Tour de Cascadia

photo courtesy phill c. lee.

WESTERN Washington, the Oregon Coast, and Northern California – if these three regions could somehow break off from the rest of their republican-leaning counterparts they would form a glorious, utopian state called Cascadia. Or so I have fantasized.

From the Puget Sound to the San Francisco Bay, the Northwest is perhaps my favorite part of the country. And yet, despite my passions for Cascadia and travel in general, I’ve neglected to explore the region as it deserves. In this vein, starting next week, The Daily Transit will be shifting gears; I will cease to wish I was traveling and do something infinitely better – the Tour de Cascadia.

For the next month-and-a-half, I will be roaming about the West Coast, primarily on that beautiful machine you see pictured above. And I’m taking you with me, dear reader.

STAGE 1: Madison to Los Angeles

downtown l.a. photo by ‘SeraphimC.

Yes, I know. LA is not in Cascadia. It is, however, the site of the 2nd annual reunion of a group friends who studied at Yonsei University in Seoul with my girlfriend and me. Last year we met in New York City, but this time we’re taking it out west – we’re both looking forward to seeing good people, and with all I hear of Koreatown’s delightful food offerings, it should be a fantastic time.

ORD to LAX, via airplane. Los Angeles area, by foot and car.

STAGE 2: Los Angeles to Seattle

seattle through a rainy window. photo by puja.

Ah, home! It’s been eight long months since I’ve returned, and I’ll be happy to get back to the place where I was raised. The lady will also be accompanying me, and she’s pretty excited to nosh on some Northwest clam strips down on the pier. Me – I’m looking forward to visiting old haunts: the U-District, Capitol Hill, Alki Beach, and all the great cafes and restaurants in between (Allegro, Aladdin’s, Bauhaus, Crave and Pegasus Pizza come directly to mind).

This is also the leg where I’ll be meeting with my Tour de Cascadia companion, Nick – my girlfriend will be heading back to the Midwest for work and school. Some time around the end of August, Nick and I will be throwing our two-wheeled steeds in the back of my poor, unused car and starting the tour of Cascadia proper.

LAX to SEA, via airplane. Seattle area, via car and bicycle.

STAGE 3: Portland

hawthorne bridge, portland. photo by wooooooo.

As a Northwest native, I’m a bit ashamed that I’ve yet to explore Portland. But I won’t bear that shame much longer. The city sounds amazing, especially from what I hear about it’s cycling community, organic restaurant scene and – more specifically – Powell’s Books, one of the largest independent book stores in the country.

This should be a fun leg of the trip; Portland’s not very big, so doing some riding out in the boonies in the morning and making it back for early-afternoon beer should be entirely feasible.

Seattle to Portland, by car. Portland area, by bicycle.

STAGE 4: San Francisco

chinatown & the bay bridge. photo by thedailytransit.

I fell in love with SF last Spring, as some readers may recall. But this time it should be a whole different experience, and those epic hills will surely look a whole lot bigger on top of two wheels; I’m looking forward to tackling Twin Peaks and Fillmore.

The Bay Area has somewhat of an Indian summer, I’ve been told, so it should still be pretty warm when we arrive in early September. This is the leg of the leg of the trip I’m perhaps looking forward to most, as my girlfriend and I hope to one day make SF our home.

Portland to San Francisco, by car. Bay Area, by bicycle.

STAGE 5: Santa Cruz / Capitola

capitola. photo by digiyesica.

I can’t imagine a better spot to unwind and contemplate our journey than the Northern California coast, and so our final stop will be camping in Santa Cruz. Both SC and Capitola have reputations for being great small cities, and should be fun to ride in. But all I’m really hoping for is good food, sunny weather and a sandy beach.

SF to Santa Cruz, by car. SC/Capitola area, by bicycle.

STAGE 6: The Way Home

photo from amtrak.

After heading back to Seattle for a week or so, I’m planning on hopping a train back to Madison. It will be a journey of about 2 days, so I’m planning on bringing books, sneaking some wine and doing a lot of reflecting. Though I hear poor things about amtrak, it will at least be an opportunity to see some more of the country before heading back to normal life.


As I’m packing light on this trip (read: no laptop), posts will be a bit more spotty than normal, but I hope what they lack in quantity they will deliver in quality – so bear with me, dear reader. Happy travels.


4 Responses to “Tour de Cascadia”

  1. 1 pam August 9, 2007 at 8:29 am

    I know you have people here, but drop a line if you get to Seattle and find yourself wanting to have a beer with a total stranger.

  2. 2 Retro Bicycles October 23, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Give me an old cool bicycle, and I’ll ride around the city for days.

  1. 1 Seattle: The First 72 Hours « The Daily Transit Trackback on August 27, 2007 at 11:35 am
  2. 2 Reality Check « The Daily Transit Trackback on September 4, 2007 at 11:52 am
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