The Greater San Fransisco Area

Continuing my quest to travel the world.

It has been my quest to cycle around the world for a very long time, although I have ticked off 16 countries to date, I still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of cycling the world. I cannot wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, age is catching up with me, so it is now or never.

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia
After our trip to Vietnam in 2012.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Rockies here we come.

We found out two things today. First the road to Banff is open, the road from Banff to Calgary will be open by the weekend. It is Friday tomorrow so by the time we get there it will be open. Yeah

Secondly the place we were aiming for is a ghost town and there is nothing there - no food, no camping, not even a motel, so we have to ride 150kms to Golden. Normally 150kms is achievable on a flat day, but throw in a 1525 metre pass and it is quite an ask. It normally takes about 4 and 1/2 hours to climb a big pass so that is half the day gone just doing that. We will have to get up very early to achieve this.

I really hope the sun shines tomorrow, as the scenery is supposed to be spectacular. It is amazing British Columbia hasn't washed away into the sea with all the rain they get here. Oh well I have washed everything including my shoes, and mended torn clothing and Niel has fixed his Primus cooker - it has been a day of domestic chores.
Niel fixing one of my punctures. He has his uses.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Beautiful but wet British Columbia.

I think this is day 5 on the road – I’m starting to loose count.

We have climbed some huge hills, Anarchist Mountain being my least favourite. It went on and on. We are now at a place called Christina Lake and waiting till tomorrow morning to climb Bonanza Pass. It is the highest continuous climb in North America. That means it never lets up. I’d rather do that fresh in the morning than last thing in the afternoon.
Lake Christina

The bad weather we had climbing Allison Pass and the following day has finally dissipated, but caused flooding and mud slides in Calgary and through the Banff highway. When we tell people who ask, that we are going that way, they either say in a panicky voice that” we will never get through”. We tell them it will be all cleared up by the time we get there. Or they say” oh you will be alright in 3 weeks by the time you get there”. 3 weeks!! I could walk there in that time. People have no idea how long a touring bike takes to get places. It isn’t that had to work out, but people seem to have no comprehension.

So let’s clear it up now; a loaded touring bike can do an average of 100kms a day. If Calgary is 500kms away, it will take 5 days to get there.


Later: We climbed Bonanza Pass and it was the same as Anarchist Mountain, although I didn’t find it so bad as I was psyched up for it. 4 and a half hours up and 40 minutes to descend 35kms – what a blast – that is what cycle touring is made for. I dragged my tired body another 50kms to Winlaw. It is in a lovely valley full of self sufficiency types and alternative lifestylers. I felt at home here, being a self sufficiency fan.
Arrow Lake.
Catching the free ferry across to the other side.
Still Later: Yeah finally wifi. It's been an amazing couple of days. We saw a Grizzly Bear cub only 2 to 3 metres from us on the side of the road. It was under a bush then Niel and it saw each other and it ran up a rocky bank when I saw it too. God it was gorgeous. It then turned and stared at us. Apparently the cafe worker in New Denver - the next village said there is a mother Grizzly and 3 cubs in that spot, thank god we saw the cub and not the protective mother or we may not be here to write about it. Then today we were on a remote stretch of road when a fully grown Black Bear crossed the road on front of us and didn't see us. It has been a very scenic view days, and we are now in Revelstoke. We will have  day off here and check out the road over the Rogers and Kicking horse Passes that are apparently washed away, and new bridges have had to be built. 
In the 7 days we have cycled here from Vancouver - only one of those days has it not rained. The rivers are full with constant rain and snow melt.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Very cold.

I’m glad I trained for this adventure, the first couple of days have been very demanding, but I haven’t been fazed by anything so far.

floating logs.
 Day 1 out of Vancouver was a long day of 143kms. We followed the Fraser River – sometimes it was wide enough to look like a lake. They float logs down the river for the logging industry, and it was cool to see them being pulled by a barge.  Then we saw the longest train we have ever seen – it was an amazing 7kms long (so the train driver told us when he stopped for a coffee in a cafĂ© beside the train engine). We stopped for the night in Hope. And we woke to rain.

About to start up Allison Pass in the rain.
Day 2 was climbing the notoriously demanding Allison Pass. 60kms of uphill. It was very steep for a lot of it, and cold enough to see your breath. Only 7 degrees and non - stop rain. It is supposed to be an area for Black Bear wandering onto the road. Apparently it is a natural corridor for their feeding. However I think it was too wet for them to wander on the road, so we didn’t see any; we did see several Deer though. Crossing the top of the pass, I felt hypothermic, and insisted on a motel in Manning Park to warm up and dry out.

Tomorrow we head to Keremeos which is a fruit growing area so hopefully we can ride out of this cold, wet weather into the warmth again.
Cold and wet and non stop hills.

