Seattle deserves a lot more time than we allowed ourselves there, but with a Kamikaze agenda, we hit enough bars and restaurants to give us a good taste of the seaside city. For me, downtown Seattle means Pike’s Market on the waterfront. You could spend a whole day wandering through the dozens of shops in buildings on both sides of the street, and not see it all.
So far, Ruby has carried us (Ed, Cathryn and Axle) over 3,200 miles…that’s about 5,000 Kanadian miles, from Windsor, Ontario, to Surrey, British Columbia. She’s resting in the garage as I write this, but has an appointment at the hawg dealership tomorrow, for a new front tire, oil change, and minor damage repair from a hitting a bad pot hole somewhere out there. Yes, Tim, the Harley made it all the way across the country…just follow my oil slick.
Although it’s been nice to get off the bike for a few days, we’ll be back on her soon enough, heading to Seattle next, to visit an old friend. We’ve had a mixed bag of weather, but none of it bad enough to stop us. A couple of close lightening strikes did give me pause.
If anyone`s ever seen the movie, “How the West was Won,“ it paints a pretty vivid picture of how people moved west across the country in search of land or fame and fortune. In those days folks had to travel by riverboat and horseback to reach the wild west. Cathryn and I did it by motorcycle.
Whether it’s Deadwood, South Dakota, middle of nowhere Minnesota, or a gas station on the highway, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked a question and have received the response, “I don’t know, I’m not from here.” Isn’t anyone from where they are anymore?
Milwaukee, Wisconsin…home of the Brewers. And I don’t mean the baseball team. Shlitz, Blatz, and Pabst put Milwaukee on the beer map years ago. The Harley Davidson Museum is now a tourist attraction for motorcycle riders from all parts of the globe. They have their world headquarters and a factory there.
The old brewery buildings downtown have been converted to upscale condominiums. The city also converted other industrial buildings along the river into trendy shops and restaurants, creating the River Walk. It was hard to look at the old brewery buildings and not think about Laverne and Shirley.
Milwaukee was our first stop on our cross-country motorcycle trip. Our friends Greg and Brenda made the first leg of the ride with us and did the museum tour at HD. Cathryn tried out one of the bikes to get the real feel of riding a hawg, then her and I took a ride along the lakefront, where they set had off 4th of July fireworks the night before.
We stayed in the Astor, an old hotel downtown that has been refurbished to include trendy apartments.
For this year’s annual bike trip the S.O.B.’s did a run up to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and then back. Our total damage was just over 1100 miles in four days.
We had an extra biker this year, Karl, who joined Tim, Devin, Chris, and myself (Papa Bear). The destination is different every year, this trip was planned by Chris and Tim. Our departure on Thursday morning was delayed by the late arrival of the boys from Michigan, but they made a pickup at the duty free shop in the way of an apology.
It was almost lunch time when we met Karl for breakfast at the Country Diner on Manning near County Road 42. With our bellies full, and a big blue sky looking down on us, we slipped into the middle lane on the 401. Our first stop was at Earl’s, in London, where the beer was cold and waitresses hot.
The ride along the 401, 407, and 400 were boring, but light traffic and perfect weather helped the world become a better place. Chris had his heart set on dinner at Weber’s, near Wonderland, but the rest of us would have preferred a sit-down restaurant with the option of another beer.
Since I started posting pictures of doors that I’ve taken from different places around the world, I have noticed that I’m not the only admirer. In honor of all you door fans out there, I’m posting another excerpt from my book, A Casual Traveler.
A recent visit to see Cityline in Toronto brought the girls and I to Yorkville. We discovered that a favorite restaurant named Ciao, at 133 Yorkville Avenue, has been renamed Cibo Wine Bar. It did not disappoint. I was pleased to hear that there now is a Cibo Wine Bar on King Street as well.The place is huge, among the other posh eating establishments in Yorkville. Cibo is trendy and loud, but the whole atmosphere is vibrant.
CARPACCIO – thinly sliced raw beef, arugula, shavings of parmigiano.
The ride from Santiago to Valparaiso was uneventful in comparison to some of my Asian bus adventures. I had planned to ride the Train del Vino while in Santiago, but it only ran on Saturdays. I arrived on a Monday, and didn’t want to stay in town that long.
I’m a true wino at heart, and also planned on touring some Chilean wineries, but as fate would have it, I had to settle for doing my tasting in restaurants. To put it simply, I found Santiago was just too big and busy and noisy, and just not where I wanted to be at that point in my South American adventure.
Don’t get me wrong, I was impressed by the colonial architecture, and I know the city has many things to offer, but I just wasn’t in the big city mood. I needed something smaller, and more laid back. Valparaiso turned out to be just the place.
On the bus, I sat beside a local guy, who appeared to be around my age. We struggled to communicate in broken English and Spanish. I gathered that he was retired from the Chilean navy, and proud of his prior service. He was married, with children, and he lived in Valparaiso.
He was curious about my plans and exact destination, but we couldn’t place it on the city map. He used his cell phone, and called someone to Google the street I was looking for. I had previously selected a couple of hotels, up in the hills above town, that were in my guidebook. The retired navy man seemed obliged to get me there. Silence eventually crept over both of us, and we nodded off for a bit.
The city of Valparaiso took advantage of its position on the Pacific Ocean, by becoming a major shipping port. In it’s heyday, before the opening of the Panama Canal, it was an important stopover for ships on their way around the bottom tip of South America.