We entered the campsite to find it nearly all occupied, and right after we cleaned up after dinner, five boys from the UK pulled in needed a place to set up. They lugged in a picnic table from another site and by eavesdropping on their chattering I was immediately transported into a Britcom.
"Did anyone see the other tomahto? We had three and now I can't find it. Patrick, did you do anything with the tomahto?"
"Do you have the lighter Harry? I need matches so I can do it like a cowboys, how they flick it on the bottom of their boot. They do that in all the cowboy films."
"Frank, stop playing with the stove like that. I mean it Frank, turn the flame down. FRANCES STOP IT YOU'LL MAKE IT BLOW UP."
Travis talked to these boys a little the next day, and it turns out that they just graduated from high school and were taking a travel break during the year before attending Uni, which is encouraged in Europe. Travis affectionately called them One Direction, and we probably won't see them again because they're booking it to San Francisco doing like 80 miles a day.
We've met lots of different people on this trip in the hiker biker campsites, and though we haven't taken the time or energy to really cultivate relationships with any of them, it's interesting to see what people are doing and where people are coming from. We've met quite a few Europeans, like a Dutch couple, a Spanish girl, some German boys. I'm assuming their stories are pretty standard: "I'm European and I get ridiculous amounts of paid vacation time every year, so for these two months I'm taking my time visiting the West Coast of America."
I like gawking at other tourists. There are quite a few solo males, actually I'd say the majority of people touring this route are solo males. Most of them keep to themselves, but you have to watch out for the old solo dudes. They're the talkers. We overheard a conversation between two old dudes that lasted for like three hours one morning and went something like this:
"You have to watch some restaurants, they'll include an 18% gratuity on the receipt, and if you're not watching you'll leave an EXTRA tip."
"You can't depend on airlines these days. That's why they call it Delta- Don't Ever Leave The Airport."
We've met a few couples doing the route together, and the very few lone females. I definitely respect the lone females. The most impressive girl has been a Forest Service firefighter who was busting out a 10 day trip from Bend, Oregon to San Francisco to visit her friend. She only had three little bags (no racks or panniers) and slept in a bivvy to save weight. She said if it really rained hard she could string up a tarp tent with a rope and a few knots in a flash, one of the many survival skills she learned as a wilderness firefighter. BADASS.
We've met people riding with all kinds of setups, like couples traveling with massive amounts of gear (six bags each!); a couple on a tandem; one dude riding a track bike with deep V wheels; dudes riding solo with BOB trailers; a couple riding with a dog trailer carrying their trembling four pound dog; a girl walking her bike up a hill lugging a trailer carrying her 40 pound dog. It's interesting to see how other people do it, and it's inspiring me to want to cut some weight AND definitely carry along SOME kind of animal next tour. I'm pretty sure my cat Abby Ryan would be down for some bike touring.