First, thanks to everyone for all the support! Our 50-ish mile ride to finish up the "dual riding" portion of our adventure yesterday couldn't have been easier or more pleasant. We had clear sky morning weather (which, according to the local news, is extremely rare), light winds, our flattest route yet, and a beautiful mix of farm lands, forests, and mountains to ride through -- the perfect setting for a celebratory final "stage" of the cycling portion of our "tour". It was just a super day in every respect.
We were only in Canada long enough to properly "count coup" before we turned around to have lunch near the border in Sumas. Then we cycled on to a U-Haul dealer in Everson, WA where we'd reserved one of their smallest trucks. Once there we loaded everything up and immediately started driving backwards on the route we'd just cycled up! By dark we'd driven all the way back to Pateros, WA -- carefully following our cycling route all the way -- and during the whole drive continuing the celebration with conversations like "Oh, I remember *that* ..." ... "Remember when we were almost blown off the road --- wasn't that right here? ... no, no .. up at this curve". And so on. It was great.
Today we continued backtracking our route in the U-Haul truck doing the same thing all over .. getting our bike ride even further etched into our brains, doing a constant compare and contrast between cycling and driving, and so on. We also added on a bit this time taking the long climbing dog leg to see the crater side of Mount St Helens (pics tomorrow) and other minor explorations like that.
Tonight we're all the way back to the Oregon/Washington border and tomorrow we pick things up again with the backtracking, and then we'll be at it again Friday until we're all the way back in Ridgecrest, CA where Tina started cycling fulltime.
That sets up "Phase 3": Tina has decided that she wants to pick her hike up where she left it at Mount Whitney and then head north until she's finished all of California or gets stopped by the first major snow storm.
The original plan had called for Tina to hike continuously from Mexico to Canada followed with us cycle touring back. But the extremely dangerous water crossings that resulted from the record snow year pushed us to transition to cycling north back at Whitney. Meanwhile, the summer was late and cool here in the north and so a good bit of the snow is still on the ground -- thus no hiking south from Canada as an option. The distance math says that there's just no possibility that she'd be able to complete a thru hike in the usable remains of the year, but there's every liklihood that she can finish off California and so that's what she's shooting for. We're nevertheless feeling very "successful", tho. While we didn't and won't thru "hike", we have already now combo thru bike-hiked (bhiked? hbiked? hi-biked?). Anyway, we're doing what we can and now we're going back to put more of California in the "hiked" category.
While I'm keeping the bike with me to help me maintain basic fitness while she does that, the realities of doing support through the Sierras have dictated that I fetch our truck from San Diego, where my brother Carl has been keeping it in better than safe-and-sound shape. I'll use it to meet and resupply Tina every 5-7 days. In my downtime I'll be preparing for future mischief. :-}
That's all for now! /David