Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sleeping in Seattle

We're back! In 22 months on the road following retirement and that wonderful cake Jeff's office presented, we've tandemed over 8,000 miles, walked 3,000 miles each, and taken the Volendam a whopping 30,000 miles (10,000 to New Zealand and 20,000 on our much more circuitous route back). Then add in 11,000 miles on trains in the US, NZ, Australia and Japan plus 7,500 air miles for three round trip hops (Seattle-Tokyo for Matt's wedding at the very beginning of our journey, Miami-Austin TX mid-way through for Becky's wedding, and New Zealand-Australia for the heck of it in late '08/early '09), and that's enough mileage to circle the earth two and a half times! Considering that we covered over 180° of longitude from Maine to Thailand and hit points from 59° N latitude in Alaska to 46° S in New Zealand, we certainly felt like we'd been around the world more than a few times!

The touch-screen map in the Ship's Library said "Vancouver," the sails of Canada Place next to the Volendam said "Vancouver!" and the Lion's Gate Bridge now behind us said "VANCOUVER!!!" We must be in Vancouver, eh?

With a remarkably easy run through Canadian Customs, a short walk through downtown to pick up a rental car we had reserved, and a drive of 140 miles with another surprisingly easy passage through American Customs, it was home again at last. Home Sweet Empty Home. But within 2 days a moving van arrived with the rest of our worldly possessions from the public storage unit they had occupied while renters used our condo. Thanks to some obsessive-compulsive cleaning and unpacking, we had the place looking like its old self within 48 hours, with even the 60 moving cartons gone thanks to the magic of the "Free Stuff" section of!

What next for us, and for the blog? Unlike some netizens, we are not going to document the rest of our lives online. However, we are going to write a few more blog entries over the next 7 weeks as we get back to our main love and tandem around Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ah, yes, although the ship landed in Vancouver on May 20 it has taken until early August to finish the story of our 22-month adventure, and the new one begins in a few hours when we board Amtrak for the familiar trip east in a sleeping car on the Empire Builder. Those two states are among the best in the nation for rail-trails, and we anticipate using bike trails for over 500 of the 1300-or-so miles we'll cover. For added fun, we'll be attending the Midwest Tandem Rally in Rochester Minnesota, and our friends Don and Erica from Victoria BC will join us for the Rally and for 2½ weeks of riding those wonderful bike trails and back roads with us. So stay tuned, more to come, at least for a short while! And thanks for following our adventure so far!

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