He could pass his time around some other line
but you know he chose this place beside her,
Don't get in the way, there's nothing you can say
nothing that you need to add or do ...
The Grateful Dead, 'Love Each Other', 1973
After getting off the Green Tortoise in the Autumn of 1989, living in one place in San Francisco seemed very slow and unexciting. The slow life in one place was exactly what I was looking for though; I had worked hard to break free of the ties that held me down and travel all the time. Now I had lived it and I'd had enough.
I got a retail job selling power tools to get myself off the road while Jules worked at a restaurant in San Francisco. We talked a lot about what to do next and both agreed that The Bay Area was too expensive for us to live in comfortably on service jobs, let alone get enough financial breathing room to pursue school or other interests. Once again, it was time to make a plan only this time I was making it with someone else.
Jules had recently left The Midwest and wasn't looking to go back. I had left the East Coast and wasn't looking to move back either. We both liked The West Coast, but would need to move north or south from San Francisco to find a place that had what we wanted.
The Best of East and West
After seeing the whole country I had thought for a long time that the Pacific Northwest was the area that I liked the most. It combined the more open, 'alternative' West Coast spirit; but without being so 'off the deep end' as California could be. There was some respect for tradition and sense of the value of the past, but not to the confining extreme that I saw in New England. This seemed like the place that combined what I liked about the various places that I lived. It had beautiful neighborhoods, inexpensive housing (compared to San Francisco) and a growing economy. It was also in a beautiful corner of the country with oceans, forests, and mountains all around.
I had rented a room there while I was driving The Tortoise, had felt very at home, and had taken Jules to visit once. That visit, combined with wanting to leave San Francisco, was enough to convince her that we should give Seattle a try.
Moving to Seattle
Jules & I
1st & Virginia
We worked in San Francisco for 6 months to save money, then we bid our 6 roommates goodbye, loaded up her '73 Toyota Corolla, put the rest of our things in the basement of our rented house, and headed north to Seattle. We had a couple of connections there, but neither of us had jobs and we had no place to live. On arrival in April of 1990 we stayed first with friends of friends from the Bay Area on Whidbey Island, driving down to spend long days looking at apartments in the pouring rain getting lost on Seattle's winding streets and crazy hills.
Finding a Home
After days and days of looking at horrible boxes of apartments built in the 1970's we happened upon a vacancy in a classic, old two storey apartment building from the turn of the century, positioned directly across the street from The Buckaroo Tavern, where I would later get a job tending bar.
The Last Waltz
Now that our home was secured I drove two final Tortoise trips between San Francisco and Seattle to fetch our belongings from storage. With our boxes tied to the roof of the bus I savored my last hours behind the wheel.
After dropping the passengers at the usual stop in downtown Seattle, I drove the bus north to our apartment building. We unloading our boxes and I thanked my last co-driver for taking the detour to finish our move. Standing on the curb with Jules waving goodbye to the bus I knew at that moment that something huge was ending for me. When it was out of sight we stepped into our new home.