I should really be in bed now. I was so proud of myself for transitioning from Pacific Time to Eastern Time in Record Time from Wednesday to Thursday, but then this wicked cold I brought home from Oregon threw me for a loop. So now I’ve regained my zombie status, and I’m sitting with my laptop on top of my lap (go figure), deciding how much of my vacation experience to plop into this first blog post of the new month.

I will start by pointing out to all my GK2 friends that a lot of this information will be virtually identical (if not totally) to my posts in my “Watch This Space” thread on Ravelry. When I travel, I make a concerted effort not to advertise that I’m traveling. On this trip out west, that plan went slightly awry thanks to one of my new pals who had fun advertising that she was out and about in the US with some really cool & fun ladies (including me, in case you were wondering). Still, I stayed pretty silent on Facebook, with the exception of my plea for prayers after my back gave out. But that story comes later.

On Wednesday, July 27th, I boarded a plane at oh-dark-thirty (that’s in the morning) to make my way from Columbus to Portland, Oregon. This would be my first visit to the Green State, but I know it won’t be my last. I certainly fell in love with all they had to offer. There were two primary draws to make this journey. The big motivator was Sock Summit 2011, a convention devoted to the art & science of knitting socks and fostering friendships among the thousands of people who enjoy this craft/hobby/obsession. In addition, I was not about to fly all that way and not visit my aunt & uncle who moved to southern Oregon some 17 years ago.

The first leg of my trip was somewhat lengthy, flying from CMH to Denver, Colorado, but this flight was pretty uneventful. The plane was smaller than I might have expected, given the distance. Classified a “regional jet,” it didn’t have a whole lot of that new-fangled technology. Still, I was uber-excited to be flying across the country for this long-anticipated adventure. I should also point out that I got virtually no sleep prior to my flight. I had worked all day on Tuesday, then went to dinner with my son, after which he “treated” me to the movie Captain America, for which I will be eternally grateful…or at least until it comes out on DVD. When I got home from the theater, I finally began packing my suitcase and carry-ons.

You have to understand that while I was packing for a week-long vacation, there were some heavy-duty expectations as to what would be happening, where I’d be going, and so on. Therefore, I had to pack a week’s worth of clothes, plus the standard toiletries and such. That would also include about ten pairs of hand-knit socks (sock knitting convention, remember?), with some intentional color coordination with the aforementioned clothing. I knew I’d be knitting, so I packed three projects: the Bridge of Roses socks which were all knitted up but still needed a bunch of roses to be stitched on; my colorwork mystery socks for one of my knit-alongs; and the latest shawl-in-progress, since 2011 is my Year of Shawls.

Traveling to a new location, with various planned and wished-for activities, also means a need for cameras, so I packed my Nikon DSLR with its second lens and external flash unit, as well as extra batteries, the battery charger, and a spare memory card…and my Kodak digital point-and-shoot, its battery charger and a spare memory card. Each camera serves its own purpose, and each will travel on location in a different case: heavy duty Lowepro knapsack for the Nikon and all its pieces & parts, and a hip & happening fanny pack for the Kodak… Plus, I wanted to be able to off-load photos from the memory cards on a daily basis, so I packed up my laptop and a cute new external hard drive for storing all the goodies. Plus the assorted power cords and such, and a surge protector power strip. Nope, I wasn’t leaving anything to chance here.

Oh, and since I was bringing the knitting along, I also needed to pack my Nook Color…and its charger. And my Blackberry was going with me, so it needs a charger, too. I was honestly amazed at how quickly I got through security at 5:30 a.m. that Wednesday. Oh, and did I mention that with the knitting I also had a couple spare circular knitting needles? And darning needles…and scissors. Nope, no issues with security. Score!

And the last thing I had to be sure I packed was my go-to photo op pal: Skippyjon Jones (or Sir SJJ, as one fine lady has dubbed him). Skippyjon had sported a lovely sweater back in February at the Pittsburgh Knit/Crochet Festival. But this convention is in July in the Pacific Northwest, which is a very temperate climate. A sweater would be overkill. So we left that at home. What Skippyjon needed for this trip, though, was a new pair of socks. So I knit him some. I started the project in the Denver airport during my layover (once I’d had enough coffee to focus on the microscopic knitting task), and finished up the second sock on the plane bound for Portland. A couple of the cleaning staff at Denver International were quite entertained, particularly as I’d be trying a sock-in-progress on SJ’s foot to make sure it would fit well. The final result was presentable, if simplistic. Then again, they are only 3/4″ long…

I boarded the plane in Denver with continued excitement, particularly now that SJ’s socks were shaping up to be freakin’ adorable. This was a much larger plane that would take us over the Rockies, complete with multiple video screens so we could watch some form of entertainment during the flight. But it took a while for the in-flight shows to start. And in the interim, I was introduced to Spencer & Jeremiah. These characters were never formally introduced to me, and yet, by the end of the 2.5 hour flight I knew far more about the two of them than I would ever want to know. And these guys were complete strangers who just happened, by a stroke of fate, to be seated next to each other, and right behind me. Jeremiah, hailing from Oklahoma City (or Oh-Kay-See, as he proclaimed) and on his way to visit his aunt & uncle, proceeded to thump me in the back continuously throughout the flight. For some bizarre reason, I never quite got up the nerve to pop my head up over the back of the seat to ask him to please quit doing whatever the heck he was doing, opting instead to suffer in silence. Not that it was silent, obviously, for the odd couple never stopped talking. I ended up plugging my headphones into the armrest port, listening to music, then the Hispanic dubbing for Hawaii Five-O, before finding the English channel for the show. I was never so happy to see two people walk away than when Spencer & Jeremiah parted ways on that flight.

In addition to the planned in-flight entertainment, I enjoyed views of the mountains and plains as our plane made its way along its course. The most spectacular, though, was my first glimpse of Mount Hood. Truly breathtaking.

Well, what do you know…I am at last feeling droopy-eyed and ready to crash. I guess I will pick up in Portland when next I resume blogging. I really do want to share so many of the experiences from my PNW vacation! I hope you’re interested in reading about them. If not, just smile and wave. But don’t be surprised if I call you Spencer or Jeremiah. It’s not an insult. Honest.

Knit On.