turned hot. It was the beginning of the Labor Day weekend. People were moving
north, heading to the mountains or to the ocean. I couldn't blame them. It was
the perfect day to go out and do something like that.
The road going
south was just as crowded. Everyone was going somewhere, it seemed. The miles
to the Tacoma Narrows bridge were tiring, but they went fast. I was now able to
see Mount Rainier, a delight to the eyes. I love the look of a mountain. It
makes you give the planet Earth the respect you owe it. Things like that really
let you know who's boss. After all, can a man build a Mount Rainier? Certainly
not. And I would hate to see the day when he tries.
Soon, I could see
the towers of the Narrows bridge. Then I was there, and across.
I met Mom at the
base of the bridge in a park. She had gotten us a motel in downtown Tacoma,
still seven miles away. We talked about the bridge and how much it looked like
the Golden Gate. Only the Narrows bridge was green, not orange like the Gate.
It was pretty, even if it was manmade.
I took my time
running to the motel, mainly because I love to look around. I passed a stadium
where a crowd was flocking to see a baseball game. I ran through a small
section of thick trees. Then came the houses and buildings, everything a city
has. Cars, roads galore, and now, a real freeway. It was Interstate 5, the same
freeway that passes no more than a quarter mile from my home in Del Mar. I
hadn't seen this freeway since leaving San Clemente on the fifth of July. It
seemed strange that this hunk of concrete would bring me within a spit of my
I went to bed
happy, in my 40-mile mood. I had gone that far this day, and would do the same
the next. Just ahead was Seattle, another landmark of the trip.
The next day I
arranged to meet Mom near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I wanted to
take a side trip to see the facility. Through all the hard going I never lost
my interest in airports, and planned on seeing this one.
When I got to the
Sea-Tac Airport, I couldn't find Mom. I knew she was nearby, but I didn't know
where, for we hadn't really picked a spot where we would meet. I decided to
tour the airport before spending more time searching for her.
Finally I went
back to Highway 99 that ran parallel to the airport, looking for Mom. I didn't
have any luck and didn't know what to do. I went back and forth. Still no luck.
So I decided I would go on to Seattle and worry about it later. I wanted to get
to Seattle before night came. As I ran I expected Mom to come driving by any
minute, but she never did. I would stop every so often and look to the south,
to see if she was coming. But she never did. Before I knew it I saw the famous
Space Needle in the distance. It was another landmark to be passed. Although I
was worried about Mom, I was thrilled to be near the Needle. It wasn't the
piece of metal itself, but just the fact that I was there, under my own steam.
It had taken two months.
I went into the
city, where there were thousands of people doing different things. I guess that
I looked pretty dumb in my little shorts, for I received some weird stares. But
I was too happy—and worried—to bother. I walked along the streets, going up and
down, trying to get used to the place. I headed for the Seattle Center, where
the 1962 World's Fair had been held. It was also the place where the Needle is.
I wanted to see that up close.