The Journey


Giuseppe, Tabio and I rode into Aberdeen and found what we thought was a hotel/motel but turned out to be Leah’s Place, Leah’s home where she rents out rooms. We ended up staying a few days to rest, work on bikes, cook, drink wine and sit out a rainy day while waiting for my panniers and racks to come in. Giuseppe and I cooked delicious dinners for two nights and Leah cooked a wonderful dinner for all of us on the last night. She was a wonderful hostess!

Daniel from Switzerland arrived while we were there and rode with us to Westport, Washington where they had a seafood festival. It wasn’t a very big event, but the sun was shining so it was a wonderful day.

After pulling my trailer for over 700 miles, I’ve come to realize it feels like an anchor when climbing hills. Everyone I’ve ridden with pulls away from me as soon as we hit a grade. I’m sure the increased challenge has made my legs stronger, but even after sending back another 23 lbs of things I haven’t used in the past 6 weeks, the trailer still felt heavy.

The panniers and racks came in, I mounted the racks and moved gear from the trailer to the bags. I felt a difference immediately. Pushing weight seems to be easier than pulling weight. I’m still pulling the trailer, but there isn’t much in it at this point. Tomorrow will be the big day. My front panniers will arrive in Astoria, Oregon and I’ll be sending my trailer back to Southern California. Riding my bike with the panniers and without the trailer attached feels amazingly lighter. I really should have done this originally, but we all must live and learn!

Tabio and Daniel wanted to cover more mileage, so they left early yesterday morning. Giuseppe and I came upon another rider who is heading to Argentina – Johannes from Germany. Johannes recently graduated from college and decided that he should see some of the world by bike before getting sucked into an engineering job that will consume his time for years to come.

Johannes has to be in Portland in a few days because the US immigration will only allow him 90 days in the US, even though he spent 2 months in Canada after leaving Alaska. He will be taking a train to San Diego to get into Mexico before his 90 days expire. He wanted to ride all the way through, but I told him that he will probably be safer on his bike avoiding California’s texting drivers.

Giuseppe will be flying to Denver in a couple of weeks to take the test necessary to become a US citizen. As he has been studying the 200 questions on the test, I informed him that when he passes the test, he will probably know more about the US than most Americans. Sad, but true.

As things keep changing, I may have to fly or take a train back to Southern California as I have a client that wants to sell her home and buy something smaller. Considering I’ve previously been down the Washington, Oregon and California coasts, I don’t feel like I’ll be missing anything. I’ll know more in the next few days. If that is how things evolve, I’ll do what I have to do in SoCal and then head down into Baja as soon as possible. Such is life.

Another important thing I’ve learned, is that I need a little expresso maker to hang out with all these Europeans. I feel so inadequate! lol. Thank you for following me on this journey. Every day is a new Adventure!

Google Lied to Me

Victoria turned out to be a wonderful town to explore and the smoke was lighter than other parts of the island. After being on my bike for the past month, I found that the rental car was a burden. I couldn’t stop and take a picture without having to find parking. I couldn’t see everything around me. I returned that car immediately, put my bike back together and rode around happily.

At the Victoria hostel, I met Tapio who is from Finland. He is bike touring as well so we discussed riding together from Port Angeles. Tapio had already made reservations through Warmshowers, so I stayed at the Port Angeles hostel which was very comfortable.

We agreed to leave at 9:00am the next morning, but I was running late due to enjoying pancakes care of Kim and Maizy at the hostel. Tapio started off without me as I ended up arriving at the Warmshowers home about 15 minutes late but that was fine as I figured I’d slow him down.
Washington has a Discovery Trail which runs down the coast. Google indicate I should follow this trail to Lake Crescent where we planned on camping. The trail started off paved running along the coast and progressed to recommended roads going toward the lake. As I approached the lake from the northern side, Google indicated I should take the now gravel trail. I didn’t think twice about it as the trail was wide and smooth. The trail ran alongside the lake for 7 miles.

