Oregon Day 1

001. Entering OregonYesterday (Wednesday 27th July) we left grey cloudy Washington State and entered grey cloudy Oregon.  Since leaving behind the Cascades we’ve had grey weather interspersed with the odd sunny day.  We’re now going to follow the Oregon coast into California border, which is about eight or nine days of riding.  Everyone has said the Oregon coast is amazing, but we’ve been not inspired by the 35km we’ve ridden so far.  Hopefully things will improve. Continue reading

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Cycling through Fifty Shades of Grey

070. Potlatch State ParkI’d suggest reading the condensed version of this blog post rather than the full version as it’s unlikely to be very interesting.  It certainly hasn’t been very interesting cycling over the past few days, evident by the lack of photographs we’ve taken.  So, the short version: we left Deception Pass last Thursday (21st July) rode along a busy section of Highway 20 and took the ferry to pretty Port Townsend where we ate burgers in the sun, followed by cider tasting & two nights with Phil and Emmy Lou who hosted us in Chimacum.  On Saturday it rained from Chimacum to Quilcene, then it was just grey along the Hood Canal to Potlach State Park. Monday, grey turning to blue as we rode through forest plantations to Lake Sylvia State Park via some very long straight dull roads.  We went swimming in Lake Sylvia.  Monday it was grey, again, and we cycled to Brucepoint Park via McDonalds in Raymond (a nondescript lumber town) to get some WiFi.  We spent the evening chatting to other cyclists.  Today (Tuesday) it’s been another nondescript day with grey skies and marshy coastline, probably the dullest day we’ve ridden in over six months on tour. So dull that we dug out our iPods for some musical entertainment. We’re now at Cape Disappointment, an apt name considering how disappointed we are with the cycling since leaving Chimacum. Continue reading

Into the USA & over the Northern Cascades Highway

029. Climbing up to Washington PassLast Saturday (16th July) we left Osoyoos, spent the last of our Canadian dollars on sourdough focaccia from the amazing Lake Village Bakery (as an aside why have we found so many great bakeries in Canada compared to the UK which seems devoid of decent, independent places that don’t require a second mortgage?) and rode our final 8km on Canadian soil alongside Osoyoos Lake before reaching the Canadian / US border.  We were expecting a bit of a grilling about our intentions in the USA, evidence of our flight home, monies to support ourselves etc., but it was straightforward and that was that.  After six weeks in Canada we had left.  The final part of our adventure beckoned. Continue reading

Our final Canadian stats

Distance cycled in Canada: 2,217km

Average day: 67km

Amount of uphill: 25,300m (or just under x3 Everest)

Longest day: Yahk to Bayshore Resort on Kootenay Lake at 99.8km

Hilliest day wasn’t on the Icefields or Highway 3 but Sooke to Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island with 1,286m of ascent

Number of nights camping: 17, of which 9 were with the tarp of shame keeping us dry thanks to a cat attack

Number of Warm Showers hosts who protected us from bears & the rain: 13

Ferries taken: x9 – Horseshoe Bay to Langdale; Earls Cove to Saltery Bay; Powell River to Little River; on & off of Quadra Island; Crofton to Vesuvius; Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay; Nanaimo to Horseshoe BayKootenay Bay to Balfour

Trains taken: x1 – Vancouver to Jasper

Bear sightings: 3 (x1 on Vancouver Island and x2 on the Icefields Parkway)

Alive snakes seen: x5 or so, which is 5 more than we saw in Australia!

Glaciers seen: Countless

The route we took is here: click

Canada map

 

Climb every mountain

216. Leaving behind the Kettle ValleyOur time in Canada is now coming to end; we’re currently having a bonus day off in Osoyoos before crossing the border tomorrow (Saturday) into the US. We are here about a week earlier than expected after electing not to follow the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) trail once we had seen some of the surface at Midway. Instead, we came over all the passes on Highway 3. I tend to always fear the uphill, as this generally requires more physical effort, but the climbs the last few days have actually been pretty easy. Long, but not at all steep. The descents have required far more effort in terms of mental concentration, especially when the weather turns just as you summit and you have to descend in a deluge of rain, clinging on for dear life and hoping you don’t lock your wheels (simples – don’t brake!), skid or slide off the road on a corner. I should really be more fearful about the descents with hindsight. Continue reading

Tent-er-tantrums

199. Cone on shame on the tent at Bayshore ResortSince the last update we’ve had over a hundred holes put into our tent, ridden to the head of the mighty Colombia River, camped with Neil & Ali, rejoined the Kootenay River, said goodbye to Neil & Ali, been five miles from the US border, ridden alongside the enormous Kootenay Lake and taken a car ferry across a lake.  We’ve had sunshine, wind, grey clouds, rain, drizzle, showers and we’re now back to sunshine.  We’re currently camped in pretty Nelson, which is a bit Scottish like (well we are in the Selkirk Mountains) with tree lined hills rising up from the water, but in Scotland it would be a sea loch whereas here it’s a lake at over 500m above sea level. Continue reading

Carrying on south along Highway 93

188. Kootenay ValleyAfter riding the Icefields Parkway Philippa thought it would be wise to give up and return back to the UK as nothing could top that ride.  However, our flight home is from Los Angles so we must continue south.  The first part of the journey was to carry on along Highway 93, the Kootenay Parkway.  We knew there wasn’t a lot along this road, just a couple of campsites, the Kootenay Park Lodge  and a lot of grizzly bears. We were hoping to stayed at the Marble Canyon campsite, but it wasn’t possible to book the campsite and as it was the Canada Day long weekend we weren’t sure there would be space at the site. We set off from Lake Louise with Philippa worrying we wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep. Continue reading

Icefields Parkway: Take my breath away

156. Waterfowls LakeWow. Just wow. I’m almost at a loss for words to describe how fantastic cycling the Icefields Parkway was. For me the four days we spent cycling the Icefields have been the absolute best part of our trip so far. The scenery was simply breath-taking, with huge views all the way along, we were incredibly lucky with the weather, we stayed in far better than expected wilderness hostels and enjoyed it all in the company of Neil and Ali, some cycle tourists from Australia that we met on the road on Vancouver Island a few weeks ago now. Continue reading