After being gone most of April, I’m glad to be back in Oregon. I ran the gamut of weather––from snow showers going over the Siskiyou Summit into California on April 5 to 96-degree heat in Bakersfield on April 21 the day before heading north toward cooler climes.
Before I left, I wrote four blogs in three days, so that I could post each Friday while I was gone. And I got back yesterday, a Friday, so that I could post. But I was beat. So this week’s blog is a day late.
Each April, I visit my family and friends in California. On this trip, I saw friends in Palo Alto and Morro Bay before spending two weeks with family in Bakersfield and then I visited friends in Discovery Bay and Ashland on my way back.
Last year while I was away on my April trip, my book—Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges––arrived from the printer. Bob, the publisher, sent me 10 copies, so all but one of the folks I saw this year received their copy then. Everywhere I went, I saw my book on coffee tables. Even if they got it out just because I was coming, it was great fun to see.
At this time last year, right after returning from California, I started marketing the book and writing this blog. Except for a week at Christmas, I’ve posted every week––almost a year. Hard to believe! When I started, my goal was to chronicle my adventures with Crossings. And that’s exactly what I’ve done. But at the beginning, I wasn’t sure it would last more than a few months. After all, we weren’t thinking big. Initially, we planned on ordering 200 or 300 books and thought we were being foolhardy when we actually ordered 500. As it turned out, those were gone in two months, and within 10 months we (just the two of us) have sold 1,450 books. Now I’m coming home to 1,000 more––our third edition–– that are sitting at the publisher’s office.
Besides more books arriving while I was gone, Candice Stich, officially known as ODOT Transportation Project Leader Region 2 Area 5 and my main contact at ODOT when I was writing the book, has been busy on my behalf. She has been trying to find info I want about the Umpqua River Bridge and thinks she has found just the person who might know.
When the Umpqua River Bridge was first built and swung into the open position, more than one research source said that the real stopper for traffic was the four-foot barrier that rose into place on each end of the bridge. And that’s what I thought I verified as still being the case by talking to Reedsport folks. Well, when I was there at the bridge’s dedication last September and standing only a few feet from the end of the bridge when it opened, that didn’t happen. A foot-square metal barrier swung across the road on each end instead—also very effective. In fact, that was a change that had to be made in the new edition of the book. So my inquiring mind wants to know when and why the modification was made. I’ll be talking to the person that Candice has found this week, and if I learn something, I’ll let you know next week.
Rosemary, the one friend on this trip who didn’t have a copy and whom I’ve known since 7th grade, asked me to bring her a copy this year. I did. And when we went out to dinner with a friend of hers, she talked about it so much, the friend gave me a check for a copy of the book right then—sight unseen! That surprised me.
When I got to Ashland, my 97-year old friend, Virginia, asked me where I was going to be selling the book in Medford and Ashland––that day. Well, I really hadn’t planned to sell any that day; in my mind, I was on a vacation away from selling. I did have books in the car, but not my info sheets. With her prodding, though, it wasn’t long before I was back in the groove.
I checked the phone book and found three possible bookstores. All three wanted info, which I would send by email once I got home. Only one bookstore had the acquisitions person actually in that day, so off we went with Virginia leading me right to the front door of Village Books in Medford. Karen, the person in charge, was very interested and already had one of my competitor’s bridge books. She thought the two books complemented each other, and she will be making an order in a few weeks.
With positive responses to my initial efforts, I’ll be back in a couple of months and Virginia and I will visit the other two bookstores as well as a couple of libraries and museums. Maybe we’ll even include a couple of tourist “hot spots” too. The fun continues!
After a few weeks break, I’m back in more ways than one.
Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://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; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums throughout western Oregon.
Do you suppose the book’s success just might have something to do with it being the most comprehensive, detailed account of the McCullough bridges most of us have ever seen anywhere?? I’ve read my copy of the book several times, & it seems each and every time I find something new or I’m reminded of something I’d forgotten. You & your “cohorts” have done an excellent job, and you should be very proud.
I really enjoyed your pictures in this latest blog. You’ve mentioned your Mom many times over the years; now I’ve had a chance to put a face to the name. And I truly hope I age as gracefully as she obviously has. (Maybe it’s gin rummy that keeps her young??)
Glad to see you took some time off (well, mostly). I don’t know how you keep the pace you do, but it sure agrees with you.