Seattle to Portland on Two Wheels (Again)

Seattle to Portland 2012

You may have noticed the blog has been silent for the last few days. That’s because I took a little bike ride over the weekend: the annual Seattle to Portland ride. My dad and I rode last year and we did it again this year. Yeah, this is a music blog, but every once in a while, I throw on something personal. This is one of those times.

I documented the trip using Instagram, the posts of which plagued my Twitter account over the weekend with real-time updates. Now you get the full photo diary in one sitting.

El Camino

I arrived Friday evening at my parents’ (my old) condo in Ballard, putting the El Camino in the parking spot I once inhabited.

View from the Condo

They’ve got a new building going up across the street. It’s sad; the Denny’s Andi and I shared our first date at once stood there. It also featured rare and historic “Googie” architecture. Its absence makes me very glad I moved.

We woke at 5 and were on the road, leaving by bike from the condo, by 5:45. My dad and I hit the Burke-Gillman Trail and ultimately connected with other riders over near the University of Washington.

STP: At Seward Park

The first “ministop” was around Seward Park, around mile 11. I snapped the shot above and below at this location.

Pictured above is the beginning of the first true hill on the ride, lasting about six blocks or so.


The first true stop is in Kent, at the REI headquarters. Each year they have a DJ, play music (this year, 80s), and serve a variety of foods: oranges, bananas, cream cheese bagels, and much more. This was around mile 24.

Bathroom Line

A few miles before the famed and appropriately named “The Hill” was another ministop. Pictured above is the bathroom line at this stop.


Lunch: STP Day 1

The lunch stop included much more of the same: lots of people in skin-tight spandex (myself included) gorging themselves with carbs (yep, me too).

About 5 miles from the day 1 ending point was a great little lemonade stand. My dad (pictured above) bought me one. Just enough sugar to get me to mile 108.

The Green Thing: STP 2012

The finish point on day 1 is at Centralia College and includes riding through a misty spray (oh, that felt good!), then hopping off and grabbing a tasty popsicle. We walked through the main strip, where I caught a glimpse of “The Green Thing” which had passed us a few times throughout the day. Then we hopped back on the bikes and headed to Ross and Wanda’s.

Steve, a fellow rider who has stayed with this couple during 8 STPs, brought up some top-notch steak from Costco and we all dined outside. While I love the ride, Ross and Wanda’s hospitality (not to mention, their excellent cooking) is an easy highlight of the trip.

Day 2: Six Miles In

We rose at 5am, had a wonderful breakfast then hit the road again. Steve left first, around 5:45 and my dad and I left at around 6:30. Day 2 included a similar number of stops, but each stop lasted a shorter time.

Banana Bread

Above is the banana bread stop. This guy and his wife make a ton of banana bread and give it away for free (of course, donations are welcome, and I’m sure they make a ton of money).

The Winlock Egg

Another ministop on Day 2 is in Winlock. I got a ticket for a free hotdog, then gave it away as we wanted to hit the road. Above is the famed egg.

Painted Rock Ministop

Mini bike

After another ministop, I was passed by a guy riding a tiny bike. I couldn’t resist whipping out my phone and snapping a shot.

Short Bike Tall Bike

Here he is again, next to a guy with a custom “tall” bike. His seat is about 4.5 to 5 feet in the air. Note that they both have moustaches. By this time we hit the halfway point on Day 2: the Kelso Bridge, where we enter into Oregon.

My dad at the Kelso Bridge. At the top, my chain came off and jammed between the gear and my bike frame; took 10 minutes to untangle and left me with cuts on my right hand and both hands covered in grease.

STP: St. Helens

STP: 29 Miles Remain

The two shots above are at the St. Helens food stop: 29 miles to go.

St. Johns Bridge

9 miles to go: at the St. Johns bridge in Portland.

Seattle to Portland: Done

Here we are at the finish line.

Back in Seattle

We returned to Seattle on Sunday after the ride, exhausted and sore.

On Monday, at Starbucks in Tulalip. Almost home. I arrived shortly after and spent the next day and a half relaxing.

Don’t worry: music-related posts will resume tomorrow.

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