Dateline: Portland, OR 3/26/08
I awoke this morning to the news that a big rainstorm was expected this afternoon, especially in the areas north of Eugene -- exactly where I was driving. Oh, well, the drive couldn't be any worse than my drive on the yarn crawl and to the Quaker Center for our January retreat, could it?
Eugene seems like heaven for crafters. There were several Eugene yarn and bead stores on the list I had made from the web. I programmed the GPS for 5 destinations and sorted them into an order that seemed to involve the fewest trips across town. Soft Horizons has several rooms full of yarn in a cozy Victorian house. I was happy to see an extensive collection of bead knitting kits from Swallow Hill and from Deanna's Vintage Styles. They also had Deanna's beaded short row capelet, which I am currently knitting. I had worse luck with the other two yarn stores. The Knit Shop was in the process of moving to a different store in the same complex, and was temporarily closed. Northwest Peddlers doesn't seem to exist any more. That surprised me, because I think they used to come to Stitches West, but I called the two phone numbers and they had been disconnected.
The two bead stores I visited couldn't have been in more different parts of the city. Harlequin Beads is downtown, and had a great assortment of seed beads and other beads. To get to Azillion Beads, I went through an industrial part of town, and started to think that the GPS was steering me wrong, but then there it was. The friendly staff offered me a cup of tea and served it to me in a nice big mug. It tasted wonderful and was perfect for a cold and rainy day. I sipped my tea while browsing the store. They didn't have seed beads, which is mostly what I work with, but I did find several nice colors of beading wire.
I wanted to find a Starbucks. I wanted a hot latte, my favorite Starbucks sandwich for lunch (the egg salad on multigrain), and a New York Times. I used the GPS to find a nearby Starbucks and lucked out on all 3 items. Then I was ready for the drive to Portland. The rain was on-again, off-again, but not as bad as predicted. There was a lot of traffic coming into Portland, but the trip was otherwise uneventful.
It's nice now to be in the same hotel for 4 days, and to be able to unpack my things because I'm not going anywhere tomorrow, except to class. The hotel is across the river from downtown Portland and a block from the convention center. There's a Starbucks across the street, and also a light rail station where I can get a train into downtown. Hopefully I won't be doing much driving while I'm here. Portland has a very good public transit system and I plan to use it when I have free time from the Bead Expo.