Welcome to the home of The Writing Wench

Welcome to the home of The Writing Wench - storyteller, novelist, Reiki Master, ghost talker, demon hunter and dog walker.

Among other things.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peeps Across America Road Trip: People We've Thoroughly Enjoyed Meeting...

Spent the last week and a half traveling through Colorado, the Canyonlands of Utah (OMG, I never knew how absolutely gorgeous!!!), northern Arizona, Navajo Nation, New Mexico, the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi (because the GPS lady said we had to *grin*), and southern Tennessee. Today is the first day since June 14th with reliable Internet access, so I'm posting pictures of everyone who helped us enjoy not only this trip but the Peeps Across America Tour. We had fun. I hope you did, too!

This is Peeps at the Shawnee Winery in southern Illinois the first stop on our tour. The wines are wonderful, the hospitality exceptional and this is a "must do, must taste" for anyone who enjoys wine, chocolate, a good micro brewed beer and good company. www.shawneewinery.com/

David Dawson is the Park Ranger inside the top of the St. Louis Arch with me and Peeps in this photo. He said he's posed with all sorts of people and things. He's still a good guy, since Peeps was a bit unruly, running around and wanting to sit in all sorts of places to have his picture taken...

Sales Coordinator Denise at the Drury Inn Convention Center St. Louis was great about posing with Peeps and me as we checked out of the hotel. We'd planned to get a picture with Michael, who'd checked us in the evening before and was a terrific help in directing us to the Arch, but he was off duty. Denise promised to let him know what he missed out on...

Sheriff Milo arrests Peeps for attempting to shoplift a peeps-sized Stetson and cause a general ruckus in the Buffalo Bill Cody gift shop near the William Cody grave marker in the mountains near Denver.

Our sister Kate, and friends Radmilla, her son Dejan, husband Milo, and me at Genessee Park in the Rockies for a picnic.

Peeps sniffs bluebells and our sister Kate appears to be smelling Peeps near Buffalo Bill's grave marker in the Rockies.

Mike and Peeps bond over beer at the College Inn in Denver. Great guy, Mike. Pilot, blogger, sports fan.

Peeps and the boys (still blue from their freezing adventures) meet Mary, truly the greatest bartender in the world, at Rodney's.

Linda Wisdom's (www.lindawisdom.com) Fluff and Puff turn and turn blue from lack of oxygen "at altitude" (and a severe case of being frozen) and join Peeps at Idaho Springs for a hot springs bath. This was a very bad idea since the three of them also got into a great deal of mischief...

As you can see, a pink sword was acquired by Certain Bunnies Who Shall Remain Nameless as well as other things (provided by Extraordinarily Thoughtful Sisters I Know & Love) and a battle ensued. This caused said bunnies to get tossed out of the Jeep at exit 2 on I-70 west in Rabbit Valley. They said they were happy to go as the valley was named after them and a celebration was sure to be in progress over their arrival. I fear they were most likely Doomed to Disappointment, but said nothing.

John and Gina Kiefer were married just a week prior to this photo, taken with Peeps on the bridge at the Gateway to the Colorado River. They were initially intrigued by our journey with Peeps and then delighted to make a memory with him on their return to St. Louis. They took the following picture of Ann and I (with Peeps, of course; he's most insistent *wink*). We wish them a wonderful journey and a marvelous future.

We had just left some stale peeps Christmas Trees at the start of the Mossy Cave Trail in the Canyonlands in Utah when someone laughingly said, "That's a waste of good Peeps." We turned around to meet a family from Pennsylvania who'd come off the trail after us. They'd observed our offering to the landscape (and the squirrel that was running about looking for "things"). We explained the staleness factor and the Peeps Trip, and the mother told us that her son loved stale peeps and often opened his Christmas Peeps to age them for awhile before consuming him. We gave him the rest of the package of trees that we'd just opened and he gamely posed with them. Thank you, Alex, you rock! And just so you know, where moms and embarrassment are concerned, it does not get better from here. Just ask my son...

Certainly one of our best and favorite encounters was with Angel, the Guardian of Route 66 and the inspiration for the movie Cars at his Historic Route 66 Gift Shop. www.route66giftshop.com The shop sells only things that are "Made in the USA" and appears constantly busy. Angel is the best ambassador for Route 66 and American tourism imaginable. He wears a constant smile, cheers on everyone, and those who work in the shop are equally cheerfull and welcoming. I loved meeting him, spending time with him and everyone else in Seligman, AZ and I will go back happily - with or without Peeps!

Tomorrow I'll get the rest of Peeps' trip updated. It's been a marvelous experience, due in large part to everyone we met, and all of those roadside attractions we found.

Especially the unexpected ones.

