Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee (Jesse, Michelle) June 2010
6/11/2010 – Friday – German Romantic Getaway!
Yay for half days! I’m heading out at noon to go get gas, oil, and meet Jesse at Safeway to get groceries for our trip. This is going to be a ton of fun, I just know it. Yay!
I got gas and groceries and checked the oil and coolant. Jesse arrived just as I was putting the finishing touches on packing the cooler with food and ice. And just like that – we were off!
We took I-5 North to 405, to 522, to 2, to 207, to Leavenworth! The drive was easy, save for some ridiculous traffic in Monroe, and for Betty having a little trouble chugging her way up the mountain at 70mph with a fully loaded car. Gas pedal to the floor, but she’s given all she can give. We hovered at 70mph till the long cruise down. It was pretty cloudy in Seattle, so how surprised were Jesse and I to see how gorgeous and sunny it was on the East side of the mountains! Absolutely beautiful!
We found our hotel in Leavenworth, the Blackbird Lodge, and checked in. The hotel room was gorgeous. We had the top floor with a large patio, high ceilings, a beautiful bathroom, a California King bed (which we later discovered was too squishy to have sex on, but was just right for sleeping! When I’m ridiculously rich, I want two California King beds – one for sleeping on, and one for… well, yeah.), a microwave, fridge, dinette with super comfy chairs… It was just lovely. The perfect getaway.
We brought the cooler upstairs along with our clothes, and freshened up a bit, since we’d been driving for a few hours. I had a beer (cider) in the super gigantic shower, which I decided was the best thing in the world. Nothing like starting out your trip channeling your inner redneck. Glorious.
We set out on our adventure through Leavenworth. It’s such a tiny place! I think the whole of the “touristy” part of Leavenworth was about 8 blocks long, and only up and down one street! Eensy weensy! Seems there are lots of nature-type things to do around Leavenworth, though, like camping, hiking, white water rafting, etc.
First, we found a wine shop that was doing a tasting for $2 per person. The gal who was helping us was super sweet and since we didn’t drink Red wine, picked out two other wines to replace them. We loved a lot of them, and ended up going home with 6 bottles – 2 Riesling, 2 Raspberry, and 2 Muscat. We didn’t have cash to tip that lovely lady, so decided to bring cash back later for that. We wandered back to the hotel room to drop off the wine, and set out again. There were lots of other wine tastings going on, but I didn’t want to be a total wino while we were there. We moved on to a local cheese shop. We tried a couple cheeses, and Jesse ended up choosing a Wasabi cheese, which was surprisingly good. It had all the flavor, but none of the bite, of Wasabi. Shocking! And delicious! We bought a half pound of the Wasabi cheese, a half pound of Salami, and a meat stick thing for later snacking. We decided that Leavenworth was the perfect vacation for people like us… we were going to nibble our way through the town.
Forward and onward!
We found a little sauce shop, which the people at the cheese shop had told us about. We ventured in. Right away, we found the hot sauces. I had a big dip of the sauce on the right and was about to put it in my mouth when I read, “ONE DROP ONLY!” So I hesitated on the giant glop, and tapped it to my tongue. It wasn’t that hot. I ate it. It was good and had a little kick. I looked over at Jesse, who had done the same with the jar on the right, but had nommed the whole thing, and was starting to feel the heat. And then I read HIS signs…
“ONE DROP ONLY!”
“DO NOT EAT if you are PREGNANT, have trouble BREATHING or have HEART PROBLEMS!”
“ABSOLUTELY NO CHILDREN!”
“HOT HOT HOT!!!”
When I was done reading the 6 or 7 signs surrounding the jar, I looked up at Jesse again. Apparently it was doing it’s job. He was fanning his face. “Oh wow, oh gods, hot.” I looked around for sample sauces with cream in them and led him to a cucumber dill cream sauce. His eyes were starting to water now. I bought a jar of pickled okra. The girl behind the counter was doing her damnedest not to laugh. She must love her job. I know I would. Now Jesse’s eyes were bloodshot and rimmed in bright red and moisture. He was starting to sweat. This was not looking good. He looked at the bottle again, and realized the severity of his error. This wasn’t just habanero sauce. This was habanero extract. Oh snap. 6 million on the Scoville scale? FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. Habanero is only 350K – 500K on the scale. Police grade pepper spray is 5.3 million. Oh dear me…
We went outside and sat in the shade while he cooled off. The burn had started leaving his mouth. Where I had touched the one drop to my tongue, it was still scalding a hole through the middle. I could only imagine what he was feeling. When it calmed down, we picked up and went to Cured, a salami and preserves shop. There, we picked up a jar of Jalapeno Garlic pickled Quail eggs, which proved to be delicious and perfectly gamey. That was pretty much at the end of the shops in Leavenworth, so we turned around and went to 76 because I was on vacation and wanted a cigarette. We got smokes and as we were starting to cross the street, the heat started hitting his belly.
