of AAA, which I'd pay out of my pocket. I called this company and after figuring out we were not in Utah anymore and this tow company would be out of their jurisdiction, I had a verbal meltdown with the tow truck driver. The f-word was included in the dialogue and 3 minutes later, the guy called me back and told me he could in fact come and help me. God I'm such a bitch.
IMO, this is not a safe job. This man was so nice and I felt so bad for yelling at him, apologized and gave him a bottle of Merlot. He was so sweet ~ he called the next day to see what was wrong with my tire and check up on us. Cool. I then called AAA to update my coverage to include Winnie's tires and the woman told me the coverage wouldn't go into effect for 48 hours. 2nd or 3rd verbal meltdown for the trip. I have been with Auto Club for some 30 years and I just couldn't believe this BULLSHIT. I'd be in La Crosse by the time I'd be covered. I told her I was probably going to cancel my coverage and go with someone else. Not sure what I'm going to do but I was pretty mad. Needless to say we drove home without additional Winnie coverage. Fooooookkkkkers!!!!!! In this day of immediate information I can't believe in it taking 48 hours to change my plan. It's really crappy treatment!!
Back to the tire. The stem of the tire (new) had a cut in it. It was very odd. The tire was ultimately trashed so Laura and I, the daredevils we were, drove without a spare for some 800 miles. She took a "Vivarin" http://www.vivarin.com/ and was off driving til 6 am the next morning. I woke up somewhere in Nebraska. I didn't know we were going thru Nebraska but her phone/GPS thought we should. After another 200 miles we finally got the spare replaced with a brand new tire and the spare put back. That took some time off of our trip, but we felt better. We then noticed the awning....
It was bad when I bought Winnie, but I guess 2 years later and a couple of trips & living in the elements, it was losing it. I tried to rip it off, but couldn't so got in and drove......until I saw it really flappin' in the wind. This scared me as I didn't need it to rip off and land in the windshield of someone's vehicle. I pulled off immediately, turned right and lo and behold there was a KOA with a very nice man to take it off and toss it for me. I didn't even need to give him any Merlot. Then he pointed to the older man in the diesel pusher parked in a camping spot trying to repair his front mirror. A blown tire from the opposite direction on the hwy had slammed into his vehicle......So I always say ~ Life is good.
The awning taken care of and we were on the road again. It was only about 4 pm and I had just taken a Vivarin so I was rather peppy. Laura my drug-pushing friend.....why didn't she tell me about these when I was trying to finish all of my artwork for the CCA!
Tirzah didn't take a Vivarin. She was in the back with Stuffed Lana. One thing I found is sleeping in the back of Winnie while in motion is not fun. I tried it the first long LauraTookVivarin Night and found I had road rash on my elbows trying to hold on. I had to bandage them they hurt so bad, so any sleeping after that was done up front. The dogs liked it better there too. Tirzah was usually stuffed between the front seats. She made it difficult to move out of the seats, but she was cute doing it. Licky.......
Off we were into Iowa. I was in search of a dump station that had water. I was going to be set up at the La Crosse Center for 5 days and didn't want to have anything bubblin' over, nor did I want to run out of water. This proved to be a pain in the ass, as I called and stopped at some 10 different gas stations/truck stops with very little luck.
Then we come here. Crap, I mean kum....jeezzzee louise! What dorkus came up with this name????? This place....I can't even say it without laughing (can you imagine telling your friends & family where you just got hired??).....had a water spicket that was a nightmare. After 20 minutes of most of the water spewing every which way except in my tank, we left, soaked. These places have car AND dog washes in the same building ~ so weird. I finally was able to get water about an hour before La Crosse. Frozen water pipes are apparently the reason. I think I love living where I do.
Coming into La Crosse, WI. Is this not the coolest thing? It was very cold here.
