Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 1: Travel to Seattle

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 2 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Sunday June 7, 2015, 31 miles (50 km) - Total so far: 31 miles (50 km)

I unpacked and assembled my bike in the bicycle assembly area that can be found in SeaTac's baggage claim area. This area has a bike rack to which you can lock completed bikes, a tool rack, a bike assembly rack, and a floor pump. The tools provided are minimal and in most cases not useful since the thick stiff cables to which each tool is attached prevents you from being able to turn the tool during use. Make sure you have your own tools available. But having the designated area makes for a relaxing time during assembly.

Craig's bike box in SeaTac Airport's bike assembly area.

Once complete, I rolled the bike and my bags to the light rail station at the airport and took the train to the stadium stop.

Sarah had sent to me a MapMyRide route for how best to ride from Seattle's Safeco Field to the Warmshower's host that we would be using on June 7th. She routed me through all the interesting sights while staying on as many bike trails as possible.

I met Sarah at our WarmShowers host and we spent a relaxing evening getting to know each other. She quickly began testing my claims of being a reasonable bike mechanic by having me install some Power Grips to her pedals. While I was doing this she was packing her panniers for the trip. I was taking my time since I assumed that she would take hours to finish. But she gave me my first lesson in not underestimating her efficiency. She finished in about 15 minutes and was wondering what was taking so long with her pedals. Fortunately we had no where to go tonight and just sat around laughing about our discomfort with meeting strangers via CrazyGuy companion ads.

Craig installing Sarah's Pedal Grips.

[Sarah: I had been living in Seattle for nine years, and I still had yet to explore the Olympic Peninsula by bike. I had done a backpacking trip in the Elwa River Valley a number of years ago as well as a more recent backpacking trip in The Enchanted Valley. But I had never been on the west side of the peninsula -- not even in a car!

My homeless condition (see I'm Officially Homeless) encouraged me to explore places I had not yet explored. And so it was that I planned to spend the first days of my homeless lifestyle bicycling around the Olympic Peninsula.

Less than two weeks prior, Craig had decided to join me on my ten-day ride around the peninsula. Craig flew in from Florida on Sunday, June 7th, around noon. He hung out for a few hours until I was able to meet up with him Sunday evening, after I finished a three-day training ride on the San Juan Islands for my new guiding gig with Bicycle Adventures. (Oh my, I can't wait for the guiding to begin!)

I had made plans to meet up with Craig Sunday evening outside of Mike's house. My buddy, Mike, was letting me park my car in his driveway while Craig and I were on our trip. I was also hoping that Mike would wave his big red flag if he got a bad first impression about Craig. No such flags were waved.

I was doing my best to remain calm while in the midst of quickly transitioning from one trip to the next. Hopefully Craig didn't notice the minor bout of insanity running through my brain as I made sure that everything from the first trip was squared away and that I wasn't forgetting anything for the next trip.

It was obvious that poor Craig had been cooped up all day traveling from coast-to-coast, as he was suffering from a major bout of verbal diarrhea when we first met. I did my best to keep the loquacious Craig preoccupied so that I could focus on packing; I asked Craig to install my new Power Grip straps on my pedals, and he quickly accepted the challenge. Craig may not have picked up on the fact that I was trying to keep him busy. He did, however, pick up on the fact that I was using the straps as an opportunity to test his bike skills. (He passed with flying colors.)

Craig was surprised that it had only taken me a few minutes to pack. Firstly, it doesn't take long to pack when everything I need for the summer is confined within the 4'X3'X2' trunk of my car. And, secondly, there was no way in hell I was going to appear anything less than the organized and efficient me that I had made myself out to be in our correspondences. I wasn't going to volunteer that I had packed as much as I could a few days before, and that I only needed to finish the final few shifting-around-of-things Sunday evening. Nope, I was going to keep that as my little secret. After all, first impressions are everything!

After my bags were packed and the Power Grips were installed, we cycled a short distance to the home of my friends, Andy and Josey, who served as our Warm Showers hosts for the evening. 
Andy and I had done some tours together, including a week-long ride around the Selkirk Mountains in 2011. (Read Andy's awesome write-up of our Selkirk adventure here). 

A most adorable photo of Andy & Josey.
(From Josey's Facebook page.)

I was excited to begin our trip and to spend time with my new compatible companion. But, first things first; a good night of sleep was in order. We all chatted briefly, we took turns taking showers, and then we crashed for the night. Craig and I agreed to wake up each other in the morning at an early, but not too terribly early hour. After all, we both had been coming off of long days--me from my three-day training ride and Craig from a very long day of travel.]


  1. Craig: yep! Never underestimate her she will surprise you every time.

    Sarah: so far so good, no spidey sense tingles here either.

    1. Ha! Glad you ain't gettin' no tingles either, Tony. :)


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