Warm Showers 2013 – mid-Season

2013 has been a bumper year for bicycle touring in the Pacific Northwest. As of the July 4th weekend, we have already had 21 visitors. The Europeans know how to vacation, with quarter, half-year, or year-long sabbaticals to tour the world on a bicycle. Most of the Canadians and Americans so far have been on either college graduation tour, singly or in groups, or retirement celebrations. We’ve had one guest moving to a new job in California on her bicycle, BOB trailer in tow. All so far have been traveling north to south, but by different routes: some on the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route through Elma, Centralia, Castle Rock, and Cathlamet to Astoria, but the more adventurous have chosen their own routes, to brave the 6.5-Km long, 60-meter high Astoria-Megler Bridge. And some have taken the equally high but shorter Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview and Rainier toward Portland, the bicycle capital of the Pacific Northwest.

Andreas, from Germany, touring Canada and the Northwestern U.S.
Bastien, from France, touring Florida to D.C., Vancouver to L.A., Australia, and New Zealand
Brendan, Canada: graduation tour (U. of Manitoba), Vancouver to San Francisco
Erik, Craig, and Joe, friends from U. of Nebraska, touring the Pacific Coast. Erik’s disc brake broke, so we ferried him to Olympia for parts and repairs.
John (from Virginia) and Tom (from Texas), buddies since the Peace Corps in 1970s, celebrating recent respective retirements with a tour of the Pacific Coast.
MacKenzie, moving from Seattle to San Francisco to a new job, with a little help from mom, to reprise their Southern Tier tour of 10 years ago.
Us with the “Penn State 5,” as we dubbed them, on a graduation tour of the Pacific Coast.
Roze and Davy, from Belgium, finishing the North American leg of their world tour, which included New Zealand and Central America
Sam and Ben, brothers from Montana, on a fund-raising tour of the Pacific Coast to follow up last year’s Montana-to-Key West tour.
Lena and Nick, from Switzerland, touring Vancouver to Central America
Lena and Nick, from Switzerland, touring Vancouver to Central America

Art Quilters Show at Ruby Street Quiltworks

The Ruby Street Art Quilt group has a show at the Quiltworks, March 17-24, the first in the 4-year history of the informal interest group. The photos below were taken at the March 17 opening reception, after the regular monthly meeting of the group. Judy has six pieces entered, and Larye has two (both of which were in the Man-Made exhibit at Island Quilters last month).  The overall show was fantastic, and well-received.  I think we may have picked up a few new members, quilters excited about the surface alteration, innovative techniques, and artistic expression exhibited by the group members.

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Man-Made, Part 2

Last month, we showcased the Man-Made quilt show at Island Quilters, Vashon, Washington, in which the Unix Curmudgeon had two quilts displayed.  The response from men who quilt in the Pacific Northwest was so overwhelming, the show was extended through March, with Man-Made 2, featuring 25 additional quilts for which there was not room to display for the February show, including my “Leonardo’s Garden.”  Some of the favorites were repeated, like Luke Haynes’ works and Carl Rohr’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired men’s round robin quilt, along with 8-year-old Max Zuber’s wonderful collection of small quilts.

Island Quilter is located at 17739 Vashon Highway, in the heart of downtown Vashon, on the island.   Vashon is accessible by auto on Washington State Ferries from Fauntleroy (West Seattle), Southworth (Kitsap Peninsula) and Point Defiance (Tacoma/Ruston); and by public transit via King County Water Taxi from Pier 50 in Seattle (next to WSF Coleman Dock).  Metro bus routes 118 and 119 serve the island from downtown Seattle via the Fauntleroy ferry terminal and meet all boats on-island on intra-island routes.


One of Carl Rohr’s Kaffe Fassett quilts;


The back of one of Carl Rohr’s Kaffe Fassett quilts.
Leonardo’s Garden, on left, with the quilter, aka The Unix Curmudgeon.
The quilt on the show poster, “Labyrinth Walk,” by Portland, Oregon quilt designer Christopher Florence.
The back of Luke Hayne’s stunning quilt “Rags to Riches,” held over from last month. See more of Luke’s work at

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Warm Showers 2012

As the winter wet and cold settles in on the Pacific Northwest, we bring another bicycle touring season to a close.  In addition, we are currently sans shower, in the fifth week of a major bathroom remodel, so we put away the “Welcome Cyclists” mat at the beginning of October this year.

