So today, Melissa and the kids went to explore Whidbey Island. That’s cool. But I didn’t go with them. I took a day for myself. A day where I explored what I wanted to explore, and did what I wanted to do. I’ll start with my conclusion: I had a great day; my legs hurt, but my heart is happy.
I started of the day at around 10 AM when we got up from bed. I fixed myself some cold pizza for breakfast, and got my stuff together to go out for a day walking. I took my camera, my rain jacket, and the purple knit had that Melissa made for me. All these things were needed today, for the weather was dynamic, and the scenery multidimensional.
I left the house at around 11:30AM, and walked west to the bus stop. Ten minutes early. I had to wait a bit for the bus to arrive. Someone I didn’t know walked up, and I struck up a conversation. Her name is Taren. She’s a recent graduate from the UW, looking for a job. I gave her my card, and told her about some job openings at my employer. We had pleasant conversation as we both rode the bus down to the University District, where the first leg of my adventure would truely begin.
I got off the bus at 47th & University Way. I walked a bit south, and went to Trabant, where I ordered a drip coffee from them. They’re apparently doing a special thing with their drop. It was a good cup of coffee, but was more than I wanted to pay for such a thing. After I got my cup, I walked around the corner in the place, and saw my friend Robin. He lives at Trabant, you know. He does IT, so he can do such things most anywhere. I sat down, and said “hi.”
We had good conversation for a while, and he inquired if I’d had lunch. I said no, and we went to Shultzy’s. I had a burger, and a water. Good food. He and I talked for a while. It was nice to run into him and going and being social. After lunch, we talked back up to Trabant, and I parted ways with him.
Then I went to go catch the 44 to Ballard across the street on 45th. The ride into Ballard was uneventful, and quick. Before I knew it, I was in Ballard. Ah, Ballard. It’s a lovely place. If you’ve never been, it’s one of the older parts of Seattle. It used to be a seperate community from the city, and was annexed many years ago. It has a strong norweigen heritage, with old men smoking pipes, and eating lutefisk. My trip to Ballard had neither old men with pipes, nor lutefisk. I’m thankful for the absence of the latter. I got off the bus at Market and Leary, and went to the ATM, where I got some money out for my adventure.
Then I went to Cupcake Royale. I love their cupcakes. I bought a 16 oz drip coffee (my 2nd 16 oz for the day), and a Plain Jane (lavender icing on a vanilla cupcate), paid, and left. I then walked down into “Old Ballard”, and looked at the Sunday Market. There were lots of neat things to see. New spring peas being sold in pots for $3, smoked salmon that the fish monger was handing out handful sized samples of to passersby (“Yum!”), many things.
I figured roughly after getting my treat that the day would be one not focused on Things, but on Experiences. I wanted to do stuff, to see things, to have memories of the day to look back on, and to write about here. And so I did. I looked at the things at the market, but didn’t end up buying anything. I spoke with some of the merchants. It was fun.
Then I went to look around. I popped into Second Ascent, which is a great new and used hiking gear shop. I remember the sunlight streaming in through their back windows, shining down on the rows of clothes and shoppers. I thought for a minute that they’d moved everything around the place. But that wasn’t it. It was just well lit, and full of positive feelings. Then I left.
My feet took me down the hill, down towards the water, and towards the old local service rail sidings that serve the industry there. I took some pictures of the hoppers in front of Salmon Bay Gravel Co, and of the tracks. Then I decided to follow the tracks, and see where they met up with the mainline. I started to the west, following the rails where they led.
I passed a lot of boat repair shops, and other sorts of industry. I saw geese lounging on the grass, and lots of lovely graffiti on the buildings and vehicles back in the secret places of the city. It was neat to follow the rails through those backgrounds of industry. Often the puddles along the tracks would be huge, and I’d have to skirt around them. Once, a car came along quickly, and made a huge splash into one of them. I laughed at it.
As I followed the tracks, I saw that the way in fact led in front of the Ballard Locks, which are used to raise and lower ships between the Puget Sound, and Lake Union. There’s a dam and a fish ladder there, but I didn’t explore that today. I walked along, and followed the tracks. And walked. I passed two older latino men outside a restaurant. They were having a smoke, and I said hello. They responded in kind, and I continued on. The path led along farther, and I came to pass under the rail bridge across the ship canal. This bridge is cantilevered, and is usually in the raised, up position, except when rail traffic passes. I saw that the siding went under the the tracks, rather than meeting up with it. Interesting.
I followed the tracks a ways longer. I was on the Burke Gilman trail at this point. Eventually, I got to the end of the BG trail, where it turns to go down along Seaview Avenue. The tracks continued to the north, and were coming closer to the mainline rails. I wanted to go see where they met up, but I didn’t. It would have meant trespassing on BNSF space, and they’re not keen on that. Up until that point, I’d seen no “NO TRESPASSING” signs, which I was quite happy about. There was a trail that ran under the tracks, to a set up steps.
These steps climbed up perhaps 30 feet onto 64th street & 34th ave NW. I climbed up, and walked along the sidewalks. I kept to a path that followed the rails. Trying to see where a good place to see trains might be. I never did see a train pass today. I would have liked that, especially if I’d been close when it did so. But it wasn’t to be.
I found a good spot, where a road dead-ended near the mainline, and at grade level with the rails. This spot is one I’ll come back to later in the spring or summer to photograph trains from.
At this point, I was really thirsty, so I walked back down (going south at this point) to the crossing of 35th & market. I went to the 7-eleven, and got a water. Yum, nice cold water. Then I walked back into Ballard, and caught a 44 back into the U-District.
From there, I took a 66 to Northgate, and ran an errand. I came home, tired and happy after my long day exploring. All told, I walked about seven miles today. Not bad.