Warm Welcomes and the Legends of America!

“This one is on me, and Welcome to America!’

Said the waiter at Billy’s diner in Burlington. What a lovely surprise! I’d just stopped in for a cup of soup as I was getting a little chilly.

I’d already been in the country for four days and came across some glorious converted rail tracks from Port Angeles. Bicycle roads

After saying goodbye, good luck and see you later to a whole bunch of friends in Canada I really needed to move on.

I jumped on a ferry at Victoria and before I knew it I was in the United States of America!USA

Customs was much easier and more relaxed than I had anticipated and I was happy to start off on the Olympic discovery trail, as everything felt terribly heavy.

It could be the ridiculous amount of stuff I’ve collected, it could well (and more likely) be the amount of time I spent in a bar in Port Clements…easy trails

Either way it’s great to  be outside and autumn is well underway here in the far NorthWest corner of Washington State.Autumn ride

The tracks took me through fields and forest, over old railway trestles,Railway tressleand down towards the Agnew grocery store. where Joanna enthusiastically welcomed me and offered me a space to camp. JoannaSince it was only lunchtime I decided to move along, but I had lunch with the store’s catbear who reminded me of Halloween coming up and Joanna gave me a nice cap that I’ve been wearing ever since.pretty colours

I found a nice little camp spot later that day, nice spot

The ride took me past native towns,Native art

and even the sun came out to say hello!Sunshine!

I knew the mountains were right there, but I didn’t see them until after I got to Port Townsend, Port Townsendwhere Dan and Lys have a lovely house on a hill and are part of the wonderful web of warmshower hosts. Dan and LysNot only that…

They also happen to be bicycle touring legends!1972!

As together with June & Greg Siple they were the FIRST people to ride down the Stewart Cassiar highway before they even finished building it! On their 1972 trip from North to south America.

If you happen to have a copy of National Geographic Magazine 1973 you can read the whole story of their adventures.

After a good rest they pointed me in the right direction with a bit of a planA Plan

a good amount of food,foggy morningAnd a next port of call just up the way.

P1060304

High Bridge!

Bill and Ann have a severely impressive adventuring resume! Not only have they done extensive bicycle touring,Bill & Ann

They’ve lived in Peru and Bolivia, hiked the Appalachian trail and the Camino the Santiago.

If it hadn’t been to cloudy I would’ve gone rowing with Ann and her friends, but as it was we had coffee’s and that was pretty awesome too!Ann & Friends

I started to figure out about the many bicycle trails and routes all along everywhere in this part of the world.

By now I was getting ready for some serious action but not before one more relaxed ride over flat easy roads,Along the waterpast waterways birdthat reminded me of the Netherlands a bit.cowsOld thing

After one more comfortable home stay with Don & Pat Pat & Don

I headed towards the hills.Still bike roads!

I still had a trail I could follow that kept me away from traffic so that was really good. leafyConcrete

Up the North Cascade road I went, slowly but steadily I stated climbing. Still wondering why things seemed so heavy. The weight..? My weight…? The incline…?
north cascade highway

Probably all of the above.nice views

It was beautiful!

I had hoped to get over the pass, but now the days are getting shorter and when it was getting dark and I saw a sandpit that would do perfectly as a campsite I pulled over.

At the same time a vehicle pulled up.

It is hunting season.

I would move if I was this deer…Bad place for a deer A father and son from Seattle were doing some target practise.

The noise would scare any animal away wich was helpful as I somehow lost my rope to hang food in trees.

Lucky I found a brand new old piece of rope on the road the next morning, but for now I just hauled my front panniers up some branches. I wasn’t too worried about them getting eaten by mice. As they already have. my campThe man with the gun told me to be careful because last time he camped here he was sure there was not one, but three Sasquatch in his camp! (“yeah dad, but that was 15 years ago”)
So I went to sleep peacefully and only woke up from something running up my tent. Larger than a mouse, smaller than a Sasquatch. I saw the prints on the tents the next morning. Together with a thin layer of frost. Ah yes, if I am not careful winter will surely catch up with me this time. (yay!)coffee time!

So I headed on up and over the hill.washington pass

It was a great ride down,north cascade highway but it did cool me down fast. north cascade highway

I just wished the sun would come out a little more often, so it promptly did the next morning.here is the sunshine!

I stopped at a store in Twisp and found the decorations a little odd.supermarket

But this is hunters territory. And even Parker,Parker and the grouse who is mostly vegetarian, stopped on his way home to Omak and shot a grouse. It tasted good!

I was happy to have another clear sunny day going downhill, at least part of the way, with a tailwind! Tailwinds!

I had entered the Colville Reservation.

Colville

Here I found quiet roadsHappy days!Along the mighty Colombia river. Just a bit upstream is the Grand Coulee Dam that makes a lake of more than 200km’s! All the way into Canada.

But that isn’t where I’m going. I’d seen a road going over a hill and decided to check it out.

One small issue I came across is that there seem to be a lot of fences everywhere along the roads. It can make finding a suitable campsite a little tricky.

But Buck had seen me cycling up the road and told me I could camp on his land. Nice evening

It was a perfect spot to see the moon rise.MoonriseBuck lives here with his mum.Buck and his MumThey gave me a beautifully beaded purse when I set off in the morning.

