Friday, July 16, 2010

Made it!

I've been wanting to ride my bike over Highway 20 for ages - and I finally did it!

I left Sunday morning from Lynnwood towards my destination of Colonial Creek. I rode to Snohomish and took the Centennial Trail. The CT is a fantastic trail, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a long trail! From Arlington I turned toward Darrington and just barely missed Mike. I kept on from there to Rockport, and had fantastic views of the Sauk along the way. I stopped for food at the Marblemount BBQ Caboose, and also at the Cascadian Farm fruit stand - both were excellent!

From there I made my way past Newhalem and started through the mountains. The only traffic left on Sunday evening were heading west, which made my passage through the dark and wet tunnels a little less scary. But with much effort I finally found myself at Colonial Creek Campground for the night.

I set up my dismal camp, which included little more than a tent, a sleeping bag, and a sandwich from the IGA in Darrington. It wasn't too long before Mike, Huge, and Huge's son Tyler found me! They brought me fire wood, hot dogs, and above all - beer! They turned my dismal little camp into a fine establishment! It was great to have their company after such a long day.

I awoke the next morning with sore legs and a sore head. But the start out of Colonial Creek definitely got the blood moving. It was a steep climb with strong headwinds to boot! But from the Diablo Lake outlook onward the winds were at my back. The climb up to Rainy Pass and then back up to Washington Pass were arduous. I made a few stops along the way and took in plenty of fluids and food. But I did manage to find a riding partner. Mike, from Redmond?, was going the same was as me toward Spokane. We took pictures of each other at the Washington Pass sign, but on the downhill he totally dropped me! The wind was very gusty now, and with all my gear on the rear of my bike it made for some very squirrely steering. This did not improve my confidence as I descended down curvy roads at 40+mph without guardrails!

I met back up with Mike in Mazama, and we continued together to Winthrop. I needed food, and Mike needed to find a place for the night, so we parted ways there. After a much needed sandwich, I talked to my parents on the phone. They decided they'd start heading my way to pick me up - so the race was on! I really wanted to make it over Loup Loup pass before they caught up, and I nearly did. I was 4 miles shy of the top when I saw my dad in his big white truck. Although I was a bit disappointed to not have made it to the top, I felt pretty good about the day's accomplishment! Plus he was nice enough to bring me some good snacks and beverages to celebrate :)

Overall it was a fantastic bike ride! I would highly recommend riding over Highway 20. The views were unmatchable, the shoulders had ample room, and the drivers were very courteous. In two days I didn't even have a single upset driver. The cherry on top were the fantastic tailwinds coming down Washington Pass and through the Methow Valley!

Day 1: Lynnwood to Colonial Creek
Length - 114 miles
Total Climbing - 4,928 feet

Day 2: Colonial Creek to Loup Loup Pass
Length - 81 miles
Total Climbing - 7,552 feet

Length - 195 miles
Climb - 12,480 feet

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunny Seattle

It's been too long since we posted anything on our blog! We've both been super busy with wedding planning and job hunting/new job. But we're both doing well!

Last night we enjoyed Seattle's warmest day of the year (so far) with Dave and Colleen on Meadowdale Beach. I caught this eagle in multiple exposure carrying off it's catch into the sunset. It was a great way to spend the evening!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Famous!

I have SO much to catch up on about our travels through South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Tasmania, but for the mean time I wanted to share this news clip!

Kat and I arrived into Honolulu a few hours before the tsunami was going to hit. I called our hostel from the airport and they said to go ahead and come over. When we got there they were evacuating! They offered to store our luggage ... on the ground floor! We refused and instead had to hike with all our stuff a ways up the road. The news crew caught up with me as I was dragging our stuff along.

Quite an adventurous day for us!

Links to:
The Article
The Video Clip

Monday, February 8, 2010

On the Road Again!

The last week was a bit stressful finishing work, packing up, and preparing to be on the road again. The very worst part was having to say goodbye's to our friends and to Sydney itself. No more swims in the aquamarine waters of Coogee with Georg, and no more cycling along the coast at sunrise with Garth :( But it does feel good to have the stress behind us and to be finally exploring more Australia!

Kat and I ended up packing all night long to make a 6:30am flight to Adelaide. We arrived in Adelaide exhausted but eager to explore! One of our good friends from Sydney, Isobel, happened to have just moved here so it was very good to meet up with her and see her again!

Also, one of Fred and Diane's very good friends, Diaper Bob (sorry Bob, but the Bongiovanni's have immortalized that name for you!) happens to live in Adelaide. We went on a wine tasting tour in the Barossa Valley - which is EXCELLENT - and had an wonderful dinner with both Bob and Isobel.

My expectations of Adelaide have been FAR surpassed. Based on the judgements of other people, I had expected Adelaide to be a quaint country town and a bit on the dull side. This is simply not true. Adelaide is a comfortably sized city with a lot to offer. The city center is planned and flat and contains Botanical Gardens, museums, a university, shops, and many great places for food, beer, and wine. This makes it an ideal place to bicycle about and take in the sights. The city of Adelaide has capitalized on this and provides free bicycle rentals! Kat and I are exploring the city by bike and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Adelaide has been a great respite from the busy, crowded, and HUMID Sydney. The wine, dry heat, and gorgeous stone buildings give the city a relaxed and mediteranean feel. I think it's sometimes a bit off the tourist trail, but if you're looking for a great place to stroll through green parks and sample delicious food and wine in patio seating, this is the place to do it.