Gateway Inn Hotel, Ashford, 23 September 2014, 8am
I’ve just been told by a sleepy voice next to me that I’ve slept for 12 hours! Phew, I needed that! When we got to Ashford just on the outskirts of Mount Rainier National Park yesterday afternoon, the plan had been to start hiking for as long as the daylight allowed. We lasted about an hour and a half before we returned to the motel, defeated by the whirlwind that the last four days had been. Take into account that at least I for my part still hadn’t gotten over the jetlag, and it explains why I was deep asleep by 8 in the evening. But I feel so much better for it today!
Anyway, I’d taken a blog break for a day after my fantastic birthday that I’d spent with Fernando, Paul, Justine and Chad over on the island, sipping yummy peanut butter ice cream milkshake and strolling along the marina, watching jellyfish. After the great party that Lisa and Andy had thrown at their house the night before (I’m still dreaming of that cake!!!), I just felt like hanging out and taking it slow. Later we took the Bainbridge ferry back to Seattle (perfect sunny weather to gaze at the skyline), where we met up with Matt for a boozy laugh in a cool bar in West Seattle.
The next morning we said goodbye to my favourite place on earth by taking another walk through Downtown, stopping at Le Penier for their excellent coffee and ham croissants with cheese on top. Hmmmmm. Fernando got the questionable pleasure to be grossed out by the Post Alley Gum Wall and we bumped into Angry Jesus Guy, who was working on saving our souls from the Devil by shouting it out on 3rd Avenue. After check-out from the Green Tortoise we were off to the airport where they played – I kid you not – Nirvana’s ‘On a plain’ – and the Car Rental Shuttle Bus got a little giggle out of me.
Driving a car after years of not driving at all, plus it being an automatic, had been a daunting prospect for me ever since we’d booked this trip. I can’t say there weren’t moments when I didn’t freak out, especially as the GPS took some time to get used to and we seemed to drive in circles for the best part of the first hour but eventually I got the hang of both and we took a relaxing drive to Ashford. The average speed limit was around 55 mph and people actually seemed to stick to it, so I felt pretty safe with my own driving.
We got to our motel, the Gateway Inn, where we inhabited a pretty big room with two double beds and a toilet that doesn’t flush 🙂 At the moment Nando is looking up how far we can get into Mt Rainier National Park by car, so we can walk for another hour or so before we drive on to Astoria and down the first strip of the Pacific Coast Highway. Today our adventure really being and I can’t wait!!!