From Denver To Seattle

Preface, July 21, Houston

There’s no windows in our lab. Daylight passes without any signs left. Sometimes, I knew it’s pouring only when I stepped out this building. Or sometimes, the road was already dry, but the flowers under the crape myrtle trees told me a rain had just past. Eyesight began to drop again. Then, I was planning to assemble a bicycle and exercise occasionally.

Even at this point, I didn’t have any plan for a long distance biking. But every time as I went back home and saw the bike stand there, it began to ramble,
“Dry eyes? You need to view some scenery. ”
“Young man, you looks listless, need a long distance riding? ”
“Young man, you looks virtuous, need a long distance riding? ”
Among 100 times, I could resist this temptation for 99 times. But the rest one is enough to put me on the road.

At the beginning of this month, I told my adviser that I’m planning for a trip in order to get some vacation. Fortunately, no imperative things needs my appearance in the lab. Then, every thing was starting to fall into place, arranging the schedule, planning the route, purchassing the insurance, booking the flight, preparing the equipment and so on.

Considering the climate, terrain, time and physical condition, the plan has been changed many times. Finally, the starting point is set to be Denver, destination Seattle, by way of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington. The total distance is 1500 miles, among which 460 miles will be finished by hitchhiking. 16-18 days are scheduled. More than 10 days will be spent among the Rocky Mountains, then go across the Columbia Basin and Cascade Range, and arrive the Pacific Coast.

 The Route

 

 Route is planned, days are scheduled, equipment will be packed, every thing is ready, departure tomorrow

 

Day 0, July 22, Houston – Denver

“Hey dude, did you find a place to stay?”
I got this message from Kelvin when I was still in Houston this morning. I didn’t known Kelvin before. By coincidence, he is also traveling in Denver, and found I’m looking for some place to stay from a website. So, I will go to the south of Denver, to the inn where Kelvin booked, hoping that I can buy some food and gas canister in the Walmart around that place.

The only food I brought with me are just some biscuits and a bottle of water. After 2 hours biking from the airport, I got the fist hungry experience of this trip, also the first feeling of the arid climate.
It was 7pm when I arrived Kelvin’s place, and the dinner time was just the sunset time. We found a restaurant nearby and ate on the balcony, looking at the sun falling into the Rocky mountains, looking at the rose-tinted clouds turning to orange.

The mountains I will get into tomorrow

 

The place where we had dinner

 

Day 1, July 23, Denver – Empire

In my plan, I need bike to the west, try to arrive a campground on the mountain near Winter Park. Surely, this cannot be achieved since I get into the south hills of Denver, it will be 6500 feet climbing from this place. When I was checking the route in the last night, I found that I can take the Grayhound bus to Ihaho springs, a small town in the midway, and bike for the rest 20 miles with 3800 feet climbing. what I need to do is biking to the downtown before the noon.

At 12:30 pm, I bought the ticket for 12:15 pm, I thought it’s lucky that I didn’t miss the bus. But, it’s not. The bus was late for almost 6 hours. When I got to Idaho springs, it was already 7 pm, two hours before dark. No campground, I biked to a place near a creek in the dark.

Two wrong decisions, 1. taking bus, 2. bringing cooking items. The first one wasted half of my first day. The second one adds more extra weight, and I only cooked few times.

It was already 7 pm when I arrived Idaho Springs

 

The mountain I’m heading for today

It was the midnight. Some dogs began to bark, which made me nervous. How can I distinguish them from wolves or coyotes? It’s in the mountains! I cannot exclude those animals.
I saw this when I got out of my tent

Quiet flows the milk way

The sky was moving west slowly and steadily. Meteors shot across the sky every now and then without any sound. What kind of starry sky I can see if I finished that 3800 feet climbing?

One of the reason I choose this time to start my trip is that today is new noon. It’s cloudy when I set up my tent, which discouraged my interest today. Thanks for those barking dogs. Another choice is try to get to the eclipse zone in the next new noon, but the next semester will start at that time.