The park across from the dog show. The CCA had a place roped off for dogs to go to the bathroom that was about as big as one of my dog yards. Every day the area got a little bigger. I'm not sure who was thinking 900 collies should all pee and shit in 12 square feet of grass. As pretty as this place was, IMO it is a bad place for a National. Not only can you not fly in with a large plane, the parking is horrendous, there is barely any RV parking & self contained only, the grooming was in two different buildings and I'm not sure what the protocol was for getting the close grooming. (I do have to say though, that John Haddon made sure I had a spot for Winnie, which I greatly appreciate AND Laura and I had a good spot for our booth.) I have been to many nationals and they all have their good and bad points and I think everyone does their best, but not sure I'd take a dog or RV here again. Pretty but too stressful.
We finally arrived by about 10 am Tuesday. We had the dogs to set up, the booth, Winnie for me & the girls and then be all perky for our Wine & Cheese Party Tuesday night. Nancy Anstruther & Susan Bertrand set us up with that, as did Gayle Ann Stepanik who provided the wine. It was a great success and was our best selling night. Thank you to all for suggesting and helping! I told Laura by the end of the 2 hours I felt like a Lap Dancer flingin' cash into whatever places I could find. Lots and lots of fun and successful!! (I have never been a lap dancer btw......Laura....I don't know...)
Laura has the cutest Wine Stoppers and Wine Charms ~ gotta have her make me some. I'll trade her.....She sold out a lot of her stuff and took orders. Go girl!!
I sold out all of my "Sage & Thrill" puppies (5 litters), except the "tri to tri" breeding (haha!), 4 "My Toy" sculptures, not counting one from Claremont, and lots of my little sculptures including many of the "Sleeping Collies" with the dog beds. I also had my bronzes and nearly everyone who commented on them loved the green one shown below. I may have sold a 4th edition, but will know later. The cards were a hit, as were the print of the "Arab With 2 Collies". I also could have sold Secret Service's "Sadie" portrait 20x's over. If I was a mean person, I could have done that, then told SS that someone stole it...but I love her and I loved Sadie. And I'd just have to paint her another one.
Squishy "My Toy" on the far left. I love that piece!!
On to the grooming area. Here is Tirzah. Where are the other girls???
Let's see. Stuffed in this crate. All week long Sage was laying on Soleil. Something about her being a pillow.......glad my dogs get along.
I bought Sage Brush a pink toy with a water bottle in it. She loved it for a while.
Pre-grooming Sage. My Nikon was in the RV and never came out, nor did I beg anyone to take photos of my dogs in the ring with it. I remember now why I don't like to have a booth AND show my dogs. It was so much work. Had I had Tony there, it would have been so much easier. Secret Service was soooo much help and she was able to keep tabs on the dogs, though 1/2 the time I had them in Winnie. She also brought me lunch a few times and sat at my booth to help. Laura and I also took turns helping each other, but still it's better to be there to sell your own work.
Walking the dogs in the park I wondered if someone was doing TDX tracking......
Sage & I at the park ~ aawwwhhh.....
Here is Earl & I with Sage Brush. He tried to fake me out at my booth......I only had a FB photo to go by....then some big guy comes hovering over my artwork and won't respond when I ask him if he's Earl Rogers.......I shoulda known!! I'll get him back one day. It was so great to finally meet him and see Shadow again. What a nice guy and so kind hearted. I was able to show his Mabel in Stud Dog for Shadow. She is a cutie and a fireball ~ like her daddy. The competion was very steep so we didn't do anything but I was thrilled to be on the end of the leash with one of his babies.
Here is Earl's Tri "My Toy" Sculpture.
The Squishy Sculpture!
The Sable ~ Vicky Kniss bought this one. I'm also making a mahogany sable for Marian Darrow. My next (smooth) sculpture will be after Vicky's CCA Best of Breed bitch Kayla. Funna funna!! Vicky is buying it no matter what, because it will be beautiful!! And then she'll show it to all her smooth friends....and then I will be a bbblllllaaaazillionaire!!!
