Although I left Florence at 7:30 a.m., I didn’t get to the motel in Gold Beach until after 5:30 p.m. Here’s how I turned a 3-hour trip into a 10-hour marathon by making many, many stops. And it was on one of the most spectacular winter days I’ve ever seen at the coast—sunny with no wind and warm. It was bare-arms-and-shorts weather in February. Amazing!
Although my main purpose for this trip was the South Coast Writer’s Conference (SCWC), I decided to leave early on Friday so I could deliver books before any conference activities began. That was my plan.
I got to Langlois and its uniquely shaped library building by 9:20 a.m. and nobody in sight. My plan was already in trouble. About 20 minutes later, Scott Smith arrived. He bought a copy of The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans for the library.
Then I headed to Port Orford where I left a copy for director Tobe Porter to look over. Last year when I came down for the SCWC, I stopped in Port Orford at the library to give a presentation on the bridges and Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges on the way home on Sunday. There was a terrific turnout. But I remember it mostly as the day my laptop popped up a dialog box in the middle of the PowerPoint presentation, requiring an unplanned intermission. That’s when I decided to buy a new MacBook Pro.
I arrived in Gold Beach by 11 a.m. and stopped first at Jerry’s Jet Boats Rogue River Museum and gift shop. Kim took 6 copies of The Crossings Guide. Then I stopped at Gold Beach Books, my favorite bookstore on the coast, and left a copy of Crossing and two copies of The Crossings Guide with Carolyn. Both venues have carried Crossings since the beginning. And one of my first presentations was at Gold Beach Books.
Then I headed up the hill to the Curry Public Library in its beautiful setting. I love the metal artwork of a stylized I.L. Patterson Bridge on one wall. Sandy, at the library didn’t buy a book for the library, but bought one for herself. Whatever!
Then I headed to the Gold Beach Ranger Station. This will involve paperwork, purchase orders, etc. Eventually there’ll be an order. So I left a copy of the new book with the PR info sheet and had a great chat with Teresa Miller. They carry Crossings and have copies of it at Crissey Field, one of the state’s welcome centers. Teresa also happens to be a member of the Soroptimist Club and asked me if I would do a presentation for their group sometime. I told her I would next trip down in late spring.
I stopped briefly at the Gold Beach Visitor Center on the southern end of town to deliver a comp copy of The Crossings Guide to Sue Dawson who knew more about the trails to and from Thomas Creek Bridge than anybody else in the area and gave me the info I needed to include in the book.
Some of the best views on the entire Oregon coast are north and south of Gold Beach. Along the Boardman Scenic Corridor south of town are several turnouts. I picked one to eat the lunch I’d brought even though I was running behind schedule.
My first stop in Brookings was at Earl E. Books just off the highway on Fern. It’s primarily a used bookstore chock full of books. But Gordon bought one Crossings and two Guides. Didn’t see Earl—must have been hiding among the books.
Only a few blocks away was the Chetco Community Library where Susana bought three books for the library and one for herself. Oh Susana, I wish all librarians were like you.
South of Brrokings, south of Harbor, nearly to the California state line is an Oregon success story—Flora Pacifica. This dried flowers business has been profiled in numerous publications including Oregon Coast magazine. Besides the dried wreaths and arrangements, it’s a nursery and has a gift shop. Last year they added books to their gift shop inventory, including Crossings. And this year they added 10 copies of The Crossings Guide.
I headed on to Crescent City where from one parking lot I could easily walk to three venues. First I visited the Redwood National and State Parks where I left a copy of each book with info. The young man on duty was impressed, but he’s not the one to make the decision.
The Del Norte County Chamber visitor center was next and because of limited display space, they don’t sell Oregon stuff. So we had a nice chat, and I moved on.
Then onto the Del Norte County Library, which is temporarily without a director. Since the two fellows on duty liked the books but had no authority regarding purchasing, I donated one of each for their reference section. I’ll check in again when I return in a few months to see if a new director would consider purchasing one of each for circulation.
Then I got in my car and drove a few blocks to Jefferson State Books. I had to go up and down the street a few times, but I found it. The sign on the window says “Books: Comestibles for a hungry mind!” The State of Jefferson combines northern California and southern Oregon and is primarily a state of mind. I had a great conversation with owner Jeff, who wanted to know when I’d be doing similar books on the California coastal bridges or at least some of the bridges in northern California. Ha! Not likely! He did buy two Crossings and four Guides.
I made a last stop at Ocean World, a tourist hot spot, and dropped off info. I knew the person in charge of ordering would be out.
It was 4:40 p.m. and time to head back to Gold Beach. I needed to be back by 7 p.m. for the conference keynote address.
An hour later, I was checking into my motel. After settling in, I dug out my lunch cooler and prepared dinner––a handful of almonds for appetizer, a container of yogurt for main course, and a banana for dessert. It was all I had time for. Then I gathered my conference info and headed to the keynote event. I made it with five minutes to spare.
I saw my friend Laurel before even going in and saw others inside that I only see once a year. Sort of like a yearly reunion. William Sullivan was the keynoter and several other presenters also spoke, including Bob Welch. It was very enjoyable. Also there was coffee and cookies. And lots of presenters’ books to look over. What was not to like!
Next week I’ll cover the main part of the conference! I had some terrific presenters for the four workshops I attended. This was the 18th Annual SCWC and my 15th. You could say I’m a regular.
Bottom line bookwise—sold 52 (that also includes 6 Crossings and 10 Guides that I will drop off Sunday on my way home for the South Slough National Estuarine Reserve gift shop near Charleston).