Day 22 & 23: The Long, Slow, Late Train Home to Santa Barbara

We arrived an hour early to the Amtrak Station in Seattle on Friday June 30th, to make sure our bike boxes got on the South-bound Coastal Starlight and to retrieve our checked luggage, only to find there was no train waiting in King Street Station at 9:35. We had already stocked up on groceries for the two day trip, so we reclaimed our held pannier bags and waited with all the other impatient Amtrak passengers for a little over an hour in King Station’s grandiose waiting room. By the time the train was moving, we were 1.5 hours behind schedule. Oh, the irony! If only our first train out of Santa Barbara had been late by an hour! But unlike other passengers, we were un-irked. Through this entire trip, we have consistently run a little behind our plans. Instead of becoming frustrated, we’ve celebrated our vacation attitude and luxuriated in our lateness. Usually it involved coffee; plus, we had no one waiting on us and no one to blame but ourselves

This train ride is long (36 hours) and I (Steve) am writing this just north of SLO on Saturday. I think we are currently running about three hours behind. It has been a wonderful camping trip, bicycle tour, bonding experience with my daughter, reunion with friends, and test of my bicycling endurance. In the latter regard, the trip has been tough with all the hills of the Pacific Northwest coastal regions and islands. It certainly has been tougher than my last two tours that were primarily travelled on rail to trail conversion routes with their shallow grades. Jackie is young with a lot of inherent stamina. I have to be careful not to “burn too many matches” in my approach to climbing hills. Let me assure you: I’m not complaining. It’s been wonderful to celebrate the fact that I am able to tour like this. That’s all I’ve got for now. Jackie, do you have anything?

– Steve

Sure do! I’m currently writing this on Tuesday, July 4 (Happy Independence Day Folks!) We’ve been back for three days, and I already miss the gentle rhythm that my dad and I enjoyed during the trip. Coffee, oatmeal, pack, ride, unpack, eat, sleep, repeat. Alas, the real world and its responsibilities await and all good things must give way to new good things.

I feel so lucky to have been able to spend three weeks on a bike with my dad. Together, we witnessed some pretty epic landscapes. We huffed and puffed up some very substantial hills, and we definitely emerged stronger. We developed a joint tour style, based on enjoyment, spontaneity, and sharing. We were a team, and at times, a well-oiled machine. Personally, I fell in love with bicycling on this trip. I can’t wait to see where we go next.

– Jackie


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Below we’ve included summary maps of our route, a fun list of stats, and a description of the electronic equipment we brought.

The route 

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Week 1: Vancouver and Vancouver Island

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Week 2: Island Hopping

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Week 3: Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula

A lists of things that are important to some degree or another

We ended the tour with 67 plastics bags. Just 3 bags short of homeless!

We travelled over 400 miles on Daisy over 13 days of riding, which works out to just over 30 miles per riding day.

We were out of Santa Barbara 22 Days, we camped 14 days in our tents, made 14 fires in 10 campsites, we rode 13 days, we caught 10 ferries, and we spent 6 nights in fluffy beds at Linda’s house, in hostels, or in B&Bs.

We rode Amtrak trains for four days; we spent two days in a rental car.

We spent four full days of leisure doing very little, including one glorious day in Point Roberts, Father’s Day in Washington State Park, a day with Linda, and a day exploring the art scene of Seattle.

We also visited 11 coffee shops/bakeries, in addition to the daily coffee we made with Steve’s handy-dandy camping French Press. We shared most everything, including probably a dozen different labels of beer. Steve confirmed that he really likes the IPA. Jackie claims a particular Irish Death Mocha Stout as her favorite.

Daisy weighs 64 lbs by herself. Fully laden, Steve estimates that she weighed 144lbs, which means we had about 80 lbs of gear. Steve usually has about 40lbs on gear on a 40lb bike. If Jackie had ridden her own bike, we suspect she would be 30lbs of gear on a 30lb bike. So the tandem was no particular penalty in weight and it was a wonderful riding experience to have Jackie right behind me, to hear her comment on the scenery or sing at the top of her lungs, to be able to share reflections and observations as we road. Also, from a practical standpoint, having a realtime navigator is a luxury.

Electronics Log

One more topic that will surely interest only some of our readers, but I’m sure it will interest that subset very much. We brought lots of electronics. I took a picture of them all to give you a sense of the size of the items. Most useful was the i-Phone. Of course we had to have lights for rainy days so that we were seen. We only once, rode at night and it was a very short distance on an empty road. The i-Phone provided on-the-go research, navigation, and communication. In addition we borrowed Ready Rider Mike’s i-Pad and keyboard and used it to blog (thanks, Mike!). Steve recorded the entire trip on a Garmin. One very valuable piece of electronic equipment was given to Jackie by her friend, Leigh, and is a very energy dense rechargeable battery called a “Dulla-2”. This kept the i-Phone and the Garmin charged even on nights when we were without electrical outlets. We also brought Jackie’s Bluetooth Boom speakers, which we used nightly as we cooked, ate, and enjoyed the campfire. Part of the reason we spent so much time in cafe’s was to charge all of our electronic gear. Both ferries and cafes are very good for this. Many a time we would hurry up the stairs on the ferry to be the first to snag a booth or bench with an electrical outlet. We’d plug in our extension cord and charge six devices at once!

The electronic spread (from left to right): iPhone, Garmin, Dulla 2, rechargeable bicycle lights, iPad, folding Bluetooth keyboard, and our bundle of charger cables.

If you’ve read this far, then you’re truly committed! We thank you for reading our scatter-brained reflections and for sharing this experience with us.


3 Replies to “Day 22 & 23: The Long, Slow, Late Train Home to Santa Barbara”

  1. Ready Riders
    Steve and Jackie
    So much fun hanging out with you… a picture of “Two Dallah Porter” at the local brew pub and a ride down the Centennial Trail are high points af my summer. Glad we hooked up. See you in the future

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