Spirit Mountain Lodge is great. Coyote Club member special on staying overnight.
Wednesday night is 'seafood buffet' night at their buffet... large amounts of fried, but also some exquisite salmon and cod, and a way-over-herbed baked oyster dish. Mussels, crab claws (NOT Dungeness, and rather flavorless and chewy, to my taste), scallops, steamer clams... It's an invitation to indulge your Otterish side, and I did.
We had set out with $20 apiece for gambling. I don't gamble that much, but I decided to try Keno for fun while eating, won $9.50 with a ticket that cost me $10.50.
After dinner we went into the no-smoking gaming area and played with various slotlike machines. The process for these is pretty simple. As soon as you list more credits than you start with, you collect, and start with a new buck. If you hit a couple good spins, you get back as much as you put in, and then some. I actually came out ahead 8 dollars, but spent part on tips and part on gambling Thursday AM.
Penny didn't win as much as I did Wednesday, but did on Thursday.
We also watched Lord of the Rings on Pay-per-view. It was not a bad version, for a non-letterbox edition. The sound suffered rather more than the photography.
The next day was unrelentingly sunny. We slept until 10, got out after 1pm because we had the free buffet lunch that came with the Coyote Club cards.
It was almost as nice a lunch as it was a dinner. Spirit Mountain has taken to heart the idea that they provide as pleasant an environment as possible, and they don't seem to be pushy like some casinos about getting money out of the people who come there.
And they really give back to the community, not just to the Grand Ronde tribe, but also to Oregon as a whole. Very nice place, very good people running it.
We had an evening planned, Thursday ... two of the nicer people from our church had decided to invite Penny, me, and five other friends to their home for a dinner and socializing night. Wonderful, and it helped both of us realize how connected we are with these people... we spent so much time caring for _them_ over the years, it's a surprise, somewhat, to find them caring for us as well. Can you tell there's just a bit of disfunction in our respective families?
Anyway. Mount Hood, the volcano just east of Portland, and Mount Ranier, the volcano south of Seattle, both claimed three lives this midweek.
On Ranier, a violent snowstorm with winds in excess of 100mph hit, and four hikers (who had never been on Ranier before, but were experienced climbers) took the hardest ascent, and were caught by the sudden storm. One made his way down, but is in a bad way.
On Hood, nine climbers were making a fairly easy ascent, in small groups; below them another three climbers waited. These were firefighters and rescue workers from the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue team, competent and experienced people, and a few of their kids.
As they reached the crest of the glacier the four in front slipped, sliding down into the two behind them, then all six into the three behind them. They all slid another 30 or so feet into a crevasse in the glacier.
The father of one of the skiiers, a trained rescue leader, was in the group of three down below. He called 911 from his wireless phone, and rescue workers were dispatched from the National Guard.
It turns out the son was a survivor, but three of the climbers died from impacts as they fell into the glacier. And... on its fourth trip, the rescue copter suddenly lost control, and through a miracle of amazing collectedness, they cut the cable on the litter they were about to take off, as the copter tumbled into the side of the mountain and then rolled a half mile, at one point rolling over one of the crewmen who had been thrown clear.
Miraculously, none died, but there are some injuries, yes.