Later: The ride down the pass was NOT down. It climbed up to the height of the pass three times before it finally went down. It was also wetter and colder than the day before – only 5 degrees today. The locals at Princeton say’s this weather is not normal. Need - less to say we froze. Luckily Niel remembered that he had packed shoe covers and woolly gloves. He had the gloves and he gave me the shoe covers, that made and immense difference and we were able to carry on. As we neared Keremeos, we could see just a tiny hint of blue, yeah what a relief, no need for an expensive motel, and we are back in our trusty tent.

The scenery has been superb it is a shame we didn’t take more photos, but our hands couldn’t get the camera out of the bag – our fingers weren’t working.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


It is blessedly warm, and Vancouver gives me a good first impression. Lots of parks and green spaces, lots of cycle ways, beautiful scenery in every direction and cyclists everywhere.
Vancouver looking out to the bay.
Looking back to Vancouver.

Toyem poles.

It was a hard ride from the airport to the campground and we got lost a few times. The trip was supposed to be 25kms but ended up taking us 38kms. But we got here just before dark. There is a sign on every doorway saying that a Bear was in the park last week and to take extreme care. God blimey!!!


We did a cycle ride of the city on our day off before cycling. There is a great ‘seawall’ walk / cycle way around the peninsula. It was very beautiful, and a credit to the city council for building it. I found a decent bike shop to replace my spare bike shorts – I bought my worn out ones by mistake, really they were too obscene to be seen in riding across Canada. I also found some Anti chaff chamois cream – I will not tour without this brilliant stuff. Niel found a shop to get his primus fuel. And we made a start on ridding ourselves of the winter flab and white pasty skin.


Good bye the Pacific we are off inland for the next 9 to 10 weeks.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Ready to go.

All packed and ready to go.
Indoor plants delivered next door for watering while I'm away.
Kitten has had it's final vaccination.
Garden trimmed, mowed, weeds sprayed, raked and swept.
House clean.
All bills paid up till we return.
Wifi about to be cancelled.
Chicken feeding being taken care of by kind neighbor.
Vehicles registration put on hold.
Lift arranged to the airport.
Our hair has been cut.

I think we have done everything. 2 more days and we will be back to summer and itching to start cycling. The next time you hear from me, I should be happy to finally be started on our Canadian adventure.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Life is a game.

Life throws curve balls at you sometimes. I thought the last 2 weeks were stressful. This week has taken the stress levels off the charts, and I’ve ended up with a stress migraine.

'Ken' bonding with Niel
We managed to get the new kitten – now renamed Ken ( or Kenny), to the Vet to get De flea-ed,  dewormed, and vaccinated. It wasn’t easy, he still is terrified of humans. Someone must have been very abusive to him for him to be so scared.  Anyway he had hidden behind the photo albums on the bookcase and was hissing at us. Actually Niel has made great progress with him. He hates me and runs under the sofa if I so much as look at him, but Niel has got him, cuddling and licking him, which is great to see. He’s been added to the cattery booking sharing a unit with ‘Henry ‘ our other kitten ( almost cat) as they are inseparable and it means we only have to pay for his food then.

This is our worst nightmare at the moment. We have to be vigilant to keep the cat door locked at all times, and we have to let the other two cats in and out constantly watching that Ken doesn't run out when we do so.

We thought surely that was the end of all the hassles and expenses. After new glasses, needing to see a lawyer, and putting in a very expensive gas fired heater in our rental flat to keep the tenants happy over winter. But no, that is too simple. The tenants then turn around and say they are moving out half way through our trip, when we can do nothing about it. We were depending on that rent after spending our savings on a heater for them. I was thinking to myself that at least we have stayed well and haven’t needed to see a doctor or dentist , and then I break my tooth off!!!!!!!

So what do you do? Cancel the trip? Complain bitterly in the hopes that will help somehow? Try to find a tenant to sign up in the next week (impossible)? Or just fore go the lost income and inconvenience, trust that they pay all their bills, and deal with it when we get home. You know I think we have spent more on the tenants in the last 12 months than we have made in rent.

Niel crossing the Motueka swing bridge. This is a very scary bridge that is twisted so that the wooden boards aren't flat, but at an angle. The bridge also moves sideways and up and down, and the fast flowing river underneath gives you Vertigo and makes you feel quite sick, I don't know how Niel manages to ride across it - I can't.
We have had our last long training ride. It has been difficult to achieve in the winter temperatures and lack of daylight. Our training is done. There is no turning back now. The dining room table is covered in lists of jobs to do and things not to forget. As for the money? Well we still have a little left over, due to our skill at budgeting and living within our means. Nothing in life comes easily. Nothing is handed to you on a plate.

Life is a game, and it is how you play that game that determines what sort of life you have. Even if it gives you migraine headaches sometimes.