Day 2, July 24, Empire – Arapaho National Forest

Got up at 5:30. But the sun was already shining into the valley when I got every thing ready. I need to get up earlier.

Yesterday, I was heading to the west. And mainly, I will go the the north in the following 10 days. It’s mainly, since the winding mountain road doesn’t care your direction. I was climbing on the south mountain of the valley, 5 hours later, the opposite mountain was still watching me. The only change is the angle between us.

I need to get up earlier

 

Ups and downs, nightmare

 

He is still there in the 5 hours

 

The way I’m from

 

Interesting

 

Prairie after the mountains

 

It’s Rocky Mountain National Park in the distance, where the Colorado river run out of. And I will go across this river few minutes later

 

Alive and dead trees stand together

 

Dinner

 

Day 3, July 25, Arapaho National Forest – Encampment

Although it’s close to the river, no dew was found around my tent site as I got up, just like yesterday. It’s really dry.

Climb again. There are two devils in my mind. One of them would say, “Let it be even road, you need to take care of your body”. The other one would say, “We need mountains, we need canyons”. Or, “Let it be cloudy, no rain, no baking”, -“No, let it be blazing sun, let it be storm, snow, or hail”. None of them are good. The good one would say, “stay home or drive.”

Ready, go

 

Found this in the restroom of this campground. Yes, biking is cool, but no need to put down the driving. Someone like the scenes on the road, someone like the destination. It’s just a different choice

 

What’s this animal?

 

Still in Arapaho NF

 

Elegant flowers, what’s her name?

 

It’s pleasurable, I’d like it to be 0 Mile

 

White skins with numerous eyes

Above the prairie, a cumulonimbus is approaching. Adjust the speed, trying to get away from it.

More and more clouds gather, wind rises, I had to get through it.

Across the mountains, the rain is getting smaller. A stripe of clouds floated to the waist of the range.

It’s 6 pm, and I got into Wyoming just now. The rain ceased. The road is gently descending, the clouds in the west sky is on longer dark gray, but tinted by the gold setting sun. The blue sky is revealing himself among these clouds, also the rainbow.

A friendly horse. She came to me and rub my arms with her nose

 

Why always ups and downs

 

The first biker I met on the road

 

These gaps pulled my hip into pieces

 

A normal scene in these towns

 

Found a place to install the rain cover

 

The slopes with and without higher and lower precipitation

 

The rainfall becomes clouds

 

Rainbow appear

 

Into Wyoming

 

Fewer vehicles at the boundary

 

Waxing crescent

 

Day 4, July 26, Encampment – Dubois

Today is a early day. Woken by the rain drops round 12 am. For a while, it was pitter-patter, pitter-patter. At last, it became shower. Got into sleep again with this rhythm, also with tiredness and worry.

Eating with the sunrise. I can see the higher clouds turning brighter and brighter. The geese are cackling in the prairie, a winding river is hiding there.

But the clouds comes again, like a thick blanket, covers the land. I’m in the drizzle now. Some sunshine patches emerges at the foot of the distant hills, flowing with the stratus, slide across the prairie and the road.

I’m not in hurry today. I will bike to the town Riverside ahead, and hitchhike to Rawlins, if possible, to Dubois, which is another 200 miles away.

Dense stratus, and drizzle later

 

It’s too late to take out my camera

 

These patches are sliding to me, but I’m still in the rain

 

Pronghorns

 

Reached the summit. Fine day ahead, rain behind.

 

A closer look

Merry is the first people pick me up in Riverside where I had my lunch. Without any other words, she pulled over and began to help me load my bike, altrough her pickup was already full.
-“You know that Americans usually don’t pick up strangers?”
-“Really?”
-“Yes, I used to live in Mexico, where hitchhike is a normal thing. I saw you are a biker, so I pick you up.”
Besides Merry and me, there are also her dog and fishing rod in this truck. She will go to Saragato to teach some peoples fly fishing. Tanned and gracious, Merry seems really enjoy her life in this place.

