We are sailing
Trip Start Jul 12, 2013
15Trip End Ongoing
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It will probably come as little surprise to anyone who knows me that Vancouver, as it turns out, was not the end of the adventure.
After a few magical days of rest and relaxation and wonderful Warmshowers hospitality, Claud was getting restless to be back on the road, and to be honest so was I.
It's become a way of life for the moment and reaching Vancouver had been tinged with regret at the thought of stopping. However, the average daily mileage had also had an impact, and my body and mind were certainly glad of the kind of rest which it's been hard to achieve on the road
A good friend likened the adrenalin from cycling so far everyday to the 'fight or flight' response where the body is constantly held prepared for a state of extreme activity
Exercise does give you a great rush of both endorphins and adrenalin, it makes you feel wonderful, The flip side of this is that the body is constantly riding that high, always being in a state of alert has made relaxing, sleeping and taking days off difficult. It takes time to come down from there and something I hadn't done since leaving Toronto.
With this in mind I made the conscious decision that if/when I continued cycling it would be at a more relaxed pace, lower mileage, more days off.......
I'm terrible at easing back off the throttle but, over the years, have slowly learned the lessons of what not doing this can mean.
So, after making this resolution Claud and I are back on the road, or rather the sea, taking life at a slower pace.
We left Vancouver by cycling through the city to catch a ferry to Vancouver Island. In my head the island was going to be a small spit of land accessed by bridge.
Not so....a 2 hour ferry ride later I arrived in Nanaimo to begin a 3 day journey across an island the same size as England.
Another ferry ride then whisked me away from Canadian shores to Seattle in the USA. A mercifully, and unexpectedly brief chat with US immigration officials gave me a 3 month visa and the chance for Claud and I to explore another country by road. The Pacific Coast Highway, aka highway 101.
Before starting our new expedition, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to stay with some friends of friends in Seattle. A great base right near the waterfront enabled me to explore this vibrant, beautiful city. Wandering around, the Frasier soundtrack playing in my head, the iconic Space needle building dominates a skyline that is also filled with sweeping vistas of snowcapped mountains and ocean. Visits to the Seattle centre, the explosive colour of the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures and the vibrant Pike Place Market, excellent food and even better coffee completed a glorious stop over.
Time to rejoin the road via my third and final ferry journey to Bremerton and heading towards highway 101
The changing seasons and current political situation, with the US government on shut down, have also made finding campsites somewhat harder, with state parks closed as government workers go unpaid and most campgrounds now closing for winter.
This has made for some tough going, especially when camping. Searching for a place to stay then putting up a saturated tent on a daily basis, after packing up each morning in the rain can dampen the best of spirits. But what I have found consistent is the utter kindness from people I have met on the road. Cold, wet and bedraggled, strangers have continued to humble me with their offers of help, be it words if encouragement, a hot meal, shower or place to stay when the thought of a wet tent is less than appealing. My experience of the U.S. so far has been a warm one, in terms of personalities, if not weather!
The autumn colours here are stunning though and it's a joy to cycle now down the Pacific Coast alongside the ocean. I've crossed from the state of Washington into Oregon via highway 101 and will now follow it down south, towards California, sunshine and whatever is next.
My greatest thanks to Lawrie, Cindy and Maggie for introducing me to Seattle. To Yvonne at the Duncan RV park, Terry in Victoria, Mark , and Kay for all your help. Roy and Ann in Arctic for keeping the campsite open. Fellow travellers Will, Rob and Felipe. To Sharon, Pat and George and to Barney at the Astoria bike shop for tending to Claud. To Ben for whom I'm destined to keep meeting on the road, it's always more fun to share the rain!