Thursday, October 29, 2009

SOAR: it's about people

I walked to the Lodge for Registration with some trepidation: I knew *nobody* here In Real Life, only as digital entities on Ravelry and via email. I'd tried to memorise ravatars, but I'm bad at faces, and pictures of someone's dog or favourite FO are no help at all...

Abby was unmistakable, and gave me the first of many, many SOAR hugs (for which I later gave her the beer I'd brought from England). If someone asks if it's your first SOAR, and you say 'yes', they'll probably hug you. Inspired by this, I did my share of hugging, to thank Beth of The Spinning Loft for all the stuff she's sent to me ( OK, I did buy it, but it was all good). Wearing my Camo Laminaria I was stunned when ElizF (on Ravelry), who designed it, came up to me to see mine - the first she'd seen in the wild. Her first time at SOAR too, so I hugged her for that AND the fabulous patterns. I hugged Tsocks, and Lynn (Enallagma9) and JimBobSpins and Sandi. All around me other people were hugging each other, friends who saw each other only at SOAR. And speaking regretfully of those they'd hoped to see who hadn't been able to attend.

The three-day workshop session was about people, too (as well as cotton). Other students, learning. Our mentor, Stephanie Gaustad, who poured a generous flood of information, skill and experience into the room. The people who'd made the tools we used (Alden Amos' work is so beautiful that some pieces made me
cry) the people who devised the techniques we learned, who used them to clothe their families. We are part of a tradition stretching back into the mists of time. Stephanie talked of duplicating ancient textiles, and people who'd done similar work spoke of feeling that the original makers were there, present, helping and approving of the effort to keep the tradition alive.

Pass it on, people.

-- posted on the move

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A glorious morning

Mt Bachelor at 0730 this morning. After a brisk walk during which I saw a family of otters in the river!!! And a deer. And a dead garter snake :-( I decided to try the gym. Which was good - but the spa pools afterward are even better. Registration next, then the fun really begins :-)

-- posted on the move

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The road to SOAR

Almost there

-- posted on the move

The road to SOAR VI

As it has rained every second day of this roadtrip, I was not surprised to see the parking lot full of puddles on Friday morning. Even deserts need some water.

This section of road was so familiar to me. Even after 40 years I recognised some of the grades, the turns, the landscape. One of the strangest things about this trip is the speed with which the landscape became? reverted to? familiarity. After 30 years in the UK this is still, always home. It calls to us. And yet I see Scotland in the curve of a hillside, a patch of bronze grassland. I am torn.

After a brief stop in Princeton (the hardware store to buy *real* string for drivebands), Hwy 3 heads up inton the North Cascades. Which lived up to their name. The sun shone weakly through the clouds as we stopped to eat our remaining food (banana, breakfast bars, and cookies) and walk a few hundred mteres down the Dewdney Trail under the dripping trees.

Then we were off again, travelling down the valley toward the Fraser Valley and the Pacific.

The valley widened, birch and then poplar replaced tamarack, gold on the hillsides. And then the sign announced Hope. Across the Fraser

and onto the old road. Skirting the rocks at the edge of the valley

moving down to the flat valley floor. Empty (only two engines for an immense length) grain trains waited for the journey east.

-- posted on the move

Friday, October 23, 2009

the road to SOAR V

A hotel in the centre of Nelson seemed a good idea late on a wet afternoon, but the nightlife proved excessively noisy. Who'd have expected nightlife on a Wednesday evening? And he's pulled a back muscle lifting my suitcase. So we were not at our best as we headed west on Hwy 3.

I drove, ostensibly to save his back.

That's checking the side mirror, not sleeping. The cloud dropped, then lifted.

We passed a nasty three-car accident on a tight bend and were still speculating on the cause as I pulled into Nancy Green Provincial Park (closed, but we climbed over the barriers to walk in) and discovered that the shaded road was coated with ice. That explained the enthusiastic gritting.

It was a pretty place, steam rising gently from the still lake. Onwards, on a road I remembered from 35 years ago, while he read the tourist info to decide what we'd do with our afternoon in Osoyoos. We decided to visit the Nk'mip Winery and Cultural Centre. Good choice: nice wine. Lighter and fruitier than our normal Europeans. We've got two bottles to fit in our bags somehow...