Until then.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Peeps Across America Road Trip: update from OK

Just wanted to let everyone who's been kind enough to pose with Peeps that I hope to be able to update the blog with your pictures within the next day or so. You've made this trip a real pleasure and more fun than I can tell you! In Oklahoma without I'net service after no service in AZ (Navajo Nation) and New Mexico (black out at our hotel - no, I did NOT do it. *grin*) Who knew life with "free wi fi" included in the room could be so interesting! Posting this from my phone. Which did not work in AZ.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peeps Across America Road Trip: Peeps Goes Climbing in the Rockies; Fluff 'n Puff Turn Up in a Deli Freezer for $3.99 a pound...

After finally getting out of Kansas and the parts of Colorado neither of us ever want to see again, Ann and I arrived in Denver for a long weekend with our sister, Kate.

The weekend started well. After reintroducing Peeps to Kate, we immediately went to the College Inn for a brew or two. Peeps introduced himself around to the regulars who seemed a little leery but game about meeting him.

We spent the next day in the Rockies picnicking with Milo and Radmilla and their sons Stefan and Dejan and their dog Lola, with whom Peeps got along well. Peeps climbed mountains, went flying, picnicked (you can see him enjoying most of the food on the table). He explored caves, went badger hunting and smelled the bluebells with Kate.

Then we went to Buffalo Bill's grave site, where things went a bit sideways.

Immediately Peeps wanted to ride the buffalo, sit on Bill's grave, run rampant through the gift shop and eat chocolate. When we entered the gift shop he climbed into Buffalo's Bill's hat and refused to come down. In the gift shop he attempted to steal a Peeps-sized pistol and Stetson and was arrested by Sheriff Milo.

Outside he followed the Jolly Green Giant (aka Dejan) up a rock and tried to jump off. I have no idea what he was trying to prove, but parasailing was out of the question at that moment.

Later that evening he met Mike for a beer at the College Inn. I don't know what time he returned to the apartment, but...it had to be late. When we went out to get a few deli items at a nearby Russian deli the next morning he went exploring on his own. The screeching peep he emitted from the freezer section at the rear of the store was horrendous. The next thing we knew, Peeps and a pair of frozen rabbits ($3.99 a pound) were making a fast getaway in Kate's battered RAV.

Sure enough when we HIKED backed to the apartment Peeps had thawed out a seriously Hairless Fluff & Puff who were blue and shivering uncontrollably. He'd evidently stopped somewhere along the way to pick up some Rogaine because the bunnies were covered in... something and starting to sprout tufts of fuzz.

We took them with us to Idaho Springs when we went to enjoy the waters. Eventually they warmed up but remained blue blue blue.

To round out Peeps' visit to Denver, he and Kate visited a Tattoo parlour where they each had "MOTHER" tattooed on their biceps. Then it was off to Rodney's to meet Mary, the World's Greatest Bartender. She was somewhat leery of having her picture taken with Peeps, what with the threat of fame and all, but Peeps and "the boys" (Fluff and Puff) convinced her.

Fortunately for all concerned Ann and I left Denver the following morning and headed west. Unfortunately Peeps and the bunnies started bickering the moment we hit the road. A pink sword was involved and things got ugly quickly...

To be continued...

Peeps Across America Road Trip: Peeps Pays Homage to Twine

After leaving St. Louis we decided to cross Kansas on the way to Denver. Our search for Roadside Attractions to share with Peeps (well, perhaps I should say at Peeps' demand) led us to...

The Giant Ball of Twine in Cawker City, KS. To visit this sight of major Peeps excitement, we passed up the Barbed Wire Museum in La Crosse, the suitcase shaped tomb of THE traveling salesman, the home of the guy who gave us angus beef and the tomb of a vampire. These were MAJOR things to pass up for Ann and I, let me assure you! The Big Ball of Twine was everything it promised to be and more. Peeps was thrilled, as you can see. Cawker City was a great deal less so. Within 3 minutes of our arrival at the Giant Ball of Twine, a man went into the bank across the street and a cop drove by. Moments later (clearly called by one of these two men - the only living creatures IN Cawker City at 9 a.m. on a Friday morning with NO COFFEE IN SIGHT ANYWHERE), a woman pulled into the parking lot next to the Giant Ball of Twine, got out of her car and asked if she could help us. She wanted to offer us twine to add to the ball but had left it home after removing it from her vehicle to take her kids to bible camp.

We were most anxious she NOT see the tiny marshmallow peeps offering Peeps insisted we leave at the base of the Big Ball of Twine, god of all twine, so we ... posed for pictures WITH the ball of twine sans Peeps.

After this, we made good our escape along highway 36.

