Road Trip

I got a bug in my ear to take a long drive. I wasn’t sure why, but the buzzing wouldn’t go away.

Like many of you, I can’t just jump in the car and leave, so I got my ducks in a row, then I headed north. The first two days were all driving. I was just in the car with my thoughts. The first day I didn’t get out of the house until 11am. I went to gym and took the Young Man to school, then packed and cleaned the house before I started to drive.

My ultimate goal: Seattle (where TFQ lives)

First View: Golden Gate Bridge
First View: Golden Gate Bridge

The first view was an extremely lowering sky over the Golden Gate Bridge

First, I stopped at Colleen’s to drop off the Disappearing Pinwheel. I know I barely finished it before I got it out of the house, but I really wanted to get it out of the house and save myself another trip to San Rafael. Because of the quick turnaround, I didn’t have a chance to make the binding. I decided I would get it in Colleen’s queue and send the binding along later.

Heavens Let Loose
Heavens Let Loose

I stopped there for about half an hour, heard about Colleen’s weaving class and then really got on the road. I am pleased to say she thought weaving was boring and won’t be giving up quiltmaking to become a weaver. I apologize to all you weavers out there, but I am GLAD!!!

It rained hard from San Rafael through Healdsburg: headlights on, white knuckles, wipers on high kind of hard raining. I found out that I really needed new windshield wipers. Oops! In fairness, I did ask my mechanic to change them and I am not sure he did. He might have and just gotten a bad pair. It happens. I told my dad when I called him and he was all over changing them. I decided to see if he knew a guy to clean out the inside of my car, too, which after 14 hours in it seemed like it needed a good cleaning. Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything gross in there, but notice the dirt!

Cool Clouds, Rain Lessened
Cool Clouds, Rain Lessened

After Healdsburg the rain lightened up. All the way to Fortuna, it just rained on and off. Sometimes it rained hard, sometimes light. The sky was gorgeous. The light was gorgeous. The clouds were gorgeous and I really enjoyed the drive.

In the light rain, I couldn’t use the wipers. My only during that leg was in Willits to get some water and peanuts. I listened to Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro on this leg.

Despite my late start I got to Fortuna at about 5:30pm. I tried to get some FitBit steps in by walking around the hotel complex, but I also worked on my blog posts and read my email. I went to La Costa in Fortuna for dinner. They have great food. They make their own tortilla chips and tortillas. I wrote for a long time in my journal while I waited for my food and enjoyed my chips. Awesome and relaxing.

Across from the Hotel
Across from the Hotel

This field is the view across from the hotel in which I stayed. I really like that field.

I was rudely awakened at 6:45 by a bigass truck idling right outside the window of my room. It wasn’t just starting up and driving off, but sitting there rumbling for 10 minutes. ERGH! At least it wasn’t 5am. I needed to get up anyway.

North Coast Ocean View
North Coast Ocean View

Day Two: Fortuna to Portland

Day Two was, again, all about driving. After breakfast, at about 9am, I got on the road. Tuesday was a long drive day, longer than I like, and it was going to be a little longer because of the jog over to Interstate 5 from Highway 101. To my good fortune, the drive up the North Coast to Crescent City was unbelievably gorgeous. I can’t even describe the beauty of the water, the sky and the clouds. I just wanted to take pictures of every curve in the road.

I cut over to Interstate 5 from Highway 101 via Highway 199. The highway is built alongside the Smith River and it was also a  gorgeous drive. The river was a beautiful green color. That was part of the Siskyou National Forest and the trees were a gorgeous green. Now that California has gotten a little rain, the trees seem much healthier (from far away in a moving car). Again, I couldn’t take enough photos.

Crossing over to Oregon was  a shock. I thought Oregon was all about conservation, gorgeous vistas and rain. Right over the border, in southern Oregon, was shockingly ugly. I saw people burning trash, clear cut sides of mountains and front yards filled with garbage and junk cars. I will be using the backs of papers for scrap paper after seeing that devastation. They have a lot of paper production there. That is not to say that I didn’t see garbage-y front yards in some parts of California, but the trifecta was a shock *to me*.

