After finishing two days of GOOD business meetings, I drove up through the Sonoma County countryside, through the redwood rainforest along the Navarro River. I got to the Pacific Coast, just south of the town of Mendocino after dark, but the night was clear, and the moon was reflecting off of the river and the surf was breaking softly at the mouth of the river. A Kodak moment. Made my way north to Fort Bragg, and checked in to my motel. Slept for 11 hours. (Almost a gloat in itself!)
It was one of those magical days without fog, which the locals say happen all too seldom. I'm 3 of 5 in my last trips there. At 8 am, I met my friend Dan at his shop. Dan is a chairmaker of some repute, who trained at College of the Redwoods, and stayed on. He showed me his shop, gave me a quick tutorial on greenwood chairmaking, and introduced me to some houseguests. He rents a room to a young Swedish woodworking student at the college, and the fellow's parents were there, so we visited for a bit, and got the tour of the various 'on display' pieces they'd made.
The point of the visit was for me to purchase some tan oak, which is a native-to-this-portion of the world species with little to no current commercial market. Dan had done, with College of the Redwoods, a class on kiln-drying, and now the output was for sale. We spent about 90 minutes, unloading a portion of the kiln, and selecting boards. Another set of lessons and guidelines on selecting rough lumber for figure, grain, stability, etc. More teaching on small kiln operation theory and practice. Better understanding of smaller than typical commercial scale wood harvesting, etc. And about 150 bd ft of some very nice lumber, at a very reasonable price.
While I was in town, I dropped in to visit with Star Supply, the current domain holder of Shellac.net (I don't know the history, and it's not my business.) I met Ann, who has run the place for decades, and she was very sorry to have to disappoint me, and have me wait for three to four weeks for more of the dewaxed platinum, made famous here by the previous owner of said shellac domain (and the fellow responsible for my buying that 24" Stanley monster in my shop ;-)) Nice people, making a living in an out of the way corner of the world that thrives on wood working.
The weather was great, and I drove home over the mountain to Willits, and down 101 (175 miles) with the windows down, and the CD player up. Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Lyle Lovett make pretty good company. The trees, the orchards and the vineyards were in glorious color under the autumn sky. The truck ran fine, and wasn't at all overloaded, like some of our Canadian friends have been occasionally known to do. Back by 4 pm, my wife even cooked dinner.
As has been said here recently: "Life is good!"