November 4, 2009

In and Out of the Quad Cities

Contributed by Gail McPike and Toni Hall

At Stitches Midwest

Back in the sixties Dr. Timothy Leary coined, “turn on, tune in…”.  For those of us “turned on and tuned in” to knitting, Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, Illinois is the Super Bowl, World Series and Oscar’s all rolled into one event. A few years ago, we attended and thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun if all our knitting friends were here too?”  On the long car ride home, Daytrippin’ was born.

Gail and Toni 2Daytrippin’ with Gail and Toni is our annual extravaganza to the knitting exposition at Stitches Midwest.   And for this one day every year – we go crazy.  We call our friends at Tri-State Travel, charter a bus, plan logistics, snacks, travel time and arrange for tickets.  This year almost fifty avid knitters joined us in the trip.  We saw the latest in yarns, patterns, kits, needles and everything else knitting related.

Speaking of everything, this year the show introduced Australian Opossum yarn.  It’s wool spun from the fur of the Australian Brush Tail Opossum.  We spoke to one of the top Opossum experts in the world and here’s what we discovered.  The Australian Brush Tail opossum was introduced to New Zealand in 1800’s. In an absence of natural enemies it multiplied so rapidly that in many areas forest devastation is critical. In the past few years it can even become a problem in the hearts of New Zealand cities.  The fur is used in conjunction with wool blends to produce very high quality insulated garments.

If you love knitting the way the way we do, and we do like knitting – this is a classical gas.  It’s become a bit of a tradition with us and we have August 2010 marked for our next Daytrippin’ expedition.

Wicked in Des Moines

We love the theater and have season tickets at the Des Moines Civic Center series, as well as the Adler Theater Broadway series.  On Saturday, October 3rd, we had the fabulous treat to see the touring production of Wicked.  It was wonderful and was very much worth the two and a half hour trip.  Since we generally stay with our great friend Elaine in Des Moines, we traveled over the night before to see a production in the intimate Stoner Theater.  It was the delightful spoof – Forbidden Broadway.  We know that there are many great productions here in the Quad Cities and we have been to several of them.  We love to be on the road, too, and Des Moines is an easy trip to see the professional productions there.  We urge you to look at the schedule at the Civic Center.

Paris, San Antonio and the Quad-Cities

Texas has the River Walk along the San Antonio River, Paris has the stroll along the left bank of the Seine, but the Quad-Cities is blessed with the Mississippi and miles of beautiful River Walks.  We decided early on that the best way to keep hubbies Frank and Phil in top shape was walking.  We join the thousands who ankle their way along the Bix-7 each year.  We needed a plan to keep in shape during the off season.

Our training regimen involves a three mile walk to downtown Davenport from the River Heights to Lindsay Park marina, down the river walk to Downtown.  While walking is fun, nothing beats having a destination.  We looked for places to get refreshments and tried many of the establishments in the downtown area.  One of our favorites is Boozies’ Bar and Grill on Third Avenue.  Don’t get the wrong impression; it was named for Boozie the cat – not the preference of the attendees.  The owner, Mark, is a friendly fellow and the staff is great.

Frank fancies himself as a bit of a connoisseur of chicken appendages.  With a Col. Sanders looking moustache and beard, you would almost expect it.  He thinks that Boozies might have the best wings around.  And, Frank knows his wings.  There is always other great fare, too.  We think that we all should support the downtown establishments, and say hi to Mark.
Fall is here, and there are a great many things to do in and out of the the Quad Cities.  We hope that we see you there.