2012 was a banner year for Warm Showers guests — we hosted 18 cyclists in all, up from 13 last year.  Because of scheduling or availability, we turned down nearly as many.  Once again, the Pacific Coast Route proved to be the big draw for cyclists from all over the world.  We had guests from Seattle, Korea, Nova Scotia, Yukon, British Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, Idaho, California, and Germany.  Riders were mostly north to south, but we had two groups cycling from south to north.

We live close to the Adventure Cycling Association’s Pacific Coast Route, which starts in Vancouver, BC and passes through Whidbey Island, Port Townsend, Bremerton, Shelton, Elma, Centralia, and Cathlamet on the way to Astoria, but we also had many travelers who chose their own way, crossing to or from Victoria and Port Angeles and up or down US 101 along the Hood Canal.  Some rode the dangerous WA Highway 3 between Belfair and Shelton, and some rode the south shore drive all the way to US 101 rather than grinding up the hill to Mason Lake.  Some followed Cloquallum Road to or from Elma, and some chose to get to or from Centralia via Olympia.  A few kept westward at Elma and braved the 3.5-mile-long Megler Bridge at Astoria.  And some headed to Portland rather than Astoria.

We live halfway up a steep hill, so getting in and out of our neighborhood with a minimum of climbing is a tricky bit of navigation, so we often met travelers inbound to guide them to our house.  We also rode with guests in the morning to guide them on their way, especially the ones who were using auto maps instead of the bicycle route maps.  We also provided printed Google maps for alternate routing.

Sarah, on a quick solo trip from Seattle to Santa Barbara, CA.  This is at the Buck’s Prairie Store, halfway to Elma.
Lang, from Korea, on the second half of an Anchorage to Los Angeles tour, after wintering over in Vancouver to replace a stolen bike.
Becca and Kate, from Nova Scotia, northbound from San Francisco to Victoria. They elected to seek out a Warm Showers host in Bremerton rather than camp in the rain along the Hood Canal, so I rode with them a few miles to point them in the right direction.
Justin and Ritchie, bicycle racers from Cal Poly, on an ambitious speed run from the Canadian border to home.
Gordon and Steve, 70-something recumbent riders, intending to ride from Bellingham to Eureka, but abandoned in Tumwater due to heat and hills, after enjoying a couple days of relatively level riding through Elma to Rochester
Areef, from Vancouver, and Don, from northern California, who weren’t traveling together, but booked at the same Warm Showers stops a couple nights.  Areef was headed for the Oregon coast, Don for Portland to join an ACA tour.
Ben and Lauren, Harvard grad students from Idaho, traveling north, San Francisco to Seattle. This was their last day on the road.
Julia, from Australia, riding from Victoria to Hood River, Oregon for a wedding, on a year-long biking sabbatical to visit relatives in North America.  I led her out to Hwy 3 to Olympia.
Jayshil, from New Zealand, on tour from Vancouver to Los Angeles.
Marty and Pierrette, four months into a 3-year wander, after selling everything in the Yukon.  They, too, headed for Olympia to shave 25km off the ride to Centralia.  Follow their travels at
Yvonne and Danika, from Germany, on a one-year tour from Yukon to Panama.
Yvonne and Danika, from Germany, on a one-year tour from Yukon to Panama.  They were using auto maps and major highways, so I led them to Cloquallum Road to head them toward Elma on back roads.

Warm Showers 2011

The gallery of Warm Showers travelers hosted in 2011.  Warm Showers is an international on-line community of bicycle tourists who share lodging with fellow tourists.  Since we live on the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Route and popular routes for tours of the Olympic Peninsula an Hood Canal, we have the opportunity to host bicycle tourists almost every week that we are home during the season, which lasts roughly from early May through late October.

Todd – Vancouver, BC – Imperial Beach, CA
Heather and Adam – Lacey, WA to San Juan Islands to Seattle

Stefaan and Mark: Vancouver, BC – Imperial Beach, CA
Ray – – Olympic tour, Washington/Oregon
Peter : Yukon to Tierra del Fuego
Laura and Gabi – Seattle to San Francisco
Rueben, Heidi, Eden, and Harper – Toronto to Cheyenne, Vancouver, BC to Panama City, Panama, Richmond to Toronto: one year, 8000 miles.