Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Destination: Snoqualmie

Stuart Ullman: Four presidents, movie stars...Wendy Torrance: Royalty?Stuart Ullman: All the best people.- The ShiningI would imagine the biggest problem you're going to have with Snoqualmie is not ending up at the ski resort. There is nothing worse than going to see the falls and ending up saying "fuck it" and renting ski gear because you drove too far east.Snoqualmie has grown by leaps and bounds since the mid 90s when land was portioned out to create Snoqualmie Ridge. Later, Snoqualmie Casino would join Snoqualmie Ridge in helping to absolutely bottleneck, block, and fuck forever the exit to Highway 18 off 90.But before all this, Snoqulamie was known mostly for Snoqualmie Falls. Snoqualmie Falls has been around since whenever some glacier decided to head north and go drinking in Canada. The Salish Lodge Resort has been around since 1919:Stuart Ullman: When the place was built in 1919, there was very little interest in winter sports. And this site was chosen for the falls and scenic beauty.Jack Torrance: [laughs] Well, it's certainly got plenty of that.Stuart Ullman: ...The winters can be fantastically cruel. You get rain, then rain, then more rain, then snow. Then you get snow that looks like you can drive on it, but you can't because this is Seattle and no one can drive in snow, so you get in a car crash trying to get to work and spill coffee all over yourself.Jack Torrance: Well, that sounds fine to me.Stuart Ullman: Don't be a prick - it sucks. The rain - I mean, it just doesn't stop! Plus the tremendous isolation of living on Snoqualmie Ridge - every home looks the same, it starts making you feel like everyone lives in the same home and therefore are all one. Total isolation.Jack Torrance: Well, that just happens to be exactly what I'm looking for. I'm outlining a new writing project and, uh, five months of peace is just what I want.Stuart Ullman: You're really pissing me off. Look. See the rain??? It's a fucking nightmare. I hate this spooky place. Did you see Twin Peaks?Jack Torrance: Not for me.Stuart Ullman: C'mon - everyone's seen it. At least once. Well, it was fucking filmed here. Get out while you can. You're family will hate it.Jack Torrance: They'll love it.Stuart Ullman: I hate you.Yes, the area can be rainy and with all the trees it is a bit dark and spooky, but the lodge boasts some of the most expensive meals and hotel rooms in the entire state! They used to have gift cards discounted at Costco - and it still costed about a grand to stay there. Jesus, it was expensive. But you don't have to stay there, you can just visit and take a look at the Falls. I'm not a big pancake guy, but Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Pancake mix is apparently amazing. You used to not be able to get it outside of the Falls, but...yep, it's online. There's also a hiking trail you can take from the top of the falls to the bottom. And, yes, the lodge and falls are the exterior for the hotel in Twin Peaks.Before The Ridge and the Casino, the Falls was the only reason I can remember to go to Snoqualmie. In fact, I hardly even remember anyone calling anything besides the Falls and the Pass Snoqualmie, before the Casino. I didn't even know it was a town.But there was a a town. And it's pretty cool.The Ridge however...The Ridge can be expressed perfectly by a PIL song, No Birds:This could be heavenShallow spreads of ordered lawnsI like the illusion, illusion of privacyThe careful trees blending so perfectlyBland planned idle luxuryLife in lovely allotted slotsA token nice, a nice constitutionA layered mass of subtle propsThis could be heavenMild mannered mewsWell intentioned rules to dignify a daily codeLawful order standard viewsThis could be heavenUp on the Ridge ( you can find quality dining, shopping, and even a PGA golf course that hosts the Boeing Classic (golf thing, not the thing where they lay people off every year).Leave your cares behind as you shop at the grocery store...the eyeglass store....and something called "Great Clips".Indulge your pallet with Taco Del Mar (barely food), Ana's Mexican (I couldn't see a bar from the window so I didn't go in), and Finaughty's.Finaughty's is actually good. And it's the closest you'll get to night life in the area. The Ridge is total burbs, so I was surprised to see falling down, puking drunk chicks on a weeknight. Quite a few times. But don't get me wrong - the food is good too and it's a family restaurant until a band starts playing. Last time I was in there they had pull tabs. Great place.There's also an assortment of independent donut, burger, and sandwich shops which I haven't been in but haven't really heard