Monday, June 9, 2008

Escape from Seattle

Saturday, June 7th. 5th day stuck in Seattle. We awoke at Al's early and got ready for our Men's breakfast at the church. Again, so lovely to be clean. Surprisingly though, I don't miss it as badly as I'd of ever expected. The Men's breakfast was great though- good food and plenty of it. They had a pretty interesting speaker during the breakfast. Granted- not my typical topic for a talk, doesn't mean I can't appreciate a good orator. Anyway, we filled our bellies for what would surely be an adventurous day.

See, I had gotten word early that day, a text message from my father.. "Your bike is in Seattle!" After popping out occasionally during the breakfast I managed to learn UPS had flown my bike into Redmond Washington which is about 20 miles north of Seattle. For some reason their original plan was to fly the box from Redmond to Seattle (yes all 20 miles) but after talking to my man Leroy he sent an actual person to go and physically pick up and drive my package. Almost seems cheaper for them, no?

So we said our goodbyes to Al and Justin and they dropped us off at the bike shop we were working with, Bicycles West. We had to mill around a while and wait, but at about 2 o'clock, a UPS truck arrived carrying one piece of precious cargo. Frankly, it was a bit odd to sign for my bicycle on both the East and West coasts. It only took an extra five days, but it had arrived. Although frankly- the box was a little beat to crap...

I really was having a hard time standing still. I was excited to finally have the chance to get moving! I was hovering over the poor kid as he put my bike together carefully, cleaning and tweaking each little piece. The guy really did do an amazing job and I definitely made it worth his time (feel free to use maturity at this point everyone).

Only after my bike was fully prepared, and I had fully geared up did one of the other employees speak up. See, we had met a fellow cyclist named Travis (have I mentioned him before? I can't recall anymore) who also is planning on biking across America. At the mere sight of Josh's behemoth of a bicycle he couldn't take it anymore and told Josh he HAD to get rid of some gear. He simply had too much. Of course I had been saying this for weeks now, but I don't think it really rang true until Travis told it to him. So Josh got rid of like... 3 things, making little to no difference, and we prepared for departure!

Travis- a good guy. Definitely knows his stuff better than either of us.

And it was time, we boldly mounted our bikes and prepared! At a brisk 4:30 pm we set sail off into the murky, cloud ladened sunset..

Let me tell you though, it was definitely different at first. I had never ridden my bike before with all my weight on it. It was definitely a different experience. Not that it was significantly hard, which it wasn't surprisingly, it was the balance. Every time I pedaled I'd feel the weight shift back and forth and when I stood up it felt like the bike would tip over for sure. But, determined we set on.

It was difficult at first, the suburbs are not an easy place. We had to take lots of roads to get any real forward motion, but frankly I was impressed with my ability to not get us lost. Not to be full of myself, but I think I'm pretty damn good with directions! Once we got a bit away from the city the landscape was amazing. It's so lush and thick here it's nearly claustrophobic. Look, this is one of the roads we were going down, it looks like something from Jurassic Park! In general though, Western Washington is simply beautiful..

Shortly after I took that picture we got our first flat tire of the trip. Sadly I wish I could say it was my last, but that's a story for later in the blog. Not a huge deal though, we just patched it and pumped it full with our hand pumps and on our way we went.

Life on the road isn't exactly massively eventful. Wish I could say otherwise, but no. I did pass I-90 though! That was kinda cool! Just think, only another 3500 miles down that road and I'd be home.

The night grew on us quickly though, and by 9 o'clock we had only made it to Redmond (you remember, that town my bike was shipped to?) and decided to call it a night. Josh got us a hotel for a bit too much, but we decided it was wise considering it was late and we needed to still work out some details. All in all not a bad first day. Slow- yes. Late start- yes. Pricey- yes. Lots of food- hell yes. Probably the oddest thing of the day though- we're sitting in the hotel room and about 2 hours after getting off our bikes we hear what sounded like a gunshot. We both are started and I check my bike... my front tire just exploded. No reason. No rationale. Just boom. Done. There goes tire 2 for the trip.

Trip Summary
Day's mileage- 28.30 miles
Total mileage- 28.30 miles

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