Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Greetings from Portland

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!


  1. I am so glad that you were able to find someone to help! Good luck with the sales!

  2. Good luck on your sales and I'm glad to hear you found some help.

    I feel sorry for the folks who had the stick figures on their car. Currently I have the mom and dad sticker, a girl, a boy, a girl, a girl, another girl and two dogs. I need to add another dog and another boy sticker for the little guy we adopted in May. I defintely dont have the gold bars and money bags but im pretty confident im far richer (both in laundry and love!) than they are.

    1. Bless you!

      I was thinking the same thing. I have an almost empty nest, with only one son left at home, but the chicks that flew the coop are filling their own nests, so the circle just gets wider with love.

      However, I think that people that do not want children probably should not have them. Well, truthfully there are many with children that should NOT have them, too. I am growing crotchedy, I guess, as I'm almost ashamed I wrote that....almost.

  3. Enjoyed the narrative for your trip. Never been to that part of the country. Great pictures. Thanks.

  4. Those are NOT contrails! They are CHEMTRAILS! Look it up.

  5. Oh...and Good luck with the show:)

  6. That looks like a '66 or '67 Dodge Charger. I loved Chargers when I was a kid.

  7. I always love coming along for the cyber-ride to Portland.

    Have great sales!

    Just Me

  8. Ditto on the stick figures. Doesn't it kind of advertise they have money so they are ripe for robbing?

  9. Great Pics. Looks like such a scenic drive. Good luck with show sell lots.

    Carl in the UP

  10. Where will you be selling in Portland?

  11. Enjoyed your pictures and narrative very much. It brought back memories of spending 2 months one summer in Pullman WA. Love the area. Hoping you sell all of your inventory and I'll be sure to look for your photos of the great and unique t-shirts! Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  12. I have family who live in Beaveryon, Oregon. They took us to see the Falls and it is truly beautiful.

  13. Happy to hear you made it safely to Portland. LOVE Lisa's post! Kept wishing there was a 'like' button, but there isn't so here I am saying I 'like' it. :o)

  14. Good luck!! I'm looking forward to more interesting t-shirts and people at the fair! I really enjoy all of your photo journals. The pics of the Palouse make me homesick . Well jolly on, big sales and thanks for sharing!!

  15. Renting a car for the trip was a good idea - as long as it is reasonable, it will save you in gas, worries, and potential breakdowns, and you can probably deduct the entire cost on your taxes too. Have a safe and profitable trip!

  16. fyi those are chem trails not contrails BIG difference.

  17. Have a great weekend of sales, and take lots of t-shirt photos! I always look forward to seeing the funny t-shirts you encounter.