About 3 miles into it, the trail started narrowing… and narrowing… and narrowing. Narrowing to the point of me walking my bike to maneuver the trailer between the rocks. I finally reached a point where my trailer was simply not going to fit. I decided to walk forward a little bit to see how bad it was going to get.

Fortunately, Jim, a local rode up on his fat tire bike from the opposite direction. I asked him about the trail and he gave me the overview letting me know that I will have to disconnect the trailer from my bike and maneuver it over the rocks by hand. He also mentioned the drop off area similar to a goat trail that might be challenging. I was up for this challenging quarter mile section considering my option was going back uphill 7 miles to the road that went around the other side of the lake.

I eventually made it through the narrow section of the trail and was rewarded with a wider smoother surface leading all the way to the campground. I looked around for Tapio and finally asked a guy who looked like he was cycling as well. He told me that he had just met Tapio and they were camping together. And so I met Giuseppe from Italy who has been on the road for 2 months already, starting at Prudhoe Bay at the top of Alaska and working his way down. While talking about cyclists we’ve met on the road, I told him about Daniel from Switzerland and then Giuseppe handed his phone to me with a picture being displayed and said “This guy?” showing me a picture of him and Daniel. It’s definitely a small world. Daniel is a few days ride north of us, but he’ll probably catch up within a week or so. Funny how things work out.

Giuseppe, Tapio and I have been riding together for a few days now and it’s been fun… other than the hills and my trailer which feels like an anchor. There is so much to write about, but I guess I’ll have to save that for the book everyone is encouraging me to write. I can see myself doing that down on a quiet beach in southern baja…

Thanks again for following me! Have a Wonderful Day!

Cheech and Chong

When most people think of Cheech and Chong, they think of being “Up In Smoke.” Ironically, this year is the 40th anniversary for that movie. After three days of riding in the smoke I was coughing and a nasal headache was becoming more intense so I decided to pick up a rental car in the next town I could – Campbell River. I had to take my bike apart to fit everything in the car, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

From the campground I was staying at, I had to pedal about 50 miles to get to the car. I must be getting used to the climbs because they no longer pose a threat. They are just part of the journey, the price that must be paid to reach the top, to coast down the other side. Right as I reached the highest point for yesterday morning’s ride, I looked to my right and saw something very strange… a young eagle that wasn’t going anywhere ever again. He was a crispy critter. Apparently he was in the wrong place at the right time and was zapped by a lightening bolt. I’m assuming this because he was stiff as a board in a moving position. What are the odds of finding an eagle that was zapped by Mother Nature? Probably slimmer than me or another cyclist getting zapped!

Other than being able to breathe clean air, the ride south was very disappointing. The smoke grew thicker as I drove. I arrived in Victoria this morning to find it less smoky than any of the towns I drove through. I sure was glad I didn’t try to pedal my way down.

Victoria seems like a nice, scenic, touristy town so I’m going to rest here at the Victoria hostel before hopping on the ferry Friday morning. That ferry will take me across the Canadian/USA international border and leave me in Washington state. I’m counting on the ocean breezes keeping the fire smoke away from Highway 101 and 1. If the smoke persists, I’m considering catching a flight back to Southern California and then doing the Baja leg of the trip after swapping bear spray for snorkeling gear. We’ll see what happens. It’s all part of the adventure!

Thanks again for following me!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sunday was my last day in Port McNeill. It definitely is a neat little town. Last weekend was their OrcaFest, so they had the a vendor area, a kid’s activity area and their annual parade. It’s not the Rose Parade, but it’s something the whole town looks forward to. And when did the Royal Canadian Mounties trade in their horses for quads? That’s just wrong! What would Bullwinkle say about that?

When riding my bike around town, I found an interesting object – the world’s largest burl! I’ve included the fact sheet, but it’s about 8′ across!

