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Columbus Day in Chelan
posted by John : October 9-12, 2008

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Four kids, no dogs

Columbus Day just screams Chelan, doesn't it? Oh, well, we thought it did. And if there's only one thing we've learned from three kids is that when the screams are that loud you had darn well better pay attention. So off we went. And this time we didn't even have to take the trailer.

We got out of the house an hour later than we wanted on Thursday night so that put us at Auntie Nicole and Uncle Boppi's place at just about 10pm. The kids were still wide awake for at least for the few minutes it took to get them into bed, but they didn't last long after that. Thankfully. We had an ambitious schedule.

Friday morning we waved goodbye to Uncle Boppi (a doctor's work is never done) and Auntie Nicole (big time dog show in Wenatchee) and then set about getting our three, plus their cousin Molly ready to head out on our own adventure.

We started in Wenatchee at the dog show. It was quite chilly, but the sun was bright and the sky blue. The kids immediately took Addie's place in the kennel (yes, all four of them) so we had a few minutes to watch their first run of the day. I'd never seen an agility competition so it was at least new if not exhilarating. Addie did acceptably well after not working for several long months during the transition from Kentucky to Washington and had more runs over the next few days anyway.

We, however, had no time to dilly dally at a dog show. We had bigger, and more Bavarian, adventures in store. Namely Oktoberfest in Leavenworth. We'd heard that Friday was the day to experience our little corner of German goodness, but somebody had lied to us.

It turns out, Oktoberfest on Friday is kind of like Leavenworth on any non-festival weekday. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was "lame," but it probably couldn't have hiked up a mountain or even across the square where Johnny the accordion player was entertaining the few retirement home residents unlucky enough to get on the wrong daytrip bus.

The big fail was that the kinderplatz wasn't actually ready for any kinders. They were just setting up the climbing wall and the bouncy houses were kind of like parade balloons without any air. (Interesting experiment for another day: Fill bouncy house with helium and let hilarity ensue.) Oh, well. At least we got fancy hot dogs and a bag of M&Ms on our departure.

Back in Chelan (we missed Addie's second run of the day in Wenatchee) we tried to put the kids down without success and instead I spent a few hours working and taking a break every five minutes to tell someone they needed to go back to bed. (Amy and Nicole had gone out shopping.) At 4:30 (release time was 5pm) Molly finally fell asleep. Sucks to be her, but at least she was rested.

When the rest of the adults returned we had dinner and played with the idea of some form of organized entertainment like cards, but Martin had to go do the doctor thing (being on call doesn't look like fun) so the rest of us hung out and surfed teh Intarwebs.

Saturday morning started much the same way. Our hosts headed off to pursue their own... um... pursuits and we packed all the kids (and Tokul this time) into the truck. Again, we stopped at the dog show and saw a far better performance from Addie. (it was the first of what would be a double-qualifying day. Don't ask me what that means, but she got a roast beef sandwich for her efforts.) Once again, though, we didn't stay for more than a token picture and then we were off.

This time we headed up toward Mission Ridge (the little ski resort near Wenatchee) and a certain little lake with a name strikingly similar to a certain little kindergartener who had been saddened that there were no other geographic features named similarly. (Confused? We went to Clara Lake.)

It was cold, but we had a great day complete with a frozen Clara Lake, a cute Marion Lake, over 500 pictures taken, and a whole bunch of larches (trees) on the verge of going golden and dazzling the eye. You can read all about it (and see a billion pictures) here.

When we returned to cell phone range Amy and I each had multiple messages on our phones. Apparently, I had miscommunicated the duration of our trip. Somehow Nicole thought we'd be back in 30 minutes or so. Surely, I said something closer to an hour so when we returned to Chelan six hours later she was a little worried. Cha!

As a bonus for running the kids ragged in the woods we got them to sleep early and soundly. Although Martin was still on call (sorry we drank all your wine and vodka and...) we still stayed up late playing cards. Amy and Nicole also conned me into saving a $20 copay and letting Dr. Martin take stitches out of my head. (No, nothing fun, just a little horn I'd been growing.) I hardly felt a thing, but that might have been because my nose was numb, too.

Sunday we got up early, too. However, by "we" I mean "Tokul and I" and by "early" I mean "6 freakin' am." (Why should I complain? It's an hour and a half later than on a work day!) Also included in "we" is Lilly who decided she had slept long enough and wanted to play with Amy while the latter tried to snooze.

I snuck out of the house with Tokul and after a quick stop at Starbucks Tokul and I arrived in a dark, dusty parking lot at the base of Chelan Butte. The plan was to go early and get home early. We definitely managed the "go early" part of it, though we might have been a bit too early. I didn't see a defined trail so we waited a bit before heading into the ruddy morning. It was a quick, straight-up climb, but if you really care you can read more here.

When I got back to the house and became clean again we took a break and watched the Seahawks fail to live up to their promise yet again. This time at least we could blame it on a third string quarterback we had picked up at Walmart rather than someone who was getting paid the big bucks.

After the game we headed up the lake to the Banjo Farm... no... wait, that's where I wanted to go. Actually, we went to the Blueberry Hill Farm that has a restaurant where they serve... all kinds of food. (What? Did you expect something with blueberries? Neither did we, but we got them mixed into everything anyway.) It was a little unnerving eating in the middle of a gift shop with tourists browsing all around, but it could have been worse. (Like the Banjo Farm. (Yes, it really exists. Next time for sure!)).

Our purpose was to buy a big box of apples for sauce and if Uncle Boppi happened to buy some additional apples with plans for a pie somehow nobody seemed to argue. Fully appled we returned for play time in the street (that seemed just like an Los Angeles subdivision in the early 90s) and then dinner and finally packing up for home.

We left at about 6pm and the trip flew by without need for chains (dang) or extra coffee (argh!) or even a movie (phew). It was a quick trip, but a good one. We didn't feel we were being pulled in a ton of different directions except the ones we planned for ourselves and that was good for once.

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