So tomorrow we cross into Mexico. It has been a little stressful recently as there has been a degree of uncertainty about whether we will be able to leave the USA before our visas expire. The shock absorber we had been waiting for arrived at the suppliers only today (two days before visa expiry). It has taken Dave all day to get it on but it is now done and the bike is ready for the next leg of the trip.
We were also surprised by a public holiday today-Columbus Day. This could have been a problem as we need to post our camping equipment to a friend in California who will look after it, as we are not taking it to Mexico. We will now go to the post office in the morning before we set off to the border. So we are nearly ready to go.
This is the map of our full route around the USA over the last 89 days.
It has been a spectacular success. We have ridden over 9,000 miles. 22 states. Many campsites, quite a few motels and a few Airbnbs. Through lots of mountains, plains, spectacular coasts and a few cities. The places that stand out for me are still Graceland (!), camping at 10,000 feet in Colorado, crossing the empty plains of Wyoming, riding along the central Californian coast around Big Sur and our two fun days in Hollywood. I guess the things I have chosen as my highlights are those that surpassed my expectations.
Worthy of honourable mentions are also Tulsa for its great Art Deco buildings which was totally unexpected and the magnificent setting of Seattle.
If I could only come back to one state it would definitely be California with Colorado in second place but then I expected that before I left.
By far the best thing about the trip as a whole has been the camping. The sites here in the US surpass anything we have experienced before in their number, locations, quality and cost.
The wildlife has also been a highlight for me. We have seen many different kinds of deer including pronghorn, big horned sheep, humpback whales, elephant seals, foxes, buffalo, many different kinds of squirrel, chipmunks, groundhogs (as well as dead armadillos, skunk and racoon. I have heard coyote howling at night and we have had three almost bear encounters, although we have not seen bears.
The birds have also been amazing-hummingbird, pelicans too many kinds of hawk and falcons to list, turkey vulture, woodpeckers of different kinds, kingfishers, Stellars Jay, cardinals and more.
Things have gone amazingly well. It has been incredibly easy to travel here. We are within budget. We have met some very friendly people. We are very happy, healthy (we have both lost weight and sleep for hours and hours) and relaxed. Mission accomplished.
We are very excited to move onto the next stage of the trip but also sad to be leaving the USA behind. Although the autumn rain is just about to start here in California so our timing is good. We are looking forward to some real adventure, speaking Spanish (badly), eating hot chillies and staying in one place for more than a couple of days. Oh and hopefully doing less work on the bike now that we have replaced virtually everything that can wear out.