October 11, 2014 | Posted in:Washington
(This post was written over a month ago on our first night in Washington)
We awoke on the train no longer in the Midwest. One night had taken us from the lush fields and forests of Wisconsin to the golden expanses of the Great Plains, and another night had delivered us into the arid and majestic high desert of Washington. Pine-covered mountains soon replaced the stony valleys and then we were descending into the populated Puget strip.
I realized I had made a horrific mapping error when they announced Everett as the next stop. I had chosen my WarmShowers* host in Everett after purchasing my ticket to Seattle because Everett was the final stop on the local commuter rail line. I had not checked to see if the Amtrak would actually swing 50 miles north and go through the dang place on the way to Seattle. I simply hadn’t fathomed that the train would loop way to the south south and then still connect with the coastal line back north of Seattle. It was too late, bags checked to Seattle, head hung in shame. Might as well make the most of it.
It wasn’t such a disaster having to do the train twice because it was a nice view along the sound. There were a lot of people out on the shore and it seems like people really like to wave at trains, except for the one guy who flipped us off. Whatever, brah.
Our host Jack’s place was about five miles from the Everett station along the beginning of the great US Hwy 2, and then up a long hill on WA 204. The hill was busy but had a very wide shoulder. It was fantastic to get back into the saddle after sitting on a train for almost two days and get a nice climb right off the bat.
Despite having been done with work for almost four months and having put on at least 700 miles cycling, we finally felt like the trip was truly underway and were no longer circling home bases. It was wonderful and liberating to be free from the known with a blank future in front of us!
*WarmShowers.org is a great resource for touring cyclists. It is similar to Couchsurfing, but for cyclists. Most of the hosts on the site have done touring before, so they have a good understanding of what you need when you get off the road and usually have great advice for your route ahead. We hosted several cyclists in NYC who got us excited for the upcoming trip.