Odyssey Day 6: Seattle sun, rail

©2022 Michael Raven

I got a lift to the light rail and rode down to the King Street Station to drop off most of my luggage so I didn’t have to haul it around. It cost me because I wasn’t willing to depart with it completely as checked luggage. Call me suspicious, but I really don’t trust baggage claims, especially when I have my meds and a couple of absolutely necessary items in the luggage I didn’t want to haul around for the morning. So I coughed up the exorbitant fee of $10 for Amtrak to watch my luggage for me for all of about four hours.

But it’s sunny and I want to explore the part of the city I haven’t visited yet that used to be part of my routine walking route when I lived here.

Mostly… There wasn’t much to see, honestly. I’ve tapped myself out on Seattle and have basically ready to move on since yesterday. I grabbed a latte and a scone at a place that was merely acceptable. Even for scones, the cherry and almond scone was on the dry side and the latte was lackluster. Not bad, just… Commonplace. Unremarkable. I expect more or of a place calling itself Zeitgeist.

I walked around going to see something interesting and was mostly disappointed. I did get some good pictures of the stadium facade and Columbia Tower, but that’s about it for useful pictures. The notable thing about Columbia Tower is that it rises 73 stories over Seattle and, when I lived here, my chiropractor was on the 71st. While his acupuncturist used me as a living dart board, I could feel the building sway on windy days.

I got chilled after walking around a bit because of the humid air and decided to eat early at 13 Coins. Interesting hamburger on a French bread baguette and jazz music playing slightly too loud. But it’s refreshing to hear some jazz over other options. Slightly disconcerting when college football is playing on television screens.

At least they knew what a medium-cooked hamburger was.

I had traipsed through Pioneer Square in the rain a few days ago, but it was s pretty miserable experience so I took advantage of the distance and took a picture of the square itself.

The entrance to the Seattle underground is behind the shelter. If you didn’t know, Seattle was originally about two stories lower than it is currently. But the tides became a bother and so they moved dirt into the old city, burying it where it stood and built on top of it.

Also, this area I’m in was the original skid row: they used to slide harvested lumber down the hill, the “skid”. People looking for work and not always finding it would end up asking the skid and the shanties built on either side were the row houses. Hence, skid row.

I got tired of trying to be comfortable where loitering is actively discouraged, even as a tourist, so I went back into the station and collected my things early.

I’ve been here a while. Had a bit of a shock two hours before I’m to leave in the form of a poorly-worded email that made it sound like I needed a COVID test before boarding, but ended up being just a questionnaire about symptoms.


I did not need that shock.

It’s nearly time to board, so I’ll follow up later if I have the energy.

Odyssey Day 5: Seattle, part 2

©2022 Michael Raven

I’m going to keep this update short because there isn’t much to report aside from I ended up taking the train back to the downtown area again as I considered how I want to transport the gifts and trinkets I’ve acquired since I’ve arrived here and decided to hit the military surplus to pick up a bag I saw there for just such a thing.

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Odyssey Day 4: Seattle, forced rest

©2022 Michael Raven

Of no surprise to anyone, including myself, I managed to overextend myself over the past few days, forgetting that I am no longer the svelte and spry twenty-something who lived in Seattle so many years ago. And it caught up with me.

So I walked over to the nearby Barnes and Noble to sit down and do some reflecting today instead of adventuring. My body is relieved.

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Odyssey Day 3: Seattle; turning Japanese

©2022 Michael Raven

No, I didn’t listen to the Vapors on repeat all day, or even once until I just got the urge to give it a listen. Today, I decided to take the rail to Uwajimaya in the International District of Seattle and, I guess is reverting back to being known as Chinatown, even though I’m pretty certain there was a hard fought effort to get it renamed “International District” in the late 80s or early 90s. By the time I moved here, people corrected you if you called it Chinatown, but now it is on all the official signage. /shrug/

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Odyssey Day 2: Seattle; Kinjo say “fetch”

©2022 Michael Raven

As I had mentioned in my last post, I had walked about three times my normal daily distance, much of it up- or downhill and I found out just how out of shape I was when I got back to the place I was staying and had to struggle to stay awake long enough to write what I was able to manage writing yesterday.

Brain and feet both turned to mush, I still had one final obligation — a never-ending game of fetch.

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Odyssey, Day 1: Seattle Arrival

©2022 Michael Raven

Note: I am currently on holiday in Seattle and Portland. I plan to write about the trip and post pictures when applicable.

I have no pictures. I maybe should have taken a few, but I was a little thrown off by what I saw today, and maybe I was just to tired from the lack of sleep (again) to consider such things. The lack of sleep was due to the roller-coaster barometric pressure changes back at home last night — we went from -20°F to 35°F to -15°F in a 48 hours period of time and that kills my arthritis and my joints and kept me away the night before I left town.

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Hand hovering over reset

©2021 Michael Raven

Planning is firming up for this trip. Destination(s) set now.

After writing yesterday’s post, I got to thinking more and more about what I’d written and decided that the idea of heading to Seattle, then Portland, feels best out of the various options I’ve considered. It feels right.

Now, unless you really know me, it might not be apparent that I tend to trust my gut instinct in certain matters. Occasionally, it leads me astray, but more often than not, it usually steers me in the right direction. And, when I completely ignore it, I tend to end up in awful situations filled with regret. This is one of those times when gut instinct has been telling me to go to the NW Coast, although there are plenty of other destinations that have their own appeal for me.

As I said, I am getting increasingly pulled towards my home away from home — which some might think would be Montana (I spent every summer there as a kid), but I’ve never felt as close to that state as my mother did.

All I’m doing right now is awaiting confirmation of the invitation to stay with my distant cousin and her husband to make sure I have a place to stay while in Seattle, so I can decide how much I want to spend on accommodations in Portland.

Once that’s settled, it’s just making reservations for rail and hotel. And waiting.

I don’t think any of you live in either city, but if you do and want to have me buy you some coffee in exchange for your small talk, let me know and we’ll set something up. I’m always interested in meeting new people that I might share a gossamer-thin thread of a connection with.

I still haven’t decided what I plan to do as part of this exercise in hitting reset buttons. I’m not sure I want to set up any expectations, but it seems like a great opportunity to meditate, reflect, and write. Supposedly, I have wifi connectivity during the trip itself, and it seems every café in the US is now an “internet café” these days, so I don’t think connectivity will be an issue for me. I’ll also bring my ReMarkable (e-paper tablet) along, as well as my Chromebook. But, do I travelogue and snap pictures like crazy? Or do I focus on more internal thoughts and processes? Or do I just use the rail time to dig deep into writing a novel worthy of publication (however nominally that may be), as I have always claimed I would?

I have time, of course, to decide on those kinds of things — but it seems important on this journey to at least have the inkling of an idea of what to do with my travel time on the rails (essentially, almost four days over the course of the journey), and ways to keep myself occupied while I am immersing myself in the café culture.

Yes, the bulk of my time will be spent watching the world go by, as I envision it. I plan to do some walking/window shopping, and some looking at certain sites without appearing to look at those sites, but I honestly — I plan mostly to peoplewatch and connect with the spaces to recharge my NW Coastal “batteries”.

I’m still looking for ideas, should anyone have them. I’m intrigued with what you might suggest.

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com