I love this landscape.

-- posted on the move

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The road to SOAR IV

The forecast had said a weather front was due, so we were not surprised by fog and low cloud as we left Coeur d'Alene. I'd forgotten how North American cities and towns sprawl out along major roads, mall after car dealer after mall; UK planning regs prevent this.

The road heads north, through narrowing valleys. Trees line the road, dark conifers a perfect backdrop for fire-gold aspen and birch.

The road crosses a large lake, where joggers and power-walkers are taking morning constitutionals.

On the other side, road signs direct us to Canada.

North of the border we are indefinably 'home', and we continue north to the ferry across Kootenay Lake, where persistent rain falls from lowering clouds.

I finally remembered to take a picture of my new gloves: handspun, cast on on the flight out of Heathrow, ends woven in in the car yesterday.

More 'spinner's credentials' :-)

Then on to Nelson, where I am sitting on the bed with the sound of traffic on wet roads drifting through the window as I type. He's leafing through guides to Okanagan wineries, just in case we have spare time... I think we can find some!

-- posted on the move

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The road to SOAR III

After a leisurely breakfast at the Co-op in Bozeman (wi-fi! Excellent muffins!) we spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the Museum of the Rockies. We thought it was very well done indeed: they've tried very hard to engage the visitor, getting us to think about what the dinosaur bones tell us about the animals. The text is simple but elegant and, when a technical term is needed, it is explained and the correct pronunciation is given. Lots of info about how the bones are excavated, and the painstaking research based on them - and the researchers are credited. The dioramas showing the fauna and flora of various rock formations are brilliant!
And then we headed west on I90.

Driving across the ranges of the Rockies, The cloud lifting but never clearing the tops of the peaks.

The rain that fell in Bozeman last night was a powdering of fresh snow on the summits. We ate lunch just shy of the Continental Divide. When a big truck pulled into the parking lot and the driver walked around hitting the tyres with a hammer I embarrassed my husband by jumping out of the car to verify he was checking tyre pressures. My husband does suffer.

From the top of the CD, across the valley another range is waiting. Yellowstone is dry because so many mountain ranges force moisture-laden westerlies up, where it forms clouds and rains on the western slopes. The further west we drive, the higher the rainfall; we head north long before we encounter the lush green slopes of the Cascades, but as we approach Missoula, the trees once more cover the mountainsides.

And then it was my turn to drive. Hullo Coeur d'Alene!

-- posted on the move

The road to SOAR II

Dinner at Ted Turner's bison restaurant that night was the first time in six years that we'd all been in one room. The trip to Yellowstone on Monday was the longest period we'd ever spent together. It was good.

The road led to Livingstone and a great breakfast at Chadz, then on through the mountains to a high, dry valley: more sagebrush and grasses. An exclamation from the back seat: "There's a column of STEAM coming out of the river!" A high stone arch marked the entrance to Yellowstone and a great day out. No walking to speak of, but a great deal of talking :-)
-- posted on the move

The road to SOAR I

An uneventful Air Canada flight ended in Calgary, Alberta, where we spent three days with family. I renewed my love affair with North American food, we wandered through malls bemused by the mass, volume and variety of STUFF available. On Sunday morning we headed south in convoy with more family to visit yet more family in Montana. Southern Alberta is as beautiful as I'd remembered, so beautiful it hurts.

Near Calgary the sage green of poplar leaves frosted on the trees blended with copper, bronze and burgundy from those that had changed, all against a myriad of soil browns and a dull grey sky.

As we drove south the trees retreat down the slopes of the valleys to line the riverbanks, while the dull gold grasses brighten and spread across the land. The hills grow lower until eventually "you can stand on a gopher hill and see clear to China" (as we used to say). The prairie. Dry grass and grain stubbles in every shade of gold you can imagine, shimmering under the clearing blue sky. And, shadow blue and white, the Rockies rise behind the foothills to the west. But by that time it was my turn to drive :-)

We changed over at Helena and continued south across the high, dry land between two mountain ranges. Sagebrush and sparse grasses on the hills, dull green and straw gold, shading into blue mountains in the distance.

Can you tell that I'm thinking about Abby's drum carding workshop?

-- posted on the move