Days: 2 | Active Time: 8h03m | Distance: 145km | Elevation: 2122 m
Copenhagen | Seattle | Enumclaw | Mt. Rainer
Eva: On the 25th of June, we set out for our cycling journey, what was suppose to be a silent start to our so-called vacation turn out to be something more like a rollercoaster ride.
At the check-in counter, we got assisted by a man who Simon thought acted somewhat od, as he looked at his computer screen. He paused his sentences back and forth as the words fell out of his mouth:
"Mr Hedman's ESTA is not approved" as he showed me the fact stated on the screen.
Simons' face turned pale as he was in need of sitting down a few meters away due to dizziness, my chills were running down my spine fairly quickly too.
The man paused once again as he told us there could be a chance that it showed the opposite on a different system. It did. Those couple of minutes felt like a 1000 hours.
Seriously dude, that was not fun! We boarded the plane to Seattle, WA and everything was well.
Always (not) try new gear ON the event
We reached our destination at around noon and walked straight to the pass control, three long hours we could finally assemble our bikes and make our way into the city centre of Seattle.
But that would've been to easy right..?
Since we decided to run tubeless, for the very first time(yay), we noticed that the rear tire had deflated, making all the juicy sealant leak out from the tire and into the bike box(!). This became a small issue since we couldn't re-inflate the tires with the right force of pressure, I guess a track pump, CO2 canisters or a large compressor would make the job a bit easier. This forced us to take the metro to Seattle and the REI Corp Flagship store...
After spending 3 hours in the biggest outdoor store I've ever seen, we finally had my tires ready plus a lot of other gear. (this will be listed in another post)
A giant covered in snow
Simon: After the rather hectic first 24 hours, everything in place and the bikes were working fine and the bags were packed accordingly. The shopping spree at REI made the bikes feel pretty heavy with all the extra weights, and we hadn’t even bought the can food yet (!) I tried to convince my self that it was the water that made the big difference, and that was rather important.
Leaving Motel Marco Polo and into the heart of Seattle, we set out for a short sightseeing in the city before heading south-east and into the suburbs.
Now, this was a very short and sweet ride, taking us down to Downtown via some of the touristy stuff that Eva had seen in a book, in general, we liked the city but couldn't really say that we fully discovered the city. We had other plans, to explore the open road and the deep forest.
We took the link rail train to Angel Lake which one of the last stations in the Seattle area, from here we crossed the suburbs, as we made our way through Kent and Covington, at a crossing we met John, a fellow local cyclist who told us where to buy some canned food and breakfast items.
After 4 hours of riding, a sight of the first beast came to our eyes, a giant covered in snow, Mt Rainer. It was pretty unreal, to finally see something that majestic, for months we had looked at pictures on the web but seeing it live from that distance was something else, and it would only become bigger and bigger for the next two days.
We knew that we wouldn't make it far enough to reach a campsite on the first day, instead, we checked into a motel in Enumclaw, both of us were pretty tired after all the impressions and mini jetlag.
Bear Bells & Gravel
The following day we took the first and best breakfast place, called The Local were we met Roger, a very old man and a true local, he told us stories about the mountains in the area. He wasn't really worried about us running into a bear either (thank god). On top of all of this, he had his heritage from Norway as he gave us a blessing and drove off.
Eva: I knew from the profile on my Wahoo that this day would be up up up, I already had heavy legs from riding with all the load on the bike but I was in a good mood because we were going into the wild. We started out on a paved road, but our route quickly took us onto gravel. The road was closed, but that did not stop us. It was nice to get away from the cars but I was constantly scared that a cougar or a bear would attack us. I kept looking back because I thought I heard something in the woods, probably just a mouse or a squirrel, and since I was so afraid that Simon and his Bear Bell (yeah that is really a thing) would get away from me that I had to push really hard. But of course, he stayed by my side, he would never let a cougar get me! I got more and more confident and suddenly we were back on paved road, but all I wanted was more gravel.
Eva: The Citygirl
We came to the entrance of Mt. Rainer National Park, the Forest Ranger told us that Sunset Point, was closed, this was where we wanted to camp for our first night - bummer. But we could camp at White River, "only" 13km down the road, we agreed to follow her advice.
When we arrived, it was cold, a bit wet but very beautiful, we could see the white fluffy river from the campground. We were pretty happy we didn't since the camp at Sunset Point was approximately 800 altitude meters above White River campground and it was probably snowing up there.
We had our first camp dinner, Simon made pasta with tuna, fried in fresh chilli. I was excited about our first night sleeping in our tent, between giant trees and with the sound of the river as background music. At bedtime we used all the rules for bear protection, all foods and items with an odour was packed in the bear box and went to bed with our bear spray close at hands.
Here the real challenge started for me. Every little crack of sound or whistle in the trees sounded (to me) like bears, cougars or maybe a mad person with an axe. Maybe I should cut down on those horror movies... I had serious trouble falling asleep and all Simon was doing was snoring like an old man next to me. In the end, I gave up and tried to use my audiobook with Harry Potter, but every time it automatically turned off was I wide awake thinking about mass murderers. I think I fell asleep around 2 am with Harry Potter constantly playing and I realized that I was more of a city girl then I actually thought.
No, no, no, no, no, no....no
Simon: Waking up by the noise from a river and singing birds in the wild, is a pretty amazing feeling, with some soreness after being on the tank the day before. We had breakfast and a fresh cup of coffee from our old-school espresso maker, the scene was picture perfect with Mt. Rainer in the background and we were ready to tackle the day, with a good amount of climbing up to Paradise.
The bikes were loaded and we were ready to head off, but I felt that I had some slur in my headset, it felt like something was wrong. A normal person would take it in a shop or make a tiny tight, or just repack some of the bags and get the weight of the front, but since I'm not one of them, I decided to go full on bike mechanic as I took out the toolkit.
For those who are not aware of the function of this screw, a double-threaded headset screw, it's the kind of the screw that makes a bike a bike. It holds the front wheel and fork assembly to the frame, as it has an expander that locks everything in one piece. In other words, not your normal screw, and without it you cannot ride.
Two minutes later I found myself with a broken double-threaded headset screw in two and flashes of an aborted trip in my head, I started to sweat like a pig, thinking about solutions like never before...fuck...oh fuck...fuuuuuk (pardon my french).
Things just got real...