I've packed my home, and all of it's contents into a 52 "x 8 1/2" x 31" box. On both sides, a small note is printed to help ensure it's arrival in Cleveland. All I have on me right now is my camel-bak, containing my phone, charger, birth certificate, retainer, credit card, college ID, ticket, and The Republic.
Feasibly this bag on my back holds all I would need to start a new life, and more. I could trade in my ticket for somewhere new and leave everything behind. But I love my life. I love Cleveland. I love Ohio, my family, and my friends. I've done well for myself thus far, all things considered.
If life was a basketball game, I'd be up 20 points after the first quarter. If you know anything about the NBA, those early leads can evaporate very quickly. But I'm going to bring the same intensity to the next three quarters (60 years, God willing) that I brought to the first. I'm trying to win by 100.
I really like Seattle. I know we just met but I'd say I love Seattle. This city is great. It's young, clean, culturally and financially diverse, and bike friendly. It is my favorite city in the US. The locals would like to think they're similar to San Francisco, and they are, it's pretty hilly. But Seattle is not as flamboyant as SF. It carries itself like a big city; at the same time, it's no where near as crowded as New York. I think those are the biggest draws for me. (To establish my credibility: I've been to and explored New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco). Don't worry Cleveland, you're still number 1 in my heart. We can work on our shortcomings.
I feel like I've seen as much of Seattle as someone who has lived here for five years. To get back into the city today from my motel by the airport, I didn't even need to look at the directions. I rode all over, hit up the post office to send one last post card, and took a leisurely stroll through the University of Washington. I also had a chicken teriyaki sandwich at some restaurant by the college; it was delicious.
You might still be wondering what mode of transportation that ticket I have is for? It's the bus. Ten bucks got me a box. I spent $210 on the ticket. And for another ten bucks I could bring the bike with me as checked luggage. All said and done it's about half the price of a plane traveling one way. I've got the time, why not save the money?
I've never taken a Greyhound before. Things will get interesting. Let's say the people here are wildly adventurous travelers, or cut from a different cloth to put it nicely. I got to talking with the guy Randy behind the desk, and the security guard Shadrey. They've seen everything from a guy getting stabbed in the eye trying to break up a fight, to a woman hitting the manager with a purse. I also asked what the most annoying questions were. The top two worst opening lines are... "What time does my bus leave?" (please elaborate m'am) and "What time did the bus to city X get here?" (does it ever matter what time it got here if you're trying to go somewhere on it? It could have gotten here 5 days ago).
Getting everything ready was a process and it's still not over (I haven't boarded yet). After buying the box I had to ride to the nearest bike shop, Seattle Bike Port. They graciously took my pedals off with a special wrench and twisted my handlebars to fit in the box. They did not have to help me, but they did anyways; thanks guys!
Everything fit, I got my ticket, and Adam from packaging did a great tape job. I've heard bad things about Greyhound service, but today the staff gets an A.
I thought about going to the Mariners game, but I didn't want to deal with the hasslement in case I was turned away for having a backpack. Instead I went looking for a bookstore. I wound up walking through the center of the Seattle gay scene, Capital Hill. Randy says they're not as agressive as they use to be. We'll leave it at that. Afterwards I headed to Pacific Place, a beautiful mall located nearby the bus station. I enjoyed my last movie of the trip, Rise of the Apes. I have to say I'm impressed with the versatility James Franco has continually exemplified in the choices of his films.
Anyways, I'm gearing up for that bus ride. I asked Randy if I should worry about oversleeping. Off the record, he gave some good advice, "Look at how dumb some of these people are, yet they still make it where they're going."
Updates from the road tomorrow. I'll be seeing some of you very soon.