I got another ride from Mike at the end of Saragato. Mike lives in Rawlins, he just had a lunch in Saragato. He is helpful and considerate. Where should I go in the next, how long it is, all of these has been taken into our talk. He even said that I can live in his house if I don’t mind. It must be a great experience, but I also want to go further than Rawlins. He put me down at the Walmart specially. “Be safe, send me some photos”, this is what he message me when he left. And this motivate me to arrange these pics together. These people gave me tangible help, while I was unable to provide any reward. What I can do is just to share my pictures with them.

Jenn drove me to Lander. She is so energetic. A tight hug is her greeting. I knew I met our fellow creature when I saw her hiking boots. Besides that, there were so many interesting things in her van, especially those colorful pebbles. She is more fabulous than my imagination. Climbing, hiking, diving, she is capable of everything. “I’m a seeker”, she told me. Yes, she is. She is seeking every field. We can even talked about quantum mechanics, about vibration and Taylor approximation.
I learn one thing from physics, never give up to communicate with others. The number of synapses in our brain is finite, our intelligence is also finite. Fortunately, we have develop a system in which we can exchange our ideas. We can always reach some intelligence which we can’t imagine. Maybe I will study in a quite narrow field, but I hope I can always open the communication port.

Another fortune, I met Carolyn in Lander. In fact, I was confused when two cars pulled over when I hitchhike and the man in the jeep asked my phone number. Eventually, I got that he want my number and destination in case some accident happened to his colleague Carolyn. Carolyn was going to Montana with her daughter, by the way of Dubois. When she knew I was here for the first time, she explained very carefully which range I can see, where the sheep will come from the hill, how is the road to Yellowstone. She also told me that there once be a kidnap by the hitchhiker, thus they have to be careful. It’s easy to understand that the drivers have a larger chance to meet the bad person than the hitchhiker since the bad ones may pretend to be hitchhikers. Those people who drive me is not only helpful, but also brave.

Because of the inaccurate map, we didn’t find the campground when we arrived Dubois. Fortunately, Steve said hello to me and told me the house behind him is free for bicyclists. He is biking to his home Houston, we are from the same place! Besides Steve, I met another three bikers here, one of them from Miami, two England. They are on the way across this continent, and I met them many times in the next few days.

Ryan is Jenn’s friend, we had a stop in his home, where is full of potteries

 

And alcohol. Ryan lost his puppy few days ago

 

Is that the color of rocks or plants, or specific plants on specific rocks?

 

Jenn’s van

 

The way from Lander to Dubois

 

The way from Lander to Dubois/p>

The spot where I sleep today. Kitchen, library, we have everything here

 

And a colorful yard

 

Day 5, July 27, Dubois – Grand Teton National Park

It’s so cold when I step out the room. Seems that the sunshine is brighter. I didn’t notice the rise in elevation when I was on these cars.

National park is ahead. In my original plan, I tried to bypass national parks. There are so many travelers there, especially the Yellowstone. But the other way will lead me to the desert area in Great Basin. I put my route into the mountains, hoping that the highland climate is not so dry.

Climate Map, the route will go across the semiarid area

 

I saw this kind of hills since yesterday

 

A baking morning

 

Begin to climb

 

The winding road is around this mountain at last

 

Christmas tree?

 

Crew cut

 

I thought it was rain

 

But it was hail

Grand Teton is extremely friendly to hiker and bicyclist, it’s free for us. The officer at the entrance let me go and pay for it next time. Next time! And there is special area for us in the campground. I asked the staff how can I pay for it. “You just get there, someone will find in the night”, she told me and gave me a mysterious smile. It turns out that this smile means “it’s free for you”. Also, it’s very cheap in the grocery store. Bathroom and laundry are very close. I nearly want to live here for more days.

After climbing, the mountains in Grand
Teton appear. In fact, I just saw the storm and lighting over there. Very astonishing

 

The rain stopped before I arrived the campground

 

Jackson lake

 

Day 6, July 28, Grand Teton National Park – Yellowstone National Park

When I had a shower in the last night, it was very cold on my way back to the campground.
Another rain swept this place in the midnight.

