We will travel our last weeks in this blog. Through the rest of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and finally to Alberta. We feel like we were one the home stretch and that comes with some mixed emotions. We both are anxious to return home and get on with our lives, but sad in some way to see this amazing journey end. So with these differing emotions we head home.
I think Garth Brooks in his song, "The River", just might say it best:
"You know a dream is like a river
Ever changin' as it flows
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores" .......................
Mon-May 23, 2011
We started out leaving San Fran with beautiful sunshine and warm weather. As we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge the wind started to pick up and blow like crazy. The sun continued to shine, but the wind kept getting stronger and stronger. We followed Highway 101 or the Shoreline Highway. We were totally amazed by the beautiful coastal
views. The hammering, rushing surf, crashing against the rugged rocks jutting out of the ocean shore. It was truly wonderful. We stopped for lunch at a small seaside, seafood cafe where we had fresh fish and chips and a bowl of clam chowder. The owner told us that for the last couple of days the winds blew at 60 miles an hour from 5 am to 5 pm without ever letting up. He told us we should bundle up and prepare for the wind. We put on our belaclavas and warm clothes and away we went. The wind continued to blow, but the views we saw made the day fly by. We drove until about 5:00 pm and stopped for the night at the Surf Motel and Gardens in Fort Bragg, California.
We went to the local supermarket and bought some groceries for dinner. While I went out for a run Rene found the hockey game between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lighting. I went for a run in the Pomo Bluffs Park. A beautiful park that was right on the cliffs of the ocean. After the hockey game We fell into bed exhausted. Fighting the wind all day
certainly takes it's toll. It was a great day, a long day and a scenic day.
Tues- May 24, 2011
Oh the sun was still shining and the wind is GONE!! Away we went, still following the Shoreline Highway, with it's continuous coastal views. At one point we took a little detour and headed up the scenic byway to Lady Bird Johnson Park. The higher we went up the road the larger the trees became, the thicker the moss was on the trees, the heavier the fog was and the denser the mist was in the air. It was eerily wonderful. We didn't stay long as the park was really a hiking area and we weren't feeling like hiking. We came back to Highway 101 and continued north. We drove into a little town called Leggitt. In Leggitt we took another small detour and for $3.00 we drove the bike through a huge Redwood tree. We stopped for about half and hour and sat in the sun looking up at the great huge surrounding trees.
After our little pit stop we continued on the road and found yet another detour we decided to take. This wonderful twistee, winding road
Ocean crashing against the rocks. So loud, so amazing!
took us 25 miles down to the "Lost Coast". It was named the "Lost Coast" after the area experienced depopulation in the 1930s. As well, the steepness and related geo-technical challenges of the coastal mountains made this stretch of coastline too costly for state highway or county road builders to establish routes through the area, leaving it the most undeveloped portion of the California coast. we stopped at the little community of Shelter Cove at an espresso cafe. We sat on the deck right above the ocean cliffs and watched the waves crashing against the shore. Then we looked over and were pleasantly surprised to see 2 small deer grazing on the grass just feet from us. What a wonderul little break.
Another thing that was very interesting on the Lost Coast is that the sand on the beaches is totally black. Very beautiful and very unique. We found the one way road to the Lost Coast, which meant there was only one way out. Back on the twistee sceneic road. Very nice detour and very nice way to spend some of the afternoon. Back onto the Shoreline Highway and then just a couple of miles back onto the road
So wonderful to drive along this route
and we could take another scenic byway. This byway is called the Avenue of Giants. The Avenue of the Giants is a 32 mile scenic road that runs through the Redwoods State Park. The Avenue of the Giants actually got its name from the towering Redwood trees that overshadow the road and surround the area. WOW such majestic, mighty trees. Certainly made us feel small looking way up at these massive trees.
After the Avenue of Giants we stopped for the night at a America's Best Value Inn, in Eureka, California. This was the night of the potential last game of the playoffs between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks. We hoped to watch the game in our room, and the right channel was there, but it was very fuzzy and blurry. TO fuzzy and blurry to see or hear anything, so off we went to find somewhere to watch this most important game. We found Big Pete's Pizzeria where the game was being played. We ordered pizza and watched the game. We stayed until the end of the first over time period and by then we were exhausted. We left and hoped to hear and maybe see
the outcome on the hockey highlights news. We got back to the motel and there was the game. Clear screen and perfect sound. We therefore got to see and hear the winning Vancouver goal to move the Canucks onto the finals. Too bad we couldn't jump up and down and cheer loudly for our dearly beloved Canucks in Big Pete's Pizzeria.
Wed- May 25, 2011
Another day on the Shoreline Highway with more coastal views and then onto the Redwood Highway into the Redwood Forest. We left California and into Oregon. I must say, California in my opinion is the most diverse State we have visited. It has snow capped mountains, crystal clear oceans. It has dry scorching deserts and lush green rainforests. It has counties where there are masses of humanity and then counties where one has to really look to find even one person. so much in just one state.