I continued up Interstate 5 and closer I got to Portland, the nicer the views looked. The fields were green and pretty. The Interstate 5 was a lot nicer to drive on than it is in California, though there were a lot of trucks that I had to keep passing. That is one thing I don’t like about driving up Interstate 5.

I got gas near a town called Cottage Grove and almost jumped out of my skin when I young man appeared at my shoulder and told me he had to pump my gas. I don’t remember the last time I had full service at home, if ever since I started driving. I would have preferred that he come around the front of the car, though. It isn’t really very service oriented to scare the living daylights out of customers. Dad said that those jobs are the lowest of the low and they don’t teach any customer service. Hhmm.

Dad's Cook Shak
Dad’s Cook Shak

While stopped, I looked on Google Maps to see how to get the rest of the way to my Dad’s. I was shocked when I saw his ‘Cook Shak’ on Google Maps! Dad’s Cook Shak is basically a large deck/platform with a roof that is completely outfitted with an outdoor kitchen, nice dining table and a jacuzzi. It was hilarious to see it on Google and I wonder if he gets people showing up for dinner after seeing it on Google. It was nice to see my dad after awhile. He had some great short ribs ready for me. We ate dinner and watched American Pickers. I have never watched that show before and was fascinated. It was somewhat horrifying in a fascinating kind of way to see the junk (to me) that people collected. I don’t really judge people’s collections, but I call the stuff I saw junk because it was rusted in heaps in yards and under collapsed sheds. As I said, horrifying and amazing.

Day Three: Portland

Dad took his tour guide duties very seriously. First stop: Harbor Freight. Dad needed a grabber to pick up some sticks that fall into his driveway. Don’t ask. 😉

VooDoo Donuts
VooDoo Donuts

He stepped up his game on our next stop: VooDoo Donuts. Dad got two donuts, I can’t eat their donuts as they didn’t have anything gluten free. Still I enjoyed seeing the place. It is a wild ride and well worth visiting. Just go early.

Then Powell’s. Powell’s is the bookstore of all bookstores, the mother lode of all bookstores. Since the last time I was there, they have really spruced it up. It isn’t such a rabbit warren and, apparently, they fixed the roof leaks. They had a fantastic collection of  quilt books. They had probably more than I have seen in one place ever. They even had a Judy Martin Block Book. That is an awesome book and you can probably buy it online. There were a couple of books in which I was interested, but I wasn’t in the mood to buy so I left with nothing. Dad bought a couple of fishing books.

Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion

After a brief stop at Whole Foods, we headed up to the Pittock Mansion. “The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style “château” in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, USA, originally built as a private home for The Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana.” (Wikipedia) I loved that house. It really seemed more like a house. Of course, it was a mansion, but it felt like a really good place. The colors were light and there were a lot of curves. For the time, there was a lot of innovations and top of the line technology as well as innovative ideas implemented throughout the building. The views were also wonderful.

Entry Floor
Entry Floor

There had not been much opportunity to be inspired for quiltmaking, in any real sense, but the Pittock Mansion provided me with one. The entry hall floor was a Mariner’s Compass. The thing that made it seem a little different was the framing around each of the spokes.

Next stop was an ice cream place, Salt and Straw in Stumptown. I hadn’t had breakfast, though, so I was determined to have a meal before dessert. There was a Mexican place across the street, so we stopped in and had some tacos. The food was ok.  The ice cream made up for it, though. The flavor I ate, salt and caramel, was fantastic and the service was excellent.

We didn’t spend as much time in Portland as Dad expected and he was full after the tacos and ice cream, so he wanted to head home.

I cajoled him into stopping at a quilt shop near his house called Quilting Delights. I wanted to stop at another, but I think I was pushing my luck with one. Oregon has a very nice list of quilt shops by city, which made it easy to find shops on the way to his house. I talked up longarm machines as we drove and was pleased to see they had one, which was interesting to my dad. I don’t think he realized how much machinery we quiltmakers use.

