Recently, my wife and I took a week-long trip to Seattle.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself ‘Why Seattle?’ It seemed that was a popular question from friends and family after we began telling people about our summer plans.
The short answer to that question is that we both have always been interested in seeing the Emerald City; and we were able to find really cheap plane tickets.
The trip was amazing. The weather was great, staying around 80 degrees and it only rained once, believe it or not.
The trip was also educational in a number of ways. While my legs were worn out from the miles and miles of walking we did, my brain stayed sharp enough to soak in these observations:
• Ichiro is a baseball player you should go out of your way to see in person. During the trip we took in a Seattle Mariners baseball game. Unfortunately for the Mariners, we weren’t a good-luck charm as they dropped their only game in the four-game series to the Texas Rangers, 6-4. The Mariners did provide a few highlights, top among them was the play of Ichiro.
Ichiro just makes everything he does seem so effortless. In the bottom of the first inning, Ichiro led off the game with a single and then really put on a show when he scored standing up from first base on a double to the left-center field gap. Ichiro might be the best baserunner in baseball; he really flies around the bases and takes great angles in rounding the bags at second and third base. Later in the game, Ichiro walked and then proceeded to steal second with ease.
Ichiro is hitting above .350 for the year and will likely finish with over 200 hits for the ninth-straight season. He doesn’t get quite the attention he deserves being out in Seattle, but the man, for my money, is still one of the top-5 players in baseball.
• Commuting to work in Seattle is a lot different than Denver. Seattle’s busy streets reminded me a lot of New York City. Lots of traffic, lots of noise and pretty much no room for those commuting via bicycle. The bike commuters in Seattle not only had to navigate through traffic, they also had to deal with severely-sloped roads. I didn’t realize Seattle was as hilly as it was until we started walking around town. I wouldn’t want any parts of those uphill climbs after putting in eight hours at the office.
The bike lanes in Seattle were pretty much non-existent, meaning cyclists had to ride in the street and keep pace with traffic or else veer off and try and find space between the near lane and the curb for them to ride. The sidewalks were pretty much non-accessible for bikes due to all the people walking the streets.
• Cyclists’ dress code is interesting, to say the least.
Here in Colorado, you’ll usually see people out on their bikes decked out in bike jerseys, bike shorts and shoes. In Seattle, the lycra was nowhere to be seen, as most riders zipped around in jeans or shorts and a T-shirt.
Then, there were the naked cyclists. Yes, that’s right, naked. I’m not sure why this group of 12 or so riders decided to ride around on a Saturday afternoon with no clothes on, but whatever the reason, it didn’t appear to be comfortable. That’s something I hope to never encounter again.
• The Space Needle is really tall. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m terrified of heights.
My wife still gives me grief over our trip down to the Royal Gorge a few years ago. That bridge freaked me out to no end. I walked - well, power-walk is probably more accurate - across the bridge but got nowhere close to the railings on either side.
I literally split the bridge in half and didn’t breathe until I hit solid ground.
At the Space Needle, the thing that freaked me out was the elevator that took us to the top of the 605-foot high building. The elevator’s doors were made of clear glass, which gave us a unique view of the city as we ascended to the top of the Needle.
I felt a little wobbly watching the houses get smaller as we climbed, but once we got out of the elevator and onto the observation deck, I was fine.
The view from the top of the Space Needle was gorgeous and something anyone that visits Seattle must check out.
• I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the coffee. Now, I’m not a coffee drinker, but my wife is, and she had a blast going to all the different coffee shops, including the original Starbucks at Pikes Market. I had a few cups of hot chocolate and they were amazing as well.
Seattle was certainly a fun experience and a unique experience. I’m glad we finally made it out there.
Dan Johnson is the sports editor for Evergreen Newspapers. Contact him at 303-933-2233, ext. 15, or by e-mail at email@example.com.