The sable-headed white "My Toy". Where were the white collie buyers???
When there was a break I was either folding cards or making dog beds. I really needed another couple of weeks to get ready.
Laura cutting BC's. Hers came back from the print company with 2 pt type for her name & phone number. I told her 2 pt type is really hard to read...hahahahaha!! So she had to print them at home and cut them herself. So funny!!
After the WineBoothDrinking it was DogBedMakingInWinnie. The work never stops.
At zero-dark-thirty on Saturday I was up to groom my 3 bitches for Brood Bitch. I had Jessica Wittman and her darling boyfriend Mike's darling daughter Kimberly Brant help me show my girls. Kimberly was Best Junior Handler her first time at the CCA and Jessica won Best Opposite Sex to Best of Variety with her beautiful smooth Oktoberfest son Thriller. I had a great team and really appreciate their help. Like soooo much!!!!
I wasn't even going to show in Brood Bitch because Soleil & Sage really don't look alike, though they both have clean heads, pretty outlines & movement...but I was just exhausted and I didn't want to walk out of the ring empty-handed. I'm glad I did because Tirzah won 4th Brood Bitch. Yeah Tirzah!!
After Brood Bitch, I stayed around to show Mabel for Earl & Shadow in Stud Dog. We did not do anything, but Mabel sure is a cutie! And, she's a wild little thing.....I hope touching her little black fur is good luck for Tri Bitch Niffy Puppies!!! Shadow is as pretty as I remember him. Wished I could have been outside to see him go around the ring, and handling Mabel was like handling Ali'i at the start of Tevis. She is very strong! I could see Shadow a little bit out front, but was afraid I was going to get tossed if I didn't pay attention to my handling.
The green "Tirzah" bronze....it's getting delivered to its new home very soon!
This Plaster of Paris piece I could have sold many times over had I made more than one. I took orders so will be shipping. It's from the '97 CCA Reno molds and was 1st in the class. I added metallic color to it and people just flipped over it. Jessica Wittman's BF got it for her. I need to figure out how to bring him home without T or Jessica knowing. He's sweet!
Laura and I. O oh...see the red solo cups???
Blondie on the grooming table. I would joke that I thought she didn't have enough coat to get shown at the CCA.....she is a PUFF BALL! I got so many compliments on her. Jessica made her looks so pretty in Brood Bitch.
Secret Service took this photo. Soleil in BOV. She made one cut. Love it!
After the show and packing for 3 hours, we were off. I was absolutely toast. Laura wanted to drive and I just wanted to die. We stopped at some roadside truck stop to eat and my face was face down in the table I was so exhausted. I really wanted to go home to thru South Dakota, which my GoogleMaps told me originally was the way to get to La Crosse. Laura didn't want to go that way, but her GPS took her that route and she didn't know it til we were well on our way. I'm not sure if it was longer but I was happy. I have never been thru South Dakota so it was on my list. Anyway, we found that Vivarin will only help so much. She was done by midnight, so we pulled over and slept.
Yard art? Love this!!!! If you can't see this, it's Indians chasing a stagecoach.
And our video.....you need sound....
I love this!
And I love it this way too!
So funny! I'm a Cowboys & Indians kinda girl though......
My favorite part of the trip! Well, I loved The Black Hills, Rapid City. So pretty. My beautiful cousin Cheryl lived there. So sad I was never able to visit her before she passed over.
This also was cool. Having worked for Paisano Publications ("EasyRiders" Magazine) for 10 years, I worked on plenty of Sturgis layouts and all of their subscribers biker photos. I think life is tamer now, in the Sturgis front, if what I saw on TV...like no topless biker chicks but way back when we had some wild photos to work with. Loved the company and people. So, this was good to finally where Sturgis is.
