Mother Nature decided to give Western Washington a White Thanksgiving this year! Record snowfall blanketed our campground in Monroe, Washington, leaving us without the traditional turkey dinner and a sexygenarian’s birthday night out. With two special days in one, Bill had planned something special and we had chosen to go back south to the Thunderbird RV Resort in Monroe, closer to family and friends.
Courtesy of Benjie and Fides, friends from the Philippines, we were first treated to an ‘intimate’ tour of the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington where Fides works. We had lunch at The Commons and visited the Microsoft Museum. There we had a photo with the Founders, went crazy on space tables, and had our first encounter with Kinect, the new game protocol that uses your body as controller!
The Microsoft "campus" is a decentralized, 300 acre corporate park with around 40 buildings housing 14,000 offices. There are over 78,000 employees, 35,000 of them in the Puget Sound area in Washington, at the headquarters, at the nearby and smaller RedWest Campus (located on a former chicken ranch), and at other leased and owned spaces in the region (total of 15 M sq. feet in 127 sites).
Fides also took us to hot opening of The Microsoft Store in the posh Bel-Square mall, Bellevue, Washington. It is the seventh of such stores in the country. With Fides’ employee discount, Bill bought a brand new 3-lb.Toshiba Protégé for my birthday and Kinect promo bundles as perfect Christmas gifts for each of our kids’ families. Our Christmas shopping was done in an instant! Expensively, I might add!
But we endured four days of below freezing temps in the evenings and soon November snow covered the entire campground! We were forced to scrimp on the water in our tanks because management could not risk their pipes bursting from freezing. We were just so glad we still had power! Unfortunately we had very little propane in our tanks so we were forced to confine ourselves to microwave meals.
Instead of celebrating my birthday with a Thanksgiving Dinner, we had to do with separate lunches and dinners with family and friends later in the week. Actually Bill had planned to take me to an Eat-Drink-Watch place in Mountlake Terrace in Washington. Called Cinebarre (there are several in the country), it is a place where you can watch movies while dining, restaurant-style. Could have been a lot of fun!
Although our sight-seeing activities were severely limited this time, we still discovered a few gems: the curious restaurant on Stephen’s Pass with those tall human trees inviting you in; the bright golden pink Cascade peaks framed and seen through our window at the end of the snowstorm, and the intense chess match being played at a giant chessboard we came across at the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue.
But we quickly decided to continue our trek south in search of better winter weather (is that an oxymoron?)in the state. Shall it be a White Christmas in our next stop, Chehalis, Washington?