Or clueless? And sleepless actually. I haven’t been sleeping well. Can you get jet lag while driving? Seriously. I slept fine all through the eastern states. As soon as I hit California, my sleep number (I have an app on my phone and watch) plummeted. 1,000 is perfect–I have no idea how they compute it. I was averaging in the high 700’s. I hit a few night’s in the 200’s, and my average has dropped from high 4 to low 500’s.

But I finally jumped off the highways and bridges and went downtown. I don’t think Mother Nature enjoyed my joke about women and Mt. St. Helens. As soon as I started across the bridge, I knew it was a bad day for sightseeing. A blanket of smoke had been thrown over the city. Oregon is on fire and parts of eastern Washington. Walking outside now is almost as bad as when I was in Colorado, like stepping into a backyard with a bonfire.

It was weird too. I was talking about with some friends that had me over for dinner a couple nights ago. The smoke came in between one moment and the next. When I first arrived here, it was fine. I took a long walk down to a restaurant. I walked back and everything was still fine. I went to my room, traded my shoes for my slippers, and went out into the courtyard. There was a hazy smoke. I thought the hotel had the firepit on and went in and asked them to turn it off. It wasn’t on. But it happened that quick. And it has gotten worse since.

My body told me to slow down and rest and now the universe is telling me to get back on the road. I’m skipping my last night here and heading north in the morning.

But Seattle. It really is a shame. It is such a beautiful and interesting city. The closest I can come is a mixture between Philadelphia and Venice though that really doesn’t do it justice. It has the older city feel and organization, and then with all of the waterfronts there are just so many walking and biking paths, foot bridges and art. There are tiny little neighborhoods tucked away and hidden places. I was at a coffee house in what seemed to be a run down neighborhood. I saw all of these expensive cars coming from around the back of this huge, old red brick warehouse type building next to the highway. I walked around and found a row of shops, an underground parking garage and spoke to a local. There were open studios inside: the warehouse had been converted.

If I had walked the waterfront on any other day, I would have seen houses all along the other bank. I just saw smoke and by the end of my walk, I couldn’t see that far across the water. Of course I went to the Space Needle but I didn’t bother going up. With all of the smoke, the wait seemed pointless. But I did find a great sushi restaurant, again, in what seemed to be a rundown neighborhood.

The noise from the city and highways was interesting to me. In some cities I am in, the noise disappears in certain places. In others, it’s just annoying. Here in Seattle, whether I was near the buildings or walking along the waterfront, it just kind of blended in to a white noise background if that makes any sense?

I liked Seattle. I had seen a lot from my drives and more when I was visiting friends. And they seem to be doing Covid right. Most states suck at Covid and the outdoors. Washington doesn’t. There was this sign and others like it. One read “a crowded park means a closed park so keep it moving.” It’s like “it’s up to you; play nice and you can have nice things.”

Covid testing was spot on as well. I did a drive through and had that thing shoved up my nose and tickling my frontal lobe again. I was emailed a questionnaire, a satisfaction survey. What can you really write about a procedure that makes you look forward to any other uncomfortable procedure? I gave them five stars. I dealt with four people driving up and through a converted firehouse with three lanes. Every single person made me laugh and smile, even the one jabbing the thing up my nose. They made me feel comfortable in a way the other testing center did not. In a way that a lot of other places did not.

It did make me wonder about something that I really need to talk to a doctor about. My friends who had me over for dinner said a friend of their went to a drive through where they did a self test. There was no discomfort, my friends were told. Easy peasey. My test, done by somebody else, was just as uncomfortable as the first one. So it makes me wonder about the self tests? I know, for a fact, that the test done on me went way past the point that I could have done on my own. How far do you have to go? What do the swabs capture? Were my testers sadists? Am I just a sissy? Or are the self tests pointless?

Aye, I’ve shoved things up my nose before. I was a little boy once. The depth of the swab went past the point that I could have tolerated doing it on my own. It begs the question.

I’ll be back. The waterways and Olympic Peninsula are on my bucket list. But it’s time to be motion again. The car is repacked along with the additions of a full sized spare and a 5 gallon gas jug that I’ll fill up before I hit the Canadian border on Sunday or Monday. I think I need another Covid test as well as I don’t think the one I got will be valid when I get to Alaska–it needs to be within three days.

I have some hard driving in front of me. After tomorrow. After, hopefully, seeing something I have always wanted to see: orcas in their natural environment.

I saw a meme once that said one thing is common to every household in America and possibly the world: a junk drawer. We don’t what is inside of it but can’t seem to clean it out. Well, repacking my car, I realized I have a junk bag. I’m with you America. From the road.