I think this is in Wyoming. Eventually we got onto I25 to go to Casper, Wy. There was a shorter route that Laura suggested we take, but I asked her to have Craig check with Google to see if it'd be a nightmare to drive Winnie on. He called back and said it was described as "Barren & desolate". Oh...so we're takin' I25. Before we left, we got gas in Gillette, WY and the best gas price of the trip. I was so ready for bed. Laura wanted to drive more, but we realized we probably should have stayed. I25 was not particuarly NOT "barren & desolute"....I mean it wasn't like we were driving on gravel for 900 miles but it was the longest 3 hours of driving of our whole trip. We drove for 20 miles between exits and all I know is the road looked like it was just going uphill the whole time. Uphill with no exits. Omg......we finally got to a rest stop, but it was scary looking. Then we got to a town a while later and it was scary looking. Finally around midnight we got to Casper and Laura pulled over in a hotel parking lot but I got the creeps, so I drove some more. Stopped at another truck stop, drove around, then left again and drove some more. I finally found a truck stop that suited me and we were done for the night. We had driven 17 hours. Ugggg......my whole being hurt.
The next morning it was off to Cheyenne. About an hour of driving for each of us and we'd have to switch. The trip was getting to us. I love driving thru Wyoming, but the wind was very, very strong, and unless it was behind us, it was difficulte driving. Laura and I both had carpel tunnel issues just trying to keep Winnie straight. Hours later, we were going to stay in Coalville, Utah, the place we slept the first snowy night of our trip to Tulsa 2 years ago. We really wanted a good dinner and finding a sit down restaurant was not happening. So, we decided to drive 30 minutes more to Park City, Utah and get a steak dinner. The change of plans was an excellent idea.
Collies all walked, and fed and Laura and I went to Ruby Tuesdays for the BEST steak dinner ever. Omgosh!!
Since Winnie was 29' from Ruby Tuesdays & 29' from The Hampton Inn....Laura suggested she splurg for a night to stay in the hotel. I wasn't sure I wanted to leave my girls in the RV but Laura convinced me. I am so glad I did. And the girls are fluffy.
We had the heat up to 90 degrees, 2 hot showers each and comfy down comforter beds. It was heavenly. When we woke up there was about 6" of snow. Soooo pretty!!!
Tirzah & Soleil were waiting for us in the front seats.
Park City might be sick of the snow but Laura and I loved it as did the collies!
Laura didn't want to leave though.....
On to home. It was my birthday so I got several texts and calls from family & friends. I have spent many a birthday in different parts of the country, as the CCA seems to fall on a traveling date to or from the show. It's all good. Love to see other places, so it's kinda my birthday present to myself.
Bonneville Salt Flats, going the other way, with water. Love the color! Can we say High Wind??? All the way home.
We finally got to Laura's about 8 pm and while she & Craig were flingin' out dogs & crates, etc, I got a text from my old friend Joanne. So, I text back and Auto Correct is hot at work. So funny. I showed Laura and she cracked up. I'm waiting for her to call me a cow.
I got home around 9 pm and even though we'd only been gone for 10 days, it seemed like a month. The driveway looked different, the house was sooo much cleaner than when I left it, as it was a disaster with all my artwork & porcelain dust all over the floor. T had a big present for me, wine & chicken pot pies. Cracked me up, because he didn't know it but when I was a kid that was always my request for my birthday dinner to my mom. Yummy to be home. Now I just have to drive south to get Cardiff....
It was a great trip and will go into my memory of life living at it's fullest. I so appreciate all the help Laura gave me with learning this kiln work as I feel like it has given me reason to work again. She has been amazing and I can never thank her enough. I also appreciate Tony putting up with being seriously neglected for many weeks and having a very messy house to live in. Also, to have the help at the CCA with various different people mentioned and also, to be able to bring home my girls, Tirzah, Soleil & Sage, no matter what they did or didn't do at the CCA. They are my Entais Collies thru and thru and make my life pretty special. So, yes, Life is Good. Auto Correct ~ Life is God!