The final kilometers

Posted by on Oct 21 2009 | 18 USA 2009, 19 Canada 2009, English

Only one State left

We left our friends in Portland on a beautiful day. Riding through that bikefriendly city was quite nice, but it took us much longer to reach Vancouver (Washington) than we thought it would. At the city park we took a mid afternoon break and decided to stay in town for the night. The next campground was still a long way north of the city, so we looked for a motel.

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From Longview Kelso we followed the route of the annual Seattle to Portland bike ride, but from Vancouver (WA) to Kelso we follwed the I5 on back roads. From Woodland to Kalama, there was only one choice, the green mountain road, if we didn’t want to take I5.

The name ‘green mountain road’ definately hit the mark for it was extremely steep uphill for 7km. After about 3km uphill and in the middle of a few hundred meters of  incredibly steep road, a car stopped and the driver asked, if we needed help. Flo asked if, the top of that steep piece was the top of the hill and the driver asured us, that after that little bit of a climb left, the road was going to flatten out. Flo thanked him and said, that in that case we didn’t need help. The road did flat out for a couple of hundred meters, then continued for the last 4km to be almost overhanging. On the top of the hill, the road came back down on the same side of the mountain, another 7km extremely steep. The I5 had follewd the river down in the valley. Had we known about the green mountain, we would have chosen the interstate for that part!

green mountain road

green mountain road

It took us eight days, to reach Seattle. We were not in a hurry and we stayed in State Parks or other campground when possible, and if not, we looked for a motel.

One day we were a bit late. It had been further to that State Park than we thought it would be. There was no ranger at the park and we put up our tent in the nicest hiker and biker site we’ve ever seen.  There was a playground very close as well as the washrooms, whereas usually the hiker and biker sites are far away from everything and not maintained very well. At 8.00 next morning we found out why this site was so nice. It was not the hiker biker site, but the day use area as the ranger, who had woken us up, explained. We had aparently mistaken the sign for the paystation of the h and b site for the actual sign.

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From Toledo to Yelm we could follow a bike path, built on an old railway track. This gave Chan another opportunity to ride a long way by himself. The day before we reached Seattle, we came across another bike path, which leads almost all the way into the center. The next day, Chan was happy again to ride by himself and we were happy too, because the ride into the metropolitan of Seattle with 3.3million people was relaxed, actually quite beautiful on that path.

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In Seattle we were staying with a family, we had met in Oregon about a month earlier, for a few days. Chan enjoyed the company of the five girls very much. While Flo dealt with the Canadian Immigration to get a travel document to enter Canada as a permanent resident, Chan and I visited a Children’s museum and then took a lift up the space needle and enjoyed the incredible view.

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Canada here we come!

On the ride north the weather was beautiful and we soaked up the sun rays for the air was already crisp and fall knocking on the door.

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From Anacortes we took the ferry over to Sidney on Vancouver Island. We wanted to visit a friend in Victoria, which we had met on a bicycle tour on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), when Chan was only 8 months old.

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We stayed with Lars for a few days and through the first fall rain. Riding up to Nanaimo we were welcomed home to Canada’s west coast with more rain. The roads were familiar, exactly the same we were taking southward a little more than three years ago.

Galloping Goose trail August 2006

Galloping Goose trail August 2006

Galloping Goose trail, September 2009

Galloping Goose trail, September 2009

Campground, Ganges, Saltspring Island 2004

Campground, Ganges, Saltspring Island 2004

Campground, Ganges, Saltspring Island 2009

Campground, Ganges, Saltspring Island 2009

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Then suddenly our last day on bicycles had arrived. Our feelings were mixed with a sense of relief, that the days of folding a damp tent and living in the same old pants days in and out have come to an end and a sadness, that our freedom of living our own rhythm and not needing to fit into any society given grid was now abruptly ending.

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It was a beautiful sunny day.  On the road from Horseshoe Bay we even met other bicycle travellers and chatted as we did so many times before on the road. Then we crossed Lions Gate bridge and biked along the waterfront.

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Everything was so familiar. Nothing seemed to have changed over the passed three years, except that the Olymic Village has been built in the space of a before empty ground. All around False Creek seemed so short now. We arrived at a park, close to our friend Christine, where we had invited our friends to for an arrival potluck. Nobody was there. We decided to take a break anyhow and let Chan play for a while, before heading over to Christine’s. And then she came with her whole family and a little later a few more of our friends arrived. Chan was hiding under a table  from all those people knowing him, but who were strangers to him. But soon he played with Macalli, one of his friends when they were toddlers, as if they had never been apart.

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We could stay with Christine and her family for the first week in Vancouver. Initially I thought, that we would take it slow and take time to arrive. But as soon as we were here, I needed to organize our lifes here. We found a place in a school for Chan and only five days, after we arrived in Vancouver, he started kindergarten.

First day of school

First day of school

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Florian found jobs here and there with friends, and I tried ot organize our starting houshold. Then we could move back into the basement suite we had left three years ago. The girl who lives there at the moment was looking for somebody to sublet, while she is on a field trip until march 2010. We can use some of her furniture and all of her kitchen tools.

Playing with Jivan from upstairs

Playing with Jivan from upstairs

Enjoying art at home

Enjoying art at home

Even with our living space provided and the support of our friends and even though getting back into settled live is happening very smoothly, it feels overwhelming at times and in those moments I wonder, if we should have just continued to pedal…

We will keep our blog up and let you know of our lifes in one place for who knows how long!

6 comments for now

6 Responses to “The final kilometers”

  1. Hello Rebekka, Flo and Chan

    I met you while I was touring in Peru…
    We stayed at the hostel in Cusco called las estrellas…
    I was the kid with the bob trailer who made the little tin can guitars…
    I live in Bellingham, and had no clue you were coming back to the northwest!!
    I would love to visit or say a hello some weekend….
    I’m sure you are very busy, as am I,
    school takes up all my time these days…

    Congrats on your journey!
    Your family has always been inspiring to me!

    much love and pedals of all kinds

    tyson

    21 Oct 2009 at 10:49 am

  2. christine

    it’s great to have you all back!
    xo

    21 Oct 2009 at 7:35 pm

  3. Well done. Full circle.
    I like the before and after photos.
    Remember Green Mountain for next time. I imagine Flo will be out and about soon looking for big hills to push that bike and trailer up. Vancouver will keep you entertained for a while.

    Changing your mind already? I know someone else like that…

    22 Oct 2009 at 12:40 am

  4. Reina, Falk, Elena & Emma

    Just wishing you all the best, I’m thinking of you often, you’re in my mind and in my heart. Hugs Reina

    23 Oct 2009 at 10:59 am

  5. Michael Schroeder

    Hello again folks! We met when you were all coming thru Northern california. 55 miles north of Mt. Shasta on hwy 97, you all had a rest in the field in front of house. I am glad to see that you have all made it home safely. Maybe one day I ‘ll take you all up on a visit to Vancuver, oh and I hope the rye seed Chan took with him grows well.

    29 Oct 2009 at 6:32 am

  6. Hallo, Grüsse us Winti
    Schöner Blog mit viel Bildern, ich vermisse etwas mehr Titel und Bilbeschreibungen!

    Weiterhin viel Spass
    Dominik

    24 Apr 2012 at 5:06 am

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