Sierra Cascades Recap

Sierra Cascades

One of the most enjoyable parts of touring is completing the goal you set. That moment when you say to yourself at the end of a tour, I made it!, feels like a big accomplishment, even if the accomplishment was merely enjoying a vacation. Still, you can take that good feeling and roll it into daily life. For instance, you can motivate yourself at work by thinking, I just rode 1,650 miles, surely I can help this upset customer/boss/coworker with her problem. An altered perspective can be powerful. This is just one of many reasons why I love bicycle touring.

Another enjoyable aspect of touring is reflecting on the trip. Recounting the highlights and challenges is fun, but what’s most rewarding for me is to think about why what stood out was memorable. It’s my chance to learn so that we can better plan future trips.

On our trip from Truckee, CA, to Seattle, WA, we rode on a lot of highways, many of which seemed to be designed specifically for large commercial vehicles. The grades were shallow and the roads straight. Every time we rode along one of these highways my mood soured. Regardless of the amount of traffic, the roads themselves were dull. Instead of following the contours of the landscape, the highways plow through it. These are destination highways, point A to point B as quickly as possible. That’s contrary to point of bicycle touring. When planning future tours we’ll have to remind ourselves to look for the roads that appear to be drawn by a child. The more squiggly the better.

Upon reflection we also learned that some of the trip’s best moments were when we spent time with other cyclists. We had a great time with the five different Warm Showers hosts we stayed with. And in Washington we met some fantastic people while camping on the San Juan islands. We’ll be sure to incorporate Warm Showers into any future tours and try to be more open to spontaneous social gatherings despite our introverted hesitations.

Okay, that’s enough philosophizing. This is the Internet. People don’t have time to read. TL;DR. I gotta give the surfers what they want: digestible chunks of information. So here’s a breakdown of our trip along part of the Sierra Cascades:

By the numbers

Trip highlights