Cognitive State

Shower beers and coyotes

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Sometimes you are on the other side of the world and then you decide to go even further.

From February to June, 2015 I was helping out at the Filmed by Bike Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. While I was there, I got a chance to make a solo bike tour from Seattle to Canada and back. Low budget, Warm Showers for sleeping kind of tour. The road took me north on the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles. Across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria and Shawinigan Lake, north to Lake Cowichan and Nanaimo, East to Vancouver and back South to Bellingham.

It was the first unsupported solo tour I ever did. And my first time using Warm Showers; a platform that allows bike tourers to take a warm shower and sometimes pitch a tent on someone’s backyard or sleep on their couch. I met all sorts of people on my tour and they always went out of their way to make my stay as good as possible with shower beers and ribs!

The first day of riding was hard, but not because of all the climbing I had to do or the long distance that had to be covered. I started my tour on a Sunday afternoon, just after a two days long bachelor party for my friend in Seattle. Headaches guaranteed!

After a good night sleep near Sequim bay I had to catch a ferry from Port Angeles to Canada. Nothing really happened on that ride, except for my rear brakes completely failing on me. The highlight of the day? Dropping down from Malahat to Shawnigan Lake with the sun setting above the forest. Which would be even better if I had the right Warm Showers coordinates for that night.

The best thing about riding in Canada, were the trails in the middle of nowhere. Those moments when you know that if anything goes wrong you will have to do a long hike back. After a fairly short ride I decided to go and see Lake Cowichan. I’ll do that again because the burger there was tasty!

The thing that sucked about riding in Canada, were the highways. Maybe I didn’t research the routes enough … but there were a couple of stretches of road that I couldn’t get around and had to take the side of the highway. One of those was on my way from Duncan to Nanaimo. And just when I left the highway I got my only flat on the tour.

I took three ferry rides on this tour. Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Port Angeles to Victoria and Nanaimo to West Vancouver.

The best Warm Showers experiences were the shower beer and BBQ ribs my host prepared for me in Vancouver. If you ever read this, know that I’ll be forever grateful! The rain was a bitch that day and it was colder than expected.

After another rainy morning I left Vancouver and headed south towards the Delta. A couple of bridges and overpasses later I ate the leftover ribs and I also saw a coyote that day. I scared him more than he scared me.

On the last day I crossed the border and returned to the USA. Then I left my things at my hosts place, took a shower and went to Bellingham, where I had a couple of good beers and the best burrito ever! I saw another coyote that day.

Photography and words by Domen Ožbot

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