Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Days 11-13: Manchester State Park to Seattle

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Posts 12-14 of 14)
Originally posted here, here, and here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Day 11: Manchester State Park to Seattle
Wednesday June 17, 2015, 32 miles (51 km) - Total so far: 582 miles (937 km)

Another beautiful morning in a beautiful city. Just a dream-like ride along the water.

[Sarah: And with that, we are back in Seattle!]

Sarah is an amazing woman. When she has made up her mind to do something, there is no stopping her. I mentioned that I might like to ship my bike home instead of checking it as luggage. She immediately started calling bike shops and found a shop just a few blocks from our Warmshowers host that would pack and ship my bike for $45 plus the Fedex shipping of $70. Deal!

Without Sarah, I would have just dragged the broken thing to the airport, hoped that the airline had a box, and paid them $150 for the privilege of them breaking it more than it already is. Instead, I dropped the bike at the shop and had a relaxing evening knowing that I didn't have to worry about my bike.

Great guys at JRA Bike Shop. If you are in the area, don't hesitate to stop by.

Today's route:

Day 12: Day Hike to Mt Si & Kite Hill Picnic

Today Sarah took me to hike Mailbox Peak. But we found that the road to the trailhead was closed due to construction. Sarah had never done the Mailbox Peak trail and was disappointed to have to fall back to Mt. Si, which she has done many times. I had never done this trail and had a great time.

[Sarah: Mt Si (prounounced "Sigh") is a 45-minute drive to the east of Seattle. The trail climbs to an elevation of just over 4,000 ft in four miles. I call the trail "The Disneyland of Trail Hikes," as more than 100,000 people hike to the top each year.]

Craig arrives at the Haystacks, atop Mt Si.

Our view of Mt. Rainier, off to the south.

Craig relaxes atop Mt Si.

Craig has a way with wildlife.
Just a few short days ago, Craig whispered to a unicorn,
and now he's made a little birdie friend.

Sarah & Craig celebrate the end of their hike with a milkshake.

[Sarah: Yes, those are are our real skin tones. If Crayola Crayons were to capture our skin tones, my crayon would be called "Lobster Red" and Craig's would be called "Florida Tan."]
In the evening, we drove to Seattle's Kite Hill (at Gas Works Park) to meet a few of Sarah's friends and several other people who Sarah had contacted via the internet. All these people were young and successful but all of them were working hard to acquire financial independence at as early an age as possible. I enjoyed meeting such young and frugal people but hoped they had ambitious goals to achieve during their lives and didn't think that early retirement alone would bring them happiness.

We had a potluck at the top of the hill next to the sundial. The Gas Works historic landmark that can be seen below the hill is the epitome of a Seattle park. It has lots of grass, interesting history, quirky-but-cool architecture turned into playground equipment, and one of the best views in Seattle. The breeze coming off Lake Union had to make it Seattle’s go-to kite soaring destination and we had to dodge a few crash landings during our picnic.

Well, the bike ride is over. I had originally planned to ride more after the Olympic Peninsula Loop. But, because of my busted crank arm and my cracked frame, I have lost all confidence in my bike and do not dare continue to ride it.

Sarah has a lot of friends and she would have been able to introduce me to people with the tools necessary to fix my bike. Or, I could have purchased a new bike. But, for some reason, I felt I shouldn't push my luck. So, I'm bailing on a longer ride and returning home to repair my bike in the comfort of my own garage.

[Sarah: What a bummer about the crack in Craig's frame! I was excited to have Craig explore more of the Pacific Northwest by bicycle, as this is a great place for riding.]

Day 13: Travel to Tampa

Sarah took me to the airport for a 12:50 AM flight back to Tampa. Yes, that is 12:50 AM as in very early in the morning!

Sarah and I seem to get along quite well and I intend to ride with her this winter on her trip to Argentina and Chile. I'll do my best to be more playful, and she promises to not make me feel old by asking me questions that require me to say things like, "Girl, I was sleeping in the dirt with a smile on my face before you were born."


  1. Good call on not riding it with the frame, sometimes you just have to call it quits. I love the bike shipping idea!! So much easier! that would work going TO somewhere as well...

    Have you ever climbed the backside of Si? The branch from the Little Si trail? There are a fraction of the people and I have had solitude for hours even on a weekend on that route.

    You are a great hostess and it was great to meet Craig!

    1. Thanks, Tony.

      Yes, definitely better to call it quits than to be out of commission, healing in a hospital room for days on end.

      I have never hiked the backside of Mt Si. I'm definitely up for a quieter way of hiking to the top, so I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the idea. :)

    2. Unless its the deep of winter and week day its the only way I go :)


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