July in Pictures and a little Taste of Van Life!

We had so much fun on the road in June and July that I thought I'd follow up my June blog with a little more about the remainder of our weeks on the road camping and living out of the van. 

After leaving Montana, we headed back to Idaho to ride the Trail of the Hiawatha. The Route of the Hiawatha is a 15 mi long trail (30 out and back) with 10 tunnels (some so long you needed head lamps to get through them. Ever ridden your bike in the dark??) and 7 high trestles that covers a section of abandoned rail-bed from the Milwaukee Railroad.

Route of the Hiawatha

Getting ready to ride the Hiawatha

Several stops along the way to explain the history.

After riding, we decided to make another stop in the town of Wallace on our way back through and we were just in time for the lap swim hours at the local pool.

Swimming in Wallace

The next morning we headed back towards Coeur D'Alene to ride more of the Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes

Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes

Making coffee in the morning before we set out for a ride

Took a little shower in the park after our ride with our solar shower. I definitely got some weird looks from passers-by as I went through my usual bathroom routine.

Lunchtime

After many nights on the road, the van starts to get a little dirty and just a wee bit stinky. Time to take a little time cleaning house. 

After getting our home-on-wheels clean, it was time to stock up on groceries. Here Matt is restocking the coolers with fresh produce.

A clean van means a happy camper :)

We were planning to head South through Idaho, but we just couldn't resist a trip back to our old hood, so we headed West instead and made our way to Seattle.

I absolutely love running in Seattle (mostly because it is very easy to get a runner's high at sea level when you've been training and living at 7,000 feet elevation for the past 7 years) so I had to visit one of my favorite places to run... Discovery Park. 

Discovery Park

We spent 2 days in Seattle stealth camping out of our van which turned out to be pretty easy thanks to bathrooms in most of the public parks and even a shower at Seward Park. WooHoo! It was a cold one, but a shower in general is always appreciated. The hardest part about van life can sometimes be finding a place to shower. We definitely took advantage of any body of water (lake, river, ocean) or free shower or swimming pool we could find as a way to bathe. This not only made us realize how much we take the little things for granted (like showers), but also how overrated showering actually is. My skin and hair were probably the healthiest they've been in a long time ;)

We traversed the city back and forth aiming to visit all of our favorite neighborhoods, parks and stores: Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Discovery Park, Golden Gardens, Madison, Leschi, Seward Park, Volunteer Park, Second Ascent, and Recycled Cycles. We hit up happy hours and after a bike ride around Mercer Island could not leave the city without a stop at Top Pot Doughnuts. While this is not a part of my normal diet, a little splurge is needed every once in a while and anyone who knows me well knows that doughnuts are the true way to my heart and Top Pot's rank among the best I've ever had. Not to mention, the adorable decor inside all of their locations with built-in book shelves filled floor to ceiling with books makes it the coziest of environments, especially on a rainy Seattle day). 

Top Pot Doughnuts

Enjoying Seattle's beautiful views

And no trip to Seattle is complete without MANY coffee stops.

Espresso con panna and Americano con panna (aka with a dollop of whipped cream). Also notice the little chocolate served with each cup. Chocolate?? YES please!!

After Seattle we headed to Portland, a city both Matt and I have visited in the past, but we wanted to spend a little more time there really getting to know the neighborhoods and getting a real feel for the city. Matt and I love the Pacific Northwest and we love to get to know the towns we visit aiming to explore the culture, restaurants, coffee shops, bike shops and most importantly the riding scene (both mountain biking and road riding), running scene, lap swimming, fishing scene... you get my point. We are looking for where we think we'll make our forever home once we are done with van-life. Portland is definitely in the running! It did not disappoint.

Our first day in Portland we set out for a long road ride which proved to be great riding. 

Sauvie Island- a little stop at a country store with fresh produce

Stoked to find some fresh blackberries- free fuel for our ride!!

Crossing one of many bridges on our ride in Portland (St John's Bridge)

Vietnamese food following a long ride on a rainy day.

After leaving Portland we made our way back to Reno to pick up the babies with 2 quick stops in Hood River and Bend on the way. 

We learned how to fly while mom and dad were away. 

We enjoy looking out the window and staring lovingly into each other's eyes.

We love to pick apart grandma and grandpa's chairs

And we even learned how to climb the screen door. "Come on Cielo, are you coming?"

And then it was time to get back to work! I've settled into another block of training before my next race. 

Hittin' my splits

"We live in a world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open". -- Jawaharlal Nehru

To many more adventures,

Pocket Rocket