Hello all our friends, family and supporters!
To celebrate our, Ville and Kristen's, arrival in our hometown of Bend, Oregon, we are kicking off a fundraiser for Carly's Kids. For those of you that don't know about Carly's Kids yet, Carly's Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to provide underprivileged children access to outdoor education school. Your charitable contribution is tax deductible and directly impacts, enriches, and inspires kids.
Would you like to help support Carly's Kids mission to help kids AND get a cool postcard from us from somewhere cool that we travel through while on our crazy Alaska to Argentina bike tour? Well, here is how you can help:
1. Click on the Carly's Kids link below or on the Carlys' Kids box on the right side of our page.
2. Click on the button DONATE
3. Donate a minimum of $20 to help kids in need get to outdoor school and before you checkout, fill out the following information in the comments:
We Lost The Map
Name (of who will receive the postcard)
Mailing Address (where to send the postcard)
Thanks all for the continued love and support along our journey! Cheers to Bend, Oregon, Carly's Kids, and 3400 miles. Keep on keepin' on!
Ville and Kristen Jokinen
We Lost The Map
This stretch was, um, depressing, stressful, and took a LOT of patience and compassion on our part. That is a wide array of emotions so I'll explain. We had heard great things about the Olympic Peninsula before heading there. Enough to decide that if there was some extra miles involved to go north again, west, then south before having to head back east to get into Portland, it would likely be worth it. And let me say this first, if you are driving a car around the Peninsula and make your way into the Olympic National Park to hike, camp, or check out the handful of rainforests there and then get back in your cozy car out of the rain and turn on your windshield wipers and drive yourself back to a warm shower somewhere, it was probably epic! If your on a bike, in our personal opinion (and keep in mind folks this is our opinion based off our experiences that may be different for everyone), SKIP IT.
First of all, the scenery was not very memorable other than beautiful forests hacked into a patchwork of clearcuts and fairly recently replanted forests. The whole whopping' 15 mile stretch along the coast had only peekaboo views of the water and then we were back inland until we were nearly to Astoria. However, the brief road winding the shoreline of Crescent Lake was pretty and the very southern Bone River Natural Area Preserve was georgous. The road itself, Highway 101 along this stretch was terrible for a cyclist! Chipseal pavement, mostly little to no shoulder, and a constant stream of traffic and logging trucks flying by you at excessive speeds. Every town we passed or stopped and spent time in; from Port Angeles to Forks to Humptulips (no, I'm serious this is a real name of a town, Google it) seem to exist in sheer part thanks to logging. And the occasional tourists, but mainly logging.
Also along this stretch was more garbage (diapers, whole bags of trash, bottles, car parts, tires, and even an entire back seat of a car) scattered all along the road. There was a handful of houses along the road, but mainly trailers, (one had a cool Playboy Bunny towel covering a window and the other a Duck Dynasty towel), the characters in Safeway where we stopped in Port Angeles to eat and hang out tent to dry were just that, characters. We stopped in Forks to eat breakfast in a park under a shelter and watched 6 different drug transactions go down in the 20 minutes we were there and even met a few nice junkies with soars on their faces and everything!
What we very quickly realized, was all the locals and loggers HATE bicycles and the cyclists. There was broken bottles and glass everywhere, and I really mean everywhere in the bike lane. We had more glass just on the Olympic Peninsula in about 200 miles than we had on the entire rest of the 3,200 miles! It became really obvious quite quickly that it was not coincidental. We even had quite a few cool people in trucks gun it right next to us mere inches from us on purpose to let us know we were not wanted. So after our 3rd flat tire (on the Olympic Peninsula alone) our blood was nearly boiling and now we are left trying to change a tire on a busy road with no shoulder and no where to pull off. Sweet, thanks.
What we had to keep reminding ourselves as our stress and anxiety level rose, was that most of these people are poor, uneducated, unhappy, underpaid, under appreciated, and they are taking their anger out on cyclists. I feel really sorry for them. They must feel stuck in their situation with no way out and when their stress and anxiety levels rise, they look for someone to blame. We also saw more TRUMP posters, stickers, banners and such on this stretch than anywhere else. If you are asking yourself why, reread this paragraph. There is a correlation. Needless to say, we HATED this stretch and it was a good lesson in patience and understanding for those less fortunate than ourselves and really unhappy in their lives.
