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This is a sketchy log, written sometimes after the fact, sometimes concurrently, on my teaching tour during February of 2004. Latest entries will be at the bottom of the page.
01-31-04 The trip from St. Petersburg to New Orleans was uneventful, though it started out a little damp, and ended up even more so. As I was coming into Louisiana, I called Marrus, the artist I know who lives there at the moment, and found out what the evening's plans were: a group called "The Rogues" was playing at O'Flaherty's, down in the French quarter, at a time when I could make it easily.
The Rogues are pipers, and though they weren't all in Highland gear, they were definitely in a Highland mood for their music. Good stuff, I enjoyed it a lot, and I met a few folks there who are into Ren Faires and such. All in all, an excellent evening.
I flaked out on Marrus' couch and got up the next morning, refreshed and ready for another leg of the journey.
02-01-04 I took my time, heading for Houston, and got there just in time for dinner with my friends who live there. It was nice to see them again after so long, but I needed to make some more distance that night so I didn't ask for shelter.
After several more hours, I stayed in a horrible motel -- made me think twice about cadging hospitality...
02-02-04 I reached San Antonio in time to have an excellent lunch with another friend, which we had at the Saltgrass (Grill? Steakhouse?) not far from his home. I'm still trying not to impose too much on folks who've already gone well out of their way for me in the past, so I bid farewell and drove on.
Camped out somewhere in western Texas for a while.
02-03-04 Woke up early and drove through El Paso before the morning rush hour, and proceeded through New Mexico and Arizona. I stopped in Deming, NM, to visit a winery there, St. Clair, and pick up a few bottles of Riesling.
Reached Tucson in the afternoon, and found a place to stay, decided to lie low for the evening and start checking things the next day. Dinner at the Silver Saddle Steakhouse, as usual when I'm in Tucson.
02-04-04 The weather is nasty, cold and wet, but at least not literally freezing. It cleared up enough to make the trip into town from the RV park where I stay reasonably pleasant, and I went to the convention center and got to work, looking for pretty stones to make settings for. One good possibility within my budget, so far, at Idaho Mining Company.
Headed up to Scottsdale to meet Carol Taylor of Metals Edge Studio, where I'll be teaching on Thursday. Not many students for that class, so it's more or less a giveaway session; barely breaking even, but I'm not hurting.
02-05-04 Bright and early, beautiful day out while I waited for the class to start. Nice to see blue skies again!
The workshop at Metals Edge was great -- with only three students it went fast and everyone did a great job on their bracelets. One of the students offered to show me a good place to eat, afterward, so we ended up at a place called "Haji Baba, serving Middle Eastern food, and I highly recommend it for anyone who happens to be anywhere near Tempe Arizona.
02-06-04 Wandered through the AGTA and GJX shows, and found a few stones that I might be able to tie knots around later, and then went to the Orchid Dinner, where there were a lot of really nice people. I had a silver bracelet in the silent auction, benefitting Orchid, and I was pleased that it brought a good price.
02-07-04 Drove to Castro Valley, CA, to get ready for my Sunday class, at Spider's house. I finally started hitting landscapes that I'd never driven through before, which was fun.
02-08-04 Eight students in the class, including Spider, and everyone did great jobs on their bracelets. I demonstrated knotted chain mail for them after the regular session, because a number of the students are into chain mail and were definitely ready to see the next challenge.

After the workshop, I drove to Sacramento and found a place to stay. Not bad at all, though it was next to an airport. Earplugs rule!
02-09-04 Six students, including the host, and again, all very talented folks. Two of them were not in the jewelry field at all, a young couple who were primarily there to learn how to make each other's wedding rings, but they took the bracelet workshop to acquire the basic skill set.

After the regular workshop we went to their house a few miles up the road and sat around their kitchen table, going over the somewhat more elaborate steps required to produce custom rings. After I got them going, each making a ring the right size for the other, they went at it with a will, and I was amazed at how quickly things progressed -- instead of having to stay over and finish them the following day, they were done in just a few hours.
02-10-04 A driving day, just going north. California is a big state, with a lot of great scenery -- after a while I started seeing snow-covered peaks to the left and the right, and ahead there was one especially large and impressive one, which turns out to have been Mount Shasta. The weather was beautiful and clear, but chilly, the whole time.

I did get close to some snow, finally...
Parked next to some snow.
02-11-04 Fog all morning, and rather cool, but by noon I had clear skies and a nice smooth road. I stopped near Portland, actually in Clackamas, and stayed at the Clackamas Inn. There was a fine view of Mt. Hood from my window:
Mount Hood, from the Clackamas Inn.
Had a chat with Wanderer, from the discussion board at The Ring Lord, though I was disappointed that more of the local chain-mail artisans hadn't shown up.
02-12-04 Beautiful day, short drive -- about the most relaxed part of my journey, so far. I noticed another mountain coming up, and it turned out to be easy to identify, Mt. Rainier, and I lucked out again with a view from my motel window:
Mount Rainier, from somewhere in Auburn.
Met Dale, the workshop host for tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to another small class.
02-13-04 It was a small class, but with great students, and we got done by lunch time. My next class, on Saturday, is only an hour away, so I'm taking it easy, poking around. Lunch was at The Mongolian Grill, where you pick out stuff at a sort of salad bar setup, then they do a hibachi-style job of cooking it for you. Very good stuff.

