The Road to Seattle, My Last Stop in North America

Well I finally made it to Seattle, more than a year and 12,000 miles since leaving Miami. This is my last stop in the USA. I will leave for Japan  on Monday July 16. But first let me catch you up a bit.

Leaving Bend, Oregon I headed west into the mountains. I knew the highway would be filled with traffic so I planned to take back roads for several miles. It was brutal. One day I only managed to go 10 miles. I walked my bike all day over sandy, rocky hilly roads. On steep slopes I could only drag my bike 10 feet before resting for a couple minutes, then dragging it another 10 feet, etc. It took an hour to go less than one mile up a steep section of the mountain. My feet were killing me by the end of the day. But it was quiet with some nice views, although it was a bit ugly too: the trees were all dead I guess due to a fire some years back.

The awful sandy road was actually part of the Santiam Wagon Road which was a vital commercial link connecting the Willamette Valley with central Oregon. Built between 1861 and 1868, the road, which closely followed traditional Indian trails, was in use into the late 1930s and made possible the settlement of central Oregon.

The next day was great. I got back on the highway and zoomed downhill for 3000 feet. I went 30 miles in about two hours. The complete opposite of the day before. That’s bike touring for you… every day is different.

Approaching Portland, Oregon I ended up taking a ferry across the Willamette river.

 

Riding through Portland I took a nice bike path through downtown by the river. Nice place.

Washington State

This bridge spans the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. Not a pleasant ride. Tiny shoulder with constant traffic, including massive lumber trucks.

Arriving in Olympia, I stayed with Bob and Sally, great warm showers hosts.

Haha funny sign.

Saw this by the side of the highway. Drive carefully everyone.

Approaching Seattle I stayed a night with Gary and Janice who biked around the world for a year with two teenagers. They have a beautiful house in Silverdale.

I made it to Bainbridge Island where I caught a ferry to take me to downtown Seattle.

Seattle

View of downtown Seattle from the ferry.

Sailboat in Elliot Bay.

I lived in Seattle from 1986 until 1994 so it was good to be back and see my old friends again. Even after all that time passed we carried on as if I had never left. Seattle has changed a lot though. Amazon, Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Expedia among others have made their headquarters here and have huge offices. They pay well and have hired thousands of smart software engineers who have driven up housing costs. My friend Bill who moved to Albuquerque said that he bought his house for $200,000 in the early 1980s. He sold it in 2016 for $700,000. The guy who bought it fixed it up a bit and flipped it a year later for $900,000. This was a small two bedroom house in the Wallingford neighborhood. Nothing special.

But its the same all over the northwest apparently. Denver has gone crazy, with millions moving there and driving up prices. I heard complaints from people in Boise, Bend and Olympia. Where are all these people coming from?

My friends End and Rodger have a wonderful house in Seattle overlooking Elliot Bay. Here are some geese passing by.

Ena, me and Paula.

Rodger making pizza. He is an excellent chef.

Ena and Paula goofing off.

Here I am with Debbie, another friend.

With another friend named Debbie. I collect Debbies.

Paula and I rode up to the Sun Top lookout near Mt. Rainier, at 5280 feet. It is only about 10 miles from Rainier so there are great views. It’s a nice quiet spot for a picnic. There was a volunteer ranger staying in this little hut.

A view of Rainer from Sun Top.

North America Statistics

For the record, here are my stats from North America:

Start: April 2, 2017, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Arrived Seattle July 6, 2018

Total Days: 470 ( one year, three months and 13 days)

Days cycled: 320

Miles ridden: 12,325

Miles per cycling day: 39

Accommodation pie chart:

Places

US States: 24

Canadian provinces: 1

Mexican states: 13

 

13 thoughts on “The Road to Seattle, My Last Stop in North America

  1. Deirdre Brownlow July 16, 2018 / 3:21 am

    Wonderful end to your journey Kevin. Sounds like Japan beckons. Would have loved to see you but we’re still in Spain/Portugal. Just walked across Spain 799km, over 500 miles. Our journey is on instagram @deirdre_wanders and @paulbrownlow

    • Kevin Koski July 17, 2018 / 6:26 am

      Hi Deirdre,

      Yes I have been following your trek on facebook. What an adventure. Sounds like a great experience. Very impressive. Get home safe. Sorry I missed you and Paul.

  2. Paula Hart July 16, 2018 / 6:55 am

    Kev, really enjoyed reading your blog & viewing your pictures from your trip up to & including Seattle! It was wonderful seeing you, catching up & creating new stories. Taking me up to Sun Top for that amazing view of Mt. Rainier is a sight I will treasure forever.
    Can’t wait to read about your travels in Japan!
    Be safe. Have fun! Cheers to you!

    • Kevin Koski July 17, 2018 / 6:53 am

      Zelda darling, thanks for letting me crash at your house. I had a great time in Seattle. From Sun Top terror to Jurassic world to arguing with crazy bartenders. Never a dull moment. Take care and my regards to your neurotic pets.

  3. Anonymous July 16, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Wonderful Report. Thanks, Kev.

  4. Debbie Black July 16, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    Adios, Kev! It was good to see you. Hope to catch you again next summer – I witnessed your promise to return to Seattle!

    Safe cycling!

    Debbie

    • Kevin Koski July 17, 2018 / 6:55 am

      Thanks Deb it was great to catch up.

  5. Capt. Donald Kilpela July 23, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    Interesting post, Kev. I had forgotten you lived in Seattle and you probably don’t know that I did quite a bit of work in Seattle with the Washington Credit Union League. Moreover, I have a good friend who lives there. He had a company that overlooked Lake Union, my favorite body of water, bar none.

    Looking forward to your travels in Japan and on.

    • Kevin Koski July 26, 2018 / 9:58 am

      Don, yes I remember having lunch with you and Betty in downtown Seattle years ago. It must have been around 1991 or 1992. It has changed a lot but still a great place.

  6. Jocelyn Kilpela July 23, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    Hey cuz! Looks like you’re doing well.Made it through unscathed. Looking forward to adventures in Japan. I hear they’re having a major heat wave. I’m in the U.P. right now. Gorgeous weather…2 horse flies bit my head today however…
    Keep on keepin’ on!
    JoJo

    • Kevin Koski July 26, 2018 / 10:00 am

      Hey Jo, the horseflies here are worse. They sneak up on you and you don’t even see them until the bite. Then it swells up and is sore for 3-4 days. They are the devil. Enjoy the U.P.

  7. Paula Hart July 26, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Hey Kev baby – update to the ” arguing with crazy bartender” story…..heard back from owner of the restaurant/bar & his employment has been TERMINATED!! Karma dude.

    The owner personally asked me to reach out to you & let you know & she wants you to come back next year when you visit! She needs help in the restaurant so I got you a job interview too!! Lol!!

    So Yes!! There still is justice in this crazy world of ours!!!

    Btw my neurotic pets that you related to so well – send their regards & growls!!!

    Love ya, be safe, have fun, wear your helmet!!!
    Your Zelda xo

    • Kevin Koski August 4, 2018 / 10:28 am

      Glad to hear the jerk was canned. Thanks, I may need a job by next year. Crazy world indeed, just ask Rick.

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