Even the best laid plans have glitches—like when I turn into a self-sabotaging machine.
I knew I had to be at KVAL TV station in Eugene by noon on Thursday, September 29, for a segment on News at Noon. I was to be interviewed near the end of the half hour broadcast about the Florence Festival of Books being held this Saturday, October 1. I had planned to be at the TV station by 11:45 a.m. even though the news director said I didn’t have to be there until noon. He also said that they were located near the top of a mountain south of Eugene and to factor in plenty of time to find the place.
I ran off Mapquest directions and map and studied it. Then I went through all my press releases and put together some notes to help answer possible questions, such as types of books, the breakdown of how many authors and publishers attending, sponsors, names of some of the most well-known or interesting authors and their books, names of publishers, and so on. I remember the days of having a fantastic memory, but nowadays I need notes if I have to remember more than two of something. And I had included one of our flyers. I put all of this together with a copy of my book Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges that I would talk about if the opportunity presented itself. Everything fit in a large envelope that I set by the front door a day ahead of time. I even figured out what I was going to wear. I was so-oo ready.
I had several things to finish up Wednesday night, so I didn’t get to bed until about 1 a.m. Then I couldn’t sleep. So I turned off the alarm. When I finally did sleep, it was only three hours before the cat awakened me about 4:30 a.m. From then on, I tossed and turned and dozed fitfully until about 7:30 a.m. I had overslept, but still didn’t get enough sleep.
I wanted to leave at 9:45 a.m. That would give me two hours to get there and Mapquest indicated I’d need and hour and 36 minutes. So I thought I would even have time to eat some lunch. I packed one, got a bottle of water, and selected a new audiobook to listen to. I would be on the road four hours, and audiobooks really help keep me awake when I haven’t had enough sleep.
I fixed breakfast and got all my morning chores done—cleaned up dishes, opened and watered greenhouse, brushed cat, and so on. I was running a little late, but got everything in the garage and in the car—I thought—and left within 10 minutes of when I planned to. I stopped to mail a letter in town and headed for Eugene at 10 a.m.
I was surprised at the heavy traffic and spent much of the trip stuck behind slow RVs or large trucks. I stopped at Perkins Peninsula at Fern Ridge Reservoir to use the restroom and get out and check over my directions. But since they now require a fee, I just turned around and headed back to the highway. Busy, busy. So I headed back the way I’d come and turned on a side road. It seemed like I went a mile before I found a place to pull over that wasn’t someone’s driveway.
I looked and looked for my nifty, neat package—front seat, back seat, even the trunk––but it was nowhere. Panic! How would I find KVAL without directions? How would I answer interview questions without my cheat sheet? I pulled out a notebook and jotted down everything I could remember regarding the event. Then I closed my eyes and pictured the map and remembered the order and names of streets to get to KVAL. All but the last two were familiar. Fortunately, I had a poster of the event with me to give them to put info on the TV screen.
I got a little lost trying to get back to the highway. That whole episode had taken about 12 minutes. It was 11:30; I figured I was still in good shape time wise.
I headed through familiar territory down 11th to Garfield and onto 13th. Then I turned south on Chambers. I remembered that this would be a couple of miles. The road led up over hills with large, lovely homes and then down into the countryside with small farms and even signs for fresh eggs—totally out of Eugene. When we crossed Lorane Highway, I just knew I was lost and wouldn’t make it there until the whole program would be over. I felt panic starting to set in again. It was 11:50 a.m. I felt that I must have passed the road I was looking for and missed it. I was ready to turn around when I finally spotted it.
Soon I saw all kinds of antennas and towers high on the mountain in the distance and that’s exactly where the road headed. When the sign announced KVAL, I was so relieved, but there also were many smaller signs saying “Authorized Personnel Only.” Was I authorized? Once again, I thought I had goofed. The road was narrow and headed straight uphill. At the top was a parking lot filled with cars and an office building. A welcome sight! All was well after all. It was 11:59 a.m.
I dashed inside, told the gal at the desk who I was, and she said to sign in quickly and follow the news director, which I did. Then we were inside the studio. Molly, the newsperson, turned to smile at me just before she began the news. She made it look so easy as she read the teleprompter and sorted through papers in front of her. It was fascinating to watch her alternate with previously recorded segments. Two fellows were monitoring equipment and cueing her. When she wasn’t on, she turned to me and asked questions, so that she would be ready for our interview.
Before long I was asked to move across the set during a prerecorded segment to have the mic attached to my jacket. When I was resettled, I realized I didn’t have my water bottle and my mouth and throat filled with cotton. What if no sounds came out when I opened my mouth or what if I started to choke. Before I could get totally into panic mode, Molly joined me and was asking questions about the Florence Festival of Books. I was on! My mouth opened and words came out, and I didn’t choke. It wasn’t perfect, but I covered most of what I wanted to say and even got a plug in for Crossings. As I left, the gal at the front desk said that after seeing the interview, she wanted to attend the Florence Festival of Books. Yes!!
As I walked outside, I noticed for the first time that it was a beautiful day. A bald eagle flew over—a good omen. It was an easy ride back to Florence with little traffic over the coast mountains. I enjoyed my audiobook. Ahh! Life was good!
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at www.connectflorence.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; and in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society.
Judy a part of Yaquina Bay Bridge’s month-long celebration:
October 1, 2-4 p.m.—Yaquina Bay Bridge ‘s 75th anniversary celebration panel discussion on building the bridge at City Hall, Newport. Followed by walk to bridge.
October 2, noon––Bridge walk, special activities under north end of bridge, followed by picnic during which time bridge books will be for sale and personally signed, including Crossings.
Judy participating in authors/publishers fair:
October 1, 10-4 p.m.—Florence Festival of Books–an authors and publishers fair at the Florence Events Center (715 Quince Street, 1 block east of Highway 101), Florence (Judy leaves for Newport shortly after noon)
Judy’s PowerPoint Presentation:
November 12, 1:30 p.m.––Visitor Center Theater, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport (just south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge)