This was our 16th NWTR since our first year of riding tandem in 1999. The NorthWest Tandem Rally is an all volunteer effort that moves around the northwest and is designed to be family friendly and very social. We led our club’s effort to put on the NWTR in 2004. Sheila helped the group create a leadership board and the NWTR website. The last couple of rallies were cancelled due to Covid and the one before that was when our tandem blew off the car. Since then we no longer own a car…NOT related to that accident!
Choosing to be car-free has both gifts and challenges. In this case there was no easy way to get our electric assist tandem, Tess, to Eugene. Amtrak won’t take tandems. We asked our tandem buddies Steve and Denise if they were going hoping they’d take our bike too and we’d take the train down. Alas they were to be in Italy during this year’s event. But they very generously offered us to take one of their cars to the rally. They came over and after a meal together and some training, Spencer practiced driving their older Tesla and learned how to use the Supercharger. Fortunately they have lifetime unlimited free charging on their Model S.
On Friday July 1 we set off at 8:15AM, loaded with 4 panniers and cycled the 16 miles to their home in Woodinville. This was great practice for both packing and riding with the extra weight in preparation for upcoming longer tours this season. We rode mostly on the Cross Kirkland Corridor where we discovered this very cute public art. We arrived at our destination about 9:15 and hoped we’d load the tandem and be driving quickly. Sadly, that was not to be. Long story, short, we spent nearly 3 hours on tech support with Tesla and ended up getting permission from Steve & Denise, in Italy, to take their brand new Model Y Tesla with about 500 miles on it. Thankfully Eric, their housemate, was very helpful in attaching the rear-mounted Draftmaster rack for our tandem. It took awhile for Spencer to be comfortable driving since some controls were slightly different than the Model S he’d trained on. We arrived at brother Ray & Catherine’s in Springfield for the night at 9:45PM and we were tired puppies. Clearly we did not beat the holiday traffic we’d hoped to avoid.
The rally started with an ETC Club photo (shown above). We rode 67 miles the first day and spent a lot of time visiting at the rest stops. We re-charged the car and bought groceries so Spencer could prepare a stir fry for us all. We had a lovely visit and family stories and Ray fixed us pancakes for breakfast the next morning. We met a new couple from the club, Kary & David, who rode roughly our pace so we arranged to ride with them on Sunday. We did 44 miles together and had a lot of fun. We hope to ride with them in the future. We scored some unused BBQ tickets and enjoyed some more visiting. Dessert provided was our favorite Coconut Bliss ice cream made in Eugene. Note the auspicious Dragonfly that perched on Spencer’s shoulder for a good 15+ minutes.
To shorten our drive back to Seattle we made a stopover at Spencer’s friends Rick & Carol in Amity. Carol went above and beyond in preparing TWO vegan main dishes as well as ample homemade desserts and fresh fruit. YUMMY.
In total we made 5 recharging stops for 500 miles and since the Model Y didn’t come with unlimited charging we did pay a nominal $110 for the entire charging fees. What a deal and no environmental impact! Thank you Steve, Denise and Eric.