I do not recommend this mode of escape across Kansas as there is NOTHING ON IT. There is NO COFFEE. There is Very Little Gas. And what towns used to be there have vanished, victims of modernization or economic disaster or both.

There is also nothing along this highway in Colorado. There is still NO COFFEE. There is no civilization (I don't require much, really!) until you hit Denver. And then there's a LOT OF IT.

But that's a story for another day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Peeps Across America Road Trip: Peeps Meet Fluff & Puff and Cause Havoc in City Garden St. Louis..

On a very hot morning (triple digit heat!) we were leaving St. Louis for points west when big white bunnies appeared to our right. Aghast, I stared at them and shouted, "Fluff & Puff! I wonder if Linda (Wisdom www.lindawisdom.com) knows where they are?"

A moment later Ann said, "Look, big giant head!", so we had to stop for pictures.

It was a bad idea. The moment we parked and walked over to the park, Peeps took one look at the children playing in the water and decided City Garden was THE place to Raise Havoc. He made a mad dash for the bunnies and introduced himself to Fluff without a by your leave. The two bonded instantly - as you can see. They played with the walking sign while Puff played with children nearby. Then Peeps went over and made Puff's acquaintance as well. Puff made sure to have his picture taken with "the pretty lady" (Ann).

Then... well, all hell broke loose.

The three of them went on a rampage. Statues were tipped, heads got broken, pictures were taken in eyes. Ann and I had to bandage the big giant head, then Peeps decided it was time to make a run for it. Fluff & Puff were on their own.

Peeps wanted to drive the getaway vehicle (a bad plan, as you can tell from the look on Ann's face.) But we made it out of St. Louis without getting arrested. Hopefully no one from there will read this and follow us...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Peeps Across America Road Trip Day 2, 3, 4: St. Louis; MO, KS & Way Too More KS; Parts of CO I Did Not Know Existed & Do Not Want To Visit Again...

We arrived in St. Louis on Tuesday evening and immediately went over to the Gateway Arch for a visit. Santa Peeps rode the tram to the top of the arch and met Park Ranger David Dawes who enjoyed posing with Peeps. Fortunately Peeps was well behaved at this point despite having a sense of vertigo from the Arch swaying in the wind.

The following morning Peeps posed with Denise at the checkout desk at the Drury Inn Convention Center where we spent the night - and then we found two of his compatriots standing on the jeep tires inside the parking garage in TRIPLE DIGIT HEAT! Do not ask me what they were thinking because I don't know. Suffice to say they were STUCK TO THE TIRE and Things Ended Badly for them.

Inside the Peeps container in the Jeep, chaos reigned. Had we not left instantly for the City Center Gardens, I suspect a mutiny of monstrous proportions would have occurred and there would have been melted marshmallow everywhere. We did, however, promise them a loooooooooong drive and a visit with a humongous ball of twine later in the day, so they Settled Down.

First, however, we allowed them to climb around in a giant shoe made of shoes outside the Brown Shoe company. At City Center Gardens they peeped through the eye of a giant head. And then....

Well, then they met Linda Wisdom's Fluff & Puff, who were apparently AWOL from Southern CA. As you can see from the big giant bandaged head lying on it's side in City Gardens St. Louis, things went decidedly downhill for Ann and I from there. But more about that little debacle later...

Later in the day, Peeps decided to play inside a sleeping giant's nose and... Definitely NOT a pretty sight when snot went flying everywhere.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Peeps Across America Road Trip Day 1: Shawnee Winery; Santa Peeps Wears a Cracker on his Nose...

Stopped at the Shawnee Winery Cooperative in Vienna, IL just after lunch. It's the only cooperative winery in Illinois and has created a market for small grape growers in southern IL. (www.shawneewinery.com) Ann and I did a small amount of wine tasting. Santa Peeps ... well let's just say the Winery's proprietress, Sonya, got a few chuckles out of him.

We left Shawnee Winery with several bottles of Dreamcatcher (the Winery's description does not do it justice. It is out of this world lovely, especially paired with a bite or two of The Chocolate Factory's milk chocolate. The Chocolate Factory is about 12 miles down the road from Shawnee Winery, but the Winery does also keep chocolate bars on hand for sale.)

Ann also purchased a bottle of Temptation, a pure apple juice wine, and we each picked up a sweet raspberry wine called Razzle Dazzle, which I can well imagine paired with cheese cake. It also goes very very nicely with the Chocolate Factory's milk chocolate.

All in all it was a well-chosen stop - except for Mr. Peeps' drunken celebration. A later stop at McDonald's found him still out of control. He had to have his picture taken sitting atop Ronald McDonald's head while I posed in the crook of Ronald's arm. I'm just glad mayhem didn't ensue...