SEATTLE— I rolled on with matted hair and baggy eyes and the memory of a shower that’s four days old. “Go west, young man,” the stories told. So I did.
Now, there’s nowhere west to go.
“Rock still lives here.” The thought crossed my mind as the wheels pounded pavement down I-90. A few hours earlier, I was watching the volcanic specter of Mount Rainer rise over the central Washington horizon. Now, I was just minutes away from the city of Grohl, Cobain, Vedder, Staley and Cornell.
My brother, I thought, would die to be here. The list starts with Nirvana and Pearl Jam before rounding its way out with Alice in Chains and the Foo Fighters. When minor bands from your town include Minus the Bear and Band of Horses, your music scene is something serious.
I loaded up Spotify, cranked the volume to 11 and hit the iconic drum intro to “My Hero.”
I-90 faded into the rearview.
I’m greeted in Burien by an office I’ve never been to, by a desk I’ve never met. This quiet Seattle suburb is the place that started my journey: specifically, the journey began in third floor of an office building beside the salty air of the Puget Sound. A few months ago, the primary owner of FTR (my main gig) invited me to a beachside house for a few days of exploration and strategery. I’m not sure he envisioned a 5,000 mile road trip when he extended the invite, but here I am.
We’ll spend the next few days canvasing the greater Seattle area in search of stories, scenery and a smorgasbord of dungeness crab. 900 feet of water lie just a few hundred yards from my bed tonight. Season opens And, oh yeah, I actually have a bed tonight. Also, a shower.
Even by Seattle seafood standards, the dungeness are a treat. The game plan is to hit the ground running tomorrow, set pots in the afternoon and hopefully collect our winnings before nightfall. If we succeed, a feast will ensue. If we fail…well, we won’t. We’re parked on a main shipping channel between North America and Asia. Freighters have been cruising through all night. Boss man says the dungeness will be under them. Sometimes, he says, 20-pound king salmon are too—not to mention the occasional orca.
The Emerald City marks the end of the first leg of my journey. I wrote some on that earlier, but the bittersweet feeling from last night has quickly turned into excitement. Another world of exploration is ahead of me. I’ve still yet to take in the real sights of Seattle, though I’ve been taking in the sounds for most of my life.
“Yeah…the guy from Pearl Jam…my friend plays keyboard with him sometimes. He once did a gig with Jimmy Page,” quips a new friend at tonight’s dinner party. (Happy 62nd birthday, Larry!)
“Oh. The guy from Alice in Chains…the singer. We saw him walking our dog one day, then the next day he was on the same flight,” adds boss man.
“Kurt Cobain’s house? Sure, you can go there,” adds his wife.
“Where am I?” asks my brain.
…On the Puget Sound, staring dumbstruck at a glowing Mount Rainier. It’s the second time today I’ve seen the peak shine—first alight in orange at dawn; now, clad in purple at dusk.
Sometimes I wake up in strange places. Tomorrow, I can’t wait to explore.