The Emerald City (Day 17: Seattle, WA [Daily miles – 0; Total miles – 5538])

September 24, 2012:

You know when you come up with what seems like a great idea during a night out on the town only to wake up and wonder how in the world you could ever have done such things?  And what about those times when you make a bet that seems all well and good after you’ve had a few drinks but the next morning doesn’t seem so fun anymore?

Take, for example, Tony Hawks.  Tony got drunk one night and bet a friend of his that he could hitchhike around Ireland with a Refrigerator in tow (‘Round Ireland With a Fridge).

Or how about William Bonner, a 36-year old who bet his friends that he could light his head on fire using Bacardi 151 as the fuel (watch on YouTube)?

My bet may not have been quite as extreme as either of those, but it was starting to wear on me.  And after seeing the face of my good friend Mr. Michael Ehlers upon walking through his door last night, I could tell that it was time I lost my bet.

You see, a few days before starting out on this adventure of mine I had gone to dinner and had a few drinks with another good friend of mine, Kyrill.  Seeing as though I would be becoming a vagabond for the next few months, Kyrill thought it only fitting to have me not shave until I returned to “normal society.”  With alcohol seeping through my veins, I figured this was a great idea and promptly shook on the $20 bet.

Fast-forward to the present day and my motorcycle helmet has become increasingly tighter and itchier than I would have imaged.  Couple that with the look of disgust on Mike and Annie’s faces (Annie is his girlfriend) last night and I knew my bet had to come to an end.  It was time I shaved the monstrosity off.  In doing so, I came up with a new rule of my own.  I would still lose the bet, that was a given, but I decided that I would only allow myself a shave at each of the four corners of the country.  Good thing for me I had made it to the first, so off with the beard it was!

Just kidding, that look is reserved for the one and only Paul Sr. (I think I could pull it off though, don’t you?!)

After a grueling 30-minute shave (it’s not easy getting all that hair off), I proceeded to spend the next 5 hours procrastinating and trying to update the blog.  Mike got home at around 4 and we quickly went up to the roof to take in a view of the city while washing it down with some cold ones.

We then went to meet up with Annie.  As soon as we stepped onto the street, I noticed a homeless guy at an intersection holding a cardboard sing.  As we crossed the street, a homeless woman also carrying a sign walked into the same intersection. The guy who was there first was not happy, and the two of them proceeded to enter into a primal territorial clash.  We didn’t stay to watch the result and instead hurried along to go find Anne in the hopes of seeing the flying fish at Pikes Place Market before they closed.  When we got there, sure enough it had closed.  But not to worry, we kept on walking and stumbled upon a shop that was selling bags of miniature donuts:

Me: “Ooo, what do we have here?”

Shop Keep: “These are ‘name your price donuts.”

Mike: “Why are they name your price?”

Shop Keep: “Because I’ve stopped caring and my cash register just went upstairs.”

Me: “Well, guess we might as well get one then.”

Mike: “What kind do you have?”

Shop Keep: “I’ve got maple with bacon, regular maple, plain, and some powdered sugar”

Annie: “Maple with bacon sounds good!”

Mike (to shop keep): “How much?”

Shop Keep: “Umm, they’re name your price donuts”

Me: “I don’t know what a fair price should be”

Shop Keep: “Whatever they’re worth to you”

Me: “$3…?”

Shop Keep: “Sounds good”

Mike: “Out of curiosity, how much were they actually?”

Shop Keep: “That’s actually a pretty super deal.  They would be like 10 dollars normally.”

Mike (to me): “I would have said like $1300, so I’m glad I let you do the negotiating.”

Me (to Shop Keep): “Hmmm, you don’t have a cash register, do you? All I have is 2 singles or a 20.”

Shop Keep: “haha, ok $2 it is!”

With a bag of donuts in hand, we thought it was time we started the evening agenda.  A bar near the market seemed the perfect place to pick up a drink or two prior to our reservation at Tavalota.  The view of the Puget Sound was incredible, but the drinks weren’t the best.  Annie ordered a cocktail that was a bit too sweet for her (or my or Mike’s) liking.  Mike enjoyed his drink and it turned out that the waitress gave me mine on the house.  It was the first time anyone had ordered it and the bartender used me as her guinea pig.  It was way too strong, but it was free — I couldn’t complain!

I think this is super manly, don’t you?

During this time, we had all been enjoying the bag of donuts we had purchased, but you can only have so much before you begin to feel the need to purge it from your system, if you catch my drift.  Mike and Annie didn’t understand the need, but with over half a bag left I couldn’t bring myself to throw them all away.  I was determined to find a homeless person to give them to and make their day.  The two from earlier in the evening stuck out in my mind, and I hoped we would pass them on the way to dinner.

Surprisingly, in the 20 minutes it took us to walk to the neighborhood of the restaurant, we failed to find a single homeless person to give the donuts to.  I was not ready to give up on my mission quite yet, so when we found a bar called Rob Roy across the street from the restaurant and decided to go in, I figured I would bring the donuts in with us for safe keeping until later.   While in the bar, Mike introduced me to my very first Manhattan.  I liked it, even though it basically just tasted like scotch to me.  But the best part about this place wasn’t the drinks.  It was the free goldfish crackers they had on the table.

Soon it was time to leave and head on over to Tavalota for dinner.  While walking across the street I heard a sharp yell calling out from behind us: “Did you forget your bag of donuts here or did you leave them on the table on purpose?”  “Oops,” I responded.  “They were for the homeless, but you can just throw them out.”

So, turns out our name your price donuts served three purposes on the night: (1) Filled us up to the point of throwing up; (2) Allowed us to fail at feeding the homeless; (3) Made a waitress hate us.  But they sure were good, and a great deal!

When we sat down at Tavalota, the waitress handed us some menus and Mike proceeded to grab them out of our hands and placed them face down on the table.  A rule with dining with Mike is you’re not allowed to look at the menu until you’ve had at least one cocktail.  It’s called “taking a lap.”  I had never heard of this before, and although we had already warmed up a bit before getting to the restaurant, Mike said it didn’t count and we still needed at least one lap before ordering.  Of course, I was happy to oblige, and I liked the idea since it gave us all time to talk without interruption.

The food was incredibly delicious, but when the bill came we were a little surprised.  We had ordered 9 Manhattans between the three of us by the end of the night and when we did the math we came to the realization that they charged us $14 per drink.  Even in Manhattan a Manhattan shouldn’t cost that much!  But who were we to put a price on good food and good company, so we paid the bill before walking Annie back to her apartment.

During the evening we discovered that it had been two years since Mike and I had seen one another, so although anyone else looking at us would have known we had had enough to drink already, we figured it was wise to head out to yet another bar.

And that’s where my night ends.  Or at least where my memory of the night ends.  All I know is that we eventually made it back to the apartment where I passed out fully clothed on the couch and didn’t awake until the next morning when Mike got up to leave for work (It was a Monday night, after all).

Three things that I have to say before ending this post:

1. Today was only the second day that I have not been on the road since I left home 17 days ago.  It felt good to be able to rest, do some laundry, and catch up with old friends.

2. Mike and Annie – Thanks very much for your hospitality.  Annie, it was great getting the chance to meet you.  Mike, no way we can let another 2 years go by without seeing each other.   Had a ton of fun with you guys!  Glad it worked out that I was able to see you on this adventure of mine!

3. One thing that I didn’t know how to fit in but feel the need to say since Mike so kindly reminded me of it is that my idea of needing to have a destination in each state was actually not my idea.  The concept came from him during one of our heated road trip debates from summers past.  I do have to give credit where credit is due and thank Mike for his contributions and wisdom.

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