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Pippins vs. clementines

January 21, 2009
The PX

The PX casting a long shadow (Orin O’Neill photos)

The sun was out today. But unlike the past few days, the sun was out in the morning.

Not being able to remember the last time I rode the PX, I figured it was past due for a long ride. Hitting the starter button produced one feeble crank of the engine. Oh, yeah, it has been a while.

Luckily, there was more juice in the battery, enough to fire the engine on a third starter hit.

I’m often asked if I get disoriented switching between two very different scooters. Not really, though I find switching from the GTS to the PX is more likely to result in occasional fumbling for a control the first time I have to use it. As for having to clutch and change gears, no problem there—after almost 20,000 miles it requires no more thought than breathing.

In panic situations on the GTS, my right foot occasionally seeks out a brake pedal, but since I’d be squeezing the clutch lever (on the PX’s left handgrip) anyway, I manage to stop quickly. And as I spend more time on the GTS, this happens less and less frequently.

While there was no fog, it was still cold, the thermometer reading somewhere in the upper 30s F. But in Seattle there’s a chill in the air that can go right through you, due to the high humidity that comes with being next to a very large body of water, so even daytime highs in the mid 40s can leave you feeling like you’re freezing.

Then there’s the wind chill. No windscreen on the PX, remember. That would slow it down! 😉

Suitably layered up, the PX and I took to the surface streets. Wednesdays are when the alt-weeklies come out (even though The Stranger says it’s “free every Thursday”), and for some reason they turn up first on Queen Anne Hill. A good enough excuse to go to Top Pot on Galer for a donut and a coffee.

I took a real far-back way via 15th and Nickerson, so the PX’s battery would get a good charge. But approaching the stop sign at 6th & Galer, I looked up at the sky and saw this:

Cloudy and cold

Kerry Park isn’t far away. I need to take some pictures.

Here’s the picture postcard view of downtown, mid-January air-stagnation version.

Downtown Seattle, from Kerry Park

Standing in the same spot, looking to the southwest, here’s what you’ll see.

Elliott Bay, from Kerry Park

Still standing in the same spot, this is the view to the northeast.

Looking northwest from Kerry Park

Time to go read newspapers.

I’m still depressed at how little time it takes to read not just the Weekly and The Stranger, but the Times and the P-I (both had commemerative inauguration sections). And the P-I will probably be gone in a couple of months.

I decide to go back through downtown Seattle. I almost rode onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct, but caught myself in the nick of time. Not on the PX, at least not this time of day. If I had made the turn, I wouldn’t have seen this:

Downtown Seattle, as seen from the Pike Place Market

You’ll get this view if you’re standing north of Victor Steinbrueck Park. The 3-way stop was almost deserted, so it took no time at all to get on Western Avenue. From there, you can take your choice of ways back to the waterfront.


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