We stopped for the night at the Motel 101 in Gold Beach Oregon. It was a cold and dreary day, so the day's ride was not so much fun or very enjoyable. We seemed to be caught in this cold front and although we have missed most
West Coast vistas
Pomo Park Bluffs Park
of the system, we seem to have caught up with it now. I went for a long walk/run on the beach and Rene watched another Boston/Tampa game. Hard to run in the sand but it feels so good to be active again. Went out for a quick dinner and spent the rest of the night hanging out.
Thurs-May 26, 2011
OH the rain and miserable weather just continued to plague us. We only travelled about 3 hours and stopped for the day/night in Coos Bay/North Bend, Oregon. We spent the afternoon and evening watching the rain fall, playing on the computer, watching TV, reading and did I mention that we watched the rain fall!!!!
Fri-May 27, 2011
MORE RAIN!!!!!!. Now this is really only day 2 of so much rain, but on the bike, 2 days of rain kinda feels like 2 weeks of rain. So another day of only about 3 hours of riding and we stopped in a little coastal town called Tillamook. Tillamook is famous for it's cheese factory. We had been there with the kids about 10 years ago and had such a good time, we stopped again! we went for a tour of
Drive through tree
the Tillamook Cheese factory, bought some cheese, locally smoked and dried oysters and some jerky, went back to our motel and had all of it for dinner!!! More rain and cold weather, so another evening of sittin around and dodging the rain. It really was a great day tho, as the rain was intermittent and the costal views again were enough to keep our minds occupied with something other than the rain.
Sat- May 28, 2011
We were planning on going to Seattle WA for the next couple of days, to spend some time with Peter and Christine, who we met in Westlock at our dear friends and neighbours, Erich and Meggie, but as we were looking at the map, we saw that highway 101 stayed on the west coast and went North all the way to the Strait of Juan du Fuca. It was also sunny and warm and we wanted to make the most of the sunny weather and ride as much as we could. We started out from Tillamook about 9:45. We continued on the Oregon Coast gazing and stopping to admire even some more amazing coastal views. The weather stayed sunny and warm for the
Deer right beside the hotel and right on the cliff's of the ocean
most part, but at one point in the morning we had to stop at McDonalds to wait out a downpour. That is certainly one thing about travelling on the bike. We can watch the clouds and see storms coming and watch as the storm gains momentum. We knew we were about to get wet, so we stopped just in time and ran into McDonalds just as a few rain drops fell on our heads. We got in the door and DOWN the rain came. The skies let loose for about 20 minutes and then the sun came back out and back out we went. We crossed into Washington about noon. We went over this incredibly high bridge and halfway across we were suddenly in Washington. We followed the highway that took us along more breath-taking coast and then into the the forest. We went around the the Olympic Mountains in the OLympic National Park. It was scenery we hadn't seen for a long time. Thick heavy forest lining the highway. Near the end of our day we rode right along the shore of this beautiful northern lake called Crescent Lake. About 10 miles!!! It was beautiful and of course along
the road we
encounter deer, right along the side of the road and one right in front of us in the middle of the highway. Rene saw it early, so it was not a problem, but a reminder for us to keep a keen eye out for the wildlife. It did rain off and on along the way around the penninsula, so we did stop to put on the rain gear, but the rain didn't ever amount to too much. still, the rain gear is just one more layer to keep us warm and cozy. Sun was shining, but the temperature was cool. We ended our day in Port Angeles WA. We could see the shores of Victoria Canada from the harbour. There is a ferry that goes to Victoria and it was tempting to take it and be back in Canada, but we also wanted to visit Peter and Christine in Seattle area.
Sun- May 29, 2011
Peter and Christine won our vote and off we went to the Seattle area. ALong the way we saw road signs leading us to a local annual Shrimp Festival. Well we knew we had to check that out, so onto the
festival grounds we went. We walked around and looked at the booths that were set up. Lots of local arts and crafts and of course SHRIMP meals to buy. I had fresh fried garlic shrimp and Rene had some fresh fried Oysters. YUMMMMM!!!! As we were walking along we heard some beautiful local singing and then an announcement for "BELT SANDER RACES" What the heck is that we thought and of course needed to stick around to see what that was all about!! Sure enough, some of the local men, decorated up thier belt sanders, yes REAL belt sanders!! (some with puppets, some with beer cans, some as
cars) and put them on a homemake wooden track. The starting lights turned green, the men flipped the on switch and off the sanders went on the track. What a hoot!!! It was hysterical!!!! We laughed and laughed!!! It was such fun and everyone was cheering and laughing and having such a good time. We left the Shrimp fest with full bellies and had our funny-bone tickled by the local festivities. We arrived at Peter and Christine's home about 3:00 pm. We spent the afternoon and evening with them chatting about our
Avenue of Giants
Massive Redood Trees
travels and their travels around the world. They are such an interesting and fascinating couple, who have been so many places and seen so many things. It was so fun to talk to them and learn more about who they are and the things they have seen.