On Sunday I took the time to do some preventative maintenance on my bike. I found that by lubing my bearings and running the tires at full pressure, my bike seems to roll easier. Maybe it’s just in my mind, but I’ll believe it!

I also took the time to do a little craft project. I had seen something similar in a gallery, so I had to try it! The coloring was care of some boysenberries I found nearby.

At the end of the day, another cyclist rolled into camp. I introduced myself and invited Jordan to join me in my campsite. Jordan started in Fairbanks and plans on riding to Cabo as well. His schedule is different though, as he plans on spending time with various friends as he goes south. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet up somewhere between here and there.

Yesterday, was when things got bad and ugly. I started riding south from Port McNeill and the air started getting smokey. I continued to ride until I reached a little town named Woss. After breathing all that smoke, I had to recouperate and found a room not far off the highway. This morning I looked outside and it looked foggy. When I opened the door to check, the smell of smoke confirmed that it was smoke, not fog. And so I packed up, put a bandana over my face and rolled south. The bandana worked well, but the thought of getting another sinus infection doesn’t appeal to me, so tomorrow I’ll ride another 45-50 miles and probably catch a shuttle somewhere south where the smoke or the island ends. We’ll see!

Thanks again for following me!

Where do I Start?

I’ve often said that life is a series of decisions. Each decision we make, sets life in motion toward another decision to be made, and so on, and so on. Two days ago, I rolled out of Port Hardy, a little town at the top of Vancouver Island and made the decision to explore Fort Rupert, a nearby smaller town. There is a gallery in that town according to Google.
As I coasted down the hill into town, I realized the little town is populated mainly by Natives Indians. Viewing the cemetery with hand carved wooden crosses and totem poles going back to the 1800’s was a treat within itself, but seeing eagles above made it even more special.

I did find the gallery, but was told that it was closed, that the owner was away right then. The lady who told me is Bev, a full-blooded Kwakiutl First Nation. I proceeded to tell her about my adventure, the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met. That conversation led to talk about her tribe and their history. Sadly, the history was not pleasant. Bev was one of 15 children. She told me there are only 6 of the 15 still alive due to drug and alcohol abuse. She told me about the schools they had to go to where they were told not to speak their native language or behave in any way that exhibited their culture. These children were stripped of their culture and most were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some had unexplained deaths. Yes, these were Christian based schools. How could that have happened? Why are people so savage to each other? I don’t understand.
On a better note, after our discussion, Bev asked if I would like some salmon. She had just preserved some in mason jars. I had never tasted salmon like that! I was honored. On the way to her house she showed me which berries were which of the bountiful vegetation alongside the road. I tasted Thimble berries which look like short raspberries, Salal berries which look like blueberries and huckleberries which made me think of and feel like Huckleberry Finn.

After a walk on the rocky beach, I hopped on my bike and climbed the steep hill out of Fort Rupert to continue my journey to toward Port McNeill. When I arrived at the campground near the marina, the first thing I saw was an old converted school bus. I had to see the inside, so I waved to the couple who were sitting at the dinette in their kitchen area and they invited me in. This is when I met Uwe & Tamara Rothoehler who have thick German accents and live further south on the island, but regularly hop in their converted bus to explore the island.
They offered me a seat and a bowl of fresh cherries as we shared stories of our travels. They have been married 48 years and have three grown sons. They told me about their many projects, such as homes they’ve built with their own hands, vehicles thy have restored and even about the years they lived on a sailboat. So many adventures, and so many more being planned. Having been divorced twice, I so admire their long term love affair. And after all that time of being together, they still seem to like each other! Lol

Yesterday was wonderful as well. I left my trailer and “baggage” at the campsite and rode my bike down to the marina to hop on a ferry to explore nearby islands. The second island I went to is named Alert Bay. After rolling off the ferry, I enjoyed some Bannock (Indian fried bread) covered with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream from Dutchess who is know near and far for her fried bread made at a roadside tent in the marina. Absolutely delicious!

