Vancouver, Canada to Tillamook, OR
I rolled out of Vancouver on August 14, and making myself leave was feeling impossible: every new road had another sweet food spot, or I’d hear a new friend talk about another island or lake nearby, and the No Fun City bike polo tournament was in full swing. I left my host’s house (garden equipped, full garage, porch—the New Yorker’s secret dream) and spent another two hours meandering slowly out of town with ice coffee and blackberries in my handlebar bag. A couple of farmers stopped me as I passed a farmers market in Surrey and gave me a bag full veggies.
My first night out was a good reality check. I rolled into camp after sunset and the hiker-biker sites were all marked as occupied. By the time I had set up camp dusk had faded and I discovered that my lighter was broken. Dinner that first night was a cold packet of emergency miso that I had tucked in the bottom of a pannier, and I was so grateful for the carrots from the Surrey farmers. I soaked oats overnight in cold water in my tent for breakfast. I made the incredible mistake of leaving a bag of trash out on my picnic table, and I woke at 3AM to a raccoon licking its way through wrappers, half sitting in my helmet.
From Larabee State Park I rode to Deception Pass Park for a shorter day. There’s a small town on the way south called Edison that has one road of adorable little stores settled over a backdrop of farmland. When you turn the corner off 11 to hit Edison the first store you see is a dusty antiques building and it gives the whole block a picturesque Western feel. I arrived much earlier than I had planned, so I set myself up on a concrete ledge and soaked in some sun with goods from the bakery Breadfarm. I detoured again after Edison into Anacortes to get groceries at their food coop. It’s been an incredibly welcoming tour so far, and Anacortes didn’t disappoint. Woody is an Anacortes local who had just moved back from Seattle, and he gave me the best tips for local trails and swimming holes, then spent a bit of the day riding out of town with me. I hadn’t planned to get far on my second day, so giving a few hours to sunning and swimming (at the end of a great gravel climb) was perfect.
It’s been so nice to get back into cities (Seattle and now Portland) and see friends again. From Deception Pass Park Seattle was a brief but hilly ride and I found a few trails to cut off the highway near Port Gamble. I ended up rerouting off of nonexistent but mapped roads after I left the ACA path, and was reminded how amazing and simple they are. My friends at Peloton helped me set my bike up for my pup when I arrive, and she’s now happily catching breeze from a rear-loaded carrier. Riding Seattle to Olympia to pick up Giselle includes a beautiful trip through Vashon Island, with a sweet snack stop in the middle to refuel before the last climb to the southern ferry. I talked miles with one of the ferry operators who confirmed that I’m “doing it beast mode.” Aside from a rapid detour for a new phone in Portland things have been pretty much perfect. Today I hit the coast at Tillamook, and then it’s all South from here.
- Pacific Coast Milestones -
- FROM: Brooklyn, New York
- DOB: 2016-01-01
- OCCUPATION: Mechanic and Social Media Communications
What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure?
I’ve had the fortune of seeing a lot of the world, and it’s taken me time to recognize that there is so much amazing adventure within close reach here in the US. Travelling from one end of the country to the next will give me an incredible lens into the landscape of my home, and I am excited of the people and natural beauty that I will meet along the way. I’ve followed the Blackburn Ranger program for the last few years, and the variety of their backgrounds and approaches were immediate inspiration for me to tackle the same path in my own way.
Have you traveled by bike in the past?
The last time I traveled by bike was a few years ago, but I can always be found around one of my bikes, commuting or exploring on day trips. When I travel, I make sure to rent a bike or bring one with me: there’s no better way to see a place than to get around by bicycle.
What is your goal for the route?
I plan to camp along the entire route, and share all of the natural beauty and cultural quirks along the way. I also plan to hike a number of summits with my bike and friends, and find beautiful views that can only be found far away from cities.
What do you hope to get out of this journey?
I'm excited to shake up my routine, and the routines of my friends (and friends-to-be!) along the way. I want to push my limits to get the most out of the time I have, and to learn more about myself.
- Pacific Coast Milestones -