Yellowstone is just 18 miles north. Not too much climbing, but the road is so narrow.

Seating on a log, having my lunch on the meadow. Exactly, it’s not lunch, I just a my second meal at 11 am. The light breeze strokes the grass leaves quietly. The only sound is from the bees among the flowers. Because of the fire in 1988, the trees before me is short, among them are the silver dead woods. Further, sparse snow is so white on the dark mountains. Will it melt in this summer?

After that fire, charred threes are everywhere

 

The areas caught and not caught fire

 

Moose fall

 

More blue flowers

 

Lewis River and Lewis Canyon

 

Lewis River becomes peaceful on the flatland

 

Many lakes by the way

 

Fire gave grass more chances. It like a green river

Hillary is the girl I met in the campground when I check-in. She is studying in Minnesota, and work here in this summer. Her work is to guide the guests around Yellowstone. She is with two big families now and invite me to join their dinner.

That’s where I met the grandpa from Massachusetts. “Can I see your bike?”, he was intrigued when I said I was biking from Denver to Seattle. He is enthusiastic about biking, in his words, “I have seen more bikes than cars.” Surely, he would complain the road is US is not friendly to biker. But why did he told me Netherlands and France are the best places for biking? How could I get another vacation.

Moose in the campground

 

The sun is shining brightly, I dried my tent. But it rains again in the night. Very unwilling to bring a heavy wet tent

 

Still hungry, cooked noodles with egg and lettuce

 

Day 7, July 29, Yellowstone National Park – West Yellowstone

The dark blue sky leaks from the shadows of pines. Cassiopeia is close to the zenith. So cold. I wore hardshell for the first time. It’s 4:30 am now, hoping I can get to the lakeside before sunrise.

When I cook the breakfast, the stove extincted many times, caused by the expansion with heat. The treetops turned into red when I got out of the campground. It was too late for the sunrise.

Yellowstone lake

 

Hot springs

 

Another lake

 

Finally, the sunshine came into the trees

 

The color caused by archaea

 

The crowd waiting for the eruption of Old Faithful Geyser

 

Geyser

 

Grand Prismatic Spring

 

What I saw when I was having my lunch

 

Caused by the volcanic explosion?

 

A funny time. I rushed to river to take some photos when I saw this eagle caught a fish in this river. Many drivers also stopped there when they saw me

 

Then it became this

 

Kids who are looking for eagle

 

Another long line of cars ahead. I saw this bison when I got to the front of the line. Startled, and lost the focus

The footage filmed in Yellowstone

 

Into Montana after the Yellowstone

 

Hebgen lake

 

Hebgen lake

 

Day 8, July 30, West Yellowstone – Norris

The mountain tops were lit up when I woken up at 6 am. Went back to sleep. The next time I woken up, the sunshine patches has already fallen on the ground in the forest.

“How can I be so ignorant to the marvelous scenery?” I asked myself when I was by the Jackson lake two days ago. that’s where I decided to spend another day among these mountains. Thus, The average daily mileage is reduced. Today is a light day, so I had a lie in today. When I just started at 10 am, I met two bikers from Australia. They already had a 20 miles biking.

Ground squirrel in the campground

 

Earthquake Lake, formed by force of the earthquake 50 years ago

Turned to the north after the mountain at the west the the lake. In the past days, all of the winds I encountered are headwinds. Only today, it was downwind, and so strong that I even don’t need to pedal. Two tired bikers came from the opposite direction. Felt so pity for them. Exactly, most of the time, I was like them against the wind.

Vehicles are whizzing past, I can not catch the sound of these grass in the wind. Hotter and hotter, I also can not figure out the grass is moving with the wind or the sight is disturbed by the heatwave.

Climbing and against the wind again. An eagle stays steadily in the wind without any flapping.

When I arrived Norris, I found that the place indicated on the map is not a campground, but a hot spring. Fortunately, the salesgirl in the gas station told me I can set up my tent at the grass behind the station. As I was still hesitating whether someone will ask me get out if I stay there, she told me that’s her family’s yard. Another unexpected help!

