Thanks goes to Angie, Matthew, and Sam for hosting me in Seattle. I see again why I could live there, it just has a good energy and having friends there helps. The beer, food, and company was good. Two weeks went by far too quickly and it was time to hit the road once again. Of course I was already worried that I would be behind the cold as it’s already over a week after I had left last time.
Riding the pacific coast a second time I won’t lie and say I’m not looking for a similar experience to what I had the last time through riding with 4 great people. I almost found a piece of it starting the trail north of Seattle I ran into a British couple who treated me to dinner at the Public House in celebration of finishing the Northern Tier (or my version of it.) Unfortunately the next day I was heading into Seattle while they continued on south.
Speaking of looking for a similar experince of last ride I did get a chance to catch up with Jay who met me at Lincoln City and shared a pizza while he recounted to me his exploits of the last couple of years and I talked about riding around the world. Great to catch up with one of the gang from the last ride.
I found the hills of Washington to be the hardest yet and Oregon to be pretty easy compared to last time where I started each day agonizing over the many hills I’d have to crest. I do find myself thinking about where I took breaks last time and hills I had to walk my bike up, I’ve come a way from back then. It’s weird but the weather has been strangely similar to what it was last time, riding into Astoria dripping from head to toe was exactly how I rode through last time and riding into Cape Lookout to a cloudless night is just how I remember it. If things continue this way I’ll be soaked to the bone once again riding through Crescent City.
The first day riding out of Seattle it settled on me that this was the end, quite the depressing thought and something I don’t dwell on much but it’s the truth. Time for reality very quickly.
I have to give Alastair a lot of credit, I’ve now climbed the hills that lie between Canada and Seattle and they are a rough reminder of what Washington offers. I say this even after climbing all the mountains across America; Washington hills for whatever reason have me lower and lower on the cogs at a time when I didn’t think I really needed them any more. Had I started in Vancouver last time who knows how it would have went for me last time.
I’m happy to be back in Seattle, it’s probably one of the big cities I can be in and not feel overwhelmed. Though I do have the feeling I’d be pretty happy anywhere with a roof over my head, but it’s always nice to be sharing time and food with friends again. We managed to hit all of my favorite spots in town and get introduced to a few others now that Matt and Angie have had time to scout the area out properly.
I only have a few states left in this whole ride and it’s crashing to an end. I added a few pictures, I know I’ve seriously been slacking in the photo department but when I’m riding 10 hours a day it leaves little time to shoot around.
Random notes on Montana, don’t ride too close to the road or you’re bound to get run over and don’t ride too close to the shoulder as you are bound to startle a snake that will then start to rattle. I didn’t go back to investigate the markings on said snake as my legs got a boost of adrenaline. Riding on I90 was not fun but it was one of the few ways to get back on track and recommended by Adventure Cycling, the mountain passes I got to ride through after that were amazing, it baffles me that we dare to put roads through some of these mountains. Stop in Missoula if you cycle through to get some free ice cream and soda from the Adventure Cycling office, you may even get your portrait taken like my cousins did. Thanks to Kay and Bryan in Missoula for putting me up for the night and the beer.
I slid through the pan handle of Idaho and camped the night at a state campground. The campers next to me had a little 4 year old girl who upon seeing me set up my tent invited me to share the fire with them. She was super charming and we made smores and shared stories late into the night. That was about all I saw of Idaho, I was mostly glad to be out of Montana where the speed limits are a little out of control.
I’ve now crossed the Sherman, Wauconda , and Loup Loup passes leaving me only the Washington pass tomorrow, it’s supposed to be a brutal uphill since it’s the only one mentioned in my maps. Other than that I’ve now officially gone through a hail storm, on crossing the Wauconda pass last night it started a crazy lightning storm with heaps of rain coming down. I decided to try and lose as much altitude as possible with the remaining light I had left, on the way down it starts hailing like I’ve never seen before, the whole road was white with pea sized hail. As I learned from Gina, hail is rain the bounces and tends to hurt as I’m doing 30 mph down a 5% hill. After a while it stopped only to have the road washed out as I turned a corner, I didn’t have enough time to stop and almost ate it fishtailing across the road but managed to hang on. I finally went about 10 miles in the pouring rain before it started to let up and I found a place in a ranch yard.