I was pretty sure that the PCT only went through three states: California, Oregon, and Washington. How was it then, that I found myself standing in front of the post office for a different state? And a state that I’d never even heard of before? I must have hit my head harder than I thought when I took that nose dive!
Though I’d never heard of the state of Jefferson (the 51st state) before, I liked their motto which was something like, “politicians: one term in office and one term in prison.” It was hot out, I was hungry, and in addition to having a post office, the state of Jefferson also had at least one cafe, the Seiad Valley Cafe.
It was gloriously air-conditioned inside, so I sat down and made myself comfortable. Before the menus even hit the table I ordered a root beer float. I’d been dreaming of ice cream for days! As I browsed the menu, I sipped on the root beer float that had magically appeared in front of me… Hmmm… What did I want to eat?
Pancakes… I definitely wanted pancakes. The only pancakes I saw on the menu were the pancakes for the pancake challenge (I’ll admit I wasn’t reading the menu all that carefully). The challenge was to eat five challenge-sized pancakes in under two hours… If you completed the challenge then you’d get your pancakes free of charge. Five pancakes in two hours… I felt hungry enough to do that… I wasn’t sure what challenge-size pancakes were, but I figured there was only one way to find out…
When the waitress came back I ordered the pancake challenge. “Are you sure?” she asked, “they’re really big.” I was sure… I was hungry, I wanted pancakes, and I wanted to see what the challenge was all about.
As she placed the order people around the cafe began to murmur… Someone had ordered the pancake challenge! I was sitting in the back room with Whitewater (he got bit by a rattler on the day I took my nosedive) and GearSlut. We were tucked in the corner, so none of the customers in the main room could see who had placed the order.
GearSlut, overwhelmed with curiosity about my challenge-sized pancakes, got up to take some pictures of the pancakes on the griddle. One of the guys at the counter said to him, “You’re an awfully small guy, do you really think you can eat that many pancakes?” He responded with a smile, “they’re not for me, they’re for her,” and pointed towards me. It was a great redirect :) If they were dubious about his ability to eat those pancakes, they were definitely dubious about mine!
Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I had to get up to take a look at these legendary pancakes as they were being cooked. They were definitely big! Not only were they at least a foot in diameter, they were also really thick, probably half an inch of bubbly white pancake between the golden edges. They were so big they needed a special spatula to flip them (it looked more like a shovel than a spatula to me!).
I watched as the first couple of pancakes were finished and she poured the next couple out onto the griddle… They looked good, and the longer I waited for them the hungrier I got!
Eventually all five challenge-sized pancakes were delivered to me on a silver platter. I could barely pick the platter up it weighed so much!!! This was definitely the largest stack of pancakes I had ever seen, never mind consumed. “Clock starts now,” said the waitress as she brought over a bowl of butter and two containers of Aunt Jemimah’s maple syrup. I lathered butter onto the top pancake and prepared to dig in.
For some reason a fork didn’t seem up to the task to me, so I lifted the platter to my mouth and took a few bites before deciding that the platter was way too heavy to hold up while I was eating… I was going to have to employ a different strategy…
I picked up one of the pancakes with both hands and took a bite out of it. Not bad… little dry though, so I lathered on some more butter… Just right!
In order to come even close to winning the challenge, I was going to have to eat each pancake in 30 minutes or less. I finished the first pancake in just under 30 minutes, I was still on target time wise!
However, just two bites into the second pancake I was starting to slow down. Though it might be hard to believe, I was starting to get full! I was also starting to get tired of pancakes…
With plenty of free wifi, I got distracted from my pancakes and started checking Facebook instead of eating… Every now and then I’d remember that the pancakes were there and nibble at them… I ate another couple of bites with marionberry jam, which made those bites more palatable, but it still wasn’t enough to encourage me to eat more than a couple of bites…
An hour into the challenge I was still working on that second pancake. I stared at the pile… Even with another whole hour there was no way that I would make it through all five pancakes… In a couple of hours my parents would be meeting up with me… I wanted to be able to hug them without worrying about covering them with partially digested pancake…
With that thought I decided that I was going to stop eating pancake before I got too uncomfortable… I continued nibbling at the second pancake for the rest of that hour, as I chatted with some local gold miners. The youngest of the group had ordered the challenge the previous week and had managed to eat one and a half pancakes before the time was up, so I set a new goal, I wasn’t going to try to eat all five pancakes anymore, I was just going to try to eat a little bit more than he had.
When my two hours were up I’d managed to eat two or three bites more than one and a half pancakes… Just a smidge more than the youngest gold miner :) After the challenge was over I chatted with the waitress and the cook for a while… It turns out that only two people in the last five years had successfully completed the challenge.
Even though I hadn’t eaten all five pancakes I had a lot of fun trying… It reminded me that happiness often comes from just getting out there and trying things… That you don’t always have to win to have a good time (especially since in this case I’m pretty sure winning would have made me sick!).