Independence Day


Left Seattle to head to our next area, Leavenworth. This is the place we have been hearing so much about and for me, it’s been sudden. I never heard of the place before this year and then it was like an explosion of news and stories about people going there and claiming its merits. How I was out of that loop is beyond me.

We were starving and didn’t have much time to cook anything before leaving, so we decided since it was a holiday, we’d go treat ourselves to some non-canned food. Our choice wasn’t much better, but we were starving and therefore decided to go to Golden Corral.

We thought this would be an easy find, but we ended up chasing around outdated directions on the Garmin as each place we went was closed down and out of business. Good job, America! But we were still hungry.

We finally ended up going to a place about ½ hour out of the way. Yes, we were that determined to engage in overeating that we went that far.  We were very excited, neither of having eaten at a buffet in more than a few years. We planned that we would spend a few hours there, eating and eating and eating and eating…

But that’s when we got to the front door and saw that they were closing early- as in ten minutes. We both groaned with disappointment. Looking back at it, it’s hard to believe how deep my frustration was over a place I usually boycott but living from a car will change things about you.

I walked in anyway. “Are you really closing in 10 minutes?” I asked.  The manager looked at me and confirmed the unfortunate event. “Are there any other Golden Corrals in the area?” I queried with little hope. I was given a reply in the negative.  I burst out with a sob story about how we’d been living from a car and were hungry and tired and were so looking forward to eating here.

Well that got her. I didn’t mean for it to come out and it got a little dramatized, to be sure, but I must have looked so pitiful to her that she relented. “We’re closing the doors in ten minutes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat as much as you like if you are here already.” I felt guilty about this permission to eat since it was a holiday, but she said that the customers who were already there were probably going to be around for a while as well so they’d have to stay open.

That was enough for me. We went up to the register to pay for our dinner (the cashier let out an audible sigh of irritation and asked the waitress next to her “Are you kidding me?” about our last minute dining. I let her know I heard her loud and clear and that the manager told us to come in and eat.  We tried to hurry as quickly as possible, loading up our plates of all the fried goodness that surrounded us and ending with plates of fruit and desserts to hopefully tide over the sweet tooth we knew would be attacking as soon as we were camping again.

Our desperation was bigger than our appetites. We each had about two plates of food that was picked through and a small plate of desserts, also picked through. I discovered that I couldn’t stomach as much heavy food and the desserts I normally would have been fond of were sickeningly sweet to me. We grabbed some rolls for the road instead of cookies and headed out, feeling queasy and bloated and swearing off Golden Corral for at least the rest of this life.

We got back on route for Leavenworth as the sky was darkening. Small-time fireworks began appearing randomly in the sky as we rushed over a two-lane road. Right before hitting the canyon pass that would take us into our destination, we suddenly became surrounded by brightly colored fireworks exploding in the sky. They were coming from all over, not one central spot. We drove through redneck neighborhood after neighborhood trying to locate a source but slowly realized that the whole town was putting off individual fireworks as they wanted. So we chose an empty parking lot on the outskirt of the show and watched for about an hour. We left as they continued to light the sky. This was probably the best firework show I’ve ever been to.  Happy 4th of July!

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