We approach the border patrol, waiting to board the ferry which will take us to Port Angeles. We get called in. I try explaning our particular situation. That we’re doing a road trip across the Americas, plan to cross the whole of the US from West to East and hence that we need the full 3 months. The agent stares at my passport, then back at me, back at my passport. His face is unreadable. “Please go back outside and wait until your name is called up.”
I go back outside with sweaty palms. Our journey hangs on this answer. Either we get our 3 months to cross the US as planned or we’ll need to head straight down to Mexico. These minutes are among the longest of my life. “Ms Joanne, please proceed to boarder control.” I’m back in. The agent stares at me, I stare back, trying not to show my dread. He shrugs, stamps my passport and waves me off. I scramble out of the office and peek at the pages. Visa validated until December 19th. We made it!
The ferry drops us in Port Angeles, Washington. We’re back in the US. And as a fan of Twilight would know, we’re greeted by the rain. Nothing new. Tomorrow we’ll be driving to Forks, which is vampire and werewolf territory.
Considering all the time which has passed without an incident, I guess the time had come for one. On my way to Forks, I lose sight of Papa. Nothing new, except that this time we get lost. So I end up back in Port Angeles, turning around as the rain starts pouring, while he continues all the way to Forks. As the rain stops, I’m back on the road. The 100 km on my own don’t scare me. I’ve spent enough time in the last weeks riding Chaton, to feel absolutely comfortable with her. As I stop on the roadside for a picture, I park here and take a few steps for a closer shot. The wind gusts around me. Hopefully it won’t throw over the bike I think to myself.
Do you know those moments of premonition? When you’re having a thought, and a split second afterwards, this thought actually comes true. Well I wish it wouldn’t have been the case this time. As I turn around, I see Chaton tipping over, a slow-motion movie in front of my eyes. Just what I needed! I try getting her off the ground and back up, but she’s too heavy. So I step onto the asphalt, in the hope to stop a car. Unfortunately, I haven’t picked a busy road to do this. When the second car finally arrives, I wave and make desperate signs. Thankfully, the driver stops and helps me get Chaton back on her tires.
Forks is home to the Quileute territory and one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen: Second Beach. The path to get there leads you through the rainforest. But the winding up and down walk is absolutely worth it. A last balancing act finally leads us to the beach.
The US 101, takes us down the West Coast, twisting into the forest and along the coastline, spying some famous beaches such as Ruby Beach. After that, the road curves back inland, leaving the coast. For the first time since Alaska, we start feeling the autumn chill.
We follow the US 101 all the way down to Cannon Beach and its notorious Haystack Rock, a quaint, charming little beach town we immediately fall in love with. So much that we decide to stay one more day in nearby Seaside.
And then we’re ready for our next city: Portland. Portland is the ideal spot for the coffee lovers which we are. But it also comes with some unexpected surprises. The first evening leads us to the Japanese Garden. The feeling which takes hold of you after spending some time in this garden is hard to put in words. It’s similar to being wrapped up in a warm blanket at home on a rainy day with a cup of hot chocolate; like all your troubles and all the little everyday things, which you usually waste time being annoyed at, have melted away. The only thing which is left is serenity and a deep calm.
Part 1: Finding the right bike
Part 2: Canada and Jasper National Park
Part 3: The Icefields Parkway
Part 4: The Okanagan Valley
Part 5: Vancouver and the Sea-to-Sky Highway
Part 6: US 101, Washington and Oregon
Part 7: Idaho & Montana, the Lewis & Clark Highway to Denver
Part 8: Denver
Part 9: Kansas City