Dammit Janice, and OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY!

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The day I arrived back from the road trip, I had an email from Janice suggesting I get my tukus over to ebay to bid on this.

It's been a rollercoaster week of waiting to see if I'd be the top bidder. On the few occasions when I have bid on items on ebay, it's always for stuff I would like but can completely live without. And while I can live without this item, man, did I want it.

Well, I'm the big winner. I suspect the item will go out UPS ground sometime Tuesday, so I might even have it by next weekend. I think she'll need a little TLC to get her started again.

If anyone has suggestions for a place in Portland where I can get her a new drive band, some oil and maybe a once over by an expert and some help setting up, I would love the recommendations. Of course, I'd be happy to pay for the expert's time. I've done enough work in yarn shops to know that when you bring in something you've bought elsewhere and ask for help, you should really be offering to pay for said help.

The best laid plans of mice and men

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Leo, Panda and I went to the beach this weekend. The coast is usually a safe bet for us because it's generally beautiful and Panda loves it.

Even our shoes seem happy at the beach

Leo had explored the Oregon coast a bit before and when he had, it had been beautiful but exceedingly cold. He suggested lots of layers. So we threw on some warm clothing and headed out for a quick half-day trip to the ocean.

Read all about it after the bump.

Settling in nicely

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It's really hard to tell this early, but so far, I'm very happy in Portland. Seeing Panda so happy, eating great food and meeting kind people, it all seems a bit too good to be true. Perhaps when the rains start coming in earnest, I'll be singing a different tune. For now though, I will fall asleep counting Pygora, and wake up to great coffee, I'm going native, people.

Maybe it's unfair to compare the accommodations of a second story apartment versus the little house we are renting now, but from my office window, it's not uncommon for me to see birds and squirrels, fattening themselves up for the winter. We have some sort of tree with berries, growing right outside the window, which makes for no end of visitors.

But you know, the contents of this blog have been leaning pretty heavily towards talk of road trips and shenanigans (that's right, I call shenanigans!) I feel it's time to at least make a passing reference to something crafty.

I did a little more spinning on, and then plied the roving that saw all the great sites on our trip.

The fiber is a blend of BFL and Alpaca. I think this shot makes it seem a little course, but it isn't. It's an example of a fiber blend that is greater than the sum of its parts; soft, drapey, silky and unbelievably spinable.

This skein is exceptionally special to me because not only has it seen great sites but it's a combination of work by both Julia and me. I love the work I spin on my own, but it seems all the more special when someone else has spun a little of it too. I think both of us learned a lot going to the Fiber Fest and stopping at several shops on our way to Oregon. By Crater Lake, we were both able to match each other's spinning quite well.

To add a little more specialness still, I asked Panda to give me a hand with the photo shoot.

You'll have to excuse our yellow lawn. Once the weather gets cooler and rainier, I'm told I expect plenty of lush green grass.

And since there's been a bit of clamoring for Panda pics, here's a bit more to sate your appetite. After work, the three of us decided to take a jaunt around the neighborhood. I rode my pretty pink bicycle, and Panda and Leo....

Well, they do things their own way.

GO PANDA GO!

Anatomically Correct

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Do you know the story of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe? Well, Klamath, California hosts a huge sculpture in their honor. And doesn't this artist have vision? Not only is Paul blessed with a rugged carpet of chest hair.


That ain't no dark brown t-shirt under his flannel.

But Babe has his own show of virility.


Babe, I like you but I don't LIKE like you.

Let's get us a little close up here.




Doctor, this is the worst case of indigo spheres I've seen.
Get this patient to the ICU, STAT."

Today's sense of humor brought to you be the Local Council of 10 Year Olds and the Slap Happy Road Trippers Council of America.

A quick recap of the road trip

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I'm home in Portland with both a feeling of elation to be back with my sweet Leo and Little Miss Panda, but also a sadness that the trek is over and Julia has gone back home. I have so much to tell you about, but I’ll try to keep from making this post too long. It was an amazing trip; one I'll look back on as being among the most memorable, but I'm exhausted. Like all of the past few weeks, we've packed as much into as little time as our little psyches could handle and it'll be days before the effects wear off.

The trip started with an easy jaunt to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles. We stayed at a place owned by a friend of Julia's. This allowed us the opportunity to stop by Village Spinning and Weaving in Solvang, CA.

While there, we availed ourselves our their various wheels, including Ashfords, Majacrafts, Louets and a Windwheel. When I left the shop, I thought I was happy with the Ashford Kiwi. That's definitely not what I expected, but it was a lovely little thing, easy to use, and it felt fine.

As we embarked on the next leg of our trip, we decided that we'd see if we could try a Schacht Matchless at Carolina Homespun in San Francisco. We figured that with the $600 price difference, the Matchless would have to be pretty darn wonderful to sway us.


I. Love. This. Wheel.

DAMMIT!

After spending hours at Carolina Homespun, spinning until we had to concede to the road trip agenda (and our rapidly waning blood sugar), we made our way to lunch and then back on the road. It was noon, and we were going to drive to the Sequoia National Forest, a mere 38 miles from San Francisco.

Five hours later, several wrong turns, some swearing at the atlas and not a Sequoia in sight, we were in stop and go traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. In case the impact of that isn't entirely clear, that's a 5 hour detour to get us back to where we started, without actually seeing what we had hoped to see.

The sun was setting and the question became: Do we drive as far as we can at night, missing a good deal of the redwoods but still trying to get to Crater Lake the next day? Or do we drive a more reasonable distance, enjoy all the of the redwoods and skip Crater Lake?

We decided to drive as far as we could without overshooting the redwoods. There is no anxiety quite like that feeling that you've made a horribly bad decision. As we wound through the dark roads at night, hour upon hour passing, we calculated our optimal stopping point. Finally, having passed up most obvious points of civilization, we found ourselves in a quaint little area...where every light in town was turned off. The towns were silent and the motels could have as easily been abandoned, for all the life we could detect. Beam me up Scottie! I see no life here.

As the crew (all two of us) grew ever more punchy and concerned, we wound down one sleepy town's main street after another, until we found our oasis. Motel Ravenwood was open. As unlikely as it was, the owner just happened to be awake, awaiting another guest and he just happened to have an open room. We could have cried with happiness. Instead, we snatched the keys, paid our rate and made a bee line for the warmth of our beds.

The next day we awoke refreshed and ready to complete the last day of our journey. The redwoods are everything we hoped they'd be. Following the 101 up the coast, we stopped for a walk on the brisk sandy beach.



Doesn't Julia's sweatshirt look like it belongs on this beach?


From there, we followed the directions the motel owner gave us and found a quiet little trail off a well groomed dirt road.



My little spindle even joined us on the walk.

As we left the redwoods and headed to Crater Lake, I had a little twinge of excitement when I realized I had finally hit my new home state. If you are wondering, it's beautiful and Crater Lake is no exception.

We stopped at each little vista point and the little spindle joined in the oohing and ahhing. The atmospheric haze made the lake look dreamy and almost unreal. The spindle particularly enjoyed seeing the chipmunks. None of them broke into song.





Even the firemen were a delight to look at.

All said, it was an amazing trip. I’m still recovering, but I’m so glad I had the chance to do it. Portland is wonderful, and being back with my sweeties, is as grand as I hoped.

I should have more pictures up soon, and I feel pretty sure that Julia will have some stories to regale you with as well.

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