The End…

Current Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

This ‘not a blog’ has no profundity, it’s simply been a journal of some of the people I’ve met and places I’ve seen over the last several years.  It won’t become a book, it’s time I lock the doors but I’ll leave on the lights in case people should stumble upon the words.  If anyone has questions about cycle touring, wwoofing, travelling on a shoestring drop me a line.  As karma goes I’m far in debt, were there a bank of karma I would be deep on the debits side of the ledger and light on the credits.  Fortunately I don’t think one can go bankrupt on karma, I look forward to paying off that debt.  It goes without saying thank you to everyone thats been a refuge for me, given me food, water, conversation or a smile; it wouldn’t have been the adventure it was without you.

I remember sitting on the same beach 2 years ago, each time a day before the end of the pacific coast.  The big difference probably being one was the beginning and now it’s the end.  It’s a little strange but wonderous to be able to say I’ve travelled around the world, it shrinks the perspective of the world.  Theres lots left out there to explore, a popular question so far has been where to next.  I wish I knew the answer to that question along with the answer to lots of other questions.

Having passed Leggett hill under my own power this time felt good, as everyone who has done it will tell you it’s a lot easier than it’s built up to be.  Leggett is the start of Hwy 1 which is what I associate with the beginning of ‘Sunny California’ it’s where the route starts hugging the coast and it is officially southern California.  To my disappointment I descended the hill into a thick fog that stuck with me for the next few days, there went my sunny.  After I passed Leggett I had to turn up the tempo in order to make it to Los Angeles in time for a Summercamp project.  Running centuries from Leggett on down to LA meant that I was doing in one day that took me three days on the previous tour.  The byproduct of doing it this quickly is that none of the regular tourers will manage to keep up that kind of pace.  Were I to give one piece of advice to anyone doing the Pacific Coast it would be to take your time and enjoy the ride.  I had to break one of my cardinal rules of not riding at night a couple of times in order to get to particular spots, not fun again. 

Strangest roadkill I’ve seen on the raod?  A lobster in Maine, I literally had to do a double take in order to identify what it was I almost ran over.  I just imagine that the lobster thought he was making his grand escape, only to flop onto the highway where he cooked on the blacktop. 

A few pictures added.

Sunset against a bridge

Another Ocean

Current Location: Seattle, Washington

I have to give Alastair a lot of credit, I’ve now climbed the hills that lie between Canada and Seattle and they are a rough reminder of what Washington offers.  I say this even after climbing all the mountains across America; Washington hills for whatever reason have me lower and lower on the cogs at a time when I didn’t think I really needed them any more.  Had I started in Vancouver last time who knows how it would have went for me last time.

I’m happy to be back in Seattle, it’s probably one of the big cities I can be in and not feel overwhelmed.  Though I do have the feeling I’d be pretty happy anywhere with a roof over my head, but it’s always nice to be sharing time and food with friends again.  We managed to hit all of my favorite spots in town and get introduced to a few others now that Matt and Angie have had time to scout the area out properly.

I only have a few states left in this whole ride and it’s crashing to an end.  I added a few pictures, I know I’ve seriously been slacking in the photo department but when I’m riding 10 hours a day it leaves little time to shoot around.

Ruthies View of the Great Get-Together

Moses Founded Cleveland

Current Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Adding Pennsylvania to my list of states I’ve rolled through on this trip is something of a sham. I did manage to camp over night in the state so it counts but I think the total mileage in the state came out to just a shade over 45 miles.

Speaking of mileage, I’ve now managed to throw in 3 days of 130 miles or more. The last two days before making it to my grandmothers old farm I churned out two consecutive days of very long distance riding. This was done mostly in the hope of getting an extra day off or at least get to some good food earlier. I don’t especially like going those distances, each time I’ve done it by the end of the day it feels like all will to peddle is gone and somehow my feet keep going round in circles.

Ohio turns out to be really quite flat which kinda helped with the long distances and peddling my way through Cleveland didn’t turn out to be as hard as I had imagined. And as I was rolling through there I realized as I was going by Browns stadium that I think I had been there with some fellow UH band members when we were at either the big dance or another NCAA tournament, I can’t honestly say I remember which.

