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The weather 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 home.
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.