Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 19 - Seattle, like a Gray Cat

Brenton woke up with the happy observation that it had not rained all night, and that it would be the first time in a long time that we would be putting away a dry tent.  If we had been back home, in the midwest, that statement would have been followed abruptly by the clap of thunder and a sudden down poor of rain, but in the typical anti-climatic Pacific Northwest style, it simply began to drizzle.

The sound of German voices came from the RV next to us as the campers scrambled to bring all their meltables inside, and a voice came over a loudspeaker, commanding authority and announcing to all that check out was at 11:00 sharp.  We packed up quickly and were slightly perplexed that, when attempting to leave the area, we had to have someone open an oversized chain-link fence.  I felt relieved to leave that creepy place, like I had narrowly escaped incarceration.    

We rode passed million dollar homes through the lake side neighborhood, and I only made it a matter of feet before my chain snapped yet again.  As Brenton repaired it once again, I insisted that I was not shifting at all when it broke and had been very careful with my shifting anyway.  It was more than a little bit frustrating, but I wasn't the one with the greasy hands so I refrained from complaining.

The next turn, and I was faced with another absurdly steep hill that had me walking once again.  I should have stuck it out in the saddle, because walking was a much bigger chore than riding and once I was off of my bike it was much too steep to get back on.  I took the set backs in stride, however, because I was excited to get into Seattle to our hotel and a day off.

In suitable Seattle style, it was cold and rainy all day.  Although we did ride with some heavy traffic, we were able to find lots of bike lanes and bike paths that were surprisingly scenic considering that the interstate was just on the other side of the bushes.  These bike paths curved under bridges and around the busiest streets so that, before we knew it, we were only a few miles from our hotel and ready for lunch.

Lunch was at a place called Dog and Pony, which is a little brewpub and restaurant.  If I were to open a restaurant, this is how it would be.  It was tiny and unassuming, but cultured and unique.  They featured an awesome assortment of local beers and brewed just one themselves, (which was very good).  Our food was delicious, although the portions were a little small.

The rest of the ride was along sidewalks and bike lanes of busy streets and commercial areas.  The sound of traffic was a constant swooshing, undertoned by a dull roar.  There was some relief from the eardrum shattering charge of semis and the monotony of the highway, but the hectic flutter of traffic in the city was a little unsettling.      

We arrived at the Holiday Inn ready for a soft bed and hot shower, but waited for ages in the overwhelmingly busy lobby.  This was the hotel that they send everyone to when there is a flight cancelation.  We had asked for a first floor room but were given a second, and it took about half an hour to bring everything up the elevators, one trailer/bike at a time, because the elevators were so slow and full and tiny.  Our room was rather small as well, and we were less than impressed with the confused staff who all seemed to have different ideas of how their shuttle worked.

The hot tub, however, was lovely; as was the cable, a luxury we don't allow ourselves even at home.  Maybe it was that I had grown unaccustomed to mattresses, but I had a hard time getting to sleep again that night.  Maybe I was just too excited for the day off in Seattle to come.  


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