Or, why visit Europe when Europe visits you? Nearly a week into the tour, and these were some of the questions I was beginning to ask. The first night, it was a lone Scotsman that occupied the neighboring camp site. Two nights later, three Germans joined my picnic table at Cape Disappointment. As we shared the same objective for the following day, we rode together into Oregon across the Astoria bridge, only to meet more German cyclists on the other side!
In my preparations for the journey, I had read about adventure cycling and its popularity throughout certain countries of Europe - Germany being one of them. And then the new tires I purchased....and panniers....all German made. Needless to say, Germans are avid cyclists, but also, very warm, humorous, and possessing a witty intelligence that made for an excellent evening around the camp fire. A fire that happened to be started by a British couple! An interesting mix indeed that was made all the better once I taught our international crew the fine art (and purely American camping cornerstone) of smores. From widdling sticks to licking marshmallow covered finger tips - it wasn't long before everyone was in love with the messy great taste and the entire ritual itself. With their smores skills instilled, I granted all five full American citizenship.
Two more days pass, and still, no American cyclists. But finally, on the day I parted with Team Europe, the Americans arrived - and they arrived in a big way. Three separate groups, but it was Steve and Carl who had each landed at the Oregon coast as their final cross country destination. Carl actually began his 6000-mile zig-zag route in Wilmington, NC - my planned destination. Both weathered from life on the road, but still bolstering with energy.
Regardless of where you are from, cyclists along the pacific coast seem to be an excited, seasoned, and happy lot of humans - willing to help, share, and encourage others in their pursuits or adventures. Such amazing diversity for so little time along the roads of the American northwest.