Travel Diary

Seattle 2017 Summer

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  • Aug 23, 2017 - A Week in Bellevue
  • Aug 23, 2017

    I picked Oakland airport once again. The flight was cheap since I used miles for the ticket. About \$5 each way. Parking would be expensive since I left my car in economy, but to me, the extra cost is worth not having to mess with BART. I remembered to photograph my parking space this time.

    This was a long trip to Seattle. Probably my longest to date, though still only about eight days. I was able to finally do some kayaking up the Mercer Slough. That’s something I highly recommend as it really feels like it’s in the middle of nature, but in reality, it’s right inside Bellevue.

    Once again, I went running on the excellent trails. Around the slough, the trails have wooden paths raised up to avoid the water. The views out there are great and one can pick plenty of blackberries. As a bonus this yea, the blueberries were also free to the public as the main facility building was closed because of parking being unavailable due to construction of a transit line.

    So getting to pick handfuls of blueberries was an awesome nicety.

    I used my spare time in Bellevue to finally visit a hair salon and get a massive haircut. This was a wise idea. It was so nice to finally have shorter hair again. I’d no idea how bad the long hair looked. I think I was in denial for a while.

    During eclipse day, I experienced it, yet it was pretty anti-climactic, even way up in Seattle. I hear it was great in Oregon right along the path, but for other places, the sky merely dimmed a small amount and that was it. I didn’t have special glasses so I couldn’t see the temporary shape of the sun. In general, it was still fairly bright.

    We made it into the city a few times, even returning to Marination Ma Kai, a great Hawaiian BBQ place out in West Seattle. It’s a place I highly recommend as it overlooks the Seattle skyline. And the food and beer are great.

    I made another long run to Lake Sammamish, which always seems close on the map, but turns out to be a long run. I probably covered 12 miles that afternoon. At least I’m learning where the water fountains are. And there were many blackberry bushes along the way. I still have yet to find a place where I can touch the waters of the lake. Some day.

    Some friends also came into town, so we visited a few bars and breweries. Definitely good times and I maintained good discipline when consuming beer and wine.

    During the penultimate night, I drove out to Mill Valley in the convertible BMW with the top down. The weather was perfect for that and meandering along the scenic mountains was fantastic. I then picked up a large order at Clay Pit and visited the large grocery store nearby where there was almost endless candy. Mostly, I just picked out candy others had requested. I even grabbed some ice cream my goddaughter asked for, though I was not sure how I’d keep it cold on the long drive home.

    (Luckily, I mentioned this issue to the cashier and she procured a bag of ice to help. Very nice people in that supermarket.)

    My final day was spent visiting the condo in the morning (in Capital Hill) and showing it to potential renters. I then took photos of the unit and headed out jogging.

    My first stop was Volunteer Park, which was quite nice to run through. Afterwards, I trekked over to the adjacent cemetery, where I spent some time walking around and taking photos. The views are ample from the higher grounds as well. One can also view the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee there.

    Next, I headed to the Arboretum and jogged through that a while. It was fairly empty since it was Wednesday morning. But it’s one of those free activities that offers a lot to see and experience--nature-wise, at least. I wanted to explore all of it, but there wasn’t enough time. Plus, it’s good to save some for future visits.

    Then, I headed north for a while. I reached the water line and headed west through Marsh Island and Foster Island, where there are great isolated paths and metal raised paths to ensure one remains above the marsh and water. The grounds around there are fairly damp, even during the hot summer.

    Finally, I reached the 520 freeway entrance, and it was all good--if you’re in a car. Turns out my thoughts that it had a pedestrian path were mistaken. Nope. Cars only. Oops. I had already gone about 10 miles, so it meant a very long trip home. C’est la vie. More exercise for me!

    I headed south again.

    Back I went through some of the same streets and parks. However, since I was on foot, I could remain close to the east side of Seattle and enjoy the smaller streets. Many has splendid homes which could either be vast and quite expensive--with massive balconies or windows overlooking the ocean, or they could be very small and quaint, resembling homes out of fairy tales--with sloped roofs and charming gardens. (Some with gnomes.) This route also was only good for joggers and roads frequently ended and turned into jogging trails through the woods. Cars would be out of luck. I could simply head back into the forest and return to the streets on the other side.

    At one point, I finally stopped for food. I found a pizza by the slide place and indulged in a slice. It wasn’t the world’s best pizza, but it was great for a very hungry runner. I imagine I was 12 miles in at that point. Then it was back to the streets--which had a lot of hills in case I haven’t mentioned that already. I was dying to find flat ground.

    The trip continued down Seattle until I reached the freeway entrance to 90. Then I got to experience what it was like running across a bridge I’d driven over so many times. I’d always see bicyclists going across it, though usually not many runners. Now, I was living it. I had ear buds in for my music, which helped as the sound of the cars and trucks was deafening. It was about two miles to reach Mercer Island, with the sound and wind of the traffic only several feet away.

    Since I was now about 15 miles in, my legs were getting sore. I walked through most of the island and enjoyed how peaceful and laid back it was. It was almost like going back in time. It’s actually a nice place to live if you don’t mind being a tad bit cut off from Seattle.

    After crossing the island, I was back on the freeway. Luckily, the distance of the Bellevue/Mercer Island bridge was not long and soon enough, I was back in Bellevue again. In fact, the path led me right next to the kayaking place where I had been the day before. I still had a few miles left to go, and those I walked for sure. My legs were done with running for the day.

    I had reached 20 miles by the time I made it home. A good run for sure.

    And that night, I was back on a plane and heading to California once again.