Seattle, by electric bike

I landed in Seattle late last night; first time back since I was here in May 2011 at the tail-end of my first cross-country Amtrak trip on their “Empire Builder” line.

After a full day yesterday biking Washington, I didn’t expect to do the same today. In travel, however, energy can be unpredictable, and I felt like getting outside again to enjoy as much of Seattle as I could during my limited time here. (I leave for San Francisco on Tuesday morning.)

Started out on a Limebike in Pioneer Square, which is a beautiful neighborhood architecturally, but has been ravaged by an elevated waterfront highway on one side, and massive stadiums on another. The result is lots of dead space and “no man’s land” zones, and the consequence is that Pioneer Square is home to much of Seattle’s population of homeless persons.

The “Revolutionary Communist Party, USA” had old and new posters up in various places. I remembered some of this communist-chic from my 2011 visit, but am nonetheless amazed that allegedly humane and progressive-minded people have married into a communist intellectual family, whose first cousin is national socialism, with a straight face. These are political ideologies which together have led to the intentional and brutal destruction of 100 million+ human lives in the past century across Russia, Germany, China, Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam, etc. That’s a conservative estimate.

Struggled to get my Limebike up major hills, eventually making it to First Hill and St. James Cathedral. Switched to a Lime-E bike (Lime’s electric assist bikes), and everything became as smooth as yesterday’s Washington/JUMP bike experience.

After scanning the map of Seattle, decided to head toward University of Washington to check out the campus, and along the way passed Broadway and picturesque Roanoke Park and its neighborhood’s beautiful view of Portage Bay. Crossed University Bridge just as it was being raised to allow a tall boat to pass and lingered to admire Portage Bay a bit more. Shortly thereafter made it to University of Washington, which is one of the most naturally beautiful campuses I’ve visited, particularly with its view of Mount Rainier in the distance. After about an hour there, I made my way toward Fremont and along the Lake Union waterfront path there after stopping in Solsticio cafe for a water and yogurt. Rode past the Adobe, Google, etc. corporate buildings along the water for a bit, and past a street fair, before heading back toward the city across Fremont Bridge.

Largely downhill for a while, through Westlake, down to the Seattle Center and the Space Needle, then along the waterfront past the Maritime Discovery Center where the enormous Norwegian Pear was docked, along past Belltown (where I had stayed seven years ago), and eventually down along the bike path and train tracks by Pioneer Square, and the docks and shipping containers that nourish America’s needs across the Pacific Northwest and beyond from distant shore. As I reached the 20 mile mark, I realized I was tired and that it was past time to check into the Silver Cloud Hotel, so I locked the Lime-E across from Safeco Field just as the Mariners/Rockies game was letting out.

Later made my way back to Belltown for dinner at the 5 Point Cafe, where I sat and read a bit of Roger Williams’s “Evan Pugh’s Penn State: America’s Model Agricultural College” while bearing the dilettantish service of a place whose cliquish aura left little to recommend it.