After kicking our asses and riding over 90 miles a day for 3 days (we were soaking wet and really ready to be done with this stretch), we camped just north of Astoria on the coast in a campground where we finally met a super nice couple, Deano and his gal pal, who welcomed us to their fire and invited us over for breakfast and coffee in the morning before we hit the road. Keep rockin' it in your birthday suites you two!! And with a 4.1 mile ride over the Astoria-Megler Bridge first thing (we had to see over 100 dead birds smashed on the bridge), we jumped right on Highway 30 and made a beeline for Portland. Having never driven the highway, I made the assumption it was flat following the Columbia River. Wrong. It had at least 3 giant passes full of fast cars, completely blind curves and no shoulder to climb. By the time we limped into Portland for the 4th consecutive over 90 mile day, Ville's knee was hugely swollen and back locked up from being blown over the handlebars by a passing truck!
But boy were we glad to see J-Lo (this is Jordan my brother who lives in Portland)!! He drove to pick us up just outside the city (thanks so much to the guys at Barlow Bikes & Boards who got Ville's bike back riding straight after his fall) and after putting bikes in his apartment in North Portland, we headed out for some damn fine Thai food and stiff drinks. The next day we were able to connect with JBro (our good friend Jonas from Germany who we hiked the Pacific Crest Trail on and off with in 2011) who made it to Portland after completing the Continental Divide Trail a few days prior and waited for us in Portland to show up. We went out for beers to celebrate and share travel stories at a walking street fair before all heading to Tualatin where Lismeister and Alejandro (my sister and brother-in-law) live with our nephew Braydon. Mr. Braydon was a crawler and only being gone for 2 in a half months, he is now a full-on runner. Spent a day being tourists in downtown Portland, eating and drinking everything in sight, and then Mrs. Magoo (my Mom) drove up from Bend to pick up this motley crew and take us to Bend!!
The ride from Victoria back to the ferry terminal up in Sydney was meandering through the heart of the vibrant downtown Victoria which turned into a great biking trail through tall canopied trees, rolling pasture land, along country roads, along ocean vista bluffs and straight to the ferry. The only ferry that stopped on San Juan Island left at 5:55 pm and while standing on the top deck watching the thickly forested islands glide by, we got chatting with a girl, Kate, from Montana. Kate was on a week long random vacation with no plans and ended up on the ferry through the San Juan Islands with the plan to get off at Anacortes. We very quickly talked her into getting off the ferry with us on San Juan (her car was parked just in the right spot to get off), and we agreed to meet at San Juan County Park. Ville and I had to haul butt to get to the park right at dark and Kate had got a great camp site with the camp fire roaring and even a full spread of Thai food she picked up in Friday Harbor! Ya Kate!
The next whole day we spent at Lime Kiln Park and the parking lot on the bluffs just south of, waiting to see if we would be lucky enough to catch the orcas swimming by. On the west side of the San Juan Island, there is a very steep shelf that drops steeply off right at the shore that makes for an excellent place to sometimes view the local pods of orca whales right from shore. We had heard they hadn't been spotted in over a week and so after sitting for a couple hours, were pumped to see a large pod of them swim right in front of us feeding on salmon. It was pretty awesome! Sadly, these beautiful whales only eat King Salmon (an endangered species) and therefore are now an endangered species themselves. Of course because we all love to eat the salmon, they are still overfished, but the whales are not able to adapt and eat other fish and are therefore slowly dying off. If you want to do something to help, get educated on the issues, and get involved, don't eat King Salmon or donate to foundations working to help the salmon and whales.
