West Coast Best Coast

9,366 km - 10,102km

Our time in Vancouver was full of excitement including laundry, errands, and emails. The chores were well balanced though and we had time to watch some movies, download some new music and relax. Dom and Tym's middle brother Olek was our gracious host, and his apartment was centre stage for the Alaskentina bomb that blew up, leaving our tools, clothes and riding gear covering every inch of floor space. Dom took advantage of the local hardware stores and plastic manufacturers to create an upgraded mounting system for his saddlebags, and picked up a fresh tire that the three-man crew mounted in the parking lot under the hot sun. Ben had to resort to ordering a replacement for his broken odometer that the boys would pick up near Seattle, as it proved to be a challenge to find one in Vancouver. Tym went to Britannia Composites, a motorcycle fairing manufacturer in Langley, to repair the light that had come loose in his fairing.  Ian, the owner of the small business, was more than generous and replaced Tym's fairing with his newest model, which included updated styling along with the latest and greatest LED lights on the market. Ian noted that Tym's old fairing was one of the first models he had ever manufactured, dating it back to circa 2008.  He also gave Dom and Tym a tour of his workshop, and shared his story of working in the sailboat repair business before transitioning into manufacturing composite motorcycle fairings.

The time off the road was a valuable opportunity for the three of us to spend some time with family. The Kubicki brothers enjoyed a couple nights on the town and an excursion to Whistler for a hike and a dip in Lost Lake; and Ben spent some quality time catching up with cousins and playing with the energetic youngsters, kicking around rugby balls, hiking in Minnekhada Park and sharing great food and conversation.

We left Vancouver at midday on Monday, moving south through a painless border crossing into Washington. Farmers' fields of yellow and green welcomed us to the Evergreen State, and we were once again in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Our first destination was to pick up the odometer for Ben's bike west of Seattle. To get there we took well-maintained secondary highways through lightly populated rural areas, where hay bales, cattle and sheep provided a refreshing dimension to the otherwise thick darkness of forest.

After acquiring the odometer we continued our journey through small towns and rustic countryside until we reached Twanoh State Park. Of course, after almost a week of dry weather in otherwise rainy Vancouver, the skies became somber and began to rain as we approached our campsite. Luckily the rain didn't last and we enjoyed a quiet night under the towering moss-covered trees and next to the rushing rainforest creek.

Tuesday we had an easy day planned, about 200km to Cannon Beach, Oregon which would take us along the famously scenic Highway 101. The pristine pavement hangs on to the steep hills following the contours of the coast, and the unmistakable smell of the sea lingers over the road. We crossed state borders on the impressive Astoria-Kegler Bridge. With a long multiple span steel truss deck bridge leading us out of Washington, the bridge deck quickly turns upward to a highly elevated cantilever through bridge under which lies the navigable channel. We crossed the bridge in awe as little fishing boats floated among the massive cargo ships along our side. Upon arrival to the Oregon side, small multi-coloured maritime-style homes clung onto the sharp hill ahead of us, with a grey sky perfectly suited to the coastal view hanging low over head.

By mid-afternoon we had reached Cannon Beach and set up camp in the centre of the chic resort town, known for its art galleries, brew pubs, and its long sandy beach that fades into the vast Pacific Ocean. We left the tents behind and strolled through the pretty town, settling on a brew pub serving ice cold pints of their home-brewed ales. We then walked along the beach with our eyes locked on the spectacular Haystack Rock - an intertidal monolithic rock, meaning it is a single massive rock and accessible by land at low tide only. Its surrounding tidal pools are home to many creatures and its magnificent presence above the surface of the water has made it a popular sightseeing destination. We were there at high tide and decided to spend our evening sitting on sand covered logs as the sun set behind the thick cover of clouds with Pacific waves crashing in front of us.

When Wednesday rolled around it was time to make our way into Portland, a city that has come highly recommended from fellow travellers since the beginning of the trip. On our way to the big city we took a minor detour to the Ecola State Park known as one of the most beautiful sites in America. A mix of arrow-straight pines and gnarled moss-covered stubby-branched Sitka spruce, each as tall as the sky, lined the roads and Tym set up on the narrow shoulder to take photos of Ben and Dom between the procession of other tourists rolling up the road, cameras and maps in hand with doggy tongues hanging out of their back windows.

The ride to Portland was less spectacular than what our spoiled eyes had become accustomed to as we ventured away from the coast and focused our gaze on the unpredictable cars, vans and trucks that grew in number as we approached the city. Arriving in Portland we checked into the Portland Northwest Hostel, quickly showered and changed then set out to explore the city.

Portland is a vibrant city, situated where the Willamette River meets the powerful Columbia River. The city grew as a result of the profitable timber industry combined with the city's position on the river providing accessible transportation. It is now a liberal leaning urban metropolis with a multitude of industries to support the population of almost 2.5 million. We spent our time experiencing more local brews and watching the eclectic mix of people pass us by. The sun was out while we were in the city - shining brightly on the stones and bricks that, when stacked on top of each other, made up the historic infrastructure that lined the busy streets.

We are now looking forward to continuing south on the 101, treating our senses to the aromas of spruce and pine, the vistas of green and blue, the sound of crashing waves, the sensation of flying around full-bodied corners and the taste of rich flavourful lagers when they present themselves to our thirsty travelling bodies. 

At the time of publishing this post, we are sincerely greatful and truly humbled to be able to say we have reached $13,552 in our efforts to raise $22,000 for Free the Children. That is an impressive 62% of our fundraising goal towards the Adopt-A-Village program that works to break the cycle of poverty in developing countries and give children around the world a better chance at success and prosperity. As a reminder, the money we raise is being channeled to the organization's programs in Ecuador and Nicaragua. It is thanks to the generosity of our family and friends as well as the strangers we have met on the road and online that this remarkable progress has been possible.

If you haven't done so, please consider donating to our cause which is covered more in depth on 'The Cause' page of our website. We realize that many of you do a lot to support the causes near and dear to your own hearts, and that this charity may not be suited to you. If that is the case please help us spread the word and share this adventure with your friends and family that may be interested! And finally, to the many of you who have already donated your well deserved earnings to this cause, we extend our warmest thanks and heartfelt gratitude. The difference we can make to the lives of anonymous children in foreign countries is real, profoundly important and achievable with the support of people like you.

Much Love,

Team Alaskentina

Tymek, Olek, and Dom at the Olympic Rings in Whistler, host ski town of the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Tymek, Olek, and Dom at the Olympic Rings in Whistler, host ski town of the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

The Kubicki brothers cooling off in Lost Lake, Whistler BC. 

The Kubicki brothers cooling off in Lost Lake, Whistler BC. 

Ben and his cousins, the cutest kids this side of the Pacific Ocean.

Ben and his cousins, the cutest kids this side of the Pacific Ocean.

This is what home looks like in Twanoh State Park.

This is what home looks like in Twanoh State Park.

Tim looks out on the water, with the Astoria-Kegler Bridge spanning across the mouth of the vast Columbia River.

Tim looks out on the water, with the Astoria-Kegler Bridge spanning across the mouth of the vast Columbia River.

Downtime at the end of the day in Cannon Beach.

Downtime at the end of the day in Cannon Beach.

Dom and Ben riding into Ecola State Park.

Dom and Ben riding into Ecola State Park.

This. Is. America. Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland. 

This. Is. America. Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland. 

The Burnside Bridge is one of many that span the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

The Burnside Bridge is one of many that span the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

Do yourself a favour and make your way to Portland to sample the many local beers. 

Do yourself a favour and make your way to Portland to sample the many local beers.