Saturday, August 16, 2014

Washington: A Land Without Washers



The sun is shining sweetly and the temperature is right in that sweet spot when you need a long sleeved shirt if moving around, but if you sit nice and still in the sun it is just right.  

We sit on our rocky peninsula with our noses in a book, listening to the river hustle by.  I am reading Roughing It by Mark Twain and Hubs is reading the Chicago Manual of Style, a fat orange book about editing.  The fun never stops when Hubs is around.

The dogs kick up sand and pee on every poor shrub that dares grow vertically.

Chip chip chip

What was that? I ask Hubs.

"Baby eagles? Baby Sasquatch.  I don't know."

"Look! There in the river!"


A group of river otters is playing in the current, twisting and swirling around each other, occasionally calling out with little chip chips.


I have been spotted! 


An eagle flies overhead and lands in the top branches of an evergreen, scanning his domain for small furry or fishy creatures.  

Look how majestic…look how BIG…look how…hungry!  Shoot!  I have two small furry creatures and that eagle looks like he is sizing them up!

Fun-frolic-in-the-sun-time is over for puggies.  It is now sit-tied-to-the-chair-time.  

The eagle makes a few more low passes overhead, but each time I stand up and make sure he knows that these fat creatures are MINE and not for eating.


The next morning we set out to see Mt. St Helens, but realize halfway there just how futile our trip is.  There is thick fog that only gets thicker the higher we climb, and reaching a viewpoint, we would only see hazy grey.  Time to head north toward a rumored laundry facility at an RV resort in Randle.

We have been searching in vain for several days for a laundromat, and the closest I came was a plastic feed bucket from a farm supply store.  Yes, I tried to wash our clothes in a bucket.  For small things it is fine, but when I got to our sheets, the bucket just barely fit them.  Also, they took three days to dry.


I ask about laundry at the front desk of the Cascade Peaks RV Resort and am pointed to a small building next to an open field with a few rows of RVs that look like beached whales.   

I wonder if these folks know that they could camp just a few miles down the road at several incredibly beautiful sites, steps from the water, for free, instead of being lined up in a field with no privacy, just steps from the highway.  But their RVs are all greedily sucking power and water through their umbilical cords and they do have this fancy laundry room after all…***


I walk in and see three of the hardest working washers this side of the Continental Divide.  These are, truly, the only laundry facilities within a hundred miles.  I can't imagine the mountains of clothing these poor things have had to churn through in their miserable lives.  Oh, and the smell!  They really do smell foul.  

But it is too late.  My quarters have already been converted into groaning sudsing action inside their wobbling drums.  All I can do now is wait and hope our clothes don't catch cooties.  


There is an "adult lounge" attached to the laundry room and at first I think, "why do they have to make it sound so dirty?  After all, it is just a room with a few lopsided couches and a lot of books."  Then I see what the books are.  This room contains the largest collection of smutty romance novels from the 60's through the early 90's gathered into one place.  One features a drawing of a man wearing jeans, reclining in front of a fire place, his prolific chest hair and mullet being the finest moment in that illustrator's career.  


Having never read a romance novel, I pick the most innocent-looking cover off the shelf and skip out the door to sit under a large shade tree with Hubs and entertain him with a reading in my   most   sultry     voice.

I start with a random paragraph somewhere in the middle.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Snap goes the book and back on the shelf.  I won't be doing that again.

Instead, I will entertain Hubs with a paragraph from the romance novel I would write, of course told in my most sultry voice.

"And as they walked through the automatic doors of Super Walmart, he pulled her close and whispered into her ear,  'Go ahead and pick out any brownie mix you would like, even if it costs three dollars.  And when we get back to the trailer, I will leave a bag of water out in the sun so that in two hours you can have a nice hot shower while hiding behind a shrub.  Maybe there won't even be mosquitos.'"

SwooOOOOoooon!

With laundry mostly dry, we go back to camp and relax by the water.  

Look at he size of that fish!  It is THIS big!  Oh you can't see my hands. 

Babe, can you come measure between my hands?

Two and a half feet.  


That is a big fish!  It rises to the surface for a gulp of bug or air, revealing a white, leprous looking head.  I would consider eating it if it weren't for that gross head.

The pugs stick their feet in the water and play that silly chase game without rules.  I am worried about Otis.  He has been squinting in one eye for about five days now, but there isn't a vet within two hours of here and I can't see an obvious injury.  I have been giving him eye drops of colloidal silver every few hours, but his pirate squint has not improved.  We will just have to wait and see.


A campfire tops the evening off at my favorite boondock yet.


***I don't mean to come off as some camping purist, squatting on the side of the road poking berries up my nose and judging people with full hookups.  If I had money, you can bet that every once in a while we would be parked someplace with hookups, probably trying to take a hot bath in the sink.

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