Day Four: Woodinville to South Park; Chairs, Directions, and Beer

Well that was a long day. We were happy to be joined once again by Denise for the start, and later joined by fellow chair-wheeler and route advisor extraordinaire Joe. It was great having them along, experiencing some real distance in their chairs.   There were some battery issues… sorry, Joe! Once in Seattle, we had the pleasure of the company of Shannon, who showed us around the excellent urban trails. Today really drove home the reality that there are so many people in wheelchairs that need access to safe transportation.

On the excellent Samamish trail in downtown Woodinville
On the excellent Samamish trail in downtown Woodinville

We also spent some time with King 5, who recorded a segment on my ride for the evening news. I must say I’m not used to this kind of “rock star” status, but it’s worth it to bring attention to this cause. The support we’ve received from everyone is very encouraging!

The trails were great, but I must say downtown Seattle was tough to navigate in my chair. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you’re trying to bring attention to the lack of accessibility, in which case I would highly recommend the services of at least two very competent cyclists as sidekicks.  Thanks, Josh Blaustein and Josh Sutcliffe!

We had some directional issues today, losing time and adding miles backtracking after missed turns. It’s not easy trying to follow a series of turns while in traffic. Fortunately we had the assistance from strangers and friends who have been following our journey along the way.

Another thing to consider when designing means of accessible transportation is the condition and smoothness of the road. Lots of bumps are really hard on a person’s body when traveling by chair. While frustrating and exhausting, I’m happy to report that spirits remain high with the whole team and we’re all having a good, if crazy, time.

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This leg of the journey was not without it’s casualties, however. The umbrella, which my mom thinks made me look like I was a hot dog cart, blew backwards for the final time. A big gust in the middle of downtown Seattle blew the umbrella inside out and broke several spokes. If anyone has one to spare, you’ll find me on my way to Puyallup. The sun was a little harsh, and I was glad the final miles were mostly in the shade. We had to cut it a few miles short after a long bumpy day. So my mom picked us up at the South Park Library and took us to The Odin Brewery for a much anticipated meal and beer.

Odin Brewery not only offered the promised libations, but also great company as we were joined by my good friend Jesse. We also had the unexpected pleasure of being introduced to the Mayor of Tukwila, Allen Ekberg, and Peter Kwon, a council member of Seatac. We talked a lot about making living communities more accessible to everyone, and I was happy to hear they were very supportive of such initiatives!

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The day ends at the house of another good friend, Kenny Salvini. Life ain’t so bad, sitting around eating S’mores and retelling tales of the day. See you on the road!

RIP, Umbrella
RIP, Umbrella