Since it was only a block away, we wandered back into the wine shop and tipped the gals there (who all seemed quite surprised at Jesse popping in, putting money in their jar, and walking back out. I think most of them didn’t realize we’d been in there earlier). He was starting to get squirmy, and asked if we could go back to the hotel for a minute, which was fine, of course.
By the time we walked the four blocks back, I was pretty sure Jesse was in for it. He did a little dying in the hotel room. And then writhed in pain on the bed. I kept asking if I could do anything, or get anything for him, but he said no. I asked if I could go to the store and get him milk. He said, “Oh yes, please!” When I asked why he hadn’t said so sooner, he said, “I couldn’t figure out how on earth I would make it there with you.” Despite his misery, I couldn’t help but laugh. At which point he bolted upright and said, “Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick.” I stopped laughing. He ran to the bathroom, and I was torn between helping him and getting him what his body needed. I figured I would be more useful going to the store.
I dashed back to the 76, and as I burst through the doors, the cashier (the same guy who had just sold us cigarettes) said, “Bathroom?” I gave a hurried, “No,” and frantically ran through the store. Bread, check. Pepto bismol, check. Milk, check. As I got to the counter with my assortment of stomach aides, the cashier gave me quite the staredown. “My honey had a run-in with hot sauce and is having issues,” I explained, to that blank “WTF” look. Armed with fixes, I went back to the hotel and found Jesse in bed, looking more human. He had gotten sick, and it had helped. Though, cruelly, it burned his mouth a second time when it came back up. Rude! He drank milk and nibbled on bread. Soon he was looking much more lively. He used some Pepto. Five minutes later, even more lively. Within 20 minutes, he was back to normal again – cracking jokes, even. I decided. My baby is a gangster. He just survived a self-inflicted attack in his mouth and his stomach that was worse than being maced by police. Yikes.
We journeyed back into Leavenworth and found a little German brats place that had live music (next to the cursed sauce shop), and split a traditional brat, and a Curry brat. The curry brat won my heart, to be sure. It was phenomenal. I ate so much sauerkraut I am surprised I didn’t pop.
After Brats and beer, we saw a live polka band. There were several people in traditional costume that were dancing, and came to find out that they were randomly in town to perform at a wedding. They ended in a dance that was so spectacular I was just beside myself. There were four men doing something called the “woodchipper dance,” which entailed them setting four spoons on the ground in the middle, and then circling them while slapping their knees, thighs, and ankles. I really, really wanted to pit them against the black girls I went to school with in the Central District (it would be an EPIC battle). It was something to see, for sure! They ended the dance by picking up the spoons and alternately slapping each others toes with them until someone messed up (or at least, that’s what I assumed, from what I saw). It was hilarious, random, and totally awesome.
We walked from there to a bar with really mediocre singing and a guitar player to have a couple more drinks. There was a cooler venue a block away, but the songs were so horrible I could not bear to go in. He was singing about Calculus. *barf*
I had a thought that karaoke might be fun, so we went a couple doors down, but found that a large mob of douchebaggery was also about to enter. We voted that down quickly, and headed back toward our hotel. We were going to do one more place, but I was over it, and so was he.
In the hotel room, we broke out a Riesling, the Wasabi Cheese, Salami, and Okra, and made ourselves a little antipasto plate. We lounged on the patio and snacked (I’m still super shocked that such different ingredients/flavors were able to work together so phenomenally!) for an hour or so, listening to the hooting and hollering of the Leavenworth tourists below. So far, this was shaping up to be a perfect vacation.
