We haven’t done a real road trip in a long time, even a mini one, so when Greg was offered a speaking engagement at Lower Columbia College, in Longview, WA, it seemed like a good excuse to pack up the car and go for a drive.  We live north of Seattle, and I thought that Longview was near the Oregon border, so we figured maybe a five hour drive, allowing time for traffic.  He needed to be there by 1pm, and we left at oh-dark hundred, heading south at 7am.  Traffic was a breeze, and we found ourselves looking for a solid breakfast about 9:30 in the Lacey area.

Shipwreck Cafe

Shipwreck Cafe

A good solid plate of hashbrowns ‘n’ chili omelet later, we were back on the road, and I was wondering if Shipwreck Cafe had any relation to something else I’d heard of in that area that was named Shipwreck . . . but more on that later.

The day was splendid, sunny with patches of drifting mist parting to reveal glorious fall color. It’s not like back East here, and some years just go straight from green to brown, but this year the leaf color is quite splendid.

Splendid!

We arrived in Longview rather early (not as close to the border as I thought), and had time to drive around town a bit and also get a tiny nap (those early morning wake-ups!) before meeting with the staff of the Language and Literature department. Turns out it was a department member’s birthday, so we got to share in the cake, a dense concoction of peanut butter and chocolate, specially made gluten-free for the honoree.

Deborah Wohrmann gave us a cup of tea and took care of the paperwork before turning Greg over to Klint Hull, who was having Greg speak to his class. There was a small session with the Science Fiction Literature class, and then we moved to a larger venue to continue the talk with other classes joining the group. After that, Klint interviewed Greg for a local cable tv show, then we went for an early dinner, with Deborah and Klint, and were joined by poet and faculty member Joe Green and also Kyle Hammon, Dean of Instruction — who turns out to be a spinner and knitter! We discussed wheels, Cormo vs. Corriedale cross, the properties of silk, etc., to the befuddlement of everyone else.  A lovely dinner, then off to the public library where Greg gave another talk. If you are ever invited to speak at Lower Columbia College, they are marvelous people who will treat you exceedingly well, but they will work you!

I was too addled to take pictures of the college and events, but Longview is a charming town, worth stopping by if you need a break on the way from Seattle to Portland. The next day, we breakfasted at Stuffy’s

Case of baked goods

Case of baked goods

where we did not have the cinnamon rolls that were bigger than a human head.  The waffle with bacon inside was splendid, though.

Another beautiful day as we headed home, and the handy navigator led us to the often heard-of but never seen by me mecca for shiny things with holes:  Shipwreck Beads.

 

Shipwreck Beads

Shipwreck Beads

It says it is the world’s  largest selection of beads, and I can believe it.  They even spill out onto the sidewalk.

Beaded sidewalk

Beaded sidewalk

Inside, it seems to go on forever.

Got beads?

Got beads?

It’s rather overwhelming.

Got beads!

Got beads!

The last time I was at a really huge bead store, it was Berger’sin Los Angeles, and I found that it was about $1 per minute to be there.  It turns out my personal rate of spending has stayed about the same, and we were only there for about $20  . . .err . . . minutes, leaving with supplies for a stealth project, so I’m not showing off at this time.

So many beads, so little time
So many beads, so little time

But if you are driving on I-5 in the Lacey area and just happen to be a little low on beads, you now know what to do.

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