One year ago today, we were in the Ozarks. The day before, we had left our fallen sweat on the hot, dry roads of Kansas and made our way into Missouri with smiles on our faces. We ate the best Dutch Blueberry Pie that America has to offer, and rolled up and down the beautiful foothills on our steel horses. Dave’s bike gloves had their final day in the sun before disintegrating, and we spent our non-riding time neck deep in cool natural springs. Oh, and a turtle peed on Dave after he saved it from the tires of an impending car. Why the nostalgia?
A couple weeks ago, we had the pleasure hosting Rob, a fellow touring cyclist (or cycling tourist…) who was on the 10,001st-ish mile of a cycling journey around the world. He had left the UK with a good friend, traveled east across Europe, Russia, the –Stans, then through China, and Japan. After hopping a quick flight to Alaska, he cruised south, through the Yukon and into our very own front yard.
Giddy with excitement to be able to pay forward a minuscule fraction of the generosity we experienced last summer, we welcomed him in and introduced him to our lovely city…Brauwers for beers, Shilshole for Cornhole and sailboat oogling, a simple night sipping fine whiskey and grubbing on Mexican food, a jaunt out to Redmond for the Derby Days Crit and festival, Rock n’ Roll, a Death Metal play, a night on the town in Columbia City complete with pinball, ice cream, beer and martinis (a great combination, by the way), and amazing conversations throughout.
Five days later we were saying goodbye to a dear new friend.
Coffee in hand, we sent him off across the ferry to ride the Peninsula and cruise down the coast. After that? Yep, South America, and then back home…in maybe a year or so…
It was fun to reminisce, and hear the stories of a fellow traveler. Like the good cycling nerds we are, we talked tires, tubes, and tents, shared secrets of the simple songs that got us up the steep climbs, and told stories of the epic downs. But between the stories of bear scares and unleashed dogs (and a whole lot of laughter), by the end of the ‘weekend’ we had been introduced to dozens of characters from around the world—folks merely connected through a twenty-something year old dude on a bike. It’s nice to be reminded of the simple unabashed kindness that strangers will show you if you let them, whether you’re in Azerbaijan to Nickerson, Kansas.
Alright, alright, one more plug, then I’m off! Rob and his buddy host a blog of their cycling travels called Around the World for Water. They host talks and raise money to provide safe and sanitary water to developing countries through WaterAid—a worthy cause to check out! They’ve also got a Facebook page that has some crazy photos posted.
Thanks, Rob, for bringing your traveling spirit and a little bit of all those you’ve met along the way to our humble home.
Grabbing beers and grub at Brouwer’s:
Rob trying his hand at Cornhole!
Beautiful night on the Sound, Shilshole:
Very, very, serious games of pinball going on at Full Tilt. Who knew that Dave is secretly a master of game?!
Checking out Derby Days:
Fully loaded and on his way:
Last stop, Zeitgeist–one of the finest shops to get a kick of caffeine. A little piece of trivia: Zeitgeist means ‘in the spirit of the time’