Summertime is also for traveling, adventures, and wandering. Right? Well folks, that’s what I’ve been doing for what feels like the last month. To be honest, there were days in between where I could have posted, but just felt like doing nothing more strenuous than sitting in a chair and breathing. I’m sure you’ll understand.
So where to start? First, there was a fabulous trip south to Oregon for the Black Sheep Gathering. I twisted the arm of one of my favorite road-tripping knit girls, and together she and I turned it into a short camping vacation. Neither of us had attended this particular fiber festival before, but quite a few of the fiber celebrities and vendors we follow had plans to be there.
The festival runs Friday through Sunday, and we attended on Saturday and Sunday. Yes folks, two whole days! It was that big. There was a huge barn full of a variety of fiber animals waiting their turn for judging – goats, sheep, alpacas – and one end was set up with rows and rows of tables with fleeces for judging. One of the nice alpaca farms let us feed a few carrot rounds to their alpacas. And my friend got to pet a soft little goat.
They had set up the marketplace in the convention center this year. We were glad they were forced to move it indoors, as the air conditioning was welcome after being in the 85 F degree heat. It took us all day on Saturday to wander through the aisles of vendors. Even then, I think we missed a few things. Legs get tired of shuffling after a while, you know. We took advantage of the big area of chairs set up for spinning/knitting to sit and spin for a while. Which of course led to chatting with our neighbors, meeting new folks, and trading spinning tips. I think we’d both agree that sitting and spinning there was one of the most enjoyable parts of the event. They also had a nice lineup of guest speakers in a little demonstration area off to one side of the marketplace. This is what led us to definitely come back on Sunday – we wanted to attend a couple of the demos scheduled for that day and get in a little more public spinning.
For camping during the gathering, we opted to stay at a campground near Florence and commute to Eugene during the festival days. This turned out to be the more comfortable and enjoyable option – cute seaside town, shady campground, and much cooler seaside temperatures. (The field next to the convention space that they opened up to campers is absolutely devoid of trees, and the heat of the day would have made sleeping in the tent unbearable.) After the festival closed, we packed up camp and headed north up the coast to Tillamook. We camped at another seaside campground near there for two nights before heading back home. This one was a winner as well – I’m sure you can imagine the waves lulling us to sleep at night, playing in the sand, windblown trees, and cheese factory tours. So relaxing!
The next adventure took Husband and I to Arkansas to join my extended family for a week of relaxation and boating at my parents’ lake house. There was lots of good food, good company, sunshine, floating, and boating. You know that floaty feeling you have in your head even after you’ve stepped off the boat? My head was doing that for several days after we got back home. The whole week was capped off with the town’s fabulous Independence Day fireworks show out on the lake. Always a winner.
Finally, last week we took a short trip down to San Francisco. Son and I had never been there before. (Unless you count the time I got stuck there because of a missed connection and the airline swore the next earliest flight home was three days away. I took a train to San Jose the next day and caught a flight from there.) Husband had to go for a business trip, so we decided it was the perfect excuse to tag along with him.
The scheduling (and delays) on our flights left us two complete days for squeezing in as much touristy goodness as we could stand. My local sources insisted that we should go see the Winchester Mystery House one of the days, and we agreed. I had seen the documentary about it, and you know I can’t pass up a tour of an architecturally interesting historic structure. It is definitely architecturally interesting! Spooky? No. Creepy? No. Weird? A little. Honestly, a good chunk of the strangeness about the way the house is constructed can be explained by the way the house was constructed. I mean, what do you expect you will get when the builders’ instructions are changed on a daily basis, and whole sections of the house are renovated willy-nilly? What struck me the most was the absolute gorgeousness and detail in the front section of the house, and how it was closed off from use after the earthquake at the turn of the 20th century. The rest of the house doesn’t hold a candle to it.
We started our second tourist day at the Golden Gate Bridge. Did you know you can walk or bike across it, for free? We should have rented bikes. We walked almost halfway across, then decided that was far enough and turned back. The weather was perfect for it – sunny with a few fluffy clouds, windy, and 75 F.
Next we headed over to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. There is a sea lion colony that lives here part of the year, but our luck was out and they were away for the summer. Ah well. We consoled ourselves with ice cream and plotted a route to our next stop. We decided to get a different perspective on the city with a view from the top of Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. The wait looks like it will take forever, but actually doesn’t, and it’s definitely worth it. We had to skip the parrots on the way down though, so we could make it back to the Financial District for our dinner date. All in all, a good day. Oh, and remember that perfect weather? I completely forgot sunscreen, so my face has been sporting an overly rosy complexion since. Oops!
That’s it so far. There are no plans to stray from home in the near future, but that doesn’t mean much in my world – something might pop up at the last minute. There was knitting, of course, but I’ll leave that for another post.