A year has already gone by since our last cycling trip, so it’s time to push our pedals again and wheel our way through some scenic countryside. After considering numerous different options for our itinerary, we finally chose a trip through the Northwestern states. And as always, we have a name and a logo for our tour. This one has been dubbed Glaciers to the Sea.
Rich has been plotting our route for months, carefully checking other cyclists’ trip reports, scouting out lesser traveled roads, and going to the greatest level of detail by viewing actual roads and shoulders on Google Street View. He doesn’t leave anything to chance. If our route looks a bit windy and twisty, there’s a good reason for it. The straightest route is not always the best approach when traveling by bicycle.
We start off in Whitefish, Montana which is just outside of Glacier National Park. Rich took great care in selecting our starting point, making sure that we were already over the continental divide before we began cycling. No climbing up mountain passes if he can help it. We know there will still be plenty of ups and downs, but we hope the highest ones will already be behind us. From there we will follow the Clark Fork River. We learned on last year’s trip that staying in river valleys is the perfect way to minimize altitude changes – as long as we don’t stray far from the water. After traveling through Spokane, Washington we will cross the high plateau. That brings us to the next major waterway, the Columbia River, which takes us all the way to Portland, Oregon.
Rich’s brother and his wife live in Eugene, Oregon so we will dip down to visit them. We’re planning a 3-night stay to rest up, enjoy a few luxuries and spend time catching up. The final leg will be along the Oregon and Washington coasts, which promise some spectacular views. After visiting my friend, Anne, in Olympia we will finish up in Seattle. There we will be hosted by some Warm Showers cyclists who stayed with us last summer on their cross-country cycling trip. Amtrak will then deliver us back to our car in Whitefish.
In total, we expect to cycle about 1,400 miles over 4-5 weeks. We’ve left it intentionally vague, which allows us to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves along the way.
Friends have asked what we are most looking forward to. I think we both have the same answer. The simplicity of the journey. Traveling by bicycle trims everything down to the bare necessities. There are no decisions to make about what to wear – out of two sets of cycling clothes, we put on the clean ones. Our possessions are few – tablets are our best friends, providing reading material, contact with family and blogging tools. It’s just us, our bicycles and the scenery. Oh yes, and our cameras.
We’re excited for this trip, from the glaciers to the deep blue sea. And everything in between.