May. 14th, 2017

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With a day of inactivity and travel ahead of me, I went out for one last run around Redmond, using it as an opportunity to check out the location of Bear Creek P&R — the starting point of the 545 Sound Transit bus to Seattle. Once I'd done that, I looped through Marymoor Park, out along the Sammamish River Trail, back though the old town and finally along Redmond Way to the hotel. I was impressed by quite how busy the Family Pancake House was; I guess this might be down to Mother's Day, but it was almost as busy yesterday, so I'm forced to conclude that I missed a trick by not going there!

After one last quick shop, I disposed of a few things I didn't want to take back with me, including my 3 year-old ASICS which were in the process of going into holes and had been brought precisely because they could be safely chucked at the end of the trip. I'd already managed to re-gift various parts of the conference goodie bag by returning them to the CUG Office — the mini power strip that when from a single US-style socket to two USBs and, less helpfully to me, two more US sockets — putting my return baggage weight in line with my departure weight.

(On the way out, as I was checking my hold baggage, the person at the desk noticed that my bag came it at around 7kg and congratulated me for travelling light. I replied that I didn't think I was and that I'd come to suspect my hand baggage, which contained both my camera and my brick of a laptop along with sundry other bits of lighter gadgetry, was actually heavier!)

The journey to SeaTac via public transport was actually pretty smooth. I checked out, walked the kilometre or so to Bear Creak bus stop, and caught the bus sometime after midday. Able to sit by a window, I watched with interest as 545 wound its way through Redmond and then on to the 520 and across Lake Washington to the city. Having scoped out the journey beforehand — thanks to T for making me aware of Rome2Rio — I stayed on the bus as it made its way along Stewart, I got off at 5th and Pine, turned left and found myself outside Westlake Station.

Westlake was something of a surprise: I bought a ticket for the Link and descended to the platforms, only to discover a bus waiting there. I thought somehow I'd gone to the wrong place, but the presence of rails and Link timetable reassured me. Not long after, a tram pulled in to the northbound platform, finally convincing me that I was in the right place. (A subsequent check on wikipedia confirmed that the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is used by two different types of public transport!)

The train arrived and, after a number of close stops in downtown, sped up as it went south past the stadiums and SoDo, west past Boeing Field, and through Tukwila — I think Intel have only just killed off Itanium! — and on to SeaTac, arriving with a hour in hand to check in. All in, I think the journey took a little over two hours and was as smooth as I could have wanted. I'm glad I didn't try and use public transport on the way out because I'm not sure I could've spared the time, but considering the difference in cost — it was a tenth of the price of a taxi! — it was well worth using for the return journey.

After spending a few hours at the airport, I made it through to my gate and we boarded dead-on 5pm. Despite the presence of a group of nerds clearly travelling back from Microsoft Build 2017, flight was nothing like full — they announced they had 184 passengers, well under the 300-odd capacity of the 787 — so we had plenty of room to spread out for the night.


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