We made the loop around the Island, all the way out to the lighthouse on the south side of the island and finished with delicious fish and chips at the Bait Shop in Friday Harbor. While standing in line, Ville turned around and recognized Chris Pratt standing in line behind us and asked, "Excuse me, are you Chris Pratt?" at which he said, "Yes I am" and Ville told him how much we enjoyed watching him in Parks and Rec and Jurassic World. After telling him about our ride, he seemed super excited about it and I am sure he was thinking what complete lunatics we were for riding bikes for so long . Since it was only us in the tiny shop we were able to chat for a while with him and his son and when he left, we watched the teens start freaking out and chasing him down a street. Ville deals with that all the time being so dang sexy, so he knows how annoying that is. Chris, you ever need a break from being a big movie star, you can join us for a little bike ride. If Jack wants to come, he can peddle my bike and I can sit in a kid seat on the back. :)
Kate left to catch the ferry (we really miss you Kate!!) and Ville and I stayed another night at our new favorite campground, and cycled in the morning to Roache Harbor for donuts. We are pretty pathetic these days, someone mentions good food anywhere and we will climb hills for it. On the way we passed a random suit clad dude with a beret walking along the side of the road shoeless. I wasn't sure if I should have stopped and offered him my extra running shoes, but he looked like he was a shoeless man on a mission and we rode on. Then in town we had to mail Kate her axe she left from the post office (thank you nice Mr. Postman for not thinking us nuts for mailing an axe) and then passed a girl who had driven her car off the cliff down into the water and the paramedics there trying to talk her down from hyperventilating. On the road back to Friday Harbor, we passed a camel in a pasture and then agreed that this island has been quite the experience!
We grabbed the ferry over to Orcas Island next and had a great ride around the island to camp at Moran State Park. In the morning we decided we needed a good ass-kicker and rode up to the top of Mt. Constitution with all our gear. It was a super fun ride up, even better on the way down, and some great views from the top. Back through town and then we caught the next ferry over to Lopez Island. Each island in the San Juan Islands has very different personality as well as terrain. Lopez all the locals waived as they passed by, littered with farms, was pretty laid back with a tiny downtown and the flattest of all the islands making it great for easy riding. Orcas was the hilliest, very lush, had a huge State Park to adventure in and is full of characters. We met a guy in the library who showed us on his Orcas map ring places to see, where to get killer weed, and left with his Looney Tunes DVDs. True story, I can't make that up.
San Juan was medium sized hills, mix of thick greenery and grassland and a very mixed bag of people. Lots of summer homes for those pretty well off, eccentric places with trailers and buildings made to look like fruit, a very hoity-toity Roache Harbor, and the easiest place to view the orcas. On Lopez Island we camped out at Spencer Spit State Park where we met a huge group of friends and their kids on Labor Day holiday from Seattle areas. They invited us for dinner, breakfast and to share in their company. Was really nice to feel so welcomed. The next morning we ferried over to Anacortes and cycled south the entire Whidbey Island, through Deception Pass and caught the ferry over to Mukilteo.
Right outside the ferry we had a couple beers to celebrate hitting our 3,000 mile mark on the bikes at the Diamond Knot Brewery. There Dan the Man (my Dad's friend from childhood) drove up from Burien to get us and we got showers and a warm bed to sleep in. It was really nice to get to start seeing friends on this trip and hugs and love has been so special after so long in the wilds of Alaska and Canada without. Dan took us to Mexican food, ice cream and we then connected with Jeff and Kristen (friends we met at the winery in Myanmar) and stayed at their place a night north of the city getting to catch up on travels. They peaced-out of their big jobs, rented their house as well, and traveled the world for the last 7 months so we had a lot to talk about. Only crazies like us can understand crazies like them :) Thanks Dan, Jeff and Kristen for all the time and attention you gave us on this ride.
From their house north of the city, we cycled along the waterfront down into the city and stopped to check out the space needle. There was some big music festival going on and the chaos was a bit maddening after the Islands. Ville's friend Jussi and Paula (from Finland) picked us up from downtown and we spent a night getting spoiled with great food, serious Pokemon card games with their kids and updating blog time. We even were cooked a tasty Finnish dish for lunch before heading back to the city to get back on the road. And now we are off, planning to take the ferry back to the Olympic Peninsula to cycle around it, down the coast of Washington and will be in Portland, Oregon in about 5 days. If anyone is enroute and wants to connect, give us a shout. Otherwise, see you all in Portland and Bend in about a week!!! YAY!
K.G. & Ville
Made it to Santiago, Panama. We are back baby!
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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