I spent in Washington almost a week in two cities – Spokane and Seattle. Needless to say that I had completely different experiences and not just because of the size of the cities, but also because of the people that I met.
After a failed attempt to ride on the “Road to the sun” I decided to make my own mountain experience. I was heading west toward Spokane and all the roads are around the mountains and one of the detours was particularly big, around Coeur d’Alene national forest. I also remembered that Jon (my host from Madison) recommended me this place, so I decided ignore GPS and take unpaved roads through the forest. It was better than I expected: the views are fantastic and I saw only few people so I could enjoy the nature. It was the longest off-road ride that I did in one day (almost 4 hours) and my only indicator of time was and number of Gogol Bordello albums that I listened, so almost unnoticed the day was about to be over. I’ve found a lovely place with a flat space, plenty of dry wood and a river just a kilometer from there (little bit less then a mile, my American friends). I set a tent, filtered enough water from the river, did yoga, washed myself, set a bonfire, ate dinner and read a book. It was a relaxing ending of a great day and only then I realized that I didn’t talk with anyone the entire day and only saw a few people at the gas station early afternoon. It gave me a very interesting feeling. It wasn’t loneliness, but something else. As much as I love people I also enjoy the time spent by myself.
In the morning I had few more hours of riding through the forest, climbing the mountains and enjoying the views. I wasn’t in a hurry anywhere, because I knew that after reaching the highway I have only an hour till my next stop – Spokane. But when I got on the highway I needed to stop because it started to rain. My timing was good and I was standing under the roof and drinking coffee when very big storm hit the area. I wasn’t the only biker hiding there, so I had a nice conversation about the weather and bikes with a very nice guy from Idaho, apparently it’s not a typical weather for this time of the year, as almost in any other place that I visited on the way, interesting why..
After an hour the heavy rain stopped I put my rain suit and decided to continue my way under the rain. Shortly after I already was in Spokane eating late lunch/early dinner in local dinner. My couchsurfing host Julio was at work till 6 but he was nice enough to leave me the key in the mail box, so I had few hours just to relax at his house, take shower and read. Then another guys came to the house and it wasn’t Julio, it was another surfer that stayed for the weekend with Julio. I was pleasantly surprised, but after a few days alone I was glad to meet new people. Leeland lives in Colorado but came to work in Idaho for the summer and just decided to take the weekend to explore Spokane. He studies environmental science I learn a lot about different species of plant and animals and what are the threats that this area is facing.
Then we finally met Julio. He traveled so many different countries that it was fascinating to talk with him about traveling experiences and cultural differences around the world. He is also vegan so we can an interesting discussion about food in our society (you can guess that situation is very bad).
Julio explained that he likes to be active and doesn’t really likes to go out, so the rest of the day we spent playing tennis and then went to his girlfriend’s house to relax and play Mexican domino, I’ll not even bother to explain how it goes, it’s complicated but super fun actually.
On the next day Leeland and I went to explore the city while Julio was at work and I was surprised how nice was it – beautiful downtown and a lot of people walking on the streets, we even saw some kind of strongman competition that is actually very weird (I like sports, but this seems little bit too much).
After Julio was back he took us rock climbing and this type of sport I like a lot even if I am really bad in it – first time I succeeded to climb only few meters up, but the second was little bit better (around 10 meters) and I was exhausted. I need to remember to push more with legs rather then pull with hands, it’s much easier.
The rest of the evening we spent cooking and eating delicious and healthy vegan food and talking about different places in the states. Julio shared with us his reason why he moved to Spokane from LA area, the most important is the people and how they communicate. By his opinion in LA everything is too materialistic and that’s why people are so distant from each other, while here everybody is much more down to the earth. I guess I’ll be able to tell more when I’ll get to LA.
So overall my Washington experiences started from meeting very interesting people and I was surprised to learn how much we have in common even if we are coming from very different background.