Monday, February 18, 2008


I took the long way home from work this afternoon. In honor of Presidents' Day, Noodles and the girls took the car and drove up to Mt. Rainier for some snowshoeing. This left me with the choice of either Metro transit or my own two feet to carry me home. Since it was a sunny day and I don't get enough exercise, I chose the latter. This is the first time I've walked home from work since 1991. Of course, back then it was a less than five minute walk. Today's commute took me about an hour.

There are many pleasant routes in this here city for walking. I don't know if the route from Georgetown to North Beacon Hill is one of them. I mean, it's not horrible. There are sidewalks all the way, which is a big plus. But the scenery is a bit lacking. The first leg of my journey mostly followed Fourth Avenue South. There are a few businesses along the way, but unlike the pedestrian friendly storefronts like you might find in Ballard, they're all pretty much non-descript. Then you get to climb an artificial hill as the road bridges over the train yards. Seeing the Sounder train pass beneath your feet is somewhat less satisfying than a scenic, rushing river. And looking down upon people lined up to buy gas at Costco, while definitely a Northwest scene, lacks a certain... majesty. On the positive side however, I was nigh alone on the sidewalk and, with all the traffic noise, I was able to start singing to myself without disturbing anyone. (Now if only I knew the words to more than two or three songs....)

At Spokane Street, I hung a right. Of the three choices I have to ascend Beacon Hill, Spokane Street was the most direct. Spokane Street has the distinction of being the least and most interesting part of the walk. On one hand, it was definitely not designed for pedestrians. The sidewalk lies in the shadow of the viaduct up until Airport Way, and before you geth there, you have to weave around the ramps to and from I-5. Then there's... the stairway. A flight of concrete steps that takes you up from the tideflats, along Columbian Way to, well, Spokane Street. It's a good, aerobic climb. (one that would have been daunting before I went through the Yunnan Diet and Fitness Program)

(I also had a bit of good fortune on that stretch. A number of weeks back I took a stroll down that particular hill and stairway. As I walked along Columbian Way, I noticed a discarded paper cup advertising a place that sold "Chicago Style Hot Dogs". As one who sorely misses that particular delicacy, I stopped and investigated the bit of litter. I took note of the url printed on the cup and determined to check it out to see if it was from a local establishment or if some traveller from Oregon had waited until reaching Seattle before tossing out their trash. Unfortunately, I misplaced my mental note of the restaurant's name and so was left in ignorance. Today, however, I was able to examine the same piece of trash and discover that it was from Woody's Hot Dogs--an upscale establishment apparently located at many Lowe's hardware stores in the Seattle area. (Just not the one in my neighborhood. Rats.))(Um, no, I, uh, didn't take the cup with me and put it in a proper container. Guess I should have done that, huh? Maybe next time I walk that way.)

Once I got to the upper Spokane Street, I was back in the 'hood. The journey was pretty routine as I traversed streets that were all too familiar. Boring, even. (Though I suppose it's better than a treadmill in a gym.) The only thing of note was when I passed a guy talking on his cell on 14th Avenue. He was speaking rather loudly, talking about filing some class action suit in Federal Court on behalf of himself and his friends. He looked nothing like a lawyer, so I suspect he was blowing smoke. However, he's probably more able to accomplish such a goal than I would ever be, so I really should behold judgment.

I finally arrived home at 4:31 p.m. It was a great workout and only took about fifteen minutes longer than taking the bus would have. Of course, having a sunny day made all the difference in the world....

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