Saturday, July 24, 2010


My first really memorable moment on today’s Tour de Water Tower Deux was in West Seattle after me and a Native American guy on a Harley-Davidson both almost got creamed by a sedan turning left; he shook his helmeted head in mutual wonder and asked, “You know what you get when you cross prune juice and holy water?”

“A faster way to heaven?” I ventured.

“A religious movement,” he said and took off.

But there were many more on a four and a half-hour bike ride to, as one wag put it, “all the places you don’t want to ride to.,” although taken all together, it turns out you wouldn’t want to miss one…well, maybe two.

I was quite pleased with my route in Magnolia, in contrast to last year, when it was my true Beef Wellington; I took the way around instead of up and over and up and over.

But it would have been a real mistake to follow my route from Magnolia to Phinney Ridge; the disclosure that it began with, “I walked my bike over the locks” elicited chuckles right from the start. Then, I somehow got it into my head that the direct approach would be the quickest. Fortunately, at least, there are corrugations in the concrete so when you walk your bike up, your feet don’t slip.

On the other hand, I learned my lesson and took the low road across town and arrived at the lovely Maple Leaf watertower in plenty of mood for a quick can of beer at the Reservoir Tavern (thereby, I’m pretty sure, securing the honor of DFL, which earned me a Core Malt Liquor!) and got to experience, at last, that I was racing, as I shot past kids with training wheels on the Burke-Gilman.

Every watertower reflects its neighborhood: Queen Anne is vaguely mediaeval; West Seattle well-planned; Phinney just sits there; Capitol Hill has other things to appreciate; and Magnolia—you just have to know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have discovered your blog a couple days ago, and am enjoying it. One gets a very different view from the road. I would add about watertowers, that Capitol Hill has the best one. It used to be a great viewing tower, the original space needle of Seattle, and the Olmsteads went there first before laying out the town. The trees have grown up since, so viewing isn't that great, but it used to be an axis point of all that went on in the city. The original road of the area came over the Duwamish Ridge (through Sea-Tac) down into South Park, over the 14th Ave. S bridge, across Boeing field (Georgetown Steamplant sits on this road) up past the old VA hospital, up 14th Ave. S, directly to the watertower. This route was the main axis of the City at one time. There are about four circles around the watertower to emphasize the importance of the datum point, and to remind the people of the city about whats important.

8:04 AM  

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