Our trip begins with our 24 hour train ride to Vancouver, Canada. We boarded just after midnight in Sacramento, California and were delightfully surprised to meet our travel partner for the duration of the journey: Jon - who laughed nervously after everything he said, drooled consistently, and whose prominent butt crack was featured at eye level every time he got up (to get Cool Ranch Doritos or make small talk with sleeping neighbors for example.)
We arrived in Vancouver very late the next day - 2 AM - and put our bikes together at the train station. We then proceeded to bike into the night,realizing we didn't have cell service in Canada to map our route. Yes, we did make it to our host’s house before 3 AM and they were awesome.
The next day was full of calligraphy in Vancouver's Chinese gardens, spending $50on a vegan lunch and being hungry an hour later, biking along the water and napping in one of Vancouver's many beautiful parks. We proceeded to bike 20miles north of Vancouver to begin our epic bike ride down to the border of Mexico.
The ride from Vancouver to Bellingham was full of stop lights the entire way to Washington but was still full of all that beautiful Canada has to offer - ample bike lanes, polite drivers, gorgeous mountains as back drops, and sweet old Canadian men zipping by on little road bikes. Hitting the American border felt so good, even though we had only been gone two days. We celebrated with some Big Al's Diner big plate specials, milkshakes, root beer floats and then proceeded to the fabulous town of Bellingham.
After facing an uncharacteristic southerly headwind, we cruised into a town with a distinct vibe of coolness. There were young folks riding bikes with all kinds of personal flare, people laughing and wearing sleeveless shirts outside of breweries, and warm golden light slowly melting on the sides of 100 year brick buildings which dot the Bellingham townscape. We were hosted by a couple of wonderful fresh parents in a newly bought house overlooking the bay, where the view only made the day more magnificent as we watched the 9pm sunset dip into the horizon.
Like adding honey to maple syrup, our departure was made sweeter by a morning spent chewing the cud with the guys down at Bike Sport who took care of us in royal fashion. We swapped parts, dialed in shifting, changed Kate's cleats, and even boxed and shipped our extra gear. As I tightened the last strap on my cargo cage, the shop owner Andy smiled and wistfully told us, "Just pay it forward, it's all about the community"
And so off we rode, shifting smoother, riding lighter, and feeling the"feeling" you often get from bike touring- the world is such an amazing place and is full of good people.