Monday, July 19, 2010

Closer to Home

One (rare) gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in June, before we went on our trip to New York, Shaun and I decided that it might behoove us to take a little outing with our children for a change, so we set off for a family visit to Mount St. Helens.

The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens is one of those childhood touchstones for our generation. (OK, I just made that up, but it was a pretty big deal.) I remember my dad sending me a little bag of ash from his back yard in Bellingham. And Shaun and his mom and sister, returning home for a summer furlough from Alaska, flew directly over the crater and got a good view of the steam and activity 12 hours before it blew.

We probably should have let Willem know right off the bat that we wouldn't anywhere near the crater, because he insisted throughout the almost two-hour drive that he planned to stay in the car once we got there. I'm not sure if it was due to his fear of heights or his fear of volcanic eruptions, but we assured him repeatedly that he would be quite safe.

We caught a few great glimpses of the crater on our drive up, but the closer we got to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, the cloudier it became. By the time we arrived, the summit was completely socked in.

Spectacular, isn't it?

Even in bad weather, the landscape is quite striking. And we learned a lot. I don't get much education these days, apart from real-life lessons like "Yelling at your children accomplishes nothing and makes you look (and feel) like an out-of-control jerk," so it was good for me.

Because I left my coat in the car, a storm rolled in. Brrr. Willem didn't want his jacket zipped, so it kept blowing off.

His Royal Highness finally acquiesced to the elements.

One can watch a movie about the 1980 eruption at the observatory. As a grand finale, they retract the movie screen and open the curtain behind it to reveal...well, an opaque wall of white clouds on this particular day. Good natured chuckling ensued.

It was worth the visit, even with the bad weather, but we were cold and hungry when we set out for home. On our drive to the mountain, we'd noticed a surprisingly appealing restaurant in an old house. I don't know about you, but I am always leery of out-of-the way dining establishments. Now that I think about it, I'm sure they must have inspections and be licensed, but, in general, mom and pop restaurants along single-lane highways always strike me as extremely creepy and depressing. And suspect. (I don't care for chain restaurants either. Apparently there is no pleasing me.)

A sign at the 19 Mile House proudly proclaimed that it specialized in cobbler. The immaculately maintained house and grounds overcame any lingering reluctance to stop. I was ready to buy the place and move in. And when we found a seat on the back deck--well--holy cow.

I didn't think I was a fan of cobbler, being more of a crisp girl myself, but their Marionberry cobbler may have converted me. The hamburgers were great too. One caveat; the business is newly-run by a husband-wife team, and while the wife is in the kitchen cooking up delicious food, the husband may be loitering in a lawn chair with a buddy in the front yard, making borderline offensive jokes and telling your children that they are in danger of being eaten by bears. But if you've arrived wearing your thickest skin, you'll have a delightful time.

To stave off a hunger meltdown while waiting for our food, we handed the camera off to the boys. Nels took these:

This place is totally irresistible, right?


1 comment:

eric O said...

MAN! That's a delicious-looking glass (cup) of Pepsi.