June 23, 2017 - Willie posts to his Sights and Sounds blog every other Friday.
Bike touring makes everything taste better. After an entire day in the saddle, even packaged soup and noodles can taste like it was prepared by a Michelin star chef. I can remember sitting outside a mini-mart in 105-degree heat with a half gallon of the cheapest ice cream in the store, and polishing off the entire container with a plastic spoon. Due to the heat, I drank the last eight ounces. At that moment, it was the best ice cream I’d ever eaten. Yet I knew for a fact, it was a block of horrid, chemically enhanced, frozen dreck.
The bike touring taste bud enhancement factor can rocket inedible food to cuisine. That’s definitely a perk, but the magic is multiplied a hundred fold when you stumble upon a truly great diner or cafe.
That happened to us in the Yukon with its long distances between food stops and nary a Dairy Queen in sight. We’d heard of a cafe outside of Whitehorse and followed directions down a lonely road. Really? A cafe out here? We spotted the sign for the Bean North Coffee Roasting Cafe.
We entered the door and the smell of fresh roasted beans made me swoon. The place was bright with beautiful woodwork. Art hung on the walls and outside was a garden oasis, filled with perennials. The pastries were buttery and perfectly flaky. And that cup of coffee!! It made me forget the mosquito bites collected along the way. My sore muscles relaxed and my entire body sighed. I could have sat outside in that garden with a mug of coffee for the rest of my life.
Now I’m sure I’ve had better coffee in Seattle or Montreal or New York. But I expect it in those places. But thanks to the bike touring taste bud enhancement factor, I’ll remember that cup of coffee, and that croissant, for the rest of my life.
And maybe that coffee ... was just that damn good.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday.
Willie Weir is a contributor for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can also find him at WillieWeir.com, Facebook, and Instagram.