Now what?

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So we landed in Anacortes over three weeks ago. What is a vagabond couple to do?? We have been waiting in the Pacific Northwest waiting for a certain Vancouver bundle of joy to make his or her appearance – our first grandchild! When we were on our way west, we had a goal, a destination, each and every day, now, “not so much”. It’s been a waiting game and a much different game indeed!

We spent the first three days after dipping our tires in the Pacific Ocean in Anacortes. We relaxed, we had thank you post cards to print and write up, we condensed the blog to print up for Shawn’s mom, and relaxed some more. It was a fun break for us. Then we backtracked our way out of Anacortes and headed north along the coast and rode Chuckanut Drive. What a beautiful scenic drive! We camped out a night at Larrabee State Park before heading into Bellingham, where our son’s and daughter’s friend Dana lives. Dana and her husband John have such a beautiful home in Bellingham, and they had plenty of room for us to hang out for a couple days. We enjoyed being in Bellingham. After leaving the Midwest, this is the first place where we felt like we’d could “fit”. It is a lively town with great transportation opportunities, bicycle friendly and a hardware store that made Jim giddy.

Dana and John dropped us off at the Amtrak station before heading out crabbing. They enjoyed great success crabbing, by the way! When we returned to Bellingham later, Dana shared their bounty with us! Fresh dungeness crab! Yum!

We took the Amtrak Cascades train right to Vancouver. What a comfortable, beautiful ride! Then a couple of easy transfers to the Skytrain, the Seabus and a short walk uphill and pretty soon we were at Walt & Leanne’s front door! Gotta love public transportation – especially for a couple of road-weary cyclists! We spent about 5 days with the expectant parents, enjoying some big city amenities (shopping) and a very crowded free day at the PNE (Pacific Northwest Exhibition), as well as knitting and helping out the kids with a few home projects. Then back on the Amtrak – this time to Everett!

Jim’s niece, Candy lives in Everett with hubby Adam and their 3 boys and 2 dogs. We spent a couple of nights with them before they left on vacation and sure enjoyed the good nature and high energy of our grand- nephews! What a fun family! We stayed at their house for the next week, dog sitting their 2 German shepherds and enjoying the town of Everett. Early in the week, we went up to Bellingham with our truck and retrieved our bike and packs.

We also took the bus into Seattle and met up with Shawn’s nephew, Nathan and his girlfriend, Hannah for lunch and picked up a bag of cold weather gear that we had sent on ahead to Nathan to hold for us. While there we enjoyed the soapbox races downtown Seattle – what a riot!

Once our dog-sitting duties were done, we said a teary 🙂 goodbye to the dogs (they were fun and the bitch was such a sweetheart!), loaded up the bike and rode to the Boeing Future of Flight Museum for a tour of the museum and the Boeing plant. It was the day before Labor Day and the plant was rather quiet, but still the tour was fascinating! After the tour, we hopped on the ferry to Whidbey Island.

We took our time traveling up Whidbey Island, riding the 60-some miles across 3 days. The first day we rode 30, or so up to Fort Ebey State Park. What a beautiful park and an interesting place! It was a military installation during WW2 and the gun battery bluff has a gorgeous view of the water! Our hiker-biker campsite was just a couple hundred yards from this viewpoint so we took plenty of opportunities to enjoy the view. We were told that it was a great place for whale watching, but we didn’t see any whales. We did see a pair of hikers contemplating their options for camping. We knew we had received the last hiker-biker spot so we told them they were welcome to pitch their tent on our spot and they took us up on the offer. This made for a great evening of conversation!