I continued down the road and was greeted by a gentleman with an interesting hat. Being the smartass that I can be, I told him that his hat was pretty cool and asked if it had been a lampshade before. He smiled and told me the story of an old Indian chief who wore a similar hat. His son-in-law wove his specifically for him. And so I met Michael who used to be a CRMP (Canadian Rocky Mounted Police), quit and went back to his home on Alert Bay to help reestablish their tribal justice system where people are required to sit down together in a hut and no one is allowed to leave until their differences are resolved. What a concept! Why can’t the powers that be throughout the world adopt such a simple idea? Would that be too easy?

As we walked along and Michael told me many facts about the island and the natives, I picked up a feather and asked what kind of bird it came from – hoping it was a young eagle feather. Michael corrected me and said it was a pigeon. Oh well, wishful thinking. At that point, Michael asked me if I would like an Eagle feather. He said he has a collection of them. I was honored and excited. We went up to Michael’s house on the hill above the area where the reservation school used to be. As we walked across the now empty field, he stopped to tell me stories similar to Bev’s about the abuse that was inflicted on the Indian children. So very sad.
We arrived at Michael’s home where I met his wife and heard more stories that brought tears to her eyes as she told them. Having to catch the ferry, I scurried out, but not before Michael handed me an Eagle feather and a jar of two day old Sockeye salmon like the one Bev gave me. I was honored by their kindness toward me, a crazy stranger riding a bike to Mexico. Another wonderful occurrence was as I rode away from Michael’s home, I looked up and saw three eagles circling above in the afternoon breeze. What that could mean, I have no idea, but it all felt wonderful.

I later arrived back at camp and was pleased to see Uwe & Tamara, who had planned on leaving, but were still there. We sat down for tea and shared the adventures of our days as well as the salmon Michael had given me. It was absolutely delicious on fresh bread and the last of the Triscuit crackers I had in my food bag. Kid Rock has a song with lyrics that are more than perfect… “It’s times like these we can’t replace. It’s times like these we must embrace. And even though it’s bittersweet and brings us to our knees, it makes us who we are, in times like these.”

Where Eagles Soar

I’ve seen a few eagles while pedaling, but none close enough to grab my Nikon from the trailer and click away. Today, while on the ferry to Vancouver Island I saw a few bald eagles sitting in the treetops, as did every “photographer” on the boat with a DSL camera. We were lined up like “Combat” fishermen in Alaska. If you aren’t familiar with that term, it means shoulder to shoulder fishing. Not literally shoulder to shoulder, but close enough to make fishing difficult for all. This never made sense to me with so many places to fish in Alaska, but it does happen often enough for this term to exist.

As all of the cameramen and women waited, one of the eagles took flght toward us, long enough for most to get a great shot. After seeing the majestic bird with a 6’ wingspan, I knew it was time for me to get a more powerful lense for my Nikon. My 100-300 power lens is nice, but I need some serious magnification for times like these!

When I met the cyclists down in Baja last December (who were my catalyst for this ride) and asked how long they had been riding together, it surprised me to learn that everyone was on a solo journey other than the couple Marty and Ed. They explained to me how it worked, how riding partners would come and go as the miles clicked away.
Since I’ve been on my solo journey, I’ve come to understand the dynamics of bike touring. In order for a group to do this, all would have to have the time, the funds, the health and the determination to do something like this. What are the odds? What are the odds of knowing a group of people who would want to and be able to ride together hundreds, if not thousands of miles on bicycles?
I discussed this topic with Lauren. I met Lauren at the Prince Rupert hostel where she said that she was cycling and taking the ferry to Vancouver Island as well, heading to Vancouver, then flying to New Jersey before flying home to England. Lauren has been pedaling for 2½ months, started in San Francisco, rode to Yosemite, through Oregon, Idaho, Montana and up into Banff and Jasper then west to Prince Rupert. She’s clocked about 3500 miles so far! I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed. Lauren is a few years older than my favorite daughter Trina and is exploring the world as few people do.

