Notes from the Road: I’ve Seen America with My Clothes On

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

As I’ve mentioned before, periods of incredible pain and bad luck in my life are followed with periods of amazing good fortune. After landing in Snoqualmie, on the fringe of Seattle’s eastern exurbs, I not only found myself up $20 and a free dinner, but free bus fare to Seattle.

Here are some pictures from the last few days of my trip.

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Assorted shots of downtown Seattle, taken while I was still in aftershock from the events of the past two hours. It’s a surprisingly hilly city, but otherwise what you’d expect from a SWPL-heavy city with few undesirables; clean streets, cheery (if cliquish) locals, expansive mass transit, cool shops.

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, just south of downtown.

International District, Seattle, Washington

International District, Seattle, Washington

International District, Seattle, Washington

International District, Seattle, Washington

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International District, Seattle, Washington

The International District, known as Chinatown before the Japanese got uppity. This was where I stayed, and also where W.F. Price met me for a beer and filled me in on the city. Seattle’s Chinatown is easily the best I’ve ever been to (though I haven’t been to San Francisco), with a wide variety of cafes, bars and markets. Worth visiting is Uwajimaya, a Japanese supermarket with a wide variety of bizarre Asian products, such as Pocari Sweat and roasted seaweed.

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CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington

CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks play.

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Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

More of Pioneer Square. The day after I landed in Seattle was also the day that the ballot proposal legalizing marijuana came into effect. You could literally smell it around the entire city that day.

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Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

The docks, where carnival games and rides can be found year-round, along with overpriced seafood. Ain’t it nice being in a place with no seasons?

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Port of Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Inside Miners Landing, which features several nice restaurants, a carousel and a gift shop.

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

Did I mention that the ballot proposition legalizing gay marriage also came into effect the day after I came to Seattle?

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

The Space Needle in all its futuristic glory, along with nearby sights.

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

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Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

The city’s skyline as viewed from the top of the Needle. Unlike the Empire State Building or the Sears Willis Tower, you can visit the Space Needle at night. The observation deck even has a bar!

Yep, everything is better out West.

Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington

South-Lake Union, Seattle, Washington

Cascade, Seattle, Washington

Cascade, Seattle, Washington

Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

Capitol Hill, Seattle, Washington

Various shots of the neighborhoods to the east of the Needle. Capitol Hill is noted as a young professional’s hangout.

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Yesler Terrace, Seattle, Washington

Looking out onto I-5 towards Vancouver.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

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Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington

The Pike Place Market, ordinarily a bustling hub of curios and commerce. I took these pictures after dark, when most of the shops were closed.

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

Downtown, Seattle, Washington

A Christmas caroling competition that went down downtown. Oddly for a city of its size, Seattle has a weird small-town atmosphere, where you get the impression that people are tighter and better acquainted than people in a large city would ordinarily be.

First Hill, Seattle, Washington

First Hill, Seattle, Washington

Are you experienced? Now you are.

Denny Blaine Park, Seattle, Washington

Denny Blaine Park, Seattle, Washington

Denny Blaine Park, Seattle, Washington

Denny Blaine Park, Seattle, Washington

Denny Blaine Park, Seattle, Washington

Denny Blaine Park, Seattle, Washington

Looking out on Lake Washington from the nicer parts of town. The guy who picked me up heading south to Portland was on a trip to visit the various sites where famous rock stars died. This park is across the way from the house where Kurt Cobain blew his brains out.

I shit you not.

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

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Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

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Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

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Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

A bench in nearby Viretta Park, which has been transformed into an impromptu shrine to the fallen God of Grunge. There are two benches in the park that are covered in tributes and goodbye notes to Cobain, either scrawled out in marker or etched in the wood with pocketknives.

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

A wider shot of Viretta Park. There isn’t much to it; it’s the size of an average city house backyard. The house that Cobain lived in is right next door.

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

For some fans of Nirvana, merely scrawling “RIP Kurt” on a bench isn’t enough; they have to tape an offering to the altar. Coins and guitar picks are the most common, but I also found a shredded pair of panties, some hair bands and a love letter. Despite Seattle’s rainy weather, these items manage to stay firmly attached.

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

Viretta Park, Seattle, Washington

The other bench, which has far less graffiti. Viretta Park is a fairly popular tourist spot; while me and my buddy were there, we met a good dozen pilgrims there to pay their respects.

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Broadway, Seattle, Washington

Broadway, Seattle, Washington

Broadway, Seattle, Washington

Some panoramic shots of downtown going south on I-5.

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

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Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

Lakewood, on the southern edge of Tacoma, where the military meatheads and blue-collar types dwell. Not the most fun place to get dropped off, but those evergreen trees sure are purty.

Olympia, Washington

Olympia, Washington

The outer edge of Olympia, which I spent very little time in, having tired of the grind.

Napavine, Washington

Napavine, Washington

Napavine, where I was stranded… or at least I thought I was, before I was rescued out of the blue at nine o’clock at night.

Downtown, Portland, Oregon

Downtown, Portland, Oregon

And that closes the book on this trip. I will, of course, be writing more when my book is finished and available. Look for it this summer.

Read Next: Notes from the Road: From Chicago to Milwaukee with Fatigue

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