My goal for the moment has been Spokane. So after crossing the Colombia river I had little choice but to cycle to the highway. To get there I had to climb a hill. Up This Hill

The landscape changed drastically just on the other side.smoothI got to Spokane in time to catch up with Jim.

Who hasn’t really changed a lot since we first met when he travelled around Ireland a year-and-a-half ago.

He had a few days spare and so did I.

So we decided do something fun.

Like ride bicycles!

What can be more fun right?

Jim rented a bike and we rode the Couer d’Arlene rail trails.coeur d'arlene railtrail That was easy.autumnWe saw some nice sights,
pretty sight a moose that didn’t do a very good job at hiding,Moose

and a conveniently placed couch that made for a good little break.comfy couch

We rode to Wallace and were surprised to discover we’ve made it to the centre of the universe! centre of the universe

It’s true! The signs all said so.the centre of the universe

After getting of the trails we realised they weren’t all that bad, at least you didn’t need to deal with traffic.monsterAnother way not to have to deal with traffic is just to pick your roads right.Helpful

Like the aptly named ‘going-to-the-sun’ Road in Glacier National Park. At this time of year it’s closed to all traffic except cyclist and hikers. Perfect!Going-to-the-Sun RoadWe got some fat bikes for this one, it’s a bit of a hill getting to Logan’s Pass, going-to-the-sun road

but what a road! going-to-the-sun road

What a ride! Jim

And man, what a view!going-to-the-sun road

absolutely spectacularly stunning. weeping wall

We kept stopping to take pictures and the snow got thicker as we got higher.

We were the only ones up there and the first ones to ride in the snow, there were no tracks except some from animals and we enjoyed every minute of it!

Even the bit when the snow got so thick we had to start pushing the bikes through.nearly there!At about 4.30pm we got within a km from the pass, but it was starting to get dark. getting late

So we decided to start heading back and by the time we got off the snow it was pitch black, and of course, prepared as usual, we didn’t have any lights.

So just being able to notice the yellow line on the road and singing really loudly in the hope not to crash into any animals on the middle of the road we made it back to the gate and to town to drink a celebratory whiskey.

Next day we did it all again! Just with a different type of bike.Mountain Biking

And that was totally different but awesome fun as well.Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 10.39.40 AMFUN

JimThis time we celebrated our ride with beer,

as Montana has a crazy amount of breweries scattered all across the place. It’s almost like heaven!

Montana is also home to the Adventure Cycling Organisation

Who have their office in Missoula.

The very people who started the organisation where these hero’s who cycled down the America’s in 1972.LEGENDS! And by now I have met all of them! And some more. P1080040

 

The organisation started when, while on tour, Dan & Lys (top of page) and June & Greg (on the left) decided to organise a bike ride across the united states for the bicentennial in 1976.

4000 people cycled across the country that year of which 200 Dutch man and woman! I had no idea! (also I was not yet born)

That is how the organisation started. And now I had the honour to meet these wonderful folk, including Shawn and Arlen who graciously hosted me here in Missoula until I am ready to move along. the whole crew

Am I lucky or what?

(bounce bounce bounce)

18 thoughts on “Warm Welcomes and the Legends of America!

  1. Miriam,
    I’m so happy you’re finally able to explore the wide spaces and vast diversity of landscapes and people that is America! I was introduced to your blog a couple of years ago by cross country cycling comrades I hosted while living in Lesotho. I’ve been enjoying your posts and hoped one day you’d find your way here. I’m in Oregon – should you ever find your way to Portland there is a warm couch waiting for you! I’m so happy you’ve met so many great cycling legends already and are enjoying the immense beauty our country has to offer. Keep truckin’ and happy trails!

  2. Dear M.

    Always inspiring reading your blogs and admiring your pictures.
    You are a very courageous,smart and fun woman.
    You have found what makes you feel alive and you constantly stretch your comfort zone in order to keep doing it.
    Your problem solving skills/adapting to new environments and people/coping with your fears/perseverence, are lessons that no teacher i know can teach. Those are the crucial life lessons that all the kids in the world should learn from an early age.
    Find what makes you feel alive and keep stretching yourself inorder to keep doing it and feeling alive.
    That is what learned from you and thank you for that.
    nikos.

  3. Wonderful as usual, I see you are starting to wear your chunky winter woolies to keep warm. Smashing photographs as usual.

  4. Hoi Mirjam! Wat een geweldig verhaal van die fietsers die in de jaren 70 al rondreden, óók helden…:-). Leuk dat ze je zo gastvrij ontvangen hebben. Ze zullen het minstens net zo leuk gevonden hebben als jij…
    En wat mooi daar rond Logans’ Pass, schitterend! Kortom, weer een mooi blog…

  5. So good to read another blog from you.you’re certainly blessed with a lot of wonderful people along the way. stay safe and dont wait too long for the next posting

  6. Hallo Mirjam,
    Kwam bij toeval op deze pagina terecht, en wat een verrassing. In 2013 heb ik, als onderdeel van de ACA TransAm groep, in het huis van Shawn en Arlen geslapen. Leuk om hun hier te zien.
    Groeten,
    Jan

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