As I wrote in my last post, Seattle was a completely different experience then Spokane. I’ve finally got to a big city after being for 2 weeks in the middle of America, staying in small towns and having a very different experience then I expected at the beginning of my trip. The other big difference is that I was going to hang out mostly with people that I know and not just couchsurfers, some of my Columbus friends moved here after their graduation.
I will not lie, with all the fun that I had during last two weeks I missed being in a big city, so when I saw a beautiful skyline of Seattle I was happy. It also meant that my ride is over and it gave me a huge release because the ride from Spokane to Seattle was the toughest that I ever had and all because of the cross winds. The first part of the ride was very boring. Spokane is the end of one range of mountain and I had a long ride in a valley to the next one, but when I crossed Columbia river I realized that I won’t have a time to be bored – the cross wind got very strong (around 60 km/h) with even stronger gusts. If you never rode a motorcycle I will try to explain how does it feel:
Do you know this bad type of weather when it rains and also very windy? And you can’t hold your umbrella vertically, you need to hold it against the wind otherwise your umbrella will fly away. So the bike is exactly like umbrella, especially mine – KLR has a large side surface because it’s tall and has a lot of luggage on it.
The way to deal with is simply lean your bike towards the wind, but the problem that when trucks pass or the road takes you around the hill it temporary blocks the wind and after few seconds you receive a strong blow (the same with gusts), so I always needed to correct the angle of the bike even if the road was straight, needless to say that it was exhausting.
When I got to the city I met my friend Danielle and because I was starving we went to get dinner. The good thing that just a few blocks from her place it was an annual food festival “Bite of Seattle”. The bad thing is that when we got there the variety was overwhelming and it us 30 min to pick something, because everything looked great. I ended up with Cajun grilled salmon sandwich and it was possibly the best fish that I ate for a while. I like food and I realized that I’m in the right place.
After finishing the dinner and listening to live music we did a walk around the neighborhood (Belltown) and she showed me some local sites – space needle, sculpture park, waterfront and then we went home because I had a very long day and she needed to go early to work tomorrow. It was little bit weird to see how rapid the change from college student to a working adult can be, so I was excited to have dinner next day with other friends from OSU to see their change.
The next day I was planning to explore the city but I woke up into typical Seattle weather – total lack of sun and rain sometimes. And it’s not that I couldn’t go and see different neighborhood, but the grey weather just took all the excitement from the idea of exploring new place. So plan was changed and I decided to go to indoor Seattle attraction but keep travelers spirit. I’m talking about REI store. I was overwhelmed by the size and variety of products, they have everything that any traveler needs, I finally found things that I was looking for a while (egg holder, book light, good packing bags, big water bottle) and they even have indoors climbing wall! Usually I hate shopping but if it’s about traveling gear and easy spent few hours checking different stuff.
After I’ve done there I decided to chill in the coffee shop across the street, mostly because of parking (it’s very difficult to find a parking here, even for a motorcycle). Then I just relaxed, talked with my family, read a book and of course enjoyed good coup of coffee. The day suddenly didn’t seem so bad anymore. After that I’ve been told that this place is considered as one of the best coffee shops in the city. The rest of the day I spent in the same way – got lunch in awesome vegetarian restaurant and relaxed in Volunteer Park.
At the evening we made dinner with Danielle, Ben and Maynard, and went to drink beer after that. I realized that Seattle has pretty good beer too, not just food and coffee. I was happy to see them if a very different way than in Columbus, they’re not students anymore and I’m not working at Hillel. All of us now in a very different place in life, maybe that’s why our conversations had completely different topics.
That’s how the day with bad weather turned to be very good and the other thought – I’m happy that my last job gave an opportunity to build friendship with wonderful people.
I spent 2 more days in Seattle, but weather stayed bad till the last day. I wanted to explore other neighborhoods so I stayed another night with couchsurfer Ben who lives near Capitol Hill and Pike, and those are completely different neighborhoods then Belltown – very young, artistic, gay, hipster, low key. I completely agree with the way that Danielle described it – it’s like Short North (neighborhood that I lived in Columbus) but on steroids. Ben showed me around and took me to his favorite coffee shop, that I very liked. So more good coffee, more good food, more good conversations.
On that day I also met another old friend, sometimes it seems like from another life. I didn’t see Roman since he left Israel 5 years ago and it was fascinating to talk with him and understand how life brought us to completely different places even if we have pretty similar background – born in Ukraine, moved to Israel at age 15, military service in combat units.
On my last day I was lucky to get a good weather so I spend it riding around the city and afterwards took a ferry to peninsula and went to Olympic Park. With all my love to the city it was fun go back to the nature.
I was excited on the way to Portland to see even more of the beautiful nature of Washington.