Why it’s so flat

 

Cattle is curious creature, they will always observe you when you pass by

 

A house?

 

A shortcut but unpaved at Norris, not suitable for bike

 

1/4 month passed

 

These 4 cats look at my tent all the time

 

The rain clouds

 

Day 9, July 31, Norris – Butte

The sun is rising, there’s a film of pink mist over the land. Everything becomes quiet as I turn into the country road. It’s the time to harvest the grass. the sweet scent fills in the air. The grass roots dye the field with a color of bright yellow. Two cranes are scratching for worms over there, or for seeds?

This is the hottest day, clear sky without any clouds. A bunch of grasshoppers jump out every time I bike close to the grass by the road.

Cranes

 

How many waters it will consume?

Unexpectedly, I found a table when I left the prairie and began to climb the mountains. Don’t want to move a finger once I seat down. A creek is hiding below the bushes, can not be seen but can be heard. The sunshine spots passed through the poplars are bouncing, can not be heard but can be seen.

The place where I had a nap

 

When I arrived Butte

 

Day 10, August 1, Butte – Philipusburg

It was the same whether as yesterday. Climbing, scorching, and against the wind. It was already 2 pm when I arrived the summit. There are two lakes here. The larger one is called Georgetown and I found a table by the lake.

The campground is just 2 miles below this summit. Not in hurry anymore. The breeze comes from the lake, soughing through the trees, make me cooler. Among the sparse trunks, I can see the dazzling reflection is broke into pieces by the waves.

Only 1L water is left. The water in the creek is not clean. If it flows from the mountains directly, that will be fine. But the source of this creek is the lake, there are so many people live there. Without any other choice, I cooked the noodles with this water, and boiled another 2L. It’s definitely not enough. There’s a great chance to find clean water tomorrow.

Support high voltage wire with wood?

 

Lucky

 

But it became this road just after 1 mile. Very Montana. Enjoy this massage if you deviate slightly

 

Hotter than yesterday

 

Georgetown lake. Where is water where is fishing

 

Pyrocumulus cloud. Someplace must caught fire

 

Downhill

 

Day 11, August 2, Philipusburg – Hamilton

It was another prairie when I left the valley, where there was a large herd of cattle. All of these cattle gazed at me when I pass by, some of them lay there, and some stand still with the grass in their mouths. I greeted them with a moo, which got some moos from the hospitable ones. And other cattle follow them. Finally, the whole herd got excited, hundreds of moos emerged. Even I biked far away, they were still calling behind, some calls are extremely bizarre. Very funny.

Valleys after prairie, mountains after valleys. The climbing way is gravel road. Among the dense trees, I can not see the mountains, can not estimate how long is the slope. Weaving in and out through the shadows, some butterflies are following me, especially a kind of yellow wings. Occasionally, a chipmunk rushes across the road.

“Hello, are your Chinese?” this words came beside me. Focused on the rough road, I didn’t notice another biker was coming. But how could he recognize I’m Chinese, I was wearing mask and sunglasses that time.
-“Which place of China your are from?”
-“Sichuan”. When I gave him this reply, I was just thinking, “Why do you ask such a detail? You must never heard it.”
“Oh, I know that place” in Chinese! What? He can speak Chinese.
Shocked, I never expect someone will know my place in US. He told me he used to stay in China for more than 20 years, and now he is teaching Chinese in a college in Utah. This time he was biking with his sons. Yes, another two biker caught up with us then. The older son is 24 years old, studying Spanish and humanity in the same college. The younger one is 16, and also can speak Chinese. They would stay in the campground just ahead, I biked along with them to the campground, where we had a longer talk and rest.

I didn’t brought enough food with me to stay overnight, so I went on to Hamilton and said goodbye to them.

Smog

 

There are three places caught fire nearby

 

Rough road ahead

 

Looks like a kind of wild fruit in my hometown, but the taste is not right

 

The work by a fire happened several years ago

 

Day 12, August 13, Hamilton – Lolo

Today is easy. Only 40 miles is the planned, and no climbing. I need to get a rest and prepare for the following two days in the mountains.

