It all started outside Cougar’s gas station/market. Derek was looking at our map, trying to see if an alternate route would work because the roads we were planning on riding were closed because of snow until July.
A UPS truck pulled up and we asked the driver about a few local roads. While he was looking at the map with Derek, he casually mentioned he’d love to take his kids (now 4 and 6) on a bike trip. Jasper quickly got out a business card with our blog on it from his stash and we thought that was the end of our brief, friendly encounter.
But a few days later, when we were in Woodland, checking email at the library, I noticed a comment on our blog from Sara, whose husband Erik was that famous UPS driver, inviting us to stop in if we happened to be going through Longview. Turns out that after about 10 days of riding, we were eager for a rest day and Longview was a natural stop the very next day!
That evening Derek and I carefully composed our email to Sara saying we’d love to stay, but just so she knew we are a little complicated in the eating department – vegetarian, Jasper can’t have dairy and I have a severe peanut allergy. It’s always a little awkward being complicated, but best to let folks know early before they make a Thai-inspired pot roast with a creamy dressing to celebrate your arrival.
Sara’s response had Jasper literally jumping for joy. Not only were they vegetarian, her son was also not able to eat dairy and how did oat burgers for dinner and vegan crepes for breakfast sound?
After visiting together in Longview, when the boys played soccer all afternoon and Anna and Annika played all kinds of fun games,Sara and the kids took all our bags, packed their bikes in the car and met us at Castle Rock, where their favourite bike park is. The kids blew us away with their mad bike skills and we spent a beautiful afternoon together before we got set up at our campsite.
We are so happy and grateful that we couldn’t follow our original route and that we got to meet first Erik and then his whole wonderful family! And what a gift that Sara had time to share with us, to make memories together.
As Anna said, “we’re going to look back on this time together as some of the best days of the whole trip!”
With best wishes,