Leg; 409 miles / 658 km
Total; 3,791 miles / 6,101 km
(Check out our Instagram page for photos of this leg and regular pictorial updates)
We had a great time with Chris’ parents in Vancouver exploring the city and Stanley Park, and 10 days on Vancouver Island immersed in its natural beauty and BIG wildlife! We were lucky enough to see orcas and a humpback whale close up in the Juan de Fuca Strait, and while watching leaping salmon in Stamp River Provincial Park we saw a black bear. We didn’t hang about for long, but still managed to get a few pictures and felt very lucky to see this magnificent creature in its natural habitat.
In Vancouver we were treated to some amazing local Brassneck beers by our friend Devon, who we met on Instagram. And we were very grateful to Ties’ friend Loki for putting us up and letting us hang out with her bunny! Once Chris’ bike was fixed (see our other blog) we escaped the city via the Sky train and pedalled into the US via the Peace Arch border control.
After two weeks of relaxing with Chris’ parents it took us a while to get back into our stride. We were less organised than usual, hadn’t planned our routes / stopovers very well and didn’t stretch. We also had a very wet introduction to Washington and all of this made us both a bit under the weather. We had planned to stay with our friends Jon and Jess in Renton (near Seattle), so when they offered to pick us up from Everett (about 40 miles away) we happily accepted.
Jon showed us the sights in Seattle, including the famous Pike Place market and Space Needle, and the awesome bubblegum ‘street art’ of Post Alley. We also got to see the impressive Snoqualmie Falls and visit Jimi Hendrix’s grave, which was a 15min walk from Jon and Jess’ house in Renton! Ties was still feeling ill when we set off so Jess dropped us at the Olympic Peninsula ferry and we had a very short day of cycling from Bremerton to Twanoh Lake. When we arrived we were so wet that we spent a few hours in the communal kitchen shelter before we gave in and put the tent up in the rain.
The rain eased a bit in the morning but kicked off again soon enough and we got a good drenching all the way to Montesano. We were starting to get nervous about the weather as we knew we had a tough challenge cycling over the mammoth Astoria-Megler Bridge. Thankfully it held off and we had glorious sunshine for the whole day. Riding over the bridge was amazing. We read horror stories from other cyclists about narrow shoulders, logging trucks etc but we had a great time. It’s true that the incline after 2.5 miles is steep, and there are lots of dead seabirds in the shoulder, but cycling that bridge really should be on every cyclists’ bucket list. It’s such a surreal experience being surrounded by so much water and being so close to the Columbia River. And the view from the top is unbelievable.
The next day we saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time and the incredible Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. The town reminded us of Tofino on Vancouver Island and we felt very ghetto brewing a coffee from our tiny stove in the car park of a posh hotel! We knew a storm was coming the next day so we pushed on to Garibaldi to get as close as possible to some accommodation we’d booked. The next day was awful. We cycled through some very heavy rain and strong winds to Pacific City, where we are currently hiding from tornadoes and the aftermath of Typhoon Songda!
Wildlife spots; black bear, humpback whale, leaping salmon