Jesse and I nuzzled up in bed and fell asleep. A couple hours later, I bolted upright, already gagging, and had to go make a mess of my own in the bathroom. I guess that last glass of wine must have pushed me over. Too much mixing of alcohols. Oh well. I felt better, brushed my teeth, and went back to bed.
6/12/2010 – Saturday – Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee
As per usual, I woke up at the crack of dawn. I was awake at 7:30am, and by 8am got out of bed. I made about 5 trips up and down the elevator to get soup, pills, razor, etc. out of the car, because I was pretty out of it and kept forgetting what I was doing. The first time, I didn’t even remember the car keys. At least I remembered the room key, though.
I tried to keep reasonably quiet while Jesse was sleeping. I didn’t want to be a total cold-hearted bitch. He woke up by about 9am so that he could go downstairs and get a waffle. They served applesauce with it, which was a nice touch. But their continental breakfast was definitely lacking. It was waffle and applesauce. And coffee. That was all. Not really continental at all, if you ask me! But no matter. He got the waffle he’d been dreaming of, and I got my soup. By the time we were done showering and he was done with breakfast, I was all packed up, the room was cleaned up, and all our goodies were gathered.
Jesse took our things down to the car and I checked us out of the room. It was still early – only 10am, which was great, as it meant we would have lots of time to play with while camping. At least, that was the idea.
The campsite at Lake Wenatchee was only about 15 minutes from Leavenworth, which was great, as my knee was still sore from the drive to Leavenworth. Jesse REALLY needs to get his driver’s license. Or pay back his child support. Because if international travel is out due to child support back-pay, that leaves domestic travel. And lots of that is driving, and my knee can’t handle that much driving. Oh, for joints that worked properly. Sigh. At least the campsite was close.
We followed the Google maps directions to a T. The first left. “Really?” I asked, “Are you sure? Are you looking at the directions from Google or from the campsite? Are you sure?” It didn’t seem right to me. But oh well. It must be. We pulled up to site #28, and set up camp. I set up the tent while Jesse worked on unloading other stuff. I amused at the gender role reversal we were playing through, though this actually works out much better for me, since I can build a tent quickly, and it doesn’t hurt my wrists like carrying things to the site.
Once the tent was up and our site was ready to go, we hopped in the car to drive to Lake Wenatchee and see how far it was. It was quite a way down still. On the way down, we saw the Lake Wenatchee State Park. Sketch, sketch… I was still unsure about all this. Just out of curiosity, I drove close to one of the campsite markers to see what numbers were on it. Even after that, I still wasn’t sure we were camped in the right/wrong spot. We sat at the lake’s edge for a while, and I stuck my toe in. No more than that toe, though. SO COLD! Apparently I had been a little overly hopeful in bringing my bikini. Was NOT going to happen. Once we were done at the lake, we did a little exploring. We popped over to the side with the river and the man fly fishing off the dock. He said we missed quite the parade of people kayaking downriver. We took a nice long walk through the woods. And I sent myself a text. I was shocked, horrified, and relieved that my cell phone got clear reception. I put my phone away after that, and didn’t take it out until we left to go home. The walk was nice, and it was hard to not notice how good the air smelled. Everything smelled so clean, alive, green, fresh. I was so glad to be there with my hunny.
After the little adventure at the lake, we drove back to the campsite and had a little snack. Just as we were getting ready to wander around again, the camp managers drove up in a golf cart, and asked, “Have you paid yet?” I told them I had reserved the spot weeks ago. “Oh, no,” they said, “you can’t reserve these. The state park campground is down the road again.”
For lack of a desk, *head picnic table*
We had, indeed, set up at the wrong place. I looked at my tent. It looked so good! I didn’t want to take it down. Since we hadn’t seen our site at the state park, I figured it best if we took a look at our site before packing up. So we hopped in the car and drove over to it. There was campsite stacked on campsite forever. It was like living in a cramped studio apartment building, but without walls. No trees or shrubs or anything between the sites. It was terrible! Jesse and I were horrified. We drove out, and decided to just pay extra to get the spot we had rather than moving everything here. I couldn’t get a refund. Oh well. We drove around in the campground where our tent was, and found a killer spot, right on the river, very secluded… how could I ask for more? I left Jesse in the spot to hold it while I loaded up a cooler and some other stuff. I drove it back, we paid for the spot, and shuffled everything over. But the tent… I voted we just drive it over. “Drive it over? We can’t do that!” Oh yes, yes we can. We unstaked it, lifted it and the air mattress up onto the roof of my car, and with Jesse holding down one side, and me holding down the other (while driving slowly in first gear), we drove the tent over to the new site. Victory! Our new site was perfect.
