After 10 days of being at the mercy of the consulate, I finally received a message from Gordon, “Got the visa! See you tonight!” Although we told ourselves everything would work out in the end, we were still a bit surprised that our trials were over in less than 2 weeks. I had a bike that was ready to see the world and Gordon had a brand new 6 month visa to his name. We planned to be back on the road in the morning and were getting a lot of comments about how wet our entire West Coast journey was going to be. We were in the peak of rainy season in an El Nino year. We’ve been warned by various people that once it starts raining, it won’t stop and WHEN (not if) we need a break from the rain, we should head inland off the coast. We usually shrugged and laughed in response. There was nothing we could do about it now but get wet.
For the whole 10 days of problem solving, there were huge rain storms and I was mentally preparing myself for riding in that weather. It was almost as if we were being stalled by Mother Nature telling us, “Don’t leave yet! There’s a pocket of perfect weather coming up next week!” The morning we got on the road, the skies opened up and we had beautiful clear weather for 2 weeks. And boy, would it have been a shame to miss the views that Washington had to offer.
Day 1: Bellingham to Port Townsend - 65 miles + 10 mile Ferry
Our first day back on the road felt like our first day leaving Anchorage. I had the same feelings of anticipation. I had gotten comfortable in Bellingham and now we were heading out again into the unknown. I felt excited as if we were just starting our journey and I guess it was a new start in a way. I had a new bike and ultimately didn’t know how it was going to perform. The first step out the door proved to be the hardest part once again. A few miles on the road and we were back into the swing of things, just enjoying the ride. We took Chuckanut trail (which we suggest to everyone in the area!) It’s a beautiful road with views of the bay winding through trees. WE WERE BACK!
Although the days in Washington came with beautiful blue skies and a perfect bike riding climate of upper 40 degree F, the nights were frosty cold. We decided to take advantage of the many Warm Shower opportunities in Washington until we were south enough to have above freezing camping nights. We were glad we did because we met some incredibly interesting people day after day!
In Port townsend we stayed with Lys Burden. Along with her husband, Dan, they helped found the Bikecentennial in 1973, which was the precursor to the Adventure Cycling Association!! Their generosity preceded them, as they weren’t home when we arrived but welcomed us into their house with notes for us inside and outside of the home. Unfortunately we weren’t able to spend too much as with them as Lys was out late leading a community meeting and Dan was traveling. They have bicycle toured everywhere and after receiving a lot of hospitality themselves, they were eager to give back to the bicycle touring community. Their home had a very impressive library and framed newspaper and magazine photos about their contributions to the bike community across the country. It was such an honor to spend a night in that home and it good thing we did as my water spilled in one of my panniers and all of my clothes and sleeping bag were soaked through. That would have been a pretty rough night camping…
Day 2: Port Townsend to Bremerton - 50 miles
Our second day on the road was another beautiful day of smooth roads and rolling hills. We contacted a couple through Warm Showers who responded saying that they were not able to host us but had called their friends who were happy to have us stay with them! I can’t get over how amazing the bicycle touring/ Warm Showers community is. Janice and Gary welcomed us in with late notice and even modified their plans so that they could spend more time with us that night. We are so glad they did! We happened to be staying in the home of the McFarlands, the family who biked around the world with their 18 year old daughter and 14 year old son in 2002-03! We convinced them to give us a private viewing of their presentation slideshow that they’ve shown at numerous events. What impressed me most about their story was that Janice broke her leg towards the beginning of their journey while in France! They flew home where she got surgery and recovered for 11 weeks and then continued again on their journey. I feel like so many people would have given up at that point but they insisted that it was all part of the adventure and they didn’t let it stop their dream. You can check out their website at: cyclingfar-lands.com
We then spent over an hour in their hot tub talking about travel, motivation, persistence and adventures. When we left the next morning, it felt like we were saying goodbye to old friends and they invited us to come back to visit anytime.