After a night of brew tasting, high culture, and steak, I slept like a king in the queen bed of my wonderful hosts' Eric and Debora's place in Portland. In the morning we said good bye and off I went, north to Seattle.
The ride from Portland to Seattle is largely unexciting. Due to a general lack of alternate routes one is forced to take Interstate 5, and the only noteworthy event is the fact that the entire area of Tacoma smells f*#@^g terrible - they say this is so thanks to its paper factory. What ever it is, I wonder how it is that an entire city can spring up in such a foul atmosphere.
In Seattle I had contacted the lovely Ana Kramer, my next couch surfing host whose profile picture of her own motorcycle adventure through Vietnam made the contact that much easier. Ana is the definition of "awesome", open-hearted, positive and generous - and on top of that she is a school teacher!!! She was an awesome host and we had a great time exploring the city so much so that I ended up staying in Seattle for five whole days. We took advantage of that time to get to know the amazing city a bit: I went to various parks, explored downtown, visited the amazing tree house (Google it!), visited the headquarters of REI where I got politely turned down for sponsorship, and Ana even took me square dancing; yup, the whole yeeeha! banjo guitar bluegrass type a deal.
Seattle truly is amazing; the spirit of the city is very young and different although the rain constantly seems on the verge of pouring down and the traffic is pretty terrible. I suggest a visit to Gas Works Park, for a great view of the downtown across of Lake Union - the photo with the patches of sunlight hitting down town is typical Seattle - so says Ms. Kramer.
I also took advantage and ordered a set of new rubber and brakes for they were definitely due to be replaced. This was my first time changing tires on the road; the only previous experience prior to leaving Michigan did not fare so well, ending up with me unable to mount the tire to the rim and having to go to a shop to have them do it, so this time it really was a true test for me. Much to my unbelievable luck once again, the house Ana was taking care of at the time belonged to her uncle who was on vacation.
The thing with Ana's uncle, you see, is that he too is a motorcycle enthusiast - the door that leads to the garage gives way to a wonderful Eden from any biker's dreams, complete with not one but two BMW motorcycles and rack after rack of professional mechanic's tools.
"What an amazing coincidence" I though to my self; truly as if positivity is flowing me throughout the entire journey.
So this time thanks to the array of tools and even a motorcycle stand, I was able to, for the very first time, change both tires and brakes on the bike all on my own. It took me an entire day, and I even managed to pinch and pierce the new inner tube which consequently needed a second take, but it was all a great learning experience and it got done, thanks to YouTube tutorials and some hardcore cursing which the neighbors did not seem to enjoy.
While Ana was off taking kids on field trips in her awesome white van, I decided to run up to Vancouver for a day or two, having heard such amazing stories about the city. The next journal entry is devoted to that surprisingly disappointing (to say the least) experience.
Seattle is full of awesome people too! I saw a guy working on his beautiful yellow 1970's Porshe 914, a car I had never seen before, so I stopped by to say hello. We talked a bit and Scott was nice enough to teach me a great deal about the cool little machine; I learned a week or so later that the guy even made a $20 donation through the website - Thank you Scott, for your time, for your generosity, and for spreading the positive energy.
After so much fun in wonderful Seattle I realized I had to leave at once, for it was becoming easy to see how one could fall in love with the cool city and end up lingering around, like many of its residents actually seem to do. So Ana and I went for our last meal to a delicious little burger joint which I highly recommend (but not too often for health reasons) called Kidd Valley on the corner of 25th and 55th. - And be sure to try the fried mushrooms - you won't regret it. Well, I cant guarantee that, you actually might, but do it anyways!
Thank you Ana for an unforgettable few days in Seattle. You are awesome and my door is always open to awesome!