I drove around for a while, then stopped in to see the folks at the Beadclub, where the class will be, and then headed off to find shelter for the night.
02-14-04 Even though larger classes are tougher to teach, there's a lot of energy and excitement generated when there are a lot of students. This class (held at the Beadclub in Woodinville, WA) had eleven students, and was very intense. We had plenty of room in their classroom area, and I could go from student to student pretty well, but sometimes I got bogged down in one spot and had more mis-weavings to correct in others' bracelets than I might've had, otherwise.

Everyone was really nice, and they all left with bracelets, so I'm pretty pleased with everything.
02-15-04 Not a good day, at all. Canada customs decided my jewelry and supplies constituted some sort of threat to their economy, I guess, and they wanted to assess duties on every piece I had -- not an option. I had to cancel the class, to my deep regret, and I'll be giving refunds to those who had signed up for it.

I did spend the day in Bellingham, WA, visiting with some customers who were picking out patterns for a matched pair of wedding rings, however, so the day was not totally wasted.
02-16-04 A quick stop in the Woodinville Beadclub to visit with Melissa, and a stop at Chateau Ste. Michelle to taste (and buy) some wine, and then off to the Pacific coast, heading south. Cold and wet, but beautiful scenery, and I made it as far as Tillimook before darkness overtook me and eliminated sightseeing.

Amazingly, I managed to avoid a cold during the first weeks of the trip, but my luck ran out -- a bit of a cough, merely, but I hope it's gone by the time I have another roomful of students to talk to.
02-17-04 Winding roads, pounding surf, gale winds, and driving rain. Lovely... The Oregon coast is gloriously beautiful, even in winter. Some of my pictures seem to have been focused on the rain, not the scenery, but other shots came out very well.

Here's a spot where the swells were coming in and striking rock formations right by the road.
Salt spray on the Oregon coast.
Later on I saw some places where the rain forest coexisted with the dunes next to the Pacific. These two pictures were taken in the same rest stop:
Tree limbs in rain forest, western Oregon. Dunes in western Oregon, viewed through trees.
02-18-04 More winding roads, less rain, some actual sunshine. I drove through some of the redwood forest areas on the coast, and saw giant redwoods for the first time outside of pictures. I found the direct encounter deeply impressive, but all I can offer to you, the viewer, is more pictures -- I highly recommend that you go see them in person if you ever get the chance.
Coast redwood, with diminutive human figure for perspective.Largest tree I saw on the trip.
The one on the left, obviously, includes puny ol' me, standing at the base. The one on the right is the largest tree I saw, and apparently impressed others as well, as it was accompanied by a plaque which gave the following measurements: height = 304', diameter = 21.6', circumference, 68', estimated age = 1500 years.
There was a very small workshop in Pacifica, starting at about six o'clock, which went very well. I hadn't really planned on doing one there, but it was "on the way", so to speak, and since it only included a few students there was not a lot of work involve. Iris Sandkuhler's studio worked out well, and I truly enjoyed working with the students who showed up. I hope that none of them catch my cold...
02-19-04 I hadn't spent enough time in wine country on the 18th, so I went back for the day. There are certainly a lot of wineries in the area, and while not all of them grew grapes that I like, I managed to find several wines that were to my taste. Even though it is winter, the land there is beautiful, and it looks as though some growing things are anticipating spring.
02-20-04 Time to head south... my next workshop will be on Saturday, in Santa Ana, so I spent the day working my way down I-5 and through amazing traffic in Los Angeles (not as bad as I feared, but certainly no joke), to find a place to stay and get ready for three workshops in three days. Santa Ana, tomorrow, then Pasadena, then a drive to Las Vegas and my last official workshop of the tour. My brother asked me if I was tired of traveling yet, and I think maybe I am -- but I'm still having an absolutely fantastic time, meeting people and teaching and seeing parts of the country that are new to me.
02-21-04 The Santa Ana workshop went very well. I had six students, and they all finished up quickly. Brave souls, several of them demanded the opportunity to make the same bracelet again, with doubled strands, so we kept at it for the rest of the day. It's a lot slower going, with two strands, but they had a lot of fun with them.
02-22-04 Nine students in the Pasadena class, and they kept me hopping. I liked the venue, we were in a jewelry lab and there were dozens of places where we could work without stumbling over obstructions or each other. Not as many students opted for a doubled bracelet after their first one, but several got extra wire and told me they'd be trying it at home.
02-23-04 Las Vegas is an interesting town -- very well lighted at night, I'll say that for them.

Small class, talented students, very easy day for me. Afterward I drove down US 93, past the Hoover Dam and on into Arizona. I had a previous student to meet up with, in Prescott, and I got there after dark.
02-24-04 I got up this morning, to see snow on the ground... very pretty -- the neighborhood looks like a Christmas card, but Brrr!
Prescott, AZ, morning of February 24, 2004.
After visiting a few galleries in Prescott, it was time to head south in earnest. I stopped in Tempe, at the Haji Baba restaurant, for lunch, then plowed on until I reached New Mexico. No more workshops, so I'm homeward bound.
02-25-04 through 02-27-04 Not a lot of excitement on this part of the trip, since it's all ground that I've covered before. Deming, NM, San Antonio, TX, and Slidel, LA were my stops along the way, the weather was good, albeit chilly, and I got home in time to go out to dinner on Friday evening. A bit over nine thousand miles in four weeks.

(This site last updated on 12-06-2018)

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