It was really a fun conference but by yesterday I was more than ready to come home. I clicked my ruby slippers and said “There’s no place like home” and then we drove for about 7 or 8 hours and here I am! Spokane was lovely but extremely hot for this coastal girl. My brains were melting into a puddle of goo. Sorry I didn’t get to blog while I was gone but it took until Friday afternoon to get Internet access and our schedule was super-packed. All I used little Bluet (the baby laptop) for was to IM T-Man in the evenings and to back up my daily photos. As always I highly overestimate how much time I have available and over-pack the projects. Oh well. I sure wasn’t bored!
Backing up to the beginning of the trip last Wednesday, our intrepid driver Beryl (who is 70 but acts much younger) picked up first me and then our other travel companion Kirsten and we headed out of town. By that time it was nearly 10am but we didn’t want to be too early or we would run into morning rush-hour traffic. At the border (Pacific Highway, aka the truck crossing) it was backed up a fair ways. When we finally got to the gun-toting, black uniformed, jackbooted female customs officer at the US side, she decided that Kirsten & I were just fine but Beryl with her UK/EU passport and Canadian citizenship card was a potential threat to Homeland Security so she kept our passports and made us all go inside. We were ordered to leave the car unlocked and the keys on the windshield so I knew we were in for a good going-over. After cooling our heels in a line-up for 10 or 15 minutes, Beryl got a stern lecture about how the rules were changing June 1 (which was 5 days away) and that she had better get a Canadian passport or she’ll have to fill in some dreaded form before she can cross into the US. But Ms. Customs said she would let her go This Time. And then she asked Beryl how well she knew Kirsten and I. I think we convinced her that we were all old friends and not some terrorist bums she picked up as hitchhikers on the side of the road.
And of course they had tossed the car while we were being interrogated, causing the usually very sweet and gentle Kirsten to smoulder angrily about men with guns and their bad attitudes. We had to stop and right her loom and repack a couple of things before escaping. One of the Guys With Guns was impatient to see us go but I grumpily told him we couldn’t drive with the loom tossed around like it was. Jeepers! If you’re going to search a vehicle the least you could do is put it back the way you found it! We quickly got it righted and blew that pop stand in a hurry. Whew. Only took us just over an hour to get through the border.
The rest of the way was uneventful and we pulled into Ellensburg just before dinner to find a motel. We were all beat and it was still another 2.5 hours to Spokane. But before the motel we found a bead store where we made our first stash enhancements. I got some lovely leaf beads (I have a weakness for leaves) and faceted glass roundels. The Comfort Inn was indeed very comfortable and our room came with a view:
Next day (Thursday) we got up early-ish and made it to Spokane’s Gonzaga University just before 11am when the conference registration opened. We got our room keys and were just in time to find several handsome young students who helped haul our stuff up to our second floor accommodations:
They were pretty spartan, complete with particle board furniture, plastic mattress, pillow, two raggedy sheets and a blanket plus one dinky towel each. I let Beryl have the lower bunk since she’s only about 4-foot-10 on a good day. Even I needed a chair to get up to my bunk which was about 4 feet off the ground. There were 3 rooms like this in a pod with two toilets and one shower to share. We had already planned our roomies so Kirsten shared with Donna and Susan had her own room. They showed up later on the Thursday having driven the whole way in one go.
We had to get there earlier though because we had to put up our guild’s display booth. After screwing stands together and ironing scarves on a towel on the floor for what seemed like hours (and probably was) we ended up with this:
Fish! Natural dyeing! And my favourite:
An orchard! There’s a whole little felted scene going on in the Ponderosa Guild’s booth. The apples alone looked totally edible. Surprisingly they didn’t win a prize because I think it was very popular with the viewers. I don’t even know who did actually win the first prize. I’m not much on competitions and didn’t envy the judges one bit.
So this is getting very long and we’ve only gotten to Thursday. I have much more to go but I’m still tired. I didn’t sleep well the whole time I was gone. Too much stimulation, wrong food, a crappy bed and too much heat. It’s really hot here right now too – though not nearly as hot as the 90F+ that we had in Spokane. Ocean breezes are sooooo nice…
Lots more anon.