Speaking of hostels, I made mention of them in the past, but I have to reiterate. When traveling in the past, I had always done as most people do that I know. I have flown somewhere, rented a car, found a hotel and isolated myself. Interaction was limited to vendors, shopkeepers and occasionally other guests if I was at a resort. The traveling I’m doing these days is not only different in mode of transportation, but also in my lodging. I’ve stayed in a few hostels now, and anticipate who I will meet, where they are from and where they are going. I’m meeting people from all over the world who have stepped out of their comfort zone and have chosen to see new places affordably with all the amenities of home. I have to question myself why I’ve spent $100-200 per night for a room, when the most I’ve spent for a hostel is $23 per night with the opportunity to interact and learn from other travelers. If you’ve never done this, I dare you to try it…you might just like it!


Thank you for following me! I’m off to explore the 300 mile length of Vancouver Island!

Singing Hotel California Off Key

Funny how all of our favorite songs tie us to a memory, a moment in time that we may never let go of. As I pulled out of Terrace, British Columbia yesterday, I used my Ipod for the first time on this adventure. My main concern has been to be able to hear vehicles coming up from behind me. Yes, I have a rearview mirror, but sound is important when the road is winding.
The music, my favorite music, was a welcome relief from too many hours of thinking about how much my legs were burning as the miles rolled by. I planned on two days of riding back to Prince Rupert, but after passing the campground I had camped at on my way East, it crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe I could conquer the 90 miles to Prince Rupert in one day. Then the headwinds came, headwinds that created whitecaps on the Skeena River that flowed alongside the highway. I kept questioning which was more challenging, headwinds or hills that never seem to end. They both required my low gears. They both challenged my endurance. Whether it was all in my head or not, I had the opportunity to reduce weight by consuming the gels, electrolytes and energy bars I have for this trip. It seemed to work because I just kept pushing forward knowing that the road would turn away from the river relieving me of the onshore wind, but… that is when the hills would present themselves.
About a quarter of a mile up the first steep hill, a dragonfly started flying next to me. After a while, it turned around. I questioned whether that was a sign I should acknowledge and go back to the base of the hill where I had noticed a nice place to put up my tent. My thoughts went to “No! I’m going to crest this hill and ride down the other side!” I think it was that stubborn side of me that defies reason on occasion. Ask my ex-wife about that sometime. Lol
Any which way, I climbed that hill and a few more, making my total for the day 75 miles. I thought about doing the last 15 miles to Prince Rupert, but it would have been in the dark, I was hungry and a nice campground appeared. I spent the night at the campground and did the last 15 miles this morning – in the rain. Yeah, that sucked. Fortunately, all of my gear was kept dry in the trailer. Other than the rigs kicking up dirty water on me, my Ipod rocked on and I was able to sing Hotel California with the Eagles… a little off key.


Thank you for following me! Have a Great Day!

Sirens and Smoke

The morning sun rose over the mountains to the east with a reddish hue. Sirens echoed through the valley as fire trucks raced toward the smoke. Prince Rupert is East. Burns Lake, where Daniel from Switzerland was headed is East… and East is where I’ve been told another fire is burning. Some of the musicians here at the music festival came from the East and advised me to check the British Columbia Active Fire website before continuing in that direction. I checked and it seems fires are burning in many places along my planned route. It seems to me that my spontaneous stop here at the music festival, was definitely in my best interest, if not preplanned by a higher power.

Speaking of a higher power, this morning I had the pleasure of sitting across from Herb Desjarlais, a singer/songwriter who is a Cree Indian Evangelical Preacher. We discussed the plight of the Canadian Indians who are much like the American Indians and live in 3rd world country environments. Also like the American Indians, they were stripped of their land, packed away on reservations and now suffer from drug abuse, alcoholism and the highest teenage suicide rate. Very sad indeed. Herb’s music is religious based with every song telling a story that needed to be told. I was honored to receive one of Herb’s signed CD’s.

