40th Birthday Excursion - Day 1

My wife Janelle asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday – some suggestions: (a) a trip to some warm exotic location, (b) a fun weekend in Las Vegas, or (c) a night out on the town to soak up food, entertainment and a 4-star hotel in downtown Seattle? I passed on all the above.

My 40th birthday wish was simple – I wanted “time” with my family, unobstructed by our normal lives. Good clean fun, games, entertainment and conversation together. I suggested [and eventually coaxed my family into] a leisurely 5-day cycling trip from Seattle to Portland. 200+ miles together: no email, yard work, soccer games or other obligations to distract from my birthday celebration. Given my birthday is May 29th, we leveraged the long, Memorial-day weekend, plus a couple of vacation days for good measure. Naturally, we don’t like to rush when we cycle. We like to stop and have a glass of wine, spontaneously drop in on a flea market, or peruse antique stores en route.

We departed Seattle mid-day on Thursday, with spotty clouds threatening rain. We cycled from our front door, 3 blocks down the hill to the Burke Gilman trail, along the north shore of Lake Union/Portage Bay, before heading south along Lake Washington.

We were making good time, and getting back into “gear” (just like cycling across Europe). The sun broke through the clouds as we made our way along South Lake Washington and I was enjoying the moment. Then phew! – Anthony got a flat tire as we entered Renton (thanks to some metal debris on the road). Fortunately, I was ready for a quick repair job (4 more spares in my pannier), and the friendly Renton Midas car repair shop gladly allowed us to use their air compressor for a quick, air refill. Thank you Midas!

Thereafter, we jumped onto the Interurban trail in Tukwila and headed south through Kent and Auburn. It was casual ride on a wide, safe bike trail that afforded us time to just talk and soak up the environment. Eventually we landed at the Sumner Holiday Inn Express for our first night sleep (about 35 miles in on our first day). We ordered pizza to the hotel, swam in the pool, and relaxed our muscles in the hot tub. Relief! It was a great spot to unwind, right off the Interurban trail. Day one accomplished. We were on our way.

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