anything good about.Behind all that is just one giant neighborhood full of houses that look exactly the same and are packed way too close together. I had a friend who walked out to get his mail and when he went back inside, he realized he was in his neighbor's house.There's also bears. I shit you not. A friend went up looking for a house there once and ran into an elderly Japanese couple. My friend asked them "How do you like living up here?"The man stopped, stared at my friend and exclaimed "BEARS!!!!"True story.Another buddy lived up there and it was routine to have bears go through your trash on garbage day.Point is: you will be killed by bears if you try to live in Snoqualmie.Wendy Torrance: I just wanna go back to my room!Bear: Why?Wendy Torrance: Well, I'm very confused, and I just need time to think things over!Bear: Can I eat this lettuce with diapers on it?Wendy Torrance: Please! Don't hurt me!Bear: I'm not gonna hurt you.Wendy Torrance: Stay away from me!Bear: Boy, I could use some honey.Wendy Torrance: Stay away from me! Don't hurt me!Bear: Christ, these houses all look the same.Then there's the casino. If you've read the other Destination "pieces", you'll know that I've already gone into great length at what you'll find at a casino.However, I will mention that Snoqualmie actually gets good comedy and musical acts...if you're 40 like me. For instance, Norm MacDonald will be there in November and Ringo Starr will also be up there soon. I mean, it's not the Arcade Fires or the...I had to Google biggest bands right now. I think the Arcade Fires are even like 50 years old. Anyway, the point is: there's entertainment that's not bad.One thing that ticks me off about that casino is that at one time there was a big dance floor/night club. I don't miss the dancing, but I miss the fact that you could walk through the nightclub and go out on the deck. It's an amazing view of rolling hills and John Denver stuff. Oh, well.If you're a total moron and want to get lung cancer, like me, there's a smoke shop with cigs at about seven bucks a pack. That's a discount compared to the Issaquah Safeway where they're like 15. Keep in mind, smokers always exaggerate cigarette prices, which now run 20 a pack. The funny thing about the smoke shop is for the first three months they were operating a drive thru liquor store. I swear. I went up there getting smokes and they were handing bottles of vodka out the drive thru windows. Finally, I had a reason to buy a bottle of booze and they told they had to stop doing it. But for about three months in....2009???.....there was a drive thru liquor store in Washington.Snoqualmie Casino: Hello, Danny. Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Danny. Forever... and ever... and ever.As The Ridge is almost corporate housing and Stepford Wives, the downtown area of Snoqualmie (the old town) is actually like a neighborhood of people who know each other and grew up together. In fact, I'd say Issaquah still has those elements, Snoqualmie definitely does, and North Bend really does. It'll all come to an end. Keep in mind this is a Beavis and Butthead tour of Seattle and these opinions are based on what I see when I visit these towns. But the closer you get to North Bend, the closer you will get to a bar that everyone knows your name at.By the way, anyone see Cliff Claven in those PSE ads? He lives here. Probably in North Bend.In, what I call, Old Town (base of Snoqualmie Ridge), you'll find Snoqualmie Taphouse. I'm sure you've run into Wildcat IPA here and there and this is where it comes from. I'm not a big fan of the beer, but the food is really good. Pizza and sandwiches. Great place to go on the way back from Skiing or Hiking. There's also nothing like watching people come out of there loaded and realizing that it's across the street from the police station. Around the corner is Mt. Si Brewing Supply where you can buy all your brewing tools you'll never, ever, never in a million years use.There's also a Brewfest each year...or's been awhile.There's a number of other shops, restaurants, dunno if the bowling alley is still operating....along the railroad tracks down in Snoqualmie. Of course, if you follow the tracks north you'll be at The Falls.All in all, I look forward to the comments as I'm pretty pedestrian with this city and it has a lot of old school color and charm. Much like Kent and Renton, it's hard to tell where Snoqualmie ends and North Bend begins....but honestly, I would skip The Ridge area (barring Finaughty's) and head downtown.Delbert Grady: I and others have come to a belief, that your heart is not in this. That you don't have the belly for it. via /r/SeattleWA

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