Summer solstice snow #CF2US14

Our last full day in Seattle certainly was full! We woke up late (again) and headed down to 3rd Ave to pick up a hire car for the day. Lee had booked it over the phone the night before – a standard 4 door car for $67, not bad. Sadly, as always happens, the person behind the desk at the pick up place added extra for insurance – $40 extra! This was annoying because we had specifically asked on the phone if the quote given included insurance and we were assured it did. This has happened to us before and, as with this time, we weren’t bold enough to argue. The people behind the desks at car hire places are rogues, rascals. They do anything they can to get extra money from you. My suggestion is to ALWAYS get the quote emailed to you and specifically ask the salesperson to indicate in capital letters that the quote includes insurance. Another thing to consider if whether your travel insurance covers you for car accidents. It often does. Anyway, lesson learned on our part – we just have to be less meek (a trait that we’ve passed on to our boys for better or for worse – they are forever being pushed in front of in lines!).

Ultimately our day was worth the extra $40 anyway. We hired the car specifically to drive to Mt Rainier, something Lee has been wanting to do since our last visit to Seattle in 2012. It’s such an impressive mountain, snow capped and looming over the city of Seattle. The drive was pretty easy and the closer we got, the landscape became more and more natural and pretty. A spread of wild flowers bloomed on the side of the highway and Mt Rainier grew and grew. The boys were so engrossed with its growing size, filling the car with ooohhhs and aaaaaahhs! We paid the $15 to get into the park and began the steady assent up the mountain – my palms got sweaty cos I’m not so good with heights. We stopped off a few times to get photographs of the views – all lush green and cloud white. The last stop was the best according to the boys – we finally got high enough up to get out and play in the snow! Reflection Lakes were partially frozen and just gorgeous. It was like being in a Christmas card! We are so lucky! After a hilarious scramble down a snowy embankment – picture me falling on my butt three times – we made it to the lake. Of course the first thing the boys did was make snowballs and their favourite target was their slow moving mother. We made a snow man and a snow dog and laughed that it was summer solstice and giggled at the authenticity of our realised dreams. Seriously.

Before our fingers fell off from frost-bite, we got back in the car and made our way back down the mountain. Our next destination was the music store where Kurt Cobain bought his first guitar. Unfortunately after a quick phone call to the store we discovered we wouldn’t make it to Aberdeen before they closed. We decided to try anyway – as you do. It took us over and hour to get to Aberdeen – making it there 15 minutes after the store closed. Lame! Our disappointment hung heavy in the Aberdeen air – oh, wait, that IS the air at Aberdeen! Seriously, that place is depressing. It gives an accurate sense of why Nirvana’s music has that moody, broken quality to it. The town is eerily quiet. Cliche? Yes? An accurate description? Well, I guess you’ll have to trust the veracity of my description because I strongly doubt you’ll ever visit there yourself; it’s just not somewhere I’d recommend. We did revisit Kurt Cobain Riverside Park – a kind of shrine to Kurt that was established by a caring Aberdeen local. The park is adjacent to the bridge that Kurt frequented often in his youth. He slept under it after he was kicked out of home for whatever reason teens and people in their early 20s get kicked out. It’s a special place for Nirvana fans – a pilgrimage point for the diehards – but it is sad too, just like the rest of the town. It gives a sense of the despondency that pervades many of Kurt’s art. I try to get a sense of him there, but all the scrawlings on the bridge beams just talk to me of those who love him, for their own reasons, and the sounds of lawn mowers, cars and scrawny dogs barking just takes away any pseudo spiritual experience I could get. That doesn’t mean it’s not a cool space, it totally is. The recent addition of Kurt’s air guitar was pretty cute.

We returned the car at 8pm and walked the long walk back to the hotel. The boys were washed out so we left them to play their games and headed down to the brewery next to the hotel – The Six Arms. The food was meh and Lee said the beer was watery. Worst of all was the music – Coldplay, Muse and The Killers! Not cool. The night did end well though, as we got a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, haha.

Sunday was a sort of nothing day… the boys went swimming, despite it not being swimming weather, and we took our final walk down to the Pike Street Markets. We bought fruit for the train and chocolate pasta to make for dessert with Jeff and Joanie, which we are told tastes great with icecream! Oh, and we ate breakfast at The Crumpet Shop. Yup, you read that right, crumpets in America! I got one with honey, the boys had jam and Lee had eggs and smoked salmon. Whilst they weren’t the best crumpets I’ve had, they were tasty and the homemade chai was delicious. It surprises me how popular this shop is! Crumpets are SOO hipsters 😉

We boarded our AMTRAK train at 1.40pm and are currently headed to Montana. The family room is great – so roomy, the boys are stoked and the novelty of being on a train hasn’t worn off, which is great. Tomorrow we’ll be meeting up with Jeff and Joanie in Shelby and heading to Glacier National Park!!

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