In the spirit of the entire trip, I figured I might as well be late posting this final wrap up of our trip. I apologize once again for the long wait. Marissa and I are now safely home back in Brooklyn trying to put our lives back together which has required a fair bit of adjusting. But anyway, the last bit of the trip went something likes this…
The last major day of riding took us to Anacortes, WA where our Adventure Cycling maps ended. From Marblemount, we continued on along Rt. 20 where we found Cascade Farms that our friends Steve and Kim had recommended to us. Even though it was only 11AM and we still had a very full day ahead, we stopped in for two scoops of pumpkin blueberry ice-cream each. They may not be family owned anymore but they make some delicious treats.
Properly fueled, we spent the majority of the day riding through the fall wonderland of northwest Washington. We may have hit bad weather, bugs, and other detriments to our trip by leaving so late in the year but this last day’s ride made up for all of it. The Skagit River valley was so incredibly colorful and sunny as we rolled along between the river and the last of the mountains. The late start and ice-cream stop meant the last 20 miles of the trip had us feeling our way through the dark. That was okay though. Nothing could really take away from the feeling we got when that first breath of salty air reached our lungs. Wow, we made it! Haha. Once again, we had to stop and reflect on the fact that we had actually pedaled our bikes all the way here (well, almost but close enough). And so we continued on, across the last bridge and into town as we looked forward to a good couple days of rest.
We thought about heading into the San Juan Islands from there before heading to Seattle to meet up with Marissa’s friend Sarah in Vashon. Then, looking at the amount of time we had left, I thought it would be better to go to the San Juans and then straight up into Canada on our way to Vancouver. I had just finished stating my case when we heard back from Sarah that she would gladly drive up to get us and thus save us the 3 day ride south. Before we knew it, we found ourselves loaded into a car with Marissa in my lap while the bikes hogged up all the back seats. Sarah and her husband Sam were wonderful hosts as they showed us around Seattle. We ate some great food (including KFC’s Doubledown, finally!), played dress up with all their great vintage clothes, went to a fashion show, and even made chocolate chip cookies.
We stayed in Seattle a bit longer than I had originally intended and were left with only 4 1/2 days before our flight back to Cleveland. Wanting to spend some good time in Vancouver, we opted to train it up to the Great White North. I have to say, if I were to do the trip over again, I would have made Seattle, or even Portland, our final destination. Now, I’m not saying Vancouver is not a great town but given the circumstances, it would have worked out better not going there. We did not have any connections in the city so we ended up paying for a hotel during our stay. It also rained every day and managed to keep us mostly indoors, though I can’t say that was entirely unexpected. What really got under my skin though was getting our bikes back to NYC. I researched almost every aspect of our trip very thoroughly, except for dealing with customs. I guess I always assumed I could just drop the bikes off at a shop and they would take care of everything. Wrong. Most of the bike shops in the downtown area only cater to tourist rentals with a few frames hanging in the windows for show. So, it was up to us to box them up and drag them over to UPS. Without going into this too much, let me just say that this was an incredibly expensive endeavor with very little good will being extended towards UPS.
Speaking of good will, I do have to mention one very positive experience in Vancouver. My good friend Mie, who has followed our whole trip and been very supportive of our journey, gave us a very special gift on our last night. She generously reserved a room for us in the Lord Stanley Suites just off Stanley Park where we were treated to a wonderful view of the downtown Vancouver and a prime location to explore the city on our last day. Thank you so so much, Mie!
And so the trip ended on one last good night. With our bikes shipped and our bags packed, we finally made our way to the airport the next morning for our flight back to Cleveland. It was a whirl-wind weekend and a great way to celebrate ending such a trip. I took my friend Clayton out to a shooting range with a couple of friends before the drinking began on his bachelor party night. Then, there was rehearsals and dinner, hotel parties, trying on suits, plenty of photo sessions with the bride and groom, and writing my speech as the best man about 15 minutes prior to the ceremony. It was one of the best weddings I’ve been to in a long time. Congrats Clayton and Nicole!
Marissa’s mom drove out to Cleveland with her brother Nolan to pick us up on the 18th and see the the Rock Hall before returning us to this crazy city. I think we both have felt a bit overwhelmed at times as we slowly readjust to city life. I’ll try and write a bit more on that in another post as I put together some of the final points on the trip. For now, thanks so much for following us along and offering all your support. We are eternally grateful to everyone who has helped us out. Oh, and I’m still working on the pictures but they will be up shortly.