Pan America 2011 - 2012
American writers like Kerouac and Miller influenced me a lot when I was in my Twenties. And I heard lots about the West Coast from American travellers, recommending great national parks and the Route 101 that is sort of famous thing to do for cyclists. So I decided to postpone other planned adventures and flew to Vancouver BC, equipped with my good old pushbike, a tent and a (warm!) sleeping bag.
After fantastic landscapes and forests down South to San Diego I teamed up with Kathrin, a great cycling mate. When we reached the Southern tip of Baja California, we decided to move on together, crossed Mexico into Guatemala and Belize. After living in a rented house on the Lake Atitlan we ventured out for snow capped mountains of South America, crossing the Andes from Santiago to Mendoza and moved up North again, to Machu Picchu. After 11 months and 11000 kilometres I arrived back in Germany, with Kathrin...
- Category: Pan America 2011 - 2012
Arrived in Vancouver, Canada in the morning of September, 7th where I quickly reassembled the bike and took off, straight down towards the Canadian-American border. There's a long tunnel where the Interstate Highway crosses Frazer River, where bicycles are not allowed. Therefore, the Canadians installed a free-of-charge Carry-On service. Using that, and listening to the advice of the young Indian who just run the service instead of his father, I ended up on a big detour, eventually even reaching the giant Frazer Bridge way East. Yet on that occasion, I ended up riding some really nice bicycle trails rather than riding on the noisy highway. Blue skies, perfect outlook to the far-away snow caped Mt. Baker. In the afternoon, I reached the border and convinced the very friendly border staff about my good intentions traveling the States. Eventually I got my 90 days permit, and went on on side roads, just following the compass direction. Passed through Bellingham, a nice town with some historical buildings, and reached the Larabee State Park by dusk, being welcomed with warm diner and a place to pitch the tent by a group of American cyclists. Welcome to America – and what a first day – going to bed by 10PM, a long day looking at 9 hours time difference from Germany.
Next day after a quick Yoga set, the tour goes on towards Whidbey Island, on my on, but not for long before I run into a nice cyclist from Seattle who joins me for two hours. Crossing over the picturesque bridge to Whidbey Island, moving on on a rather busy small highway again. On the ferry to Port Townsend on the Northeast of the Olympic Peninsula, I met Ken, a retired cyclist on his way back from a day trip on Whidbey. He invites me to visit Port Townsend, a formerly important harbor with lots of Victorian buildings. He shows me around the Wooden-Boat-Regatta, and later even invites to stay a night in his place. Incredible friendly and helpful, that's my first impression about the Americans.
On the next days, I cycle around the Olympic Peninsula on the Western route on Hwy 101 and trails. Mossy evergreen conifer and broad-leaf rain forests between the rugged coastline and the snow caped mountains, rivers from the very mountains carving deep valleys into the landscape. Small towns every once in a while, just enough not to run out of food and the “trail mix” bags. Camping at small sites that not always have city water and showers, yet very clear and cold rivers. At lake Quinault, I take a break from pedaling and hike this area featuring a number of record conifer trees for two days. Awesome wilderness out here, and delicious blueberries up in the mountains, to supplement my cereal bar diet...
The next day, I decide to take a little detour to meet my friend in Seattle. Two more days on the saddle and a one-hour ferry from Bremerton to Seattle, with its great skyline... A first glimpse of American multicultural cities for a hillbilly like me. Four nights in a real bed, a day trip to the Snoqualmie falls and some time and inspiration to fine tune my further route.