Early in the afternoon of Day 11, I finally arrived in Seattle. It was a gray, overcast day, the kind for which Seattle is famous– although it wasn’t actually raining. The final two hundred miles was uneventful, except for the part where I lost the directions I had written down (there were a few zigs and zags across various rural highways), and was unable to get a signal on my cell phone to recover said directions. So for about an hour I had to guess my way down the road, but it turned out all right. I didn’t even make any wrong turns.
The final stretch was through the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest, and up Highway 101 (the Pacific Coast Highway) for a large chunk of the time. It was beautiful, dense forest, dark green speckled with the occasional burst of autumn yellow. The forest here has a totally different feel than the forest on the east coast, and I’m already looking forward to hiking in it.
The last hour of so of the drive passed through a string of cities: Olympia, Tacoma, and then Seattle, with downtown and Puget Sound finally materializing in the distance. I’m staying in an extended-stay hotel (basically a month-to-month apartment) near the Space Needle; hopefully after a month I’ll have a permanent place, and in the meantime I can get a much better feel for the city and its neighborhoods.
So, I made it. It was one heck of a trip: eleven days, ten hotel rooms, countless cities, snow, rain, wind, and plenty of sun too. There was heat, cold, one and a half long audiobooks, plenty of caffeine, a herd of cows, a herd of bison, and a herd of… I’m not sure. It ranged from the top of the Sears Tower, to the Mississippi River, to the Yellowstone caldera.
Still, I have little doubt that the hard part lies ahead. Getting to a new city? Even moving across the country, that part is pretty easy, compared to making that city your home. But I’m optimistic. I’m posting this after having spent a few days in Seattle, and I’m already loving it. I’ve been to four coffee shops in four days (and I don’t even drink that much coffee!), and am slowly learning my way around the complicated-but-convienent bus and trolley system. I’ve been walking quite a bit, too. I love having so many things in walking distance (or a short bus ride) from where I live, and even the infamous Seattle rain has been little more than an occasional nuisance.
So in conclusion, here’s a picture of the Seattle waterfront that I took on Friday. From where I’m standing, I think I’m going to like it here– but I have a strong hunch that the real adventure is just beginning.