I finished this Summer's bicycle trip from San Francisco to Seattle, around Alaska and back through Canada to Seattle late September. My initial plan was going to Australia early/mid October and bike along the coast from Sydney to Darwin including a detour to Tasmania. However, biking down through Canada I met an Aussie recommending a slightly different timing and itinerary. Weatherwise it would be better to start early November - this turned out to be perfect as the skipper I sailed with last time in Seattle invited me on a week's sailing trip to San Juan Islands and one of the trip participants set me up with some friends to stay with a week in Hawaii on my way to Australia. Regarding the itinerary the Aussie recommended heading inland from Adelaide to Darwin and then west along the coast to Perth - this should imply tailwind all the way and especially prevent having to battle fierce headwinds on the west coast. Since there is no need to decide on this matter now I'll just wait and see what happens.
Since my last newsletter mid July I left Fairbanks, Alaska, and rode east into Canada and then south on highway 37 (The Cassiar) to Smithers where I visited my friend Dan - constant rolling hills but never really big mountains like last year. Except for the always fierce headwind the weather was fine most of the way until The Cassiar, from where it was mostly overcast/rainy - a pity as it decimated the allegedly beautiful views. This stretch is quite desolate so I was happy to have company by Kiwi Andy most of the way. From Smithers I had a great ride to Squamish with nice weather and beautiful nature - I stayed with Sophie (that I had met biking up from San Francisco) and did some great hikes. A short ride to Vancouver where I spent a wonderful weekend biking around town and then 3 fairly miserable days biking the last stretch back to Seattle - in total 4,000k (2,500 miles). With the biking in Hawaii this Summer ended up at 8,000k (5,000 miles) and including last year the total trip is up to 21,000k (13,250 miles). From Smithers I was happy to be back in civilization providing an opportunity to meet and stay with many amazing people providing kindness, generosity and interest – thank you very much to you all; particularly those of you who let me stay overnight. Alaska and especially Canada offered many bad road stretches as well as a number of bad drivers – many times passing close by even when there was no oncoming traffic and occasionally honking/yelling at me for being in their way. The bad roads entailed a lot bike challenges with broken spokes and countless flat tires compared to last year's two flat tires. The Cassier is notorious for lots of wildlife especially black bears, so even though I tried avoiding expectations it was hard not to be a little disappointed only seeing 3 in 1,160k (725 miles). However, the universe always surprises so on the next much shorter and more developed stretch I encountered 7 bears some as close as 5 meters (15 feet) – just beautiful.
All-in-all it's been a good Summer meeting lots of wonderful people taking me out fishing, hiking, sailing, kayaking, etc., beautiful nature and diverse but not abundant wildlife (with several close encounters). However, because I couldn't leave the bike long it was less "wild" than I had hoped for, so I would like to visit another time hiking much further into the backcountry.
You can read much more and enjoy countless pictures/videos on my website:
Navigate through my travel description “North America 2014” at the top of the dark blue menu bar on the left. Since my last newsletter in July I've added 6 sections (from Fairbanks to Hawaii). You're of course most welcome to write in my guestbook and/or send me a personal message as well as referring people you think might be interested to my website - see options at the bottom of this mail.
I wish you and your family all the best - may you be as happy and fortunate in life as I am.
Many greetings from Michael