I know I sound like a broekn record, but it's always so late when I do this. Midnight, after everyone is safely tucked away and the happy little elves have done the preparations for tomorrow. Let's see. In the morning Gillian helped Shannon make a fire, then we had our usual Jiffy Pop chaser. I started disassembling and packing, while the girls worked on the books for their Junior Ranger badges. Then I took them to the Junior Ranger program for the day. This time it was a game based on getting from a seedling to an old groth tree, by picking cards at each of the 5 stages of growth and moving forward or back. Most of the cards were bad. Death by snow plow, beaver, etc. Apparently that was to prove a point about the difficulties faced. After that they turned in their books, did their Ranger pledge, and received honorary Junoir Ranger badges. We then headed out on the road, with a quick stop in Packwood. We then headed to Portland, stopping at Spiffy's for lunch. They love their pie and their salvation there. The pie was good, the salvation was a little dry. Remember folks, you can't spell salivation with out salvation.Overall, a decent meal. Good sandwiches. In Portland we checked into the Portand Suites. Shannon took the kids to the pool while I unpacked the cooler and washed off about 3 days of grime. We went to a factory outlet near hear for a supper and a quick attempt to get shoes for the girls before it closed. I almost got some shoes. It was buy 1 pair get 2 pairs free. I didn't really need 3 pairs, but $33 a pair? That's a deal! I dumped chocolate milk on Mara, Ryan had a cut in his butt. and that was that.I am still confounded by the gas pricing here. I understand free market, competition, all that, but why is it $2.75 on one corner, $3.13 on the other, and $2.95 across from those? Who pays the $3.13 and why? Are there looser standards on gas? Do you 'get what you pay for'? Moreso, I don't know why that never happens in Canada. Have you every seen three different prices in the same neighbourhood, let alone street? I 'read' the kids a story about them, the Yeti, and Ryan. We did some research, and I think Newport is where we're headed tomorrow, right after the Children's Museum.
Yup, that's what happened. Oh - and we stopped at a Mt. St. Helen's viewpoint. It was kinda far away still, but the area is so treed, it was really the only viewpoint on the whole trip. It was interesting. There was a curious sign for a gift shop just one mile down the hill so I had to stop. It sold objects made from Mt. St. Helen's ash. There was blown glass ornaments that looked like any other blown glass ornaments, but apparently had ash in them. There was little greyish figurines that looked more like they were made of ash but they were not something I'd put on a shelf in my house. And then there were little bottles of ash from different distances from the mountain. So, who wants to guess if the ash bits got larger or smaller as you got further away from the mountain? Anyone? Anyone? Larger. I don't know if that's surprising but it made me think about the physics of that. So, I still haven't found a souvenir that I like.
Oh - in Packwood - the town just outside of Mt. Rainier - there was a store called "The Most Unusual Store", so of course I had to stop. They had lots of knickknacks that were actually made locally - but they were either too large or delicate to survive the trip home. So, I bought Huckleberry jam and 2 whirlygigs for the girls. I don't count the jam as a souvenir because it was only "made for" Mt. Rainier - the berries could have come from Saskatchewan.