Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring and 18,000 square feet of thread in North Carolina

Down and back in two and a half days, so adventures were the usual. The straight shot down Interstate 77, from the top of Ohio to the bottom of North Carolina was like unrolling time on the way down, and rolling it up again, coming home. We shed clothes by the south side of the Big Walker Mountain tunnel and the air was on before Fancy Gap.

Damn, don’t you just love those suthr'n words.

First the trees came into bud, and later on they were blossoming and had fresh green leaves on display. There was wisteria in bloom, azaleas, rhododendron, every sort of fruit tree, and dogwood. Then we rolled it all up again on the trip home.

We had the usual motel adventure. No one can circle a motel like Linda and I can. There is only one motel in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. It’s quite new and a trifle pricy. I booked it for the breakfast listed on the web page.

We asked directions about three times, as I recall. Once the owner of the gas station did not know, and was not fluent enough, in any event. The second person we asked was a local, and his direction started with “turn right at the one stop.” I quit listening, but Linda persevered to the end. The directions generally involved turning at a fast food establishment, passing intersections identified by the fast food stores on three or more corners.  There may have been extra points for a service station.

The third inquiry hit pay dirt. The woman at the counter gave me the key to her rest room, and I returned able to listen coherently. We were on a road we had traversed and quit, sure we would never find the motel. “Honey, you just go back up this road fourteen minutes.”  She was right.

After a typical motel breakfast of cereal and sweet rolls the next morning, not the eggs I had been promised when I booked at $114 (because of the scrambled egg breakfast!), we met Sheldon at his 18,000 square foot warehouse. The first time I met Sheldon, all the thread was in outbuildings on a property in Tennessee. Now it is all under one roof, and finding what I wanted was as delightful as ever.

It was nice to go from pile to pile and box to box, not to storage shed upon storage shed. The world of textiles has changed in those twenty five years. I no longer buy hundreds of pounds of thread at a time; he no longer has thousands of pounds of cotton. The American mills simply are gone. But we puttered and looked and left with a bit over a hundred pounds. I believe it was as much a trip down Memory Lane for a visit with Sheldon as anything.

We got to Ripley, West Virginia that evening, and from the restaurant on top of a hill we looked down into the city and saw a sign: McCoy Inn and Conference Center. I looked on my phone, and there it was, 701 Main Street. We circled the block for at least fifteen minutes before we asked. It’s been demolished and there will be a gas station on the corner.

There’s more than one motel in Ripley. Super Eight had no first floor rooms. Hampton Inn Express was $185—second floor. Linda was for pushing on, but I suggested we give the Quality Inn a chance. The young man at the desk was a delight.

When I came in he was in the midst of a phone call with a stupid person. The sort who won’t believe they actually reached the establishment they called. He walked away once so I wouldn’t hear him grind his teeth. I suggested he might say he could no longer hear because his receiver just smashed through the wall.

As he spoke I read the breakfast menu. Scrambled eggs. The young man confirmed this. He had my business, although his available rooms were second floor. I told him this made me sad, but I would stay for the scrambled eggs. Well, he had a queen double on the first floor, but the wi-fi did not work. As neither Linda nor I had a wi-fi device, and as it was past bed time, all was moot. We stayed on the first floor.

In the morning I had scrambled eggs. They were good. Linda told me they were powdered, but I could not make the taste connection. So, I looked up “How do motel breakfast bars make scrambled eggs?”

They buy plastic bags of frozen, mixed up eggs. The eggs defrost on the counter overnight, hit boiling water in the morning, cook and are slipped into the warming tray, where they probably get a visit from a potato masher before they move to the counter. Quality Inn did it right, and for $75 a night.

I have enough thread for a while, but I am considering a short run to Michigan this summer, to an outlet that’s still around. It includes lunch at a little establishment that has the best ice cream by a dam site.


  1. a fine thread of an adventure

  2. What a threading adventure :-)

  3. Happy to hear you both had a nice trip, even though you were shorted a scrambled egg breakfast!

  4. The incorrectly advertised Motel with no scrambled eggs also did not have a manager as she was on vacation. They told us they did not have Trip Advisor but I found it and gave them my 2 cents. A lot of money for very little. We had a typical "thelma and louise" adventure..

  5. It is expensive to stay in motels. We pretty much just travel with our 5th wheel these days...and complain about the cost of campsites!

  6. I've started writing reviews on different places we have stayed or eaten. If I was you, I might be tempted to write a review on the motel that promised eggs and there were not and the Quality Inn that gave you guys good service. I learned something new about the scrambled eggs served at their breakfasts. I didn't know how they were made (I assumed a kitchen some place on the premise). Seemed like a good productive trip with a bit of pleasant viewing as you drove as you got to see spring in other parts of the country.


  7. An interesting mix of the good and the bad.
    I am really, really looking forward to seeing what you create with the thread.

  8. The cost of a decent room is ridiculous but I enjoy the breakfasts too. One place I stayed served a beautiful bouquet at the pool. It was a lovely place to eat.

  9. Hello Joanne,

    The distances in the USA always set our minds boggling. We can travel to several different countries in the time it took you to reach your destination. We love the way in which even the seasons change along the way.

    And, what an amazing place to buy thread. We have never seen so much and can only imagine what it was like when there was even more on offer. You certainly do a lot of sewing!

  10. The best ice cream around is a great reason for a short run to Michigan.
    Interesting to hear the way motels make their scrambled eggs.
    I thought powdered eggs were a thing of the past and only used by the Army during wartime.
    The frozen mixed eggs are a much better way.

  11. A trip down memory lane with a 'kid in a candy store' feel... mixed in with a bit of derring do when it came to hotels; quite an adventure!

  12. I love how you described your road trip, "unrolling time on your way down and rolling it up on your way back." How wonderful to see spring in the making.

  13. Hari OM
    It wouldn't have been a 'road trip' if it had all run smoothly! YAM xx

  14. Time rolled more than you thought..powdered eggs? Were they playing The Beverly Sisters on the radio too?
    I'd call ahead to the ice cream place.
    Jane x

  15. LOL.

    Do you believe the cost of hotel rooms?! I remember my dad freaking out when Holiday Inn hit $25 a night...


  16. Sounds like a typical American road trip. We live in the south and I still have to ask people to repeat directions because I can't understand what they're saying.

  17. Fun trip. Glad you were able to buy what you needed.

  18. I imagine you being in a thread warehouse is the same fun for me as being in a big fabric store back when I was sewing a lot. once my husband and I were looking for a person's house who lived out in the country, not even in the small town nearest where we stopped and asked for directions to Jack's house. see that big tree over yonder, he asked, that's in Jack's yard. so we just aimed for the tree taking whatever turns we needed and so it was.

  19. Do tell on the Michigan site. The only time I eat biscuits or sweet rolls is medium priced hotels. My little cheat.

  20. In the first year living in Ireland, directions were impossible for me: Down that lane, turn left at Sullivan's barn and go on, turn right where the old water works used to be...

    Did the colors and quantity of thread overwhelm you? With happiness?

  21. I am seeing a food-related theme to your travels - a woman after my own heart :) The last time we stayed away overnight we had to leave the hotel to find breakfast at a restaurant in another, more upscale hotel - $15 for one tough egg and two pieces of cold, burnt toast - and an indifferent server. I still can't get over it!!

    I can just about feel how that trunkload of thread felt to you. I'm the same with any kind of textile. Treasure.