We meet again, ten months gone. Last time I was here we were riding in the opposite direction in a 15 passenger van, towing a trailer full of used coolers and packaged bikes. Our summer had ended - Bike & Build was over - and our stop in Seattle was little more than a breath in a frenzied road trip East. I was sleeping on the basement floor of Auntie M's home while the others divided space elsewhere. We left with the traffic the next morning, sixteen hours out from Park City, Utah. And now we're back. Back in Seattle, back to sleeping in Auntie M's home up north of downtown. We rode in on Day 100, mile 5,000. Milestones before our ride into the Great White North, which is what Canadians call Canada. Silly Canadians.
It was quite a trip up the coast. We continue to roll the wrong way up. Headwinds, gloomy weather, spitting rain. Dunes hidden behind the trees, Tyler posing best he knows how. Look at those clouds.
The rugged coast crashed and bashed by a frothy sea. Melanges weathering the fury to the last, stony statues slowly swallowed and exhumed by the tides. Raw beauty still raw because we haven't figured out a way to develop the coastline yet. Seals raising their pups on inlet sandbars.
There was beauty every day, but truth told I'm happy we're off the coast. Hwy 101 was a scary road to ride for as long as we did, wheeling six mph up the windy, shoulderless roads into the fog. People die on those roads, though I suppose people die everywhere. My relief in turning east from Newport to cut inland for Portland was real. We rode the coast, saw the sights, and headed towards the city lights.
Portland! What a funky city. What does Fred Armisen say on Portlandia? "It's where young people go to retire!" No kidding. A million freaks and geeks living the laid back life out west. There is everything there. I'm into it. Cycling through felt like riding into a Carrboro (town adjacent to Chapel Hill, NC) that stretched on for miles and smiles. It is a city that runs on coffee, microbreweries, and strip clubs.
We stayed with a Bike & Builder who had moved west after our summer. She was making it work on the east side of town, working for an affordable housing affiliate during the week, camping on the weekends.
I realize as I write that I have missed out on about a week's worth of blogging. A whole lot of stuff has happened and continues to happen. So let me write this - Portland is worth a post of its own, though I doubt I'll get to it here. It's not a priority. Perhaps our two nights in Portland will make the Keys to Freeze book, though who really knows. Portland - it's got a lot, but not enough to make the blog.
Three days, 200 miles through rain and country roads north to Seattle. Brady rode a duct-taped tire 150 miles into Seattle, refusing to buy a new tire until we made the city. We limped into Seattle - gear wet and rotting, tires busting out at the sides, cables stretching, and brakes rubbing. 5,000 miles in and 4,000 to go - a stupid, upsetting realization. This coming break from the road was much needed, wholly appreciated. We unpacked and settled in at Auntie M's, ready for the next eight days.
Seattle, we're here.