Compared to the events of the last few days, today was pretty eventless. I woke up to find that the rest area carpark was mostly emptied of the residents of the night before, except for one van. There was still some drizzle around but most of it had stayed outside of the van. I got up at 8am and head off. After an hour I pulled off highway 5 to find a breakfast spot. I drove down a few dead ends in suburbia before finding a boat ramp that looked out over a small inlet with some cargo ships in the distance. It’s all about location. I made oats, but honestly would have just like to have some quick cereal – it’s on my shopping list for today.
Back on the highway, I was using nav to get me through and around Seattle. I thought I’d try out GasBuddy, an app Tristan suggested to me for finding cheap fuel prices. Lo and behold, it showed me a map of the servos near me and what their prices were. Brilliant! I targeting one at $2.39 per gallon. I should have known that meant cash price. Debit/credit was $2.49. I really don’t understand that one. I figured out it’s not worth the $2-4 extra dollars I would pay to go get cash from an ATM, waste my time walking inside the servo before filling up. Stupid America. I also needed air in my right rear tyre (it has a slow leak) but that would cost me $1.50 to use the air machine! Stupid America. Instead, I got my bike pump out and did about 200 reps to get it up to pressure.
Onwards and my next stop was grocery shopping. I hit Grocery Outlet again because they seemed pretty cheap last time. Clif Bars, breakfast stuff, sandwich stuff, dinner stuff, fruit and snacks brought me to about $50. Considering that will last me the rest of the week (maybe a bit longer). I really wanted orange juice, but I couldn’t find any type of juice that wasn’t made from concentrate. Stupid America.
That was my last stop until Mount Rainier National Park. I didn’t know much about this park, but saw it on the map and figured I’d stop by. Mount Rainier is just shy of Whitney at 14,400ish ft. but a completely different mountain. It is a volcano so forms a single peak from a very low base of 3,000ish ft. I stopped at the information centre just past the West entrance that was a building in a small historic town. There I asked what I should do with my afternoon and the man suggested a hike at Paradise around Skyline Loop. Cool! Though I was feeling a little tired… I’d put all my wet gear on my roof while wandering around the historic town to dry it a bit so I made my lunch at the car to extend the sunning time. I put all that back in the car then drove towards Paradise. When Rainier first came into view, it was impressive. The peak is surrounded by glaciers and there was fresh snow a fair way down the mountain. I think it was perfect time to see it. Turns out that would pretty much be the last that I saw of it.
When I parked at Paradise, I packed a bag for a hike and took my wrap up some stairs near my car and found a nice rock in the sun to sit on and enjoy the view. The mountain was just being covered by cloud when I got there, so I figured I would eat and wait for the clouds to pass over. That never happened. Nor did it happen in the hour I spent in the car writing my journal. Rainier was gone. I decided not to do any hiking since I wouldn’t get any views and also the walk up the stairs made me realise just how tired my legs were. I also heard Jon’s voice in my head telling me to take some time to just enjoy the view and not do everything. Good advice. It was a shame I didn’t get to see more of the mountain. I’m sure I could have sat at its base for a good hour and admired its different contours and glaciers.
I drove on through the park past a huge row of parked cars then over winding roads through a canyon to exit the park. I got a few glimpses of the back side of Rainier, but still nothing clear. There were a few lakes and viewpoints on the way out that I stopped to have a look at, but otherwise I was straight out.
Having been in the car all day after many days of freedom, I was ready for an early stop. I was hoping the next rest area would be camp-friendly. After driving through Packwood, I discovered it was. Picnic tables under some trees and even two-ply toilet paper in the bathrooms! It was only around 5:30pm so I decided to do some work on mounting the solar panel to the roof. I’d been feeling a bit off all day, probably coming down from the Whistler high and this put me in a better mood. I didn’t pull it off because I discovered the panel is too short to fit between the two roof racks then my drill ran out of batteries so I couldn’t drill the holes I needed to to make up the timber mounts. Oh well, I did some rearrangement to get some shit out of the way on the inside of the van and that made me happy.
I cooked up some turkey past Bolognese for dinner, made way too much so that I have three lots of left overs and that was only using half the ingredients I’d bought. Need more practice at that, but it was yummy. I probably have a lot of driving ahead of me tomorrow if I want to get to Bend in decent time, but I will deal with that later.