Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Seattle Days 1, 2 & 3

What a beautiful city Seattle is. I had a fabulous 5 days there with my friends. Scott and Tinker decided my visit was a good reason for them to have a "staycation" and show me the sights. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment with views of Seattle.


The first day was spent wandering around downtown Seattle and doing a tour of the underground. In downtown Seattle there is an older city right under the new one! Here's a random selection of the days pics.







Next day Tinker and I set off for a visit to the Colombia Tower to see Seattle from the top of the tallest building.




Then it was off for a visit to Pike Markets. Had a great time wandering around, watching salmon being thrown from one of the seafood stalls, eating huge fresh prawns, buying tulips and eating an extremely good pirozhki. I think one of Tinkers favourite things to do is eat, so of course I had to follow her great example.





Next day Scott was the tour guide and we drove around Washington Bay, then onto Fremont to visit a troll and a bike shop. Of course we had to stop at Moo Malone's for icecream (that was Tinks idea of course!). I had the most delicious honey and lavender icecream with lemon curd topping. It was soooo good.




Interspersed in all this was visiting Scott and Tinkers favourite cafes and restaurants. We went to see a band called The Sunshine Junkies and I even got up and danced! Also lots of time spent sitting on the terrace with a glass of red wine and talking....making the most of the short time we have together.
My first impressions of Seattle are that it is a vibrant, interesting city and a great place to people watch! Its also an amazingly beautiful city.
Here's just a few random pics of things I liked and thankyou Tink for letting me use some of your photos. We take a picture of the same thing and hers often looks better!











Friday, 26 May 2017

Finally its time

After what has felt like months, its time to head off on my big adventure. Somehow I have to fit all of this into my bag (not the pink noodle thing though, that is packing for Birdy.)


With help from Mark, I got Birdy all boxed up snug and tight. All my gear eventually fitted into my pack and it was time to go.


The flight was as good as a flight that long can be and I landed in San Francisco. I got pulled aside at customs.....I was carrying three blocks of Whittaker's chocolate and they wanted to check it was actually chocolate and not something else! The customs officer swabbed each block and the little day pack I had them in. Of course it was all clear and I was waved through. 
Birdy made it through the trip intact so far, just a flight to Seattle to get through and rechecking Birdy onto the flight. I found out how difficult it is to manoeuvre a big bike box, back pack, day pack and shoulder bag all on an airport trolley. Everyone at the airport was so helpful.....and finally I arrived into Seattle. Tinker and Scott were there to meet me, it was so good to see a familiar face and not have to think. Travelling for close to 24 hours and having very little sleep, it was great to get big hugs from these two.

Welcome to Seattle!

"Once a year go somewhere you have never been before"
Dalai Lama

Monday, 8 May 2017

Last overnighter and butterflies are settling in.

Only 9 days now until I fly out of Dunedin and many hours and two flights later land in Seattle. The nervous butterflies are definitely starting, as well as being excited, slightly scared, apprehensive and thinking why am I going to do this! But also really looking forward to my big adventure. I get to stay with my extremely good, if slightly mad friend Tinker and her partner Scott, for a week. Tinker has promised me we will thrift shop and sightsee until we drop, and eat our own weight in food every day. I will be so plump by the time I leave Seattle, Birdy will wonder what is going on!





So I did one last overnight trip to Roxburgh...a 148km (91 miles) round trip. I had nearly all the gear I will carrying on Birdy, except for a bit more food than what I had. I knew it would be a chilly night...we are in the depths of Autumn now, but couldn't work out how to attach my duvet to Birdy or how to plug in an electric blanket at the campsite!.















Mark devised a really simple and easy system for attaching all my gear. Before I had endless bungy cords going here, there and everywhere, but now its just two clips to secure the load, and a bungy for my sleeping bag!






It was a lovely ride up, a bit chilly though and a few mishaps....one of them being my toe clip on the pedal. I didn't notice a screw had fallen out, and just as I was riding over a cattle grate it came completely off and of course, fell through the grating. Luckily I had my trusty bag of zip lock ties, and after managing to retrieve my toe clip it was easy to reattach. Probably works better and is more reliable than the screws that originally attached it!

I stayed at the Roxburgh Camping Ground (also called Clutha Gold Cottages). The tent sites are in a very pleasant location and the whole camping ground is very neat and tidy. But be warned...you need a two dollar coin for a 6 min shower and the kitchen has zero cooking equipment.

The night did turn out to be pretty damn cold, but I was wearing wool socks, leggings, a thermal top, and icebreaker and had another polar fleece just in case. On top of that I had my gorgeous purple silk sleeping bag liner that my sister bought for me when she was over on a visit last week from Australia. Thanks Kiddo...made me feel very glamourous!

The only person camping that night!


Note the glamourous purple silk sheet!!



View over the fence from my tent.




Plenty of nice level space for tents.

Friendly locals at the campground.

After an ok sleep I headed off back home in pretty chilly conditions, but a beautiful clear blue sky. I know that my body works much better in hot weather, so the ride home was a bit slower and hard going at times with the cold. Also because I am so familiar with the trail it does get just a tiny bit boring.

But I do still notice new things all the time, and one of the nice things about going slow on your bike is you get to take in all the scenery around you.

Here's a random selection of some sights.


















I was pondering what to do for lunch as I was riding along and decided what I felt like was a big bacon sandwich. So a quick phone call home and Mark met me by the river further down the track, equipped with a portable gas stove, frying pan and bacon! Food always tastes better when it is cooked and eaten outside.




As you can see from the photo above I was feeling pretty tired and very tempted to jump into the truck, throw Birdy in the back and get a lift for the last 24 kms home. But I didn't (and Mark wouldn't let me!) I'm glad I stuck it out and biked the rest of the way. I would have been disappointed in myself if I gave up. By the time I got home it was getting cold, I was cold, but after a lovely warm bath and a couple of glasses of merlot life was pretty good!

" If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."
                                                                             Seth Godin