If you've wondered why I haven't posted much lately, it's because we were screaming-busy getting ready for my Portland trip. To all the lovely people who offered to help me during this event: thank you. I located a young man who lives in Portland and he'll be assisting me.
A few people offered their services if I could give them a ride to Portland, but unfortunately I wasn't able to accommodate. We rented a car for the trip (our own car is getting too old and rattly to survive lengthy drives any more) and requested a hatchback from the rental company. The vehicle they gave me was so small, I wondered if I would be able to fit in all the necessary accouterments to set up my booth -- shelving units, card tables, step stool, poles, and of course stock.
I did manage to fit it all in (to my surprise), but it was pretty stuffed. I couldn't have fit another person into the car at all. As it is, we shipped ahead the bulk of our inventory, and it was a good thing we did.
Follow me to Portland!
Yesterday I left later than I wanted to, around 6 am. The sun had already been up for quite awhile before I started my trek through endless wheat fields.
When people hear "Idaho," they automatically think of potatoes. But in the northern part of the state, wheat dominates.
One of my favorite vistas.
I stopped in Potlatch at a little espresso stand for a large cup of chai tea, which I nursed all the way down to the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland).
This is the sleepy little town of Palouse.
This old dealership hasn't been upgraded in about sixty years, and has a pristine 1950s-era vehicle in the showroom. You can glimpse it through the glass.
Then I launched once again through endless wheat fields.
When people think of the Midwest being the breadbasket of America, they evidently don't know about the Palouse.
Here's the pretty little town of Colfax.
In my mind, this marks the divide between the verdant Palouse and the dry desert areas of eastern Washington. It's not a perfect boundary, of course, but there's no question things get drier after this.
At one point, for many miles, I traveled behind a truck lumbering along with a load of hay bales. Most of the time he drove at a pretty decent clip, until a long grade defeated him.
Down to 22.5 mph. Wheee!
This is what the land looks like after Colfax, where the terrain flattens and the Palouse hills disappear. This area is still cultivated in dryland crops, mostly wheat.
Even the slightest rise on the highway leads to vistas extending fifteen miles or more.
A few miles after joining Hwy. 395, we pass some very specific instructions.
The reason for this mandate is the presence of a grim-looking prison.
After 3.5 hours of driving, I crossed the first bridge over the massive Columbia River, dropping me into the confusing area of the Tri-Cities. After ten years of taking this route and doing this show, I usually don't get lost any more. But in my earlier days -- heavens, there was no telling where I'd end up. The Tri-Cities has a bewildering array of connections and junctions and other mobile confusion necessary to accommodate a huge river and three separate metropolitan areas. I find the road signs for 395 and stick to them like glue, and that usually works unless I have a momentary lapse of attention, in which case who knows where I'll end up.
Besides the chai tea, this is my first scheduled stop of the day where I pick up breakfast. Going through town, I spotted this little sticker on the back of a vehicle, which I interpreted to mean: Two Adults, No Kids, Lots of Money.
The second bridge over the Columbia, south of Kennewick.
Crossing this bridge puts me into Oregon.
After another twenty miles or so, I hook a right to Portland, and will stay on this highway for the rest of the trip.
Some interesting contrails
A big custom-fitted RV passed me sporting the name Ryan Dungey. Anyone know who Ryan Dungey is? I looked him up and found his website. I guess he's a motorcross guy.
The highway finally started paralleling the Columbia. We'll follow this river all the way to Portland. It was a very windy day and you can see whitecaps on the water.
Massive windmills. The Columbia River Gorge is dotted with them.
A distant glimpse of mighty Mount Hood...
...which loomed larger as I got closer.
Some barges going up the river.
There are several dams along the river. This one was at The Dalles.
Past Hood River, the rock formations become more dramatic and the vegetation more lush.
This, of course, culminates in the magnificent Multnomah Falls. Frequently I make this a stop on my trip to or from Portland, but I elected to drive straight by this time.
(You can just see the waterfall on the left.)
Soon enough I was in the throes of downtown traffic.
I drove straight to the event location and did preliminary setup for my booth before heading to the home of my dear friends Wendy and Tim. What I didn't count was by the time the booth was set up, it was rush hour. Holy cow, if you're not experiencing traffic on a daily basis, you forget how bad it can get. What normally is a 15-minute drive (tops) took nearly 45 minutes.
But oh well. I'm here, and Wendy and I had a nice long chat yesterday, catching up with each other's lives.
Wish me luck with today's sales!