There is biking path all of the way. It has more ups and downs than the driveway, but I don’t need to care about the coming cars, the screes, or the glass debris anymore.

Two bikers caught me up in the midway. They are just those Australians I met two days ago. They will go to Misoula today, which is just few miles farther than Lolo, then they will go along the interstate highway to Portland, while I will get into the mountains. The first time I met them, I known that we have a great chance to meet again, and said “See you on the road.” But we are not likely to meet anymore.

Arrived the campground at 12 pm. Took a shower, done the laundry, and had a heavy nap. I still could feel the sun was moving west, which drove the shadows on my tent move together. Winds blew away the hot again and again.

What?

 

It turns out that hot dog are from this plant

 

Alpaca

 

The best cycle path

 

This bird stays in the campground all of the time

 

Day 13, August 14, Lolo – Clearwater National Forest

Cecile is the french girl I met when we are climbing. She is from Virginia, and will bike to Oregon, another biker across US. Most of the bikers I met on the road have the ambitions to cross this continent.

When I was having my lunch at summit, a grandpa came and asked me to talk about my trip. He told me he used to bike across US ten years ago when he was 60, 30 days to the west and 15 days back, which is hard to believe. Maybe he means motor.

Another place caught fire

Over the summit is Idaho. It’s 1 pm now, and I’m already the campground. It’s such a lucky that I’m here not on the road before the hottest time come. Gently is the wind blowing. The branches of the pines are moving back and forth, without any sounds. But the poplars by the river are quite different, clattering with the sound from the water. A hummingbird comes and goes. A string of pine leaves falls on my baggage.

Into Idaho

 

Marmot on meadow of the summit

 

Clearwater river

 

In the river

 

Surprise, they are mushrooms. I thought they indicate the climate is wet. But they were just dehydrated shells when I tore them apart

 

Day 14, Auguest 15, Clearwater NF – Kooskia

Clearwater is changing with the terrain. At some place, it’s so quiet that you can not detect its flowing. But some other place, it’s furious.

A biker came from the opposite direction. He is from Holland, rated France highly, “That’s the best place for biking, nice people, delicious food, beautiful country…”

The campground where I slept last night

 

Found this by the creek. It’s so beautiful. The first time I saw it is in the north China. I didn’t expect they also live in American

 

Because of the fog, the sun seems tepid. But it’s quite different in the noon

 

Along the Clearwater river

 

Along the Clearwater river

 

When I arrived the market in Seattle, I got that it’s not plum, but a kind of cheery

What is waiting for me in Kooskia is Idaho’s hospitality. I asked a man where can I find a campground.
-“This is Idaho, you can sleep everywhere. There is one across the bridge. If you can not find it, just tell me”
Yes, they are pleasant. Maybe that’s why most of the people on the street are drunk.

Slept with the frog voice. Biked 90 miles today.

Day 15, August 6, Kooskia – Pomeroy

After 7 miles biking, I arrived another town Kamiah, in hope that I can hitchhike to Yakima today.

“We are cooler, we will pick up strangers. If we see someone break down, we will stop and help.” This is Craig, a constructions worker, he will drive me 70 miles to Lewiston, that’s where he works. All of way is also along the Clearwater river, but the trees becomes less and less. When we arrived Lewiston, the hills are all bare.

On the way to Lewiston

Lewiston is a city at the boundary between Idaho and Washington, with a stink in the air. This is not the place for hitchhiking. After 3 hours waiting, there’s no one would like to pick me up. I decide bike to the small town 26 miles ahead, hoping I can hitchhike there.

And this became my hardest day.

I didn’t have a detailed map for this area since I planed to hitchhike here. I thought 26 miles is easy, but it’s not. Usually, a 2300 feet climbing is not so hard. Against the wind, out of water, hot, dry, these made it a nightmare.