We made a great salad for lunch with the Asian Salad Mix, adding carrot, onion, chicken I precooked, and wasabi cheese. Win! It was delicious! We followed it up with Ciders and sun (and shade for Jesse) while reading along the river’s edge.
I wanted sun, Jesse wanted shade. We went on a mission for camp chairs. Fortuitously, we found two at the Lake Wenatchee Park store! Last two they had left! At the campsite, we shuffled around while Jesse dodged the sun, and I hunted it. We read. Relaxed. We both wanted sundown. Jesse so he could quit dodging the sun, me so I could make fire. After a bit I took a nap, and Jesse joined in on the nap shortly after I tucked in. Jesse zips the tent all the way up. No bugs! ❤ ❤ ❤
We napped for a couple hours and then built a fire. I showed him the glory of the “log house” style fire. He did not laugh at me or question me when I put rocks in the fire (Hurrah! Yay logic!). I started in on cooking. I made Chicken/Spinach/Feta brats, baked potatoes, grilled mushrooms, onions, roasted garlic, and a pot of warm sauerkraut. I put everything on the fire (aside from the potatoes) at the same time, moving them again and again to keep the veggies on low heat and the bratz on the fire.
Dinner was slow cooked, and was absolutely amazing. It might have been the best camping food I have ever made. So tasty! And Jesse cleared his plate! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do that. Must have liked it. Haha.
I melted a bottle on the campfire. We talked about family. His crazy stepdad. Camping in our youth. It was good times. Jesse nodded off pretty quickly. He was so relaxed that his feet, for the first time I had ever seen, weren’t twitching. And he hadn’t even taken his pill yet. I had it in my mind to build a raging fire, but it’s just not as fun when you’re up by yourself. So I put out the fire and took Jesse to bed. We snuggled and fell asleep holding hands.
6/13/2010 – Sunday – Heading home
I woke up and was cold. I went to put on my pants, but my dumb ass forgot to leave a bit of the window open for ventilation, and forgot to put my pants in my backpack. So they were damp. Yuck. I put my skirt on over my shorts, and my sweater on, and started a fire. I figured Jesse would want to sleep a while longer, so I started in on making breakfast and tea. I made potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and had a pot of water on for tea. We never ended up turning on the stove once while we were out there. When everything was about done, I woke up Jesse. This is a lucky man if I ever did see one. Tea was made, a tasty breakfast was done cooking. Yum! I did overcook a few of the bacon slices a bit, but oh well. It was still delicious.
After breakfast, we cleaned up the campsite and started packing up. I deeply resented the idea of going home, but I figured it would be easier to just pack up now than later. Jesse took care of the big stuff and the tent, air mattress, and sleeping bags, while I packed up the small stuff and dumped the majority of the melted ice out of the cooler. We were all set to go! Before we left, we made Jiffy Pop popcorn on the campfire, too. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it was well worth it. Because we just made popcorn on the fire. Hell yeah.
The drive back was beautiful. In the mountains, I had my eye out for a place to stop and have a mini picnic. The weather was already cooling down and clouding up the closer we got to Seattle, so I pulled over at a spot 3 miles East of where Harry & the Hendersons was filmed (in Index, on Hwy 2). I peed in the grass and got stung by a nettle. We hiked down and saw the river, raging. It was gorgeous. The water was a clear blue-green, and held immense power. The rocks were flat and smooth. I wanted to come here for a day picnic. It looked a bit dangerous to camp here (see: all of us washed away, drowned in a flash flood), but it would be a great place to have lunch. Definitely on my list to revisit later.
We were dirty and happy, relaxed and well rested (Jesse especially). Jesse helped me unload my car and dealt with storage and the cooler. I worked on the dishes. He went home and I cleaned up, took a shower, and gathered my dirty laundry. We figured two hours and we’d meet up again to do laundry, play strip dominoes, and make dinner.