Looking back over past threads, it seems that a lot of the discussion of rest days revolves around whether they are necessary and how often they should happen. Kind of like how most folks approach the idea of a colonoscopy.
I'd like to open up a thread for riders to share stories of memorable rest days. Perhaps this could be a resource for people who are new to bicycle travel, or experienced riders who are looking ahead to their 2013 rides. To kick it off, I'll share stories about two past rest days and one that I'm planning for my next tour.
1st - Colville, Washington, 2005
After cycling west out of Seattle and heading north across Whidbey Island to Anacortes, I'd turned east onto the Northern Tier headed for East Glacier. By the time I reached Colville I was ready for some time off the bike. I found a cheap motel with doors that opened right into the room, wheeled my bike in, and found some reasonably clean clothes to change into after a shower. My first night was a hot meal in a friendly cafe followed by a movie at the Alpine Theatre. I love old main street movie houses, and it was great to be able to visit and support another one. The next day I slept late, then put on my rain gear and very little else and headed to the nearby laundromat. Such a luxury to have every bit of clothing clean and dry after 10 days of travel including heavy cold rain on the coast and scorching dry heat around Okanagon. Once I had clean clothes it was time for a nap before heading out the explore the town.
There was an impresssive amount of sculpture!
After a visit to an ice cream parlor, more walking, and dinner, I found myself on the hill overlooking town in time for the lighting of the candles for a Relay for Life at the local high school. By the time I got back to my room it was getting dark, but still enough time for a serious look at my bike and gear before another sound nights sleep.
The next morning I headed east refreshed and amazed to see the world turn green before my eyes as I headed into a new climate zone. By intentionally 'breaking' the touring mentality for a day I had managed to get a fresh pair of eyes on the world. And, it was amazing how much stronger I was after a full day off the bike.
2nd Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands, 2011
If you've ever run across a children's book called "Paddle to the Sea", you can relate to the theme of this ride which was "Pedal to the (North) Sea". After cycling south from Amsterdam to Cologne, I'd looped back up to meet my wife in Amersfoort before heading north to Friesland. The last 2 days heading north were into intense headwinds, so it was a real joy to board our ferry to Schiermonnikoog. Most of this island is national park, and cars are very limited. Even for a country with such a cycling tradition, this was a cyclists dream. Being June, the beach crowds had not yet arrived and we enjoyed having a sleepy village and open spaces stretching to the sea largely to ourselves.
It was during this rest day that my wife christened layover days as a 'vacation from our vacation', which for me sums up the notion of a day to hit the reset button in as many ways as possible.
And next? Wernigerode, Germany 2013 ?
As I'm planning next summer's ride from Amsterdam to Berlin, I'm already looking forward to a layover in the Harz Mountains in the former East Germany. This will probably be more than one day, because there's a steam train up Der Brocken, famous for Walpurgisnacht and a role in Goethe's Faust. And, who knows what else I may discover while wandering about...
I'd love to hear other forum members share their stories of rest days that were about more than 'just' rest.
Happy riding (and resting)!