William, Blueberries, and the Train
12:05 am: It was a very busy, very full day. Too full, on Jet's part, and it ended up a little messed up so far as he was concerned.
It started fairly early, as Bill and Sarah arrived at 9:30 and William was arriving sometime between 9 and 10. Jet was up at 7. I was up by 8:30 and John was up about 9ish. Breakfast for everyone, and William arrived with a great greeting by Jet. Then Sarah and Bill came to visit, explore the Eurovan, and get hugs from Jet. They also admired his climbing ability as he decided to study his 'big car' with them. Yeah, he calls the Eurovan "my big car!" and all his Matchbox cars are now "little cars". It was lots of fun visiting with them.
Afterwards, we packed up everything, and headed east to North Bend and Mt. Si. Isabel knew of a blueberry farm right at the base of the mountain, so she got the front seat and gave directions to John. There was a huge party going on out at a Mountain Meadows Farm, so big that there was traffic control in all directions. We speculated that it was like a Microsoft party, as there were a lot of very geeky looking, arrogant people in a lot of the cars. Folks that wouldn't merge correctly, tried to jump the line, and, in general, it was unpleasant to interact with them. We were glad to get out of the influence of that party.
The blueberry farm was gorgeous. It was right at the foot of Mt. Si, which was huge, craggy, bearded by forest, and cracked by a fault. It's the model for Twin Peaks in the old TV show, and it was beautiful being right under it. A boy, about 14 or so was manning the picking booth, and he was very vague about where to go to pick. I'm used to being assigned a row or something to just go out and do, but he just waved out at the bushes and said that the ones closest to the shack were the best.
They weren't. They had all been picked over. The further away we got from the 'shack' the better the picking got. George headed out to the far corner and got nearly a whole bucket by himself. The rest of us weren't nearly as experienced or as willing to go the distance. William and I settled on two sides of the same row and talked cheerfully while picking berries from each other's sides. Hee.
It's been nearly four years since I've seen William. That's too long. He's been married, divorced, moved to Ohio and back, and been through a lot in that time. We just picked berries and talked. This was a first for him, and he was enjoying the mountain, the berries, and getting to see Jet. Jet had fallen asleep in the car on the drive up, as planned, but he only slept 45 minutes before waking up and coming out, with John, to join us.
Jet had a problem figuring out that we really wanted him to pick the blue berries rather than the green ones. He really like pulling the hard, green berries off of the bushes and putting a whole handful of the unripe berries into my bucket. John, on the other hand, did a really good job of picking and adding to my bucket of berries. After about half an hour, I decided we had done enough, and told Isabel, as she said we would be picking as long as I said it was okay. Jet was getting a little bored, and nearly followed another family down a row.
The only problem was that as we exited the blueberry patch, we all saw more and more ripe berries. It turned out that the edges of the patch hadn't picked at all, and there were bushes where we could pick entire handfuls at a time. George had started in such an area, so was far ahead of all of us when we all gathered at the shack to pour all the berries into a single bucket. We got nearly 12 lbs. of berries, and took the flat back to the Eurovan.
From there we headed into town, and stopped the Dairy Freeze for lunch. They had excellent milkshakes, crisp onion rings, good fries, and well-built hamburgers. We manage to find a table inside the building, and it was quite a relief to get out of the sun. There was a large patio, as well, with plenty of tables and chairs, but they were all out in the sunshine. Jet avoided his corn dog, and mostly had French fries and milkshake for his lunch. It seemed to fill him up, though, and he seemed pretty content with the food. John saved the corn dog in its wax paper wrapping for dinner. From there we walked to the North Bend station.
It's the Northwest Railway Museum, and the train is run by a number of local volunteers that restore and use an old locomotive. It runs on a track between North Bend and Snoqualmie Falls. The ride takes about 39 minutes each way, and runs through forest, over streams, and stops by the Falls. It also stops at the Snoqualmie station, where there's an entire depot filled with old cars, engines, and other specialized railway equipment. The depot in Snoqualmie is filled with museum exhibits.
The North Bend Depot, however, didn't have all that much to it other than the ticket office and a little bit of grass. There was a train platform where everyone hung out until the train arrived. I had the video camera out when Jet finally realized that there was a train coming down the track. I train it on him as the train slowly pulled into the station. George and Jet had to move back a couple steps before they can pull all the way into the station as they were somewhat in the way. Luckily, it was moving slowly enough that wasn't a problem. Jet was even happier that he had been when he was on the bus. His eyes lit up, he was jumping up and down yelling, "Yay! Yay! Yay!"
Yes, he was happy.
