I’m in Sandpoint, Idaho, a small tourist town right at the base of the Pend Oreille river junction with Lake Pend Oreille. With a population of 7,000, I am surprised at the amount of coffee shacks per capita. Apparently Viggo Mortensen has a 2nd home here. I would imagine he has more then two though.
I’m not really sure what I’m doing here. July 1st I left Seattle on my bike, the day after I turned 26, heading east. The few weeks before that were spent in Bali. I didn’t write about it as I find myself struggling for the perfect words to describe my experience there. To summarize, it was incredibly peaceful and nourishing for my well being. A state of consciousness I find myself grasping for ever since leaving, wondering if I will ever be able to disassociate the place with the feeling.
After a week in Seattle spent primarily fighting jet lag and constant fog (figuratively, surprisingly not literately for Seattle weather), I became incredibly anxious for my bike to show up in the mail from home. Seattle continues to be the biggest culture shock for me in all this “travel”.
After building up my bike and visiting some shops for parts, I headed out North towards the northern tier route. Since my trip has so last minute, I didn’t have time to order the official maps of the northern tier. Trusting google maps, open sourced maps, and some random gps files I’ve found, 554 miles later I’m still alive.
I’m averaging close to 70 miles a today. It was over 100 degrees for the past 4 days. Today is my 2nd rest day and I desperately needed it. 4 mountain passes with some days over 10k feet in climbing, have done an incredibly job of locking up my leg muscles to the point I can’t bend my legs. I feel like a seized motorcycle motor. I’m resting up and doing some pretty crazy looking stretches in attempt to loosen up my IT band and other interesting muscles in attempt to relieve the tendon pain that is product of these types of trips. I find myself once again doing something that takes every ounce of energy and my entire mental capacity, in a journey to keep removing the unnecessary.
The similarities between thru hiking and cycle touring are pretty stark. I’ve somehow found a bubble of characters riding the same direction. Too much time is spent talking about gear. Early morning rides of pure bliss. “How many miles until the downhill?” “What grade do you think this is? 6%?” Struggling for the last 5 miles to find a good campsite.
There are two questions asked by everyone I’ve met. Where are you going and where are you from. I don’t know where I’m going. I often tell people East until I get bored. Maybe I’ll make it coast to coast, but I’m not really sure. I say PA is my home but I find it hard to associate and relate to it. I could say Baltimore, but apart from a few friends and many memories, there isn’t anything for me there. Maybe I’ll find somewhere to call “home”, but the more I move around the less I feel I belong.