17 days, 761 miles. Last year on the Courage Classic, I asked a couple of teammates, who have done alot of touring, how many days on the road before they just want to be home. They both said the same thing, there is no number. Some days are hard and you want to be home, but then the next day is great and all is good. I was ready to be home today after 17 days. Had the trip been 20 days, I probably would have been ready to be home at 20 days. It is like the mileage thing. If you are expecting to go 30 miles you are ready to be done at 30 miles. If it is 60, you are ready to be done then.
I think we were very lucky in many things. The biggest was that we reversed the route at the last minute. Had we not done that, our trip would have come to a screeching halt when we got up to Paradise and found Stevens Canyon to be closed. At that time, Skate Creek would have also been closed. We probably would not have thought we would have time to detour all the way through Morton (we probably wouldn't have had time).
I have learned that being flexible is good on a trip this long. There is just no way to foresee all that might happen. We had no idea that Swauk would have no water. We also did not know that Lodgepole would be closed (oh well, we stayed there anyway). The fact that Selah just opened it's first hotel was fortunate (saved us miles, but not money). Of course, the whole Stevens Canyon thing. Being able to change plans as needed is a necessary ability.
It is also good to remember, when in doubt, ask someone. And, if you don't like the answer, ask someone else! For example, when we got off the water shuttle across Hood Canal, I asked the guy working the dock if we could take Teal Lake Rd. He said no, so I asked the firefighters down the road (they said yes). Again, it saved us miles. I also found out that sometimes you have to be persistant about staying in a "full" campground. Alot of people don't understand that, as cyclists, we can't just go someplace else. At Wenatchee Confluence we just kept saying we couldn't go someplace else. We had already ridden as far as we were going to ride that day. Surely, there must be someplace we could set up our tent! Not only did they find us a spot, but it was an actual site. And, finally, we discovered if you are not too picky about mixing foods, you can get away with cooking your entire dinner in one pot!
This was a fabulous trip and I am so happy I was able to do this with Kyle. He is a great travelling buddy (and awesome at finding power outlets and piped water!!). I hope when he is working full time in his career and is very busy with his life, that he will remember what it was like to take off for 17 days and ride 761 miles around the State of Washington!
PS When I get the pictures downloaded, I'll post some of them.