No trees

 

Salt on my sleeves. Usually, you can see the salt in the first day. After that, the salt will not crystallize except you washed it. But there are so many sweat this afternoon

 

Long grass after the summit

I arrived Pomeroy at 5 pm, waited for 1 hour, no one picked me up. So, I have to find a campsite here. I got into a place looks like a RV park. Defy is the man operate this place. he is the most peaceful people I met on the road, thin and lame. He told me I can stay everywhere in his yard. I should realized this is not a place for campers at that time, but I still asked him where can I take a shower. When he told me all of this is free, I finally realized I incommoded him. This is a place to rent trailer, not a RV park at all.

This yard is on a slope. Several willow trees have huge trunks, but few leaves. The grass is not watered for a long time, their dried roots mixed with the fallen willow leaves. The apple tree is thriving, with small green apple hung on the branches.
Suddenly, the yard is tinged pink. Look up. It’s the color of the sunset glow. After so many cloudless baking days, I see the clouds again, although it’s just faint cirrus.

Then, the moon rise, the sun set. the green trees becomes black shadows against the dark blue sky.

Remind me of The Lorax

 

Many days later, I see clouds again

 

Half month passed

 

Day 16, August 7, Pomeroy – Burbank

An owl is hooting on the pine in the yard. And it flies to the trees by the river when I get up. The sky is still dark, but the highest contrail is shined by the unseen sun.

The morning glow appears when I set out. With the sun behind and my shadow ahead, I’m feeling as if I were Don Quixote, stupid and blind, but self contented.

Biked another 90 miles today. I decide not to hitchhike anymore, although this will extend my plan by 3 days.

This is where I stayed in the last night

 

Just set out

 

Looks like grey whale’s chin

 

Wheat. All of the field I saw before is for grass

 

Found the plums in a deserted yard, it tasted so sweet. Later, I was so regret that I didn’t bring some with me when I was climbing

 

Then the trees is less

 

Found vendors in a wine farm when I was
extremely thirsty. A series of hiccoughs followed three cans of cola.

 

Day 17, August 8, Burbank – Prosser

Snake river merges into Columbia river at this place. Several cities huddle together, the road across the river is complex, which gave me many roundabout ways.

The hot time comes earlier and earlier, 11 am is already quite hot.

The goose in a park of Richland

 

Observe pulsar in the farm?

 

Day 18, August 9, Prosser – Naches

Arrived Yakima in the noon, found the Walmart.
A madness shopping.
Didn’t have enough space to bring the fruits. Found a table in the park nearby, had the most satisfied meal.

It was the time of sunset when I got to Naches. Google map deceived me again, there’s no campground at the marked place. But I found a place named Naches Wonderland, this is a real wonderland. It’s at the other side of the river. A series of incredible things happened when I crossed the bridge.

There were many RVs around, the lights were on, but no one was there. I set up my tent on the lawn by the river. But the lawn is vibrating! Is there a pump beneath? The strongest gales risen, hot air blew from upstream side, trees and water were howling. Worried about my tent in the gales, I stepped out to reinforce the pegs. Then I saw the valley was full of moon light. It was already dark when I got here, and now, everything was revealed by the moon. The hills were dead grey, nothing grows on them. The trunks and leaves of the aspens gave out silvery reflections. The sky was illuminated, only the brightest stars can be seen.

The bike trail in Yakima is quite good

 

Naches, so many fruits. It’s my heaven

 

When I arrived Naches

 

Day 19, August 10, Naches – Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

 

Two brunches were laid at the outside out my tent, with cut cross section. Did someone put them here?

 

Nobody was here

 

This is the wonderland

I will cross over the Cascade Range today and tomorrow. Leaving Naches means leaving Columbia basin. Trees appears as I’m climbing, then they cover the whole mountains, at last they uncover the mountain tops again, where are cliffs cut by the snow.

Can not figure out the layer structure

 

From fairy tale?

 

Met clouds again

 

Nightmare

The campground is close to the trailhead, but I cannot determine the exact distance on the map since the scale is not fine. Pushing my bike on this trail, I found a place of camping signs. But the water is hard to reach, the gully is about 30 feet deep. Then I left my bike, and went along the trail with a bottle of water, hoping that I can find the real campground.

