Thursday, July 12, 2012

sound of the heart

Consider the Salish Sea -- its mild and placid aspect, its small extent, and its former richness, severely compromised these days, I'm sorry to say, primarily by runoff from automobile exhaust and brake linings. But it can and will come back.

Today I had to travel to Seattle from Port Orchard, which is in the lower-left or southwest corner of the map. I've been there taking care of my sister's cat while she and sister #2 are in Hawaii.

Leaving the house at 6 a.m., I motored up the pleasant little freeway they have on this side of the water to Poulsbo, then took the two-lane road east to Kingston to catch the boat. Along that road, about mid-way between Poulsbo and Kingston, right by the turnoff for Port Gamble, is C.B.'s Nuts, which has the best peanut butter on the planet, or at least the best this old peanut-butter-eater has ever had, and everything else to do with nuts.

To give you some idea of distance, the drive from Port Orchard to Kingston is about 40 minutes. I could have caught a closer ferry, but I wanted to stop by my apartment in north Seattle, and the Kingston-Edmonds ferry run enables me to avoid a lot of sweaty-palms traffic in town. If you've never driven in Seattle, you need to know it's "challenging" -- to put it charitably.

After the half-hour, fog-enshrouded crossing to Edmonds, during which the captain intermittently blew the boat's loud, sort of beery baritone horn, I was in my apartment in Greenwood (Just south of the "h" in "Shoreline") by 8:00, where I took in the mail and watered my plants. Then it was off to the heart of Ballard, one of the oldest and best-preserved parts of town, to teach a 9:30 yoga class at the Ballard Senior Center. That was much fun, teaching a lively and mostly very fit group, and by 11:00 I was back in the car headed east, looking to get onto the southbound roadway of Aurora Avenue -- good old 99.

You'd think it would be easy -- just drive east from Ballard -- but there are few if any continuous east-west corridors in Seattle. The town is an isthmus, and even arterials which begin by running east-west fall prey sooner or later to an uncontrollable urge to turn north and south.

By 11:00 I was on 99 headed south, over the old, soon-to-be-replaced Aurora Bridge over the ship canal, then sped under the congestion of downtown Seattle in the tunnel, cruised down the old Viaduct, which these days is always under either construction or destruction, I can never tell which, came to a fork in the road and followed Yogi Berra's advice (i.e., I took it!), and motored over the bridge spanning the Duwamish Waterway to West Seattle, which is the little square-headed peninsula just to the southwest of the "S" in "Seattle."

And there I caught an 11:40 boat from the Fauntleroy Pier at Lincoln Park, and after touching at Vashon Island, most of which is cut off on this map by the lower frame, we proceeded to Southworth, south-southwest of little Blake Island, and the straight and easy road to Port Orchard.

Got home at 1:00, so seven hours from door slam to door slam. Without the yoga class you could do it in four or five, and on a beautiful day like this it would make a nice day trip for someone unfamiliar with the area who wanted to get a hands-on feel for local geography.

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