Our new hiker friends, Margaret and Alexandra, are from North Carolina and both just graduated from college. One is headed for the Peace Corps and the other is headed to grad school. They are hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail & started on the northeast side of Glacier National Park in June. The trail ends on the Pacific Ocean, on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, so they’re nearing the end of their trip and are within 15 miles of the 1,000 mile milestone! We swapped a lot of stories from our respective summer of traveling and challenges along the way. We thought it was such a drag to have to carry 3 liters of water and extra food thru some of the remote sections of road we traveled but they sometimes had to carry 10-14 days of food and 8 liters of water! When they went thru the last town, they weighed their backpacks for the first time – they’re all stocked up on food and are carrying 37 lbs each. They go a week or two between towns and have found themselves bushwhacking to find their trail. It was fascinating to talk with them & we’re looking forward to hearing how these last few weeks go. Incredible adventure!

Our camping next stop, about 20 miles down the road, was Deception Pass State Park. We had considered pressing on, but it was the Labor Day weekend and traffic was heavy. Someone told us that the traffic is always heavy because there s a Naval base on the island, but we were also concerned about getting a campsite. In any case, it was another beautiful park to enjoy. We had a bit of trouble finding the hiker-biker spots but eventually made it. It was a drag that there wasn’t better signage because this was a very hilly park and we didn’t want to climb any more hills than necessary. The trail to the sites was also narrow & steep, so we just took the first site. We made a small fire and Shawn was finally able to ceremoniously burn her threadbare, tattered clothing that served her so well on this trip (as well as past trips!). (Due to the fires burning, there had been a fire ban in the entire state of Washington when we first finished our trip.). After dinner, we walked out to the beach and enjoyed another beautiful vista.

The following morning, we walked our bike along the muddy, rock-strewn lakeshore trail to avoid some very steep hills on the park road and exited the park. We immediately climbed a long hill up to the bridges that span Deception Pass. These bridges were built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s and offered spectacular views! They were also quite narrow, so we walked them and the walkway was also quite narrow – in fact, barely wide enough for our loaded bike to fit with only about 2″ of clearance. The longer bridge was 976′ long & the other one was about a third that size (don’t recall the exact distance), which gave us plenty of time for pictures and enjoying the view and (for Shawn) fretting about the height (about 180′ feet above the water, depending on the tide). You can read more about it here:

Another 10 miles of hilly but beautiful scenery, brought us back into Anacortes where we dipped our front tire 3 weeks ago! Crossing our path from 3 weeks ago, we rode right to the ferry dock and bought tickets to the San Juan Islands. There is a nice ferry system for the San Juan Islands, where you buy one ticket and then all inter-island rides are free after that. Our plan is to just ride & explore these islands for next week. We hear there are some very nice state parks but with heavy rain in the forecast, we took a room at a hostel last night and were glad that we did because it was quite cold and rainy. Sunshine is the forecast for today & the coming week, so we’ll be enjoying some nice quiet island riding!

Us with Walt & Leanne behind! ❤️


Candy & Adam & 2 of the guys (3rd one was in the car):


Nate & Hannah with us!





Alexandra & Margaret:









5 thoughts on “Now what?

    rathbunfam said:
    September 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Oh it feels so good to hear from you guys again. It sounds so beautiful and perfectly you! Sister-in-law Marg Haven says you must go to Beaushart Gardens. . Love you. Thanks for writing. Keep it up! Love you all!!

    m said:
    September 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    What a nice surprise hearing from you. I enjoy reading of your adventures.. esp when I have family in the area. Best wishes with your new grand

    Tammy Coleman said:
    December 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Hi Sean and Jim! Wondering if I can catch you two for a beer in E town now that you and I are actually in the same state! Tammy (Maddie’s mom) Coleman 459-3661

    Mike said:
    January 28, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Hey, just came across your blog. Nice job. There’s so much there that I’ve only scratched the surface. My wife and I are doing something similar to the Northern Tier next summer. How did you manage to post so much stuff during your ride? Did you haul a laptop?

      rathbike responded:
      January 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      We had a small iPad with us and did all our typing there. My wife is a good writer. We actually both took turns writing the blog. It was just what we did in the evening. We found it easiest just to write the day it happened rather than trying to remember what happened 2 or 3 days ago. We sure had a fun ride last year. We talk and think about our trip all the time. One thing we learned – we love touring by bike and will be out there again in a two or three years.

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