Mon-May 30, 2011
The plan for the day was to ride into Seattle and check out the harbour, the famous Public Market and the shops along the way. It was Memorial Weekend in the states therefore many stores and shops were closed. After breakfast, we got ready and then both of us voiced our desires to not be on the bike and just check out the neighbourhood around Peter and Christine's place. We walked some beautiful trails, checked out an educational farm yard and ended up at the Botanical Gardens where we walked around the flowers and plants. We stopped at a park bench and read our books for a hour or so and then made our way back to Peter and Christine's for an amazing salmon dinner. Again we spent the evening chatting and enjoying each other's company. Peter and Christine.... thanks so much for everything, especially sharing your love of
Avenue of Giants
we sure looked small!
travelling and meeting new and interesting people.
Tues-May 31, 2011
We left our new friends at about 10:00 am and made our way further north. We got just outside of Seattle, up in the Snowqualmie Pass and it started to rain AGAIN!!! It rained for about 2 hours, but we kept going.The rain and cool weather was getting pretty frustrating. One day beautiful, then the next intermittent rain and sun. I realize that we can't expect sun everyday. There's got to be a little rain sometimes. And we have been amazing blessed on this trip with the weather. I guess one week of some on and off rain mixed with sun isn't something I should get all twisted about. Anyway.....we went a long way round to escape more rain. As the afternoon progressed the weather became sunnier and sunnier and we ended our day in Omak Washington.
Wed-June 01, 2011
Woke up in Omak and it had rained buckets during the night, but by the time we were ready to jump on the bike, the sun was acoming out. We were very excited as we were on our way into Canada. Within 3 hours we were at the
Avenue of Giants
Tiny beautiful flowers amongst the majestic trees
Canadian Border anticipating some intrusive, probing questions about our travels. The Canadian border guard was a sour looking, sour sounding man, who asked just a couple questions in a sour tone and after we simply and sweetly answered his qustions, we were admitted in our great country of CANADA!!!!Another 2 hours riding in clear blue skies and sunshine and we arrived at our Irish friends, Mel and Audrey. Mel and Audrey are wonderful new friends we met first in Charleston S.C, then again in Orlando FL and now in thier new home of Kelowna BC. They hope to build the rest of thier lives in Kelowna. We went with them to a lounge on the waterfront of Kelowna to watch the first game of the Vancouver vs. Boston ,hockey game. GO CANADA GO!!!
Thurs-June 02, 2011
We spent the day basking in the sun and warmth. Rene finally had a few hours and he had been wanting to wash the bike for weeks now. So Mel gave him some detergent, a cloth and the garden hose and a washin and a scrubbin' he went. He washed and scrubbed for a couple of hours and had a clean shiny bike
Lady Bird Johnson Park
Riding in the clouds!!
again. We read our books for a couple of hours, then went shopping with Mel for a couple of hours and for the evening we had a wonderful BBQ with wonderful friends and visited and reminised about our respective travels for the rest of the evening.
Fri- June 03, 2011
We were going to stay with Mel and Audrey until Sat, but as the last week unfolded we (OK, I, more than Rene) just wanted to get HOME!!!
We were up and on the road by 9:30 headed to our beloved home province of Alberta. We called the family and told them we were goimg to Lacombe first to visit with my parents. Dad had been in hospital for the last 12 days awaiting a pace maker and mom had just 6 weeks earlier had back surgery, so I was anxious to see how things were going for them. We drove through the rest of BC and entered into Alberta about 3:30 pm. The weather had been so sunny and warm until we hit some of the mountain passes. We expected it to be cold through the passes, but once out of the pass we expected the warmth of
Such a HUGE tree
the sun again.......BUT..... the weather became increasingly colder and colder. We stopped for gas in a litte town called Nordegg and I said something about the weather to the gas attendent and she said "yeah, it's pretty cold and they're calling for snow tonight". The temperature there was +4
Celcius. That's only 40 Fahrenheit. FREAKING COLD!!!! I think I was starting to feel some hyperthermia!!!! But we were sooooo close and both of us just wanted to get home. So for the last 2 hours of the trip, neither of us said anything to eachother and moved as little as possible to perserve our body heat. We arrived at my parents place about 8:30 pm. We were so happy to get our frozen bodies into the nice warm house. Our daughter Cyndi was there as well and after she welcomed us home with warm hugs and kisses, she laughed at us and said "Oh yeah....I forgot to tell you it was going to get really cold here" Oh... isn't she funny. Anyway Mom had some warm coffee ready for us and after I sat with the hot water bottle for about an hour, my lips and nose turned from a
Moss on the trees
nasty purple color to a nice healthy pink again. It turned out to be a long cold day, but all forgotten once we were safely wrapped in a warm comfy bed!!!
So we're home now............but far from settled. We now get to look for a new home, a new vehicle and for Rene a new job.
We are excited to see what the next part of this journey of our lives has in store for us.
............."And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Stay tuned to see and hear how our last month turns out....
And so we remain.....
In the Grip of Grace
Rene and Crystal
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