July 22nd – August 11th: We hopped on a wee little airplane (so small that it could easily be mistaken for a crop-duster) out of Lafayette with a quick stop in Memphis to change to a bigger aircraft which brought us back to Seattle just before noon.Again, sweet ANGEL was there to greet us and once again we disrupted her routine with our presence. Everyone seemed happy to see us again (or very good drama schools in Wa?) ANGEL took time off work to make sure she could keep her eye on us so we wouldn’t get into too much mischief, so we included her in our escapades! We made many, many trips to Walmart, so many that I think if we had stayed longer we could have claimed some shareholding rights, I am sure.
ANGEL had been planning on taking us to see Mt St Helens [a volcano which erupted on May 18th 1980 when the top 1,314 ft (400.5 mt) disappeared within minutes – photos of before and after eruption – courtesy of Darrell Jennings], so a few days after our return from Louisiana, we set off. We shared our lunch at the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center with some pretty friendly golden mantel squirrels before continuing on to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Such a pity it was somewhat overcast that day, not to mention rather windy and cold, too. After buying some souvenirs we decided we may as well drive on to Portland, Oregon. We took advantage of Oregon’s sales tax free system and came back to Eatonville quite late that night with various goodies in our arms. I like shopping!
We wanted to check out the local fishing scene so after purchasing a consecutive 2 days licence, we first went to Lake Spanaway where we spent the best part of the day drowning our worms and playing tug of war with submerged rocks and logs. That wasn’t our idea of fun so the very next day, ANGEL took us to Ohop Lake. We temporarily became mountain goats to get down to the lake from the main road but it was well worth the effort as we caught 5 beautiful rainbow trout there. Hard for us seafood lovers to understand it but ANGEL has never eaten fish before! However, she was successfully tempted to sample the butter fried trout that I cooked up. We also caught a few nice bass from Jackie’s parents’ private dam and again, ANGEL decided to have a taste. She found out that fish when cooked right, is quite delicious after all! I must add that her newly acquired taste for fish did not extend to bbq’d smoked copperhead salmon though. She also politely declined our offer to sample some dungeness crab meat. Doesn’t know what she’s missing, does she?
Jackie’s boyfriend surprised us with tickets to see a baseball game – the Seattle Mariners playing against the Cleveland Indians at the SAFECO field – so together with ANGEL’s mum, we drove to Tacoma and hopped on a bus to get to the venue. All available seats were taken so ANGEL decided to sit on the floor! Good thinking actually, as she didn’t have to worry about any balancing act when the bus careered around corners, etc… We were all in high spirits at the prospect of an exciting ball game and lost no time in finding our way there. What an exciting first experience that was for my MOTH and I – we really got into the spirit of the game, right down to exchanging baseball cards with total strangers! Would have been so much better if the Mariners had won the day though.
I decided to show my appreciation for the wonderfully warm hospitality extended toward us by having a satay party several days before our departure. Somehow I think I got a tad carried away as I made 97 sticks of beef satays, 151 sticks of chicken ones and a huge pot of spicy peanut satay sauce to feed 10 grown-ups! Everyone had enough to eat, I think… We even got to see Jackie’s tooth tattoo! Not at all obvious that she is a keen fan of George Strait. It seems that everytime we turned around, it was time to eat again! We were having difficulties fitting into most of our clothes so we decided it was time to head for home – actually, the truth was that they have had enough of us in WA so we were deported back to Australia!
Alarm set for 2.30am and after a wake up cup of freshly brewed coffee, we got changed and headed off to SeaTac Airport for the 6am flight to San Francisco. Between ANGEL and I, I am sure we used up a whole box of tissues to mop up our tears. I hate goodbyes so again we just said, “See ya later”. God Willing we will meet again, either here in Australia or in the U.S. – it doesn’t matter where, really. God Bless the day we met on the internet and long live our friendship!!!