We all got on near the front of the train, by the engine. There was a very old car that was made the same year that the Titanic was launched right behind the engine. It was an open top car, and we chose it because the breeze would feel good on this hot day. The benches were all wood and wrought iron. They were bolted down in pairs, facing each other. George and Isabel chose one bench that faced the one that John and Jet got into. William and I shared another pair, sitting facing each other. I also got to see Jet and John from my vantage as well as get to talk to William and catch up a bit about the last four years.
He highly approved Jet, which was very cool. It was also a lot of fun to just watch the countryside roll by. The trees and the water were so beautiful, backed by mountains and blue sky. There was quiet farmland, small gatherings of houses, and plenty of forest to ride through. There were a few bridges as well. Occasionally we would cross roads and see cars with people, you could tell the locals because they waved to the people on the train. Other people just looked baffled. Jet loved it when they would waved back. He would wave and wave while yelling, "Hi!"
He commented on the trees and the water, but mostly he just looked everywhere.
On the way back we were in the sunshine, and the warmth almost put everyone to sleep. The swaying motion of the train and the warmth were pretty soothing. The whistle had moved to the back of the train when we turned around. We actually didn't turn around, the train simply started moving "backwards". So all of the warning signals moved to the other end. That made it a far quieter ride. Whew.
Everyone noticed that Jet had nearly fallen asleep on the train, and instead of letting him just fall asleep in the car, folks started talking to him and playing with him. Not that I blame them too much. No one said to just leave him alone. I'd had to tell folks to Just Be Quiet on the way up so that he'd fall asleep on the way up. This time he got pretty happily wound up by William imitating him on the way down. So John compounded it all by stopping at Eastgate park and Jet demanded that William follow him through the climbing gear. So by the time we all got back to the house, Jet was all hyper and he bounced all over the place while I tried to nurse him. He wanted to know what was going on with all the other people making noise in the house.
Finally I just gave up. I just let him run off to play and I went downstairs and took a nap. It was supposed to be for an hour, but turned into an hour and a half When I got up, Jet came to me, immediately and demanded to nurse, and I couldn't turn him down. Everyone told me that they'd *played* with him and just fed him some warm milk and couldn't understand why he wanted to nap NOW....
He was exhausted. So John and I talked about it and there was no real way to keep Jet up longer. So I nursed him and he went down for his nap in nothing flat. We told John's mom to wake him up after an hour and a half, and knew that it wasn't going to be easy. He'd just been too tired out by today.
Isabel and George started having dinner while William, John and I headed to Lombardi's to meet up with Chrisber and Christy. We'd called them earlier today to make the plan, and they decided to meet us there after their adventures around the area. It was good to see them again. It was really good to have food at Lombardi's again. The garlic bread was the usual bread with roasted garlic, and it just got better from there.
John and I split their pear and gorgonzola salad special. It came with beautiful poached pear slices, lots of candied walnuts, and a very generous spread of gorgonzola over spicy and bitter greens under a light vinaigrette. It was really, really tasty, and the candied walnuts lent that perfect crunch along with the creamy richness of the cheese. Yum.
My roast chicken was a little dry, but it was very tasty on its bed of Tucson style white beans with plenty of garlic, onion, and olive oil. The chicken was crisp skinned with an extra layer of prosciutto. Yummy. John had the New York style cheesecake for dessert, and I had the Cream Caramellita, which was a creme caramel with a very rich custard and a drizzle of fruit sauce. They brought my dry cappuccino in one of their characteristic octagon glass mugs and it was perfect. Yay!
It was a great meal. It was a lot of fun to talk with the Chrises about their elopement and being wedded by Carl. It is amusing to be wed by ones GM. They had great stories already and were just on their way north at the beginning of their honeymoon. Yay!
One really cool thing was that they mentioned that Jim had had his Utilikilt on for the wedding, as part of everyone dressing up for the occasion. And there was John, in his Utilikilt! They admired it appropriately, and the postal blue of it got Chrisber thinking that the alternative colors might actually be very nice. They'd seen a posse of guys at a Con all in black Utilikilts and had decided, on the spot, that Chrisber was not going to get a black one. So John's opened up the possibilities. Yay!
When we got home, Jet was still up and bouncing. Isabel had made us promise that we'd put him to bed, and since I was the one that had taken a nap, I was the logical one to do the work. They went to sleep soon after we got there, and an hour after I'd tried getting Jet to sleep, i just told John to go to bed and take advantage of the ability to do so and not be trashed tomorrow as someone would have to be up in the morning. Then I nursed Jet for another half-hour, and finally took the still awake Jet to his bed.
We lay there for probably another hour. Jet tossed and turned and tried to get comfortable. John came up and checked on us and started Jet awake again. He went away. I finally got Jet to be still and tucked his blankets around him and thought he was asleep. When I closed the door, though, he started crying, so I went back in again. This time I finally dragged him into my arms, and when he was cuddled really, really close, he finally went back to sleep again. This time it was finally for real.
When I got down to my bed it was midnight. Oof.