Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As a rule, I prefer to not be in town for my birthday. Such a guideline usually results in mild adventures where I am dealing with new opportunities and experiences as opposed to hanging about the house (or worse yet, the office) and realizing that I am made of mere mortal clay.

So this year the Lovely Bride and I bundled our way down to the Alderbrook Resort, situated at the bottom of the backwards "J" of the Hood Canal (really a fjord, but you knew that, right?). Nice place, nice rooms, firm beds, killer view across the Canal at the Olympic Range. Pricey, but the advantage of birthdays is that you can declare "I'm worth it" and few will quibble with you.

The clientèle of the Alderbrook is the established wealthy (those with access to helicopters, seaplanes, and/or yachts), loud golf outings, families with one or two well-behaved children, and people who liked to read on the various patios by the fire pits. The Lovely Bride and I fit into that last group, as I was continuing my quest through Tom Pynchon's Against the Day and the LB for her part engaged with Bill Gibson's Pattern Recognition. After PAX and the various deadlines, it was a break I truly needed.

Excellent massage as well. The spa's front desk is a bit of a battleground (if you're doing a resort, note that the spa is usually a different operation, and communications between the two are not always ideal) but the hot stone massage was bone-dripping wonderful. It left me a little dazed, which was solved with another hour or so out by the fire pit with the Pynchon.

As a hike, the LB and I took on the Big Creek trail west of Hoodsport, which, like many trails in the Olympics, consisted of a great amount of "up" followed by an equal if not larger amount of "down". My feet were rock-solid swollen after that, requiring the hot tub and resort pool (which is, as its setting would demand, Olympic in nature).

The downside was the resort restaurant, which was merely average, and as such not worth its price. We had several meals there, and with the exception of a shellfish appetizer, nothing stood out. The fish had been thawed and refrozen at least once, the rare lamb was cooked medium, the medium steak was cooked to only medium rare, the sauces were heavy, turgid things, and the breakfast menu was off-putting with its audaciousness (cappuccino-favored french toast - yaknow, I'll just have an omlette). The restaurant was out of tune with the rest of the resort - it was too pretentious for casual dining, but its customers were the shorts and sandal crowd. Service, however, was good (though at one meal we were left to pour our own wine - oh, the horror).

Today held only a small disappointment as we had planned to raid the Quilicene beach for manilas, only to find that the beach had been closed to clamming ("Honey, did you notice this big red sign saying "Emergency Closure" before?"). And after talking myself hoarse at PAX and subjecting myself to the risks of massage, swimming, and healthy exercise, I finally came down with the Lovely Bride's headcold, so I napped in the car as she drove, and am spending the evening napping and moving between the rooms, honking and sniffling, and feeling pretty darn mortal.

But, since it is no longer officially my birthday, that's OK. On to 51!

More later,