I was in the heart of the city, looking for a Kinkos. The directions were ambiguous and I found myself doing the tribal dance where the tourist spins in a circle to clarify the map. On my side of the street, I spotted a local man (wearing a University of Washington hat, heading into a laundromat). When I asked, he wasn't sure where to find it. This led him to ask the next woman walking down the street.
(This is important for the visualization) The woman never made direct eye contact with me, just a glance to confirm that I wasn't a threat. The two then began conversing where to find the nearest Kinkos. It was very casual. The man would toss out, "Hey you could go down Aloha and turn left to get to Denny". She said, "Oh but you could stay on Dexter and turn left on 7th, that'd be easier." Keep in mind they are paying no attention to me, the guy who cannot associate a street name with a location. I don't know who this "you" was, but it did me no good.
I kid you not, they agreed on the shortest route then went their separate ways without shooting me another glance. I stood there speechless, so stunned that I didn't even try to get their attention. I guess they just got so wrapped up in the solution that they forgot the problem (Sounds like 89% of DC).
I was all over the city again today. I had to go south of Bellevue to find the pedestrian way to enter downtown Seattle (the I-90 bridge bike path). Bellevue I might add is a wonderful city. It's clean, busy, beautiful, and maintains a very healthy vibe. I have a few theories why, but I'll keep those opinions to myself for now.
There are a few places in Seattle I would love to live. The whole area has a great balance of nature and the modern world. Business appears to be good. It has been a very bike friendly part of the country and they appear to be improving, going forward.
It was kind if cool that I entered Seattle on the I-90 bridge because I enter Cleveland on the I-90 bridge. Except in Cleveland, the bridge doesn't have a bike lane. They're currently reconstructing the bridge, and if my memory serves me correctly, the new one won't have a bike lane (I could be wrong though). If it doesn't have a bike lane, it's because the decision makers involved were blind, visionless.
Cleveland's I-90 problem was a chance to create a new iconic bridge that postured the city for the future. Instead they've continued to leave constant reminders why the city was (and is) in desperate need of a visionary.
So in summary, great city, great day, great riding. Over the past few days I have been working on several opportunities to extend my trip. Because I've run out of room in the country, the solutions are more complicated. The complications come with a cost and this evening I've ruled out the last of those opportunities. I wish I could stay out here, on the road. I haven't lost that hunger. This way of life has been great.
I still have options for return travel. The plane or the bus are the two finalists (it's honestly a joke how expensive it is to take a train, they act like the car hasn't been invented yet). I could fly tomorrow night. I've found a bike shop that will give me a box. I would walk the bike/box to a FedEx, ship it, then head to the airport. If I took the bus, I could leave at 11pm and have a whole nother day in the Emerald City. If I do some finagling I may even be able to catch most of the Mariners' game. The bus is a 55 hour process, but an experience none the less. It's also $200 cheaper than our friends at Priceline.
I'll sleep on it tonight. If you see a picture of a baseball game tomorrow, you'll know my decision.