Tour de Pants made its first stop on Wednesday in Portland. For this tour, since it involves us traveling to urban areas, we made a decision to travel a bit lighter. No AntHill. And no Nellie. Nellie, Sarah’s beloved cattle dog and occasional ant eater needed a bit of a break from the road. So she’s home with the cat, Magpie, and the new chickens, Parsley, Sage and Rosemary. And why not the trailer? Well, the wonderfully aging Airstream is not the easiest rig to navigate through multi-lane highways and busy, city traffic. Remember: we live in rural Montana. The only traffic is when there are cattle drives through town. So we decided that for just this once, and just this week, we’d ride a bit easier without our trademark trailer and home on wheels.
We drove (a lot faster now without towing the Anthill) across Idaho and into the beautiful Columbia River Gorge to Portland. Our first party of this OR/CA/WA tour was a huge success with new friends–great women of the Portland area who will use their RAPs in the building trades and working trail crew on the Pacific Crest Trail. Our delightful host, Marenda, invited an incredible group of women to her colorful home for a beautiful spring evening house party. Many of the guests are recent graduates of the Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. programs. And we were happy to hear that one woman was thrilled to find that our RAPs don’t have annoying rivets or a waistband that will slip off her hips with her tool belt.
Not only were our new Portland friends excited to wear their pants at their job sites or in the woods, but one guest demonstrated her gymnastic ability and the range of motion from the gusseted crotch by performing the splits in her Red Ants Pants in Marenda’s living room. This was a first. And most certainly impressive!
And in the small world of the Red Ants Pants culture, one of the guests was good friends with our Arcata party host, Greta, from last spring’s coastal tour. Greta, who also had a RAP first by milking her goats during her party, raved to her friend, Kira, about Red Ants Pants, so when Kira moved from California to Portland, she was shocked to learn that her friend Marenda was hosting a pants party. Again, Red Ants Pants is honored to connect women from all over the country with each other.
Our Portland experience was so wonderful–we stayed with Sarah’s aunt who toured us around the city, including important stops to Powell’s Books and a long hike though the stunning and lush Forest Park. For two girls who’ve endured a long, cold and snowy spring in Montana, the bright greens and blooming flowers only adds, beautifully, to our visit.
With great thanks to Marenda and her friends for their support and for hosting such a fun party, we left Portland and headed south to Eugene to catch up with another member of Sarah’s family. From Eugene we make the descent into California to Oakland where we’ll be attending, for the second year, the Women Building California conference. We can’t wait to reconnect with our supporters from last year and see how their pants have faired after a year of hard work in the trades.