Friday, December 7, 2018

Welcome to the New Penguin Website

It's Alive!!

This is a "soft opening" announcement. The new Penguin website is open for business!

Please stop by and look around the site and let us know what you like and don't like, and what you think.

More Soon!!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

It's Coming

Not just Christmas but the new website.

We hope to have it up and running by the end of the week of December 7. Stay tuned for late-breaking news.

This is just a teaser of some of the goodies we have in store. (So to speak.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hot News from The Penguin

I realize that over the past few years this blog has dealt more with travel than with pens, but right now we are amped up about the new website. After what has seemed like ages the new site is about to come online. Right now I am estimating that you will be able to use it by mid-December, if not sooner.

In the meantime I thought you might like to see how we are progressing.

What has made the completion of the site possible has been the efforts of Franz Dimson, master photographer and Yuan Niu, cataloger extraordinaire. Here you see them hard at work with able assists from Freya the cat and Sharon Propas who helps fuel our efforts.
Franz setting up a shot in the Penguin photo studio

Yuan hard at work

Sharon feeds us while we toil
Freya makes sure our images are up to standards
So what are we working on? Well here is what the site will look like once we are live:

Please note that these are screen shots, the site itself is not yet live.

 By the way, both the Montblanc and the tortoise 100N are available if you want to make the first purchase from the new site.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Eastern Oregon, mostly

 From Spokane we crossed the state of Washington in a generally southwestern direction. During the course of Thursday’s drive I wondered aloud if we had not somehow ended up in Oklahoma’s panhandle. I almost stopped to take a picture just to show why I wasn’t taking pictures. You get the idea. But at the end of it we spent pleasant late afternoon and early evening wandering along the Columbia River for a short walk and then a walk through town and early dinner.

Friday saw us driving Oregon 97 from The Dalles through Bend, where we did not stop, to Klamath Falls where we did. It was a much nicer drive than the previous day, lots of scenery most of which I did not stop to photograph, but an old farmstead and then a piece of the DesChutes River did stop me. As fans of the Columbia River Gorge we were saddened to see the damage wrought by the Eagle Creek fire when we visited Mt. Hood this past summer. Today we were heartbroken to see the extent of the fire so far southward.

We’ve only been in Klamath Falls once before together. (Sharon was there as a girl.) But we remembered it fondly. So after off-loading at our hotel we went for a rain-foreshortened stroll downtown. I was looking for pens and knives, but we stopped in front of a saddlery, interested just because we have bought saddles (for Anna) in the past. We chatted with the sadler and in one of his cases I espied a beaded Indian sheath and knife. The saddlemaker told me that he had gotten it from someone in Santa Ynez, California who owed him money. The story is verified by the fact that the Santa Ynez band of the Chumash people are traditionally beadworkers and this piece, while relatively modern, uses their colors and motifs. But I am no expert. The knife fits the theme, a J. Russell Green River Works 35-246 5” hunter. Green River Works were among the most popular of early hunting knives, though, again, this knife appears to be relatively modern.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Spokane in One Long Day

Where to start? When Sharon began planning this trip, she informed me that we would be coming out of Glacier NP to Spokane. I was curious and suggested a second night here. Sharon reluctantly agreed. Midway through the afternoon she proclaimed herself glad that we had the day, and that was before dinner.

Tuesday afternoon we checked into our hotel, The Montvale, in downtown Spokane, just behind a troupe of musicians, whose manager gave us a handout for their concert the next evening. 

The Montvale began life in 1899 as a residential hotel for workers drawn to this northwestern boom town. Dinner, celebrating our 47thwedding anniversary, was at The Steam Plant. This dining and shopping venue bwegan life providing steam heating for the entire downtown. It was a very nice meal in an amusing setting.

We began Wednesday as Trip Advisor suggests with a top attraction, Manito Park. We drove through much of it until we hit the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden.

From there we got hold of some walking maps of the city’s architecture. What is most striking is the city’s early commitment to preservation and adaptive reuse. As a result, though no one seems to live downtown, it is a vibrant city center for entertainment and commerce.

Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Cathedral

I thought this Masonic device amusing

A back alley
The Review Building

You think the Empire State Building is in New York??

The entry

The Davenport Hotel

Davenport interior

We finished the day with dinner at Inland Pacific Kitchen. If you are within a hundred miles of Spokane, you have to eat here. It’s that good. Part of a group of five local restaurant/clubs, our server, who also has a stake, describes it as their test kitchen. When we praised the cauliflower, his response was that they had been refining it for a year. To compar4e we had to go to a tasting menu we had in Barcelona four years ago and a more recent meal in San Francisco at Jardiniere.

And then to bring it all back around, it turned out that Logan Richardson, whose band we encountered at our hotel, were playing around the corner in the same building. 

These are the days for which you travel.

Oh, and I got another knife, but no more pens. This one is by a rather  obscure, but very fine craftsman, John Hoskins, who apparently also taught at Eastern Washington University, though I can find no mention of him in that regard. It is a lovely knife with what looks like a Box Elder handle and a polished 440C blade, all in a very nice tooled leatherwork sheath.

Thursday puts us southwest to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon at The Dalles.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

East Glacier, Finally

 Monday, October 1 brought warmer weather, clearer roads and some friendly advice from Alicia, who was our server at breakfast. And so we drove up Route 2 along the east side of the park, across Route 49 which was technically closed, up 89 to Many Glacier. It was a long drive over some still-hairy roads, but we thought it was worth it. We drove some, and then walked a bit along the nature trail at Swiftcurrent Lake.
Could not resist an iPhone panorama

Some shots from below

Rosa poses before the glaciers

Swiftcurrent Lodge

Right here you can see why the name Swiftcurrent

The forecast for Tuesday is for some fairly rough weather as we depart the park for the first stop on our journey back home, Spokane where we will spend two nights. From there we hit The Dalles on the Columbia River on Thursday, Klamath Falls Friday, and then home. I'll post images if and as warranted.

Our lodging for this part of the trip has been the Izaak Walton Hotel. Despite the connection to angling, the real theme of the hotel the railroad, located as it is in Essex, Montana which is still a depot for what used to be the Great Northern Railway (today BNSF).

That back of the hotel which is also an Amtrak depot. Hmmm . . .

The cabooses on the hillside are also rooms. We tried for one but they sell out fast.