June 16th, 2010 by mary
Leaving Seattle, we rode along Lake Washington on a clearly marked cyclist path along the water front. The waterfront road took us up a small hill out of the city. From there we seemed to follow some back industrial highways through the towns going south. We became one with semi trucks, loading docks and forklifts. We hit some rain in Renton and stopped at a small cafe for coffee and to wait it out.
After the skies cleared, we followed the back roads all the way to Tacoma. That’s where it got a bit sketchy. Cars were driving quite aggressively and refusing to yield room to us. I was just starting to get nervous when a very loud noise scared me so badly that I nearly fell off my bike. I looked around, thinking someone was throwing fireworks at me but I couldn’t see anything. That’s when I saw shells. Spent gun shells. Tacoma’s road shoulder is a sea of spent gun shells. Now, I’m not saying someone was shooting at us, I really never could figure out what the loud cracking was, but I did get a very eerie feeling in my spine riding across those shells. I mentioned it to Nick and we agreed to get out of the city as quickly as possible.
This is when we weighed two evils and took what appeared to be the lesser. A 19 mile ride on I-5 (during rush hour, no less) would save us several miles, an hour of time, and get us off the scary streets. Now, I’m gonna’ go out on a limb and say, if you have the choice to ride on I-5 or not, DON’T DO IT. The noise wasn’t so bad, the rushing traffic wasn’t so bad, but crossing the on-ramps and off-ramps was a nightmare. I was nearly witness to Nick’s last moments on earth as a red truck, then a second one, swerved around him dangerously, narrowly missing turning him into a freeway souffle. We only ended up riding for about 11 miles on the freeway before we realized we could get off the road and take a bike path which would go all the way to Olympia.
Those first bike paths on the roads at the edge of Olympia were a sight for sore eyes. Once we got into town we were so relieved to be there that everything seemed wonderful. But, in reality, Quality Burrito is pretty wonderful. We caught some well-needed burritos and cocktails with our friend Jake before our screening at the Capitol Theater.
The Capitol is one of the classiest places we have ever screened. It’s an old movie house from the 20’s and it is home to both film screenings and rather big-name concerts. It seats several hundred and since we hadn’t had any press in Olympia, we started to take bets on whether or not anyone would show. I said 3, Nick said 8 and Jake said 18. Jake won. There was actually a decent crowd by the time we started (a few dozen, only one or two of which were transient folk coming in from the elements) and it was fun to see the film play on such a big screen.
After the screening, we loaded up for our only cheat of the tour. Now, don’t lose faith in us. We are still biking over 1,700 miles but our Olympia/Portland screenings could only be booked back-to-back, due to theater availability and there was no way we could make 140 miles at night, so Jake was there to take us home. We were unconscious in no time during the drive, dreaming of our beds, which felt just as good as a dream when we got in them at about 1am.
Thanks, Helen Thornton for letting us screen at the Capitol. See you in Portland!