I liked Quilting Delights. It is a big shop. I didn’t think they had a lot of fabric, though I did find some yardage to buy. 😉 I had hoped to find one of the Mod Century prints to use for the Disappearing Pinwheel binding, but no luck. They had a full line of Accuquilt cutters, cases, dies and will be having Go! Academy in a few weeks. They explained that they will be teaching people how to get more out of their Accuquilt Go!. One thing they will show is the hexagon die where you can cut the papers for EPP and the fabric at the same time. As I said after the Flower Sugar Hexagon was complete, I am done, for now, with hexagons. I love the idea, though. It is very clever. The woman I spoke with really wanted me to come, but I don’t think I am up for the drive a second time this year. The concept is great and I would love it if one of my local shops would do the same thing. My phone was dead so no photos. You’ll have to visit yourself. 😉

We had an Austrian dinner: cheese, crackers, a variety of meats, some grapes and we watched American Pickers again. 😉 George Barris was on it. He is the guy that designed and built the Batmobile, the car the Munsters drove, James Dean’s Porsche. His shop was near where I grew up and I remember driving by it frequently. I would love to get my hands on that archive and catalog and organize it, digitize it and make it available online. I am not moving to SoCal, but a girl can dream.

Day 3: Portland to Seattle

Basically, I drove to Seattle and took most of the day to do it. Before I left Dad’s, Dad and I also cleaned out my car at his ‘urging’. It was fairly disgusting, which I never really noticed since, max, I’ll spend 20 minutes in my car at a time on any given day. We washed all the windows inside and out, vacuumed the interior, we Armor All-ed the dash. He cleaned all the dips and divets with soap and water. The car was very happy.

The drive was nice. I have done that drive before, but didn’t really remember it. It rained, there were big trucks. I listened to Love Walked In. No mishaps or mayhem.

I felt a big sigh of relief once I got to Seattle. Seattle and I get along well. Yes, TFQ is there and that is HUGE, but I love the city as well. There is something about it that is comfortable and relaxing. It is a good place to visit to escape my life.

I picked up TFQ from work and we went and had Italian food at a place that has a complete gluten free menu of Italian food. We go there almost every time I visit. I love that place.

Day 4: Seattle

The first thing we did was go for a 3.7 mile walk. Despite my gym efforts, TFQ was kicking my butt. I had 10k steps before 9am. The rest of the day was gravy.

TFQ's UFOs, Finishes and In Process Quilts
TFQ’s UFOs, Finishes and In Process Quilts

When we returned, we looked through TFQ’s quilts. She is plowing through her UFOs and donating a number to charity. It is really fun to see my fabric in her quilts and quilts that we have worked on together. Please note that my contributions are small. She does beautiful work.

We went to the neighborhood restaurant for breakfast and I had an egg bake with sausage and tomato sauce. I think it was called Alla Bracaiola, but I am not sure about the spelling. It is a lovely place. Very homey. TFQ bought some walnut flour cookies which we ate for lunch/afternoon snack and were so delicious, I almost fainted from sheer pleasure.

We discussed the Super Secret project and will hopefully finalize part of it this trip.

We visited Quiltworks Northwest, a fabric and quilting shop in Bellevue. The people were super nice and I did find a few good lengths of fabric, but I was disappointed. Their fabric selection seemed old and there wasn’t very much of it. They had a whole new bead selection, which wasn’t there the last time I was in. TFQ said it felt like the beads were taking over the shop. Kind of disappointing.

We tried to go look at couches, but got frustrated with the parking and just went home. The rest of the day we sat. I unpicked part of a border on a great Sawtooth Star quilt that wasn’t working. I was happy to get my mitts back on some fabric – something to work on. I think the walk made us a little tired. I had over 15k steps by the end of the day.

Day Five: Seattle

Day 5 we sewed. First we walked another 3.45 mile look around the neighborhood. I like walking around Seattle neighborhoods. I like see what colors people paint their houses and what shapes the houses are. I also like seeing the shops. We ate breakfast at a place called the Barking Dog. Luckily there was no dog was barking. I had Eggs Benedict. The chef was kind enough to make it on GF bread. I was a happy, happy girl.

Then we sewed like demons and worked on finalizing the Super Secret project. You’ll hear more about this later, so be patient.

