Sorry for the silence, but it's been an intense week or so as we prepped for my trip to Portland for my annual sales trip. It didn't help that my blog went down temporarily because of a glitch while changing domain hosts. Don spent about half an hour on the phone with GoDaddy's tech support, and they were absolutely wonderful in helping resolve the issues to get the blog back up and visible.
We spent a frantic month working on a massive production run of tankards for me to bring to Portland. This is a partial stack.
All tankards are tested for leaks by filling them with water and setting them on newspapers. We can do a batch of about thirty at a time.
Once everything was tested, the girls divvied up the tankards according to style so we could get a final count.
They also folded and prepared a whole bunch of guarantee cards, since each tankard gets one.
On Monday afternoon I went to gas up the car and saw this colorful motorcyclist also gassing up. I've never seen a helmet like this before! He was a very nice fellow.
After filling the gas tank, Don and I started boxing tankards and packing the car. We filled every spare inch of the back but left the front seat free since Older Daughter is coming with me this year (she's dog-sitting for the friends I stay with while in Portland).
Tuesday morning Older Daughter and I got up at "O-dark thirty" (as a neighbor calls it) and hit the road by 5:15 am. We saw this fawn standing on the edge of the road just as we turned onto the highway.
It was the first time I've driven to Portland with rain threatening.
After an hour's drive, we stopped in a little town at this tiny espresso stand, where they sell a phenomenal chai tea (this is an annual tradition).
It's a beautiful drive through the Palouse.
In several places we hit rain, sometimes heavy.
One of my favorite vistas, though I had to shield the camera from rain while taking pictures.
As we headed further west, the land got flatter and drier.
You can just make out a distant farm on the right in this photo.
Once we connected to Hwy. 395, we passed the town of Connell...
...which is home to this grim-looking prison.
Fortified by chai, we stopped in the Tri-Cities of Washington (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland) for breakfast before once more hitting the road again. We crossed the massive Columbia River twice (it loops). First bridge...
...and second bridge.
Crossing that second loop of the Columbia put is into Oregon.
Another twenty miles and we hooked west toward Portland. Final leg!
We passed this truck displaying some noteworthy sentiments.
The scale of these massive windmills that are scattered all over the Columbia River Gorge never fail to impress me.
We paralleled the Columbia all the way to Portland.
Either a barge or a tugboat, couldn't tell which.
The closer we got to Portland, the higher the Gorge cliffs became.
The vegetation also became more lush.
We opted to skip visiting the magnificent Multnomah Falls since by this time we were tired of being in the car and just wanted to push through. We'll stop on the way home. However Older Daughter snapped a shot of one of the many waterfalls that decorate this region.
Soon enough we were approaching downtown Portland, which included downtown traffic.
Portland is a city of rivers.
We stopped at the event site and set up the booth, then drove to the house of our dear friends with whom we stay whenever we're in Portland. They live adjacent to a region of beautiful homes overshadowed with magnificent trees. It's a wonderful and peaceful place to walk dogs.
After the chaos of so many hours on the road, it was a little slice of heaven.
Today is my first day of sales but Portland is expecting rain all day so I don't anticipate much. The weather is supposed to stay clear for the rest of the week, however. Wish me luck!