Spring Break Part 1

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

I was busy yesterday, which is why I didn’t tell you about my spring break. Today, however, I have nothing but time.

Morah and I managed to both get Thursday through Sunday off so we could relax. Four days doesn’t seem like much of a holiday, but when you only get two weeks of paid leave a year, every day off is its own holiday.

We decided early on in the planning stages that we wanted to get out of town and go… Anywhere else. Morah suggested that we visit her grandparents down in Yakima and I wanted to see Kris and Lindy in Seattle. We scheduled a trip that would allow for both and set off in search of adventure.

Adventure, it seems, contains a lot of driving. All told, we probably drove for a total of close to ten hours, which was boring as hell. Washington is a beautiful state, but I think the reason for that is because all of the roads go through ugly places.

We left Spokane an hour and a half later than I wanted to (*ahem* MORAH. That’s right, I’m looking at you) and, accordingly, got to Yakima about an hour and a half later than I wanted to. In fact, we =barely= made it to Yakima because neither of us had thought to stop at a petrol station before we left. I spent a fair portion of the drive into town coasting down the hill. Our first stop in Yakima was the first petrol station we saw. So we ended up making it, but the needle was sitting on empty.

Upon arrival at Morah’s grandparent’s house, Morah’s gran prepared lunch. Morah always tells me how, when you’re at her grandparent’s house, her gran won’t stop trying to feed you. Lunch was apparently small (but still filling, don’t get me wrong). We spent pretty much the rest of the afternoon sitting around talking.

One thing I managed to do was tune-up their computer. Her grandparents own a fairly old Dell computer that’s running Windows 98. Through a general lack of care (as a result of a lack of know-how; nothing to be ashamed of as her grandparents are significantly more computer proficient than most people their age), their computer had been bogged down to the point where even trying to delete a file required the better part of the afternoon (okay, okay, it wasn’t quite =that= bad).

It turns out that they only had 40% available system resources (!). Morah’s cousin had already installed AdAware, so I ran that, as well as a performing an error check and defragging the HDD. I noticed that there were a ton of programs running in the system tray, so I used MSConfig to turn off a lot of the non-essential processes.

After all was said and done (and the computer restarted), they were running at 80% system resources. Not too shabby. Not the greatest, but it’s not like they’re trying to render 3D video or anything.

That night we visited Morah’s aunt’s house (she also lives in Yakima and her new house was recently completed). We stayed only briefly before going home and having dinner. A huge dinner. My mum cooks about that much food when we have two or three extra people at table. This meal, however, was prepared for four people.

After dinner we played Mexican Train dominoes. I hadn’t ever played that version before, but it was almost exactly the same as the version I usually play, and I won the game by a fair margin.

The next morning we had Spambled eggs (you know, scrambled eggs with Spam in), toast, muffins, fruit, you name it. I prepared the eggs and everyone enjoyed them. The Spam I used had bacon in it. Did you know they make that? I sure didn’t until that morning. In fact, not only did I use the bacon Spam, but I fried the Spam in bacon grease. Mmm… Those were some damn good eggs.

After lunch (it was more of a brunch) we drove out to a couple of vineyards (in case you don’t know, Yakima valley wines are quite popular). The first vineyard we stopped at was Sagelands Winery. We tasted several of their wines, including a port. They were all pretty good, especially the Malbec.

Next we drove to the Windy Point Vineyards, which was the coolest winery ever. They had these really comfy chairs in front of a huge TV and big speakers, and the kitchen there rocked. Their wines were pretty good, though dry. Morah’s grandad bought a bottle, but I wasn’t as inspired.

After Windy Point, we decided we had better head out to the Dairy Gold Cheese Factory, which was the real reason we had headed out in that direction to begin with.

Morah told me that the Darigold factory had a huge sign on the side of the building facing the freeway that said, “Cheese Tours”. Sure enough, it did have a =huge= sign. We parked, ran inside, and were promptly disappointed.

I knew in advance that the tour would be self-guided, but I hadn’t realised how much it would suck. The entire tour takes place on the second floor in an L-shaped hallway. There were barely more than half a dozen windows through which you could see cheese “being made”. By being made, I mean doing its thing in huge vats where you couldn’t see the action, not that there would be much action to see (actually, what you would see is white liquid. Cheese in its original form is not yellow).

At the end of the hallway were a couple of windows that looked down onto some conveyor belt, which were running. There was even a worker turning knobs and pressing buttons, but no cheese. We must have stood by those windows for five to ten minutes waiting for anything to happen, but still, no cheese. We watched a (crappy) video about how the cheese is made, but no cheese was actually being made. One woman opened a couple of vats and did a few things, but that’s the most we saw.

What kind of cheese tour doesn’t show you any cheese?

After we loitered around upstairs for, oh, twenty or thirty minutes, we went back downstairs and wandered around the cafe/gift shop area. Now, you tell me, what kinds of things would expect to find in the gift shop of a cheese factory? Cheese related items? Dairy related items? Cow schwag? CHEESE? I would venture to say that only about ten to fifteen percent of the crap they were selling there fit into the above four categories. The rest of it was garbage that I can’t imagine anyone would actually want. Not much of it was cheese-related.

Worst of all was the cafe area. In my estimation, it would have taken one girl, two at the most, to run the cafe. There were four girls, however, and none of them were doing a damn thing. The cafe was dirty, the garbage needed to be emptied, the girls were extremely inattentive and none of them seemed motivated to do anything. At all. There were both food and garbage on the floor. It was a pretty lousy experience and we were all somewhat disappointed. Morah felt especially let down since she had been wanting to take the tour for years.

The night found us eating another huge dinner. We didn’t eat lunch on account of the fact that breakfast was so big and we ate it somewhat late in the morning. After dinner we played an interesting game that, while fun, required little skill and was mostly left up to chance.

One of the highlights of staying at Morah’s grandparent’s house is that they have two adorable cats. I’m not sure what kind of cats they are, but they have long hair and are so cute. One of them wasn’t terribly friendly (she seemed a bit dodgy about strange people, but I managed to get her to be okay with me to where I could pet her and she wouldn’t run away), but the other one loved me. She would come sit next to me on the floor whenever we were eating and loved to have me pet her. Morah’s grandparents suggested we take the cats home with us (what is it with everyone trying to dump their cats on us?), but, of course, we couldn’t.

They also have a dog, a chocolate lab, which Morah and I took for a walk. The dog does this funny trick where she perches on rocks and salivates while she waits for you to give her a treat. It was pretty funny to watch.

And that’s about it for Yakima. I’ll tell you about Seattle tomorrow.

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