Beast of burden
Thursday was the kind of day some would describe as “a good day to ride.” Lots of 2-wheelers out and about, motorized and non. I, however, had errands to run.
I’d had to make a trip north of the Ship Canal every day this week. Today’s journey would take me to the Ravenna neighborhood, NE 65th Street its backbone. While it’s easy enough to get there via the Viaducts, the most direct way is on I-5.
It wasn’t so long ago that the prospect of riding on the high-level West Seattle Bridge, the Alaskan Way Viaduct, or Aurora Avenue south of Green Lake, filled me with dread. Not any more. Many trips, on many different bikes, have made these roads familiar. My comfort level is pretty high.
The GTS has been on I-5 before, and it seemed today would be a good one to take to the SuperSlab once again.
Heading east on the West Seattle Viaduct, I realize the former skittishness on the chewed-up surface was entirely due to a soft rear tire. The pavement, asphalt-eaten years ago and polished smooth by traffic, is just pavement to me now. It helped that today, people were observing the 35-mph speed limit.
I moved into the left lane in preparation for the merge onto northbound I-5. But traffic on the ramp was stopped, and backed up almost to 4th Avenue S. Something’s up.
While I’ve said traffic congestion can make riding on freeways more comfortable, I could see traffic on the freeway was just about stopped. This is not good; you’re riding on gyroscopes, which impart more stability when they’re turning faster. And the cooling fan would be coming on all the time.
No, I’d be better off in the right lane, taking northbound Beacon Avenue. So I (illegally) cross the double white lines and head up Columbian Way.
Crossing the Jose Rizal Bridge on 12th, I could see northbound I-5 traffic was still clogged. Something must’ve happened under the Convention Center.
No big. I can head north on Broadway/10th to Roanoke, then go right on Harvard Avenue. You get a nice view of the freeway, and a handy ramp thereto. Traffic was moving at the speed limit now, so I took the handy ramp.
The Ship Canal Bridge was not at all windy, the pace a mellow 60 mph. It’s only a couple miles to the NE 65th/Ravenna exit, so I-5 can be a useful shortcut.
In fact, I discover I’m early for my appointment. Hmmm. I suddenly have a craving for a Top Pot doughnut, so I can go east on 65th and north on 35th, and find myself at Top Pot’s Wedgwood (yes, there’s no “e”) store.
Yes, it used to be a gas station. The inside is done up much like the Top Pot in Belltown, which was once a showroom for an interior design company. Top Pot has a great design sense for its stores. Yes, those are actual palm trees out front. I would have bathrooms in my home done the same way as their restrooms. Heck, even the pavement striping is stylish.
Finished my doughnut, then finished my business. Time to go home. I decide to head back via Queen Anne Hill to Aurora. That means 25th Avenue NW.
Not a lot of traffic. Not a lot going on at the UDub campus as I head for the Fremont Bridge. Not much happening on top of Queen Anne Hill, either. I arrive at the stop sign at the end of Queen Anne Drive just in time for a Ford Escape making a right turn. The Escape runs interference, having to slow way down to make the turn, so I can hop onto Aurora with plenty of time to get up to speed.
The Viaduct was refreshing, the cool air coming off Elliott Bay most welcome with the heat Seattle’s been having lately. I have some time to kill, so I decide to hit Alki on the way home.
Cassie at Tully’s serves up a gigantic iced mocha, which I’ll drink outside next to the table where the GTS is parked. As I sip, a grotesquely pimped-out Ford F-150 turns onto the side street. “Damn,” I say, thinking I missed a great shot, when to my surprise & delight the truck pulls into a driveway and pulls out headed my way.
You see a lot of vehicles like this on Alki. Especially during the summer.