Saturday, September 20, 2008

Aimless in Seattle

My mom's best friend's daughter is getting married today.  Although I don't like weddings, of course I wasn't going to miss it.  As luck would have it, Traci has interviews in Seattle this weekend in the ongoing search for her summer internship which will hopefully become her job after law school. 

She flew in Thursday night and drove up to Seattle Friday evening. Despite getting on the road at the peak of rush hour, we practically sailed over the I-5 bridge and into our northern journey. It was eery.

We're staying at a hotel in Bellevue so when I got up to take her to her interviews at a downtown law firm, I put the Tikit in the trunk, my laptop in my backpack and prepared to find a good hang out spot to write and surf. 

I had breakfast at Bacco's Bistro, which has been added to my list of automatic Seattle stops. Their hungry jack croissant breakfast sandwich with sausage is delicious.  Since it's raining here (of course), I took the occasion to make my first use of my built in cover to make the Tikit a little more incognito.  That was ruined somewhat when one of the waiters said loudly, "Is that your *bike*? as I shoved it under my table.  But they were totally cool with it.

This was my second time actually getting to dine in and when I asked for the restroom, I found the secret lower level where they have a whole other section of the cafe.  While passing through, I saw and said hi to my favorite waitress who has helped me all the other times I've eaten here.

A guy who seemed like a manager walked by my table while I was sipping tea.  He picked up on my expression and said, "What do you need?"

I told him I needed a comfy, free wifi coffee shop to hang out in for a few hours.  He sent me to Cherry Street Coffee House just up the street.  What it lacked in back support it made up for in pillows and I was able to settle in for a couple of hours, again with the (uncovered) Tikit under my table.  The only comments I got were from other customers and passers, usually as I was folding or unfolding during my travels.  Cherry St was a little cold and I had to sit with my oompa loompa hood pulled up most of the time. Another shaved headed woman came in wearing a loose, open neck sweater with nothing on her head.  I just barely resisted asking, "Isn't your head cold?" since apparently it wasn't.  Besides, I noted lots of Seattle-ites in shorts, flip-flops and other summer wear, despite the fact that it's 60 degrees and has been raining steadily harder all day, making me wish for rain pants, or at least RainLegs.

Traci called and said she had scored extra interviews and wouldn't be done until 4:00--three extra hours.  I didn't want to pay to park downtown all day, so I went and got Beechers Flagship mac n cheese for lunch and the required mini donuts from Pike Place before heading out of downtown. If the parking wasn't incentive enough, the ridiculous crowds at Pike Place would have steered me to other parts of town.  I did stay to watch one fish get thrown.

From there I headed to Beacon Hill.  Last time I was in Seattle was for the Seattle Century and I was too busy to stop and see Bikeworks, the Seattle version of the Community Cycling Center, with similar programs and missions, so I decided to stop by.

When I walked in, Kent was busy working, but he saw me and said, "What are you doing up here?" We first met in person at the Car-free conference in Portland, at which he and his wife gave a presentation.  He let me ride his little Dahon folding bike around, which crystalized my decision to get a folder of my own.  I've been reading his most excellent blog for quite a while too.

I told him I was up for a wedding.  Then his face lit up. "Are you going back to Portland?" Yes. "Can you deliver something for me?" Of course.  He gave me two of their newly minted Bikeworks caps to deliver to Beth and Michael Rassmuson at Citybikes.  When I mentioned River City, Kent's coworker brightened up too. "Do you know people there? Want to ask them if they want to consign this bike?"  Whereby he lifted bike down from two ceiling hooks that probably could have been hung using spider webbing, it was so light.  The frame is all carbon, and looks like one complete piece with no joinings.  Even I could tell it was probably a 7k+ bike.

"No one who comes into our shop is going to buy this bike," said Kent, and I couldn't help but agree.  I was only in the shop for a few minutes, but by the time I left, I had two used cross tires (don't start with the peer pressure! It's just in cross bike ever actually gets built--but that is another story), a couple of Seattle maps, a secret surprise for Jess and one of Kent's newly produced home-made key chains made of an old spoke. 

My last stop was the Grown Folks Coffee House. I was pleased to find it's a black-owned coffee house and it had two huge recliners in front of a fire place.  There was a guy in one of the chairs leaned back like he planned to spend the night.  The upright seating wasn't nearly so comfortable, but the chairs were cushioned and the outlets plentiful.  It was a nice place to while away the rest of my alone time in the city. 


SiouxGeonz said...

SNork... I have two google "searches" - for Xtracycle and Dahon. Thus, this blog came up twice :)
Rock on!

Grown Folks CoffeeHouse said...

We are glad that you enjoyed your visit to Grown Folks Coffeehouse. You have a great blog. Feel free to bring friends and family on your next visit to Seattle!

Kronda said...

@grown folks coffee: I'll do that! The friend I went to see lives right near you and I already told her she should come see you.