Monday, April 18, 2011

Crusin’ Kansas Bus Trip

On Sat April 16th QB&P participated in a 5 shop bus trip. Bright and early a group of 29 customers joined bus hostesses Kaye and Barb at the Eudora store where they had a chance to shop at their “home” store before our departure. As the ladies boarded the bus their wallets were already a bit lighter and their shopping bags a bit heavier. Spirits were lively as our passengers looked forward to day of quilt shops, spending time with a special friend or family member and crusin’ across Kansas. So, let’s go!

First stop, a half hour or so away, was Overbrook Quilt Connection in Overbrook, KS. Shop owner, Roxane met us at the bus to welcome us to her shop. Snacks, drinks and demos were provided as well as lots of inspiration and shopping enjoyment! Efficient check out by Roxane and her staff had us loaded and ready for an on-time departure – destination: Severy, KS.

A Saturday drive through the Kansas countryside in early spring is not complete without an estate sale or two. Hostess intervention was required to keep the bus from stopping – after all, it was not on our agenda and we had a schedule to keep! As we drove past the farm we overheard someone say, “Surely we have room on this bus for that kitchen table!”

Quilters are in the know when it comes to the whereabouts of quilt shops so it was no surprise when we heard someone wonder out loud why we weren’t stopping at such and such shop. It is true that we drove right by with a great view out the big bus windows of a shop just longing for us to stop. Ev

en the hostesses wondered for a moment what might be inside …. But a deal is a deal so we stayed on task and saved that shop for another day.

Two hours of crossing gorgeous Kansas spring prairie finally brought us to Severy, KS home of Needle in the Haystack Quilt Shop. Shop owner Cynthia met the bus and let us know lunch would be served soon (deli sandwiches, giant chocolate chip cookies, fruit and chips). We unloaded to find much more than a quilt shop. Inside was a mini antique shop, (the shop owner’s husband is allowed one wall to display his antiques), crafts, baskets, completed quilts for sale plus the usual array of fabrics, patterns and inspiration. Porch benches provided comfy seating for the quick shopper to wait – the sun had broken out, the wind had died down and the day was turning out to be mighty fine in more ways than one.

By the time we departed Needle in the Haystack overhead bins on the bus were beginning to bulge as the serious shoppers settled in to business at hand – Note: this writer is not about to name names!

Bellies were full, new project ideas were swimming in heads and shopping check lists were updated as we pulled out and headed for Newton, KS. The bus was unusually quiet for the first time of the day. Hostesses Kaye and Barb wondered if the fun was running out but then it occurred to us that maybe the gals
were just doing math in their heads to see if they had enough money remaining or if an ATM stop was needed.

Was it a coincidence that the bus seemed to slow a little as we passed another farm sale or were our passengers chatting with the bus driver on the side? Laughter abound as bus driver, Dennis, receives hostess instructions to drive on. There is an agenda, ladies and sorry but this estate sale is not on it!

Curiosity as to how our home shop was fairing prompted text messages and brief phone calls home. Through the quick replies back we learned that the other shop’s buses were arriving, shopping and departing in the same timely fashion we were experiencing. The classroom was converted to a cafeteria where visiting buses were served either lunch or dinner of Cutter’s BBQ on a bun, potato salad, and baked beans with homemade pie for dessert. “Pie? Really? Oh, bye, we’ve gotta go, we are in Newton!”

Charlotte’s Sew Natural in Newton, KS compiled of several interconnected rooms and filled to the brim with goodies presents an environment that might cause us to lose passengers. Owner, Charlotte, and her staff help us with fabric, patterns, kits and a bottle of cold water. The ladies had plenty of time to shop and relax which made for another great stop. As we boarded the bus and asked if everyone had their bus buddy we noticed two empty seats. Darn. Oh wait, there they are! Giggling like school girls, they board last and we head off once again with another on-time departure!

Late in the day the bus cruised through the historic downtown district in Emporia. Quaint shops and restaurants line the street but are meaningless to this crowd! They have eyes for only one store in downtown Emporia! Prairie Pieces Quilt Shop! Owner, Sue, greets the bus and welcomes us with the wonderful news that supper is served. Fried chicken, ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and chocolate or peanut butter cake with ice cream! Sue’s friendly helpers and delicious meal just seems to sum up the day perfectly for most. We do note that a few shoppers are showing sign of separation anxiety as realization sinks in that this is the final stop and it is nearly over. As we prepare to board the bus the hostesses make one last round through the store – oh dear, there are three ladies just beginning to eat! We are about to instruct them to ask for a to-go box when we realize it is the staff! Opps! They certainly earned their meal so we leave them to their supper! We corral our last few reluctant passengers aboard and have our first delayed departure of the day.

The sun sets behind us as our adventure wanes and we begin our trek home. The bus chatter softens to a low hum, a passenger here or there dozes off. As we near Eudora suddenly the chatter brightens as the passengers realize there IS one more chance to shop – after all their cars are parked at Quilting Bit’s & Pieces, right?

Kaye and Barb would like to thank all of the delightful ladies who joined us for our Cruisin’ Kansas Bus Trip. We had a great day and hope you did too!