2018 was a typical year for our Warm Showers activities. We hosted 29 bicycle tourists this year, turned down a half-dozen or so that passed through when we were out traveling or bicycling ourselves, and a few who made inquiries but ended up bypassing us due to routing or scheduling.
Our first guest of the season, Luci, had traveled two years from Brazil, intending to tour Canada as well. However, she ran into a stumbling block when Canada refused to issue her a visa. With her US visa expiring, she retreated to Mexico and is still planning to continue when and if she can get permission to enter Canada. Meanwhile, she has seen much of the U.S., thanks to the many friends she has made in her journey.
Sheena, from Maryland, and Emilie, from New Jersey, had met on a Bike ‘n Build crew a few years ago and decided to tour together down the Pacific Coast. The discovered, to their surprise, while looking through our guest gallery, that two others of their crew had stayed with us when they continued touring after the group had reached Seattle. We narrowly averted a disaster when Emilie slipped on the top stair and took a bumpy ride down to the living room, fortunately unhurt.
Frank, from Germany, convinced his Swiss employer that an English immersion experience would help him with his new assignment as sales rep to English-speaking countries, choosing a bicycle tour down the West Coast as the best way to do that.
Charlie and Becci, both veterinary surgeons from the UK, took an interesting approach to touring, ordering new bicycles delivered to the U.S., then riding them from Vancouver to San Ysidro, California, where they sold the bikes and continued their tour by public transit to Mexico and Cuba, where they had very interesting (and amusingly related) adventures and volunteered their skills at veterinary clinics (albeit clandestine ones in Cuba, where small-animal practices are not licensed).
Daniel and Claudia, from Germany, had pedaled across Europe and Asia, then north through the U.S. and Canadian Rockies before heading back south along the coastal and Sierra Cascades routes. When back at home, Daniel is a neurologist and Claudia is a political science graduate student.
Jennie and Daniel, aspiring actors from the East Coast, started their Transamerica tour in Arlington, WA, headed down the coast to the western terminus at Newport, Oregon to begin heading east to New York.
Tom and Amanda, from Alaska, were “drop-ins,” contacting us by phone late in the day after realizing they weren’t going to make it to their intended stop. We usually prepare a meal for expected guests, but Tom and Amanda arrived late, so cooked their own. We still got in a good visit. Tom has had several pieces published in Adventure Cyclist, the membership magazine of Adventure Cycling. They were on a tour around the Olympic Peninsula starting from Seattle. We had just completed a car-bike camping tour around the same route, in the opposite direction, so gave them some tips, and got good feedback from their experience.
Yanouk, from Montreal, had ridden across Canada with a friend from the Gaspe Peninsula to Vancouver, then solo to Vancouver Island and around the Olympic Peninsula before returning home to continue his university studies.
Neeka and Kegan, from New Zealand. Kegan has an outdoor job, so they devised an ingenious plan to spend a couple New Zealand winters in Canadian summer to combine work and touring, intending to ride to San Francisco before flying home to New Zealand in time for spring building season. Unfortunately, one of their excursions over the summer took them to Port Angeles, where the clock started on their U.S. visa. After I asked them about the timing, they checked their visa and discovered they had mere hours to get back to Canada by bus and train before it expired. Hopefully, they will be able to return to explore the U.S. next year.
Carlton, from Michigan, and his friend Rachel, fellow travelers who met on a group tour several years ago, had traveled with a group of other cyclists from that first group down the Canadian Rockies, splitting off to ride the Washington Parks Loop on their own, arriving from Yakima via Mount Rainier and Elma on their way to Seattle.
Connie, from Colorado, and Isabella, from Oregon, who met on a supported bike tour of Puerto Rico years ago, decided to tour the Olympic Peninsula Segment of the Washington Parks Loop route, with a side trip to the San Juan Islands. The biggest problem they had in planning was where to leave their car, as the loop brings them back to the starting point. We don’t have room to park extra cars, so they ended up starting their tour in Montesano, 60 km west of us. Connie’s Bike Friday New World Tourist is the first BF in our garage besides our own “Q” tandem.
David, from Spain, toured across Canada from Montreal and was headed down the Pacific Coast on his first North American tour. He was quite the celebrity on the Warm Showers network, as he was the first Spanish tourist most of us had hosted. I ended up picking him up near the airport north of town, to spare him the hill climb to our house and the rush-hour traffic through town, made worse by the extensive road and utility repairs that have made navigation across town interesting this summer and fall.
So, another season under wraps. We had a few requests in October, as we usually do, but weren’t home, so no guests in October. 2018 brings our total number of guests hosted since we joined Warm Showers in 2011 to 216. This year brought us guests from two new countries, Brazil and Spain, and cyclists from a variety of professions, as usual, including journalists, physicians, teachers, religious leaders, students, and retirees. Yes, our food, water, and electric bills go up a bit during “the season,” but we do enjoy sharing our mutual passion with these world travelers. With some, our contact is brief, but others we keep in contact with for years, passively through their blogs, or actively on social media. One of last year’s guests is nearing her goal, the southern tip of South America, currently entranced with the scenery and people of Chile. An early guest from 2011, now 76, continues to tour around the world, sharing his photos and stories in his blog and on Flickr.