Heard some voice like the creek, but I didn’t see it, maybe I mistook it with the sound of wind. Beneath the canopy, I didn’t care about the height of the sun anymore, only some the sunshine patches laid on the trail. The road is covered by dense dust, some pine cones were crushed by vehicle wheels, look like squirrels’ tails. Ants are everywhere on the road, those anthills are so huge and terrible. It seems to be 2 miles for the real campground, but I never reach it after a long time walking. Then I got back and set up my tent by the gully.

The sandy soil is slippery as I descended to the bottom of the gully. The sunshine can not reach here. The coolness immersed me as I reached the water. Pure and cold, the water seems like flowing glass. Drank a belly of water and cooled the grapes there.

Pine cones like squirrels’ tails

 

Huge anthill

 

Water

 

Cooled my grapes in the creek

 

Day 20, Auguest 11, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – Seattle

In the morning dimness, a chipmunk is strolling on the inner tent. Some birds are cooing loudly at the outside. They are so large, I found that when I get out, and they flew away when they saw me. Also, there is another kind of birds, which can call for a long time in one breath. It’s not loud, not annoying at all.

Thanks for yesterday’s hard working, only 6 miles is left before the summit pass. This is the east side of Cascade range, the sun is baking my back, although it’s early. Almost no cars is on the road this time, The gurgles from the streams can be heard clearly. A light mist is veiling those mountains. In the morning sun, the meadow on the glade is of pale green.

Spent two hours on this seemingly short road

 

The mountains where I’m from

 

Also the velleys

 

After the bend at the summit pass, Suddenly, I saw Mountain Rainier

The sunshine has not reached the west of the range, everything is bathed in the cold morning light. The trees are bigger than those in the other side of the range, touching each others above the road, which reminds me the desert in Denver. Stream is everywhere. The stones are covered by mosses, which also cover the logs and grounds under the trees. It’s the wet Pacific Coast.

Downhill, exceeded the speed limit

 

By the road

 

First guideboard to Seattle

 

Is wood durable?

 

Mosses

The forest was retreating. I saw the poles, more and more vehicles, more and more houses. I saw pedestrians and streets.
4 pm, Seattle arrived. Elevation: 0 feet. Biking mileage: 1200 miles.

Seattle arrived

 

Postscript, August 16, Houston

The sunshine is still intense, merged with the Texas heavy moisture. Also, there is wind, wafting the oak leaves back and forth. I didn’t bring earphone with me in the biking. And now, every songs seems a new song when I play it. Only few minutes is needed for biking from lab to home. The bike is so light without baggage, so light that it must can move by itself.

Thanks to yunpeng, who conduct my affairs in Houston. Thanks for Fei’s care. Although I didn’t tell my family the real route, they still worry about it. And more thanks for the help on the road, Kelvin Yang(Denver, CO), Merry(Riverside, WY), Mike Hamel(Saratoga, WY), The Shaws(Rawlins, WY), Jenn Connell(Lander, WY), Carolyn Renner(Lander, WY), Steve(Dubois, WY), Hillary Lincoln(Yellowstone, WY), Craig(Kamiah, ID), Defy(Pomeroy, WA), and those people I don’t know the names. Not only the help and care they provide for me, but also the happiness. Thanks to clouds, mists, winds, rains. Thanks to the sun, trees, grasses, flowers. Thanks to the rivers, valleys, prairies, and mountains.

 

Trying to reduce the weight, brought nothing home. There is a gap on the glove, left me a bracelet

Because of limited schedule, weather-bound, and hurry journey, I didn’t have a detailed record on the road. Some of this log is written on the road, some is added when I’m back. Also, there are some footage, ordered by time.

The road

The scenery

In the evening, I was cleaning up my tent, some glutinous things attached to my fingers, with a delicate fragrance, it’s turpentine. I’m in the thick northern forest, pieces of bright sky leaks through the foliage, a creek is babbling by my side.
Earth is beautiful, I love this world.

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