All in all, the music festival was a great experience. I met so many wonderful, kind, creative people. The most irreplaceable moments, were the two nights of music that rang into the night as the different band members got together after their daytime performances to “jam” in the field where the RV’s were parked. To hear them improvising, laughing, joking, creating music together and then hearing “It was nice to meet you,” as the parted ways, was truly amazing to me. I’ve always appreciated the creative side of people.

And so today, with the fires burning all over British Columbia, I begin 2 days of riding back to Prince Rupart where I will catch a ferry south to Vancouver Island, which is supposed to be a beautiful place. I’m sure it will be, as I keep finding beauty wherever I go…

Thank you for following my journey and commenting on my blogs. I very much appreciate it. Have a Great Day!

The Sound of Music

As luck would have it, I’m going to be in Terrace, BC for 2 or 3 days. While heading out of town with a 1.5 liter bottle of water, a stick of spicy, processed beef jerky and a bottle of Jackson-Triggs British Columbia Chardonnay from a local store, I saw a sign that said Camping and Country Music Festival. With curiosity always being a birth defect of mine, I had to find out what I’d be missing if I kept pedaling forward into the mountains that toy with my legs. As I roamed around the campground looking for answers, I met Rene the fiddler. Rene offered to show me around and as it turned out, he is the VP of the BC Metis Federation, the organization that organized this festival. “Metis” means half Canadian Indian, half European. The Metis have their own language which is called Mitchif, a combination of Cree and French. As I looked around, I saw my opportunity to be the official photographer for this event! And so it is… I’ll save the pedaling for Monday. 🙂

So as I sit here in my mosquito proof tent typing, sipping my slightly chilled chardonnay, listening to country musicians jamming into the night, next to an RV 50 feet away… once again, I feel fortunate to be me, to be where I am, here and now… other than the scent of my sandals. If I can smell them, they must be fresh.

Thank you for following my adventure! I heard that there is a fire near Burns Lake, which is in the direction I plan on going. So who knows…

We all have Baggage

Good Morning Everyone!

The past few days have been my introduction to Canada. The only other time I’ve been in Canada was when my daughter Trina and I walked across the border at Niagra Falls last year on our cross-country adventure ( To me, hitting a tourist trap filled with gift shops and restaurants doesn’t really count.

When the ferry from Ketchikan stopped in Prince Rupert, I peddled off the ferry and rode to the Pioneer Hostel. This hostel has stellar reviews from worldwide travelers and it was obvious why. It was very clean and organized. At the hostel I met other adventurers such as Eric who is kayak touring up the coast from Portland. So far he has paddled about 500 miles and has 300 more to go! His most memorable experience was when a bear walked into his camp on a beach in the middle of nowhere. His first hand experience verified that bear spray does work. He sprayed and the bear took off quickly! Good to know!

Also staying at the hostel were Lisa and Stephanie from Germany who I first met on the train from Portage, then again on the ferry to Juneau where they exited. Small world!

Another hostel guest I met was the quiet 19 year old Ian from the U.S. who wrote a play and was in town to see it performed at a local theater. The dress rehearsal was Tuesday and he invited some of the hostel guests to watch it. Definitely a fun experience!

Prince Rupert is a nice town to explore. One very nice feature is the collection of murals all over town!



Leaving Prince Rupert marked the true beginning of my peddling experience. The scenery is beautiful and the mountain inclines are challenging.



My accommodations are more than comfortable and protect me from the mosquitos that 100% Deet isn’t deterring.

As I pedal forward and my sore legs feel like they can’t push over another hill, I sometimes think about unhitching my trailer and riding forward without my baggage. But the reality is, we all have baggage and the decision is always which baggage is necessary to carry with us and which is best to let go of. Right now, this is the most valuable piece of baggage I’m carrying…

Thank you for following me on this journey. If you aren’t receiving email blogs, please go to the FOLLOW ME link on my website and enter your email address. Have a Great Day!