Monday, August 30, 2010

Last day in Seattle

Just finished dismantling the bike, slipping it into 2 used spliced -together bike boxes that we acquired from a local bike shop, and winding 50 yards of strapping tape around the whole thing. Down to UPS in a few moments where we were given an estimate of less than 200 bucks to ship the tandem back to Jay.

Tonight we head over to my sister Laurie and her husband Greg's house for a cook-out and to view pictures of their family's adventures out west this summer!

If you are still following this blog and are having withdrawal issues, I hope to start on a book shortly! I have hours of more good stuff stored on my digital recorder that I will begin to sift through when I get stay tuned!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

day 97, Puget Sound, WA 11 miles (4271 total)

The grand finale! Under beautiful blue skies and ideal temperatures we rode mostly on the beautiful Seattle bike trail network down to the salty Pacific waters at Puget Sound, escorted by my brothers Pete and Dave and Dave's wife Lynn (who was our trustworthy weather forecaster during our entire voyage!).

At Golden Gardens boat launch we rolled the front wheel into the water (infuriating an impatience power boater who insisted that he had to launch his boat at the very same minute). After a few minutes of storing some pixcels on our cameras we were out of his way. On our way home we stopped first for some coffee (mandatory in Seattle) and then later Stephanie had a craving for clam chowder (must have been the salty sea air) so we sat out on Ivar's barge by Lake Union where she satisfied that.

Although it was extremely hard work, I already miss our days on the road. The beautiful scenery that America has to offer and the wonderful people we've met from coast to coast is something we will always cherish experiencing, and it was especially satisfying doing it under our own power and at the slow pace of a bicycle! It was enjoyable to "relive" the westward expansion of our country by visiting all the historic sights, reading ALL of the historic markers, and traveling over some of the same trails and passes that the westward pioneers took.

We wish to thank you all that helped us along in our journey, from strangers offering great hospitality to those of you back home who posted encouraging words on our blog. On behalf of NPR and PBS we want to thank you for your pledges and support.

Friday, August 27, 2010

day 96, Seattle, WA 0 miles

Slept in late and Dave whipped up more awesome blueberry pancakes! Gave the bike a well deserved spongebath in the backyard (itls first of the trip!). Later on we'll call UPS and find out just how much it may cost us to ship her back home.

Getting ready to hang at the local coffee shop and write out a half a deck of postcards to some of the wonderful people we met along the way who made our ride so special. Tonight we're looking forward to dinner with my brothers Pete and Jon, Jon's wife Anna and their adorable little daughter Lilly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

day 95, SEATTLE! WA 80 Mi, 4260 total

Calm down everybody! We're not done yet! Still have to ride down to some salty pacific backwater in the next day or two to baptize the front wheel!

Got an early start from Darrington after a good breakfast at the Glacier View Cafe (majestic Glacier peak towers over the little town!). Lynn had forecast some rain by midday so we were hoping to get a good part of the ride over before it hit. We had the first 29 miles into Arlington covered by mid-morning but by the time we rolled onto the Centennial Rail Trail just south of town the drops began to fall. We arrived in Everett very damp and chilled (dispite our multiple layers of clothing and rain gear). Thank goodness for the American institution of Denny's which appeared as an answer to our prayers: steaming chicken noodle soup and the bottomless mugs of hot chocolate. Soon our inner cores were warmed back up and we were ready to face mother nature and father traffic again.

A few hours later the rain let up as we found the entrance to the Burke-Gilman Bike Trail and headed down the west side of Lake Washington towards Dave and Lynn's. Before long we met Dave who had ridden out to greet us and make sure we found the way to their house!

Later in the evening we walked down to a nearby restaurant to celebrate the 99.9% completion of our voyage. we are looking forward to this weekend when there will be more family get-togethers with the entire west-coast Battisti/Smith clan!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

day 94, Darrington, WA 54 mi (4180 total)

Dave cooked us a great breakfast of blueberry pancakes. If that wasn't enough, he gave us snacks and fixin's for lunch plus agreed to take all of our camping gear with him in the car. We won't be needing it again- tonight we're in a motel and tomorrow we'll be at Dave and Lynn's in Seattle.

After Dave left, we headed down past Newhalem and stopped at the NPS's North Cascades Visitor's Center, where we checked out the exhibits and had a nice picnic lunch.

14 more miles on rt. 20 and we found the jct of rt. 530, which took us south up along the very cool, green and shady Sauk River valley. We were in Darrington before we knew it, one day's ride from Seattle!

day 93, Diablo Lake, WA 54 mi

"O! The Joy!" - Meriwether Lewis

Now we know how the Corps of Discovery felt when they were in reach of the Pacific! When we reached the summit of Washington Pass a great feeling of elation and relief came over us. Only after viewing the steep, twisting switchbacks from high atop the overlook did we realize what an impressive task we'd accomplished.

After a short col, we crested Rainy Pass - just a "pimple on the map" I told Stephanie. From there it was a gorgeous, scenic downhill complete with glaciated peaks and turquoise colored lakes.

How could it get any better? My brother David met us at the campground at Diablo Lake with cold beer, chocolate, andthe makings for a pasta dinner! We had a great evening around the campfire!

Monday, August 23, 2010

day 92, Mazama, WA 24 miles

A short day to make our approach to Washington and Rainy Passes as short and painless as possible. Stopped at the North Cascade Smokejumper Base outside of Twisp and enjoyed a great tour by our smokejumper guide, a rookie named Blake.

Spent a few hours in Winthrop, doing postcards, got the bike chain checked for the final push to Seattle. Winthrop's shops are like a merger of Frontiertown and Starbucks.

In Mazama we found our gracious hosts Rob and Ina where we are spending the night. they are fellow tandem riders who completed their cross-country trip last summer with their two young childen!

Rob cooked us a delicious pasta dinner and we've also been able to get all caught up on our laundry! We hope their Olympic hopeful XC skiing daughter Maya comes to compete in Lake Placid some day some we can repay their generosity!