Mt St Helens - day 1

Trip Start Jul 07, 2008
Trip End Aug 09, 2008

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Where I stayed
Best Western

Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ugh - up at 3:45am to get ready and catch the ferry to Washington. Mike and his eldest daughter Brigitte are joining me for the ride to Mt. St Helens. After waiting in line on the ferry for 20 minutes to get a cup of perhaps the worst coffee in both countries, we planned our route. We were going to head for Longview to grab a hotel room and dump our stuff before riding to the west / north sides of the mountain.
The highway to Mt. St. Helens is fantastic - incredibly engineered, beautiful pavement and super twisty. It must have cost a fortune and it GOES NOWHERE! It dead ends at the final viewing point for the mountain! Crazy! I love it!
You could spend an entire day driving to each view point, taking a million pictures, hiking the trails, and checking out the learning centres. The size of that blast had to have been gigantic; the amount of the volcano that disappeared is phenomenal. Even 28 years later it is easy to see the blast damage - entire areas still buried in ash, trees still in the position they blew down in. What's really cool is you can see the lava dome that is continuing to expand, in the centre of the crater. And the volcano continues in its cycle...
We rode back to the hotel and then walked to a restaurant called the Masthead (as recommended by the hotel clerk), and that's how I had a stroke. We placed our order and then Mike had the brilliant thought that we should split some onion rings since they "hand-dip" them. They brought a plate full of the biggest onion rings I had ever seen - they looked like donuts (sour cream plain donuts from Tim Hortons, to be precise). There were enough there to fill all 3 of us, and then the waitress said it was only half the order and she brought another plate! We were feeling ill at that point, and then the appetizer salads came, followed by the main course! Mike and I ordered ribs and the pile was huge. "It's not that bad," says Mike, "They're probably mostly bone." ...They were boneless. I feel sick just recounting it. The stroke hadn't happened yet...I had to order dessert. So now I am typing with just one hand, being paralysed on my right side.  I am hoping the brain swelling goes away by morning...
Total milage today - 530km.
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