As the winter takes hold of our eastern escape route over the few Cascade Mountain passes in Washington State, my motorcycle trips become less frequent and typically shorter. I like to make more destination rides versus my typical routes of no particular plan. The no plan routes satisfy my wanderlust spring through fall. Winter requires a bit more ready work.
Destination trips typically include places to eat and warm up instead of soaking in the environment. Pike Place Market is just such a destination. This popular tourist attraction pulls people in from around the world. They come to see fish tossed, take in the city ambiance and find some good food to eat.
Now I agree with John Fogerty’s lyrics from Proud Mary, “I never saw the good side of the city until I hitched a ride on the river boat queen.” I’d of course trade the river boat for a motorcycle.
I’ll admit, when my wife and I first moved to Seattle, we did the tourist thing. In fact, it was quite enjoyable taking in Pike Place Market. That initial visit was great research beyond the typical attractions of the market overlooking Elliot Bay. Now I can ride through the massive year-round crowds, find a place to park the motorcycle, walk directly to a few select shops and quickly escape back to the open road.
Open road is a figurative term in downtown Seattle. The very geography that makes the Puget Sound area enticing for motorcyclists to explore, creates few good places to build roads. The lack of roads makes the Seattle area a tangled and gnarled mess of traffic.
It is good to be prepared for traffic backups in order to reduce their impact. It is also good to be on a motorcycle to better get around the traffic in the first place.
I hop in the carpool lane on I-5 and head south. As I move over to the express lanes laughter breaks out inside my HJC helmet as I pass the thousands of vehicles stuck in the typical Saturday backups. I mentally knock on wood to keep karma at bay. The express lanes have a carpool-only exit that drops you in downtown Seattle. From there it is a short trip to the famous market.
The narrow profile of my Suzuki V-Strom allows me to navigate the crowds and find a good spot to snap a Pike Place photo. I then roll down the steep hill that is Pike Place and find a better-suited parking spot. Cars are packed in tight on both sides of the road. Luckily, there is a spot that is mostly used for hand trucks and other random items that is perfect for motorcycles. A quick reordering of said tools and the V-strom rolls in nicely. How sweet, I just created a parking spot across the street from my true destination. Try that with a car. I would have driven around for 30 minutes in a car, only to find parking in an over-filled garage that charges $10 to park. Free parking on a motorcycle is good by me any day.
I bet you’re wondering why a person who isn’t fond of crowds would venture into Pike Place Market? I made the trek down here for the baked goodness that is Piroshky Piroshky. It is worth the effort. Piroshky Piroshky is a small bakery that opened in 1992 by the Kotelnikov family. According to their Web site, the word Piroshky originates from the Russian work “pir” which means feast. That is exactly what I do every time I go to this fine bakery. A piroshky is a baked or fried bun filled with a variety of fillings including, meat, vegetables or sweets. This time around I order a Bavarian sausage piroshky, apple cinnamon piroshky and a marzipan roll. The latter being my favorite item from the bakery to date. I still have many to try. Their menu boasts 27 varieties of this tasty bit of deliciousness.
The added bonus of this destination, is that I can be 100 percent certain of wife sign-off on the ride. She knows that she’ll also get to partake in the baked piroshky goodness when I arrive back home. She also likes that she doesn’t have to fight the wet coldness in the Seattle air while navigating the hustle-bustle of downtown to do it. I don’t mind it though… it is a ride destination worth the effort.
On the other hand, I can’t wait for spring. Bring on the open roads that are hundreds of miles from the hustle-bustle. Riverboat or not, I’d still take wilderness over cement jungle every time.
For more information on Piroshky Piroshky, visit their Web site at: www.piroshkybakery.com. Be sure to check out the photo gallery tab on the bottom, right side of the page.