Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5/27/2010: Vacation Day 2 (Part 2)

5/27/2010: Vacation Day 2 (Portland, OR to Seattle, WA: Pine State Biscuits, Mount St. Helens, & Mt. Rainier)

From Mount St. Helens we went straight to Mount Rainier National Park, a.k.a. major mountain #2 of the day. Being the Type A personality that I am, I had the good sense to make sure all of the roads were going to be open before we left. And it's a good thing I did as only entrance road of the approximately five was open! So yay me for not making us drive around a big mountain for nothing.

We began the near waste of a trip at the Nisqually entrance. We were told at the entrance gate that the visibility at Paradise was negligible, but that we could kick around some snowballs if we wanted. Lovely. We expected that.

I must digress a bit here and talk about motion sickness. Although I am not as bad as a friend who literally gets motion sickness on elevators (no joke), I do tend to experience moderate to severe motion sickness on curvy roads. And I believe I may have had a touch of altitude sickness once, too. Dramamine only serves to make my very groggy, but does nothing for the dizzy/nausea feeling I experience. Although one or both of my parents think it's just a mental thing, I would like to point out to them that I remember distinctly being vomity sick at a very young age in the back of a van. A blue van. With my Computron. I decided that since there were three mountains on this trip and another road call the "Sea to Sky Highway" that sounded curvy, perhaps it was time to be proactive and try to prevent motion sickness from ruining entire chunks (no pun intended) of our vacation. So I got a prescription for Transderm Scōp. It's a little patch that sticks behind your ear for up to three days, delivering medicine through the skin. It helped a LOT! Instead of going each corner and experiencing increasingly more severe dizzy attacks, I went around each corner going, "Oh gosh...that makes me dizz....oh, it went away" each and every time. It was very nice. Until later. I'll get to that. Back to mountain #2.

On the drive up to Paradise, I saw an exit for Narada Falls and told Doug that I wanted to go there on the way back. Why not right then? Because we were running short on time for me to get my all-important cancellation stamp. Paradise was even colder than Mount St. Helens. It had to be around 30 degrees. Dummy #1 brought only a wind jacket and dummy #2 didn't bring a jacket at all. So we ran into the visitor center. At the gift center I bought a magnet and realized that there was a huge container full of snowshoes that people could rent. Weird/never thought about that one. I'm pretty sure that's an activity I should never partake in because I'm so clumsy. After we got out of the visitor center, it was clear that aside from the stamp, we felt like the drive was a bit of a waste of time because the fog was extremely thick and we couldn't see any portion of any mountain or even across the parking lot for that matter. So down the mountain we head.

About 2 blocks before the entrance to Narada Falls, we notice a car driving very slowly in front of us. In a National Park that usually means one thing- wildlife! Yes, indeed:


Notice all the snow in the background. This cutie Red Fox just stood there and stared at us. After a few moments and pictures, we drove off into the parking lot at Narada Falls. Cutie followed us into the parking lot and sat about 3 feet from the car, assuming what I can only imagine is the universal "give me food" face/stance:

05-27-2010MountRainierNationalParkE (cropped)

I figured that she would move after a few minutes of not receiving any food, but nope. Cutie continued to sit there. I wanted to get out of the car to see the waterfall we were at, but Doug insisted that getting out the car while a Red Fox was 3 feet away from the car was probably not a bright idea. *sigh* Fine. So Cutie was cute and all, but she prevented me from seeing a pretty waterfall.

This fox wasn't an isolated incident. We saw two more foxes on the way back out. Here's one of them:


We were at the park in the very early evening and so it's possible these foxes were quite hungry and just starting their day. Good call again, Doug.

After we left Mount Rainier, we made our way to a fast casual chain Doug wanted to try called Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Renton. Doug had hoped that Five Guys would be very similar to In-N-Out. Sadly, it was not. Even more sad is the fact that they placed the calorie count right on the menu (it must be a law in Washington or something because we encountered that more than once). I would have rather been completely unaware of the fact that the just ok tasting burger and fries was worth about 1.5 days worth of calories.

Somewhere in the middle of my burger, I noticed that my mouth was extremely dry. A kind of dry that my root beer couldn't keep up with. And why was I so itchy? And why did I suddenly feel like I NEEDED to go run or just move. And why was the sound of Doug's voice suddenly so grating for no apparent reason? All he's doing is singing along with the iPod music and asking where to turn. AAAARRRRRRGGGHHH!!!! I wanted to suddenly crawl out of my skin. I then remembered I was on a new medication. I checked the pamphlet and sure enough, most people experience dry mouth. I was also experiencing extreme restlessness. After the meal, I decided to remove the motion sickness patch. Doug's voice was much sweeter in the morning. I will use these patches in the future because being extremely irritable and having a severely dry mouth is still better than being groggy and sick in the back seat of a car.

After Five (Thousand Calories,) Guys, we headed straight for our hotel, Coast Bellevue Hotel. Despite what other Trip Advisor users had to say, we were very pleased with the hotel. Especially pleasing was the fact that it was only $40/night on Priceline. Yay!

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