Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hell and Heaven

We're back! After 4 days of camping we had a roof back over our heads for the first time last night. Our pal Kelly lives just outside Seattle and is letting us crash with her for a few days at what she's calling "Hotel Rula." We're sharing the house with her roomie, one of her pals, 2 pups- and no furniture! But the roof, carpeted floor, TV and internet are all welcome improvements. So time to catch up:

8/6/09- 9 hours on the bike- Vancouver, BC to Birch Bay, WA aka the HELL/demoralizing/confidence destroying route

Our first day on the bikes was not a happy one. It started off well enough. We stopped by Everybody Loves Veggies to eat some soup and got 2 sandwiches for the road. Then it got crappy. The route took us down an industrial road that smelled like rotten fish. We promptly got lost 3 times and spent an hour trying to find our way back to the route. It was pretty miserable. Then we went over the huge Alex Fraser Bridge to get out of Richmond, BC. We had a skinny separated sidewalk to ride on but it was really windy and dusty and high up. We were happy to get off. Things were looking up for a bit when we stopped at a little produce stand and had an apple.

The bikes, blissfully unaware of the hell awaiting them

That is, until Arik almost got ridden off the road by an 18 wheeler. He survived that encounter only to meet his next nemesis: the HELL HILL. We'd already been riding about 4 hours and then had to go straight up. And up. And up. We had to get off the bikes 10 feet in and push. We finally made it and headed through customs shortly afterward. The customs guy asked us what we were doing in the US and when we told him we were biking the coast he said, "why would you want to do that?" After our day, we were starting to ask ourselves the same thing. 9 hours after we began, we finally rolled into Birch Bay State Park. We got there too late to get change from the office so we couldn't take a shower (a quarter buys you a 3 minute hot shower). We had pb&js, oreos, and a coke and conked out, hoping the tour wouldn't end up being one big mistake.

Birch Bay State Park

8/7/09- 3.5 hours on the bike- Birch Bay, WA to Bellingham, WA aka the HEAVEN/confidence-building/this tour WASN'T a total loss after all route

Let's be honest, we were pretty bummed when we headed out of Birch Bay. The day before had totally sucked and all the picturesque, idyllic images of touring we'd had in our heads had been replaced with visions of skinny lanes, 18 wheelers, and hills from hell. We left around 10:30 and our spirits lifted almost immediately. The route was beautiful with great, low traffic roads that took us through awesome tiny towns.

A cool tree in one of the tiny towns

We stopped for some tater tots at Sonic in one of the towns and saw awesome trees all along the way. One biker passed us and asked where we were heading. When we said San Diego he said "well you're almost there!"

One of the views along the way

We got into Larrabee State Park in Bellingham around 2:30 and we were stoked...until we saw the sign that said the park was full. We were freaking out and about to call the park office but then a park worker came up and said "oh we never turn away hikers or bikers- we have sites for you guys." Hooray! She told us the site number and we headed over to an overgrown parking lot. We were a bit bummed but the park was otherwise awesome- huge tall trees and just great scenery. So we settled into our parking lot campsite- got the tent up, unpacked, and plotted out where we'd eat (we decided it'd be on the concrete slab that stops the car tires) and just were happy to be done riding for the day and in a sweet state park.

Me on the phone with my mama

Our original "campsite"

I went to the restroom and when I got back Arik was finishing up chatting with a guy and laughing. I asked what was up and he said uhh that guy said our site is actually just up the hill- this is just the parking for it. Incredulous, we headed up the hill and saw a line of the sweetest sites ever- with a fire pit and picnic bench and great trees. We started cracking up and headed back down to pack up again. We sheepishly picked up our tent and brought it up to the actual campsite.

Our actual site

We got re-situated, wondering at our great luck, then headed to the beach inside the park. WHOA. Awesome water, awesome beaches- basically the prettiest view either of us have seen. We stuck our feet in the cold water until we spotted some jellyfish.

The beach

We took a hot shower (got quarters this time!), had pad thai for dinner, and then went back down to the beach to watch the sunset. We got a fire started after a little trouble, then went to sleep, reassured that our trip really could be something special.

New Video!


Gotta take a shower and go to bed for now- more tomorrow!