We went to a tavern with supposedly good Mexican food for dinner. I think both of us were underwhelmed. TFQ thought it must be bar food (very small portions). It gave us a good excuse to get ice cream afterwards. 😉

Day Six: Seattle

Lots of sewing today. We worked on the Super Secret Project again. I also helped TFQ finish a gorgeous GORGEOUS quilt top she named Pink Lemonade. I just sewed on two borders, then she made the back while I worked some more on the Super Secret Project.

We had to go back to the quilt store for more fabric for the Super Secret Project. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought two yards for background and borders. DErrrrr. First we went to Pacific Fabrics, which has a fantastic selection of quilt fabrics. I could have bought almost everything as everything was right in my color arena.

We also dropped Pink Lemonade off at TFQ’s quilter. I enjoyed meeting Janet last time and love her house. She has the loveliest studio under the eaves of her house. We had a lovely chat and she showed us some of her projects. She is very friendly.

We went to a Japanese place where we have eaten before. I think we may strike this one off our list as everything was covered in soy sauce (NOT GF) and both of our stomachs hurt about an hour after we ate. I took some enzymes, so I didn’t have a terrible reaction, but still.

Day Seven: Seattle

I was on my own today as TFQ had to go back to work. I sewed a lot and got my project to a point where it will be pretty easy to finish once I get home. I need a few more cool squares as I am completely out. One of the fabrics didn’t work with the background so I couldn’t use it in the borders.

I refrained from going back to Pacific Fabrics and buying more fabric. The fabric madness has to stop sometime. I did run about million other errands including getting food for dinner. We decided that I would cook while TFQ weeded a part of her garden.

Day Eight: Seattle to Ashland, Oregon

This is another driving day. I planned to drive farther south so my middle day wouldn’t be as much driving when I jogged over to the coast, but I decided, kind of at the last minute, to drive south on Interstate 5. I don’t like driving Interstate 5 as there are a lot of semis and in Oregon they hitch two and three trailers to the truck and it is scary to see. Traffic rules do not allow that in California so it is very odd to me.

I thought I would just split the difference and drive for a couple more hours, but the lure of home is strong so I drove for about 9 hours, only really stopping for a few minutes at a time. I finally ended up exhausted in Ashland, Oregon. I would have really liked to have passed straight through Oregon, but I was about to drop and couldn’t really go any further.

Interstate 5 is much prettier and more well tended than Highway 199. I noticed and thought that they must have put money into the road that most people travel. I am glad to see that southern Oregon isn’t a complete disaster.

I missed seeing my Dad again. I thought I would stop and have a coffee with him, but I passed the exit to his office and was too far down the road to make backtracking practical. Next time.

Day Eight: Ashland to Home

I stayed at the Best Western Windsor Inn. It was nice. Not fancy, but the bed was comfy, the room was big and there was a restaurant next door made a very tasty Mexican chicken salad. The BW didn’t have anything I could eat for breakfast so I went back to the restaurant for breakfast as well.

Dad was right. I left around 9:30 and I didn’t stop for long, but I did take frequent breaks. I made it home by about 4:30. The drive was hot and I had the air conditioning on most of the day. I guess the rain is gone. Oregon to home sounds far and it is over 350 miles, I think, so I feel like I accomplished something.

I stopped at two quilt stores and didn’t buy anything. Shocking, I know. Wooden Spools in Yreka had all of their fabric for $6/yard. They are closing their store and will only do shows in the future, which is sad, because it is the only fabric shop in the area. The owner doesn’t want to sell the shop to anyone because she has seen too many businesses fail that way. I hope someone is able to open a shop up there. It sounds like there is a big quilt community (3 guilds in the area!) who could support it.

Closer to home I stop at the Quilt Shop in Vacaville, A Quilted Heart. I went there (and wrote about it) last year after Grand Parlor. I walked into the middle of the first day of the shop hop. I couldn’t see any information about how to join the shop and was a little stunned at the festivity of the event. They didn’t seem to have a lot of fabric, so I didn’t buy anything. I think I am also still on the Pacific Fabrics high from the other day.

imageI knew I was close to home when I saw the huge fog bank over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was hard to miss.

It was a great trip. I saw people about whom I care and don’t get to see often enough. I saw some great sights, bought some great fabric, and sewed.  I am glad to be home. I am ready to sew in my own space and happy to sleep in my own bed.