I don’t regret pushing hard the last two days before getting to Manchester (I arrived a week ago today.) After being greeted by my aunt my first question was if there was beer in the fridge. I’m glad my family knows me well and is willing to pull out the stops when I get here. My cousin had the fridge well stocked with Bells for my arrival and we got straight to bbq’ing and drinking a few beers with cousins, aunts and uncles. A great way to end the day and start a break in Michigan.

After a week off the cycle (minus a ride with my cousin through the UofM and some byways of Michigan) it’s time I get back on the cycle. The family managed to squeeze in a great bbq at the old farm with lots of people, food, and beer. I got to mow some lawns while I was here and spend a lot of time visiting people.

I’ve added a few pictures I’ve taken along the road.

7 Days of Cycling

I am somewhat negligent for not thanking Alastair and Sarah for hosting me in London, a feat truly appreciated.  Sharing a flat, which are really small mind you, with a cyclist and all his gear means basically giving up a whole room of their life.  They also gave me a taste of a true London life with a Jerked Chicken dinner and another night spent at a quiz night at an English pub.  ‘Twas lots of fun I hope to cycle properly through the English countryside someday.

Leaving London on a cloudless day was the omen I needed, Alastair escorted me to the rail station (he convinced me that cycling out of town was a bad idea and it isn’t too expensive to get out of town, nor hard to do on a cycle.)  I commented that it would be nice if he could ride as well and he agreed that it would be a nice but it wasn’t meant to be.

I left last Sunday from Paris to Rouen with little more target than to be back in Paris 7 days later when Gina was free to play host.  It’s a relatively loose idea I came to enjoy, each day I set off with little more direction than to cycle, leaving the path ahead open to the moment.  I ended up following the river Siene to where it let out to the ocean and decided to follow the coast down instead of crossing any one of the 3 bridges I came too.  They all looked fairly daunting and wasn’t sure it was advisable to try and cross them.

I typically got on the bike by 7 and 8 in the morning and rode until dusk where I would find a bunch of trees and jump into the forest to camp the night.  Setting up the tent first and enjoying some bread and cheese typically with a bottle of cidre that I bought at the farmhouse door.

I met my first tourers, they were from Canada and were headed in the opposite direction as me and on recumbent trikes.  We had a nice chat about how pleasant it is to cycle in France as the drivers give all kinds of room to cyclists, even those with souped up cars wait until there is room to pass by to go around us.  They did the Netherlands last year and gave me lots of places to try and visit on my trip up there.  Thanks to Lesley Thomas and Thomas Quinn for advice and the chat.

Continuing on the coast I knew that the Normandy invasion happened somewhere in Normandy but wasn’t quite sure were.  When I looked one map further than where I was it was clearly marked where Omaha beach was so I decided since I was that close it would be worthwhile to visit the museum there.  It ended up being a really amazing place, the museum is really well done and I got a one on one tour with a guide since the weather wasn’t the greatest.  I found out there are 5 guys from Hawaii buried there (note: Hawai’i was yet to be a state at that time.)  One father, son pair and a bunch of brothers.  The film “Saving Private Ryan” is based off some truth, 2 brothers were lost within a day of each other on the invasion and a third brother was thought lost somewhere in the Pacific so the fourth brother was repatriated.  I ended up spending 3 hours there and could have easily spent a few more but it was closing time and I had to find somewhere to camp for the night.  I spent the morning before that in Bayuex looking at a really old tapestry and ended up visiting the graveyard of the British soldiers lost in the invasion, the epitaphs on the gravestones there are soul rending.

Rolling along Normandy I found that it’s a popular area for cidre and that most are really keen to sell a bottle for a euro or two so most nights I couldn’t help but pick up a bottle for dinner.   That is  when I remember Gregg telling me about his trip through France samping ciders and taking pruning that he could add to his trees back in New Zealand.

I found the Normandy area to be a lot more interesting than the route from Calais to Paris.  The houses were a lot more old fashioned and very well maintained, even going so far as to have roofs re-thatched.  Most of the towns by my guess are summer resort towns so at the moment they are fairly well deserted with only a baker, butcher and a bar to keep the town going.  Most people stare at me as I cycle by but I have been approached a few times as I’m enjoying some crossionts to inquire what I’m up to.

A day or so before getting back into Paris I finally found my rhythm coming back to my on the cycle, much like the Pacific coast it came to me after a week of riding.

Pictures from London and France added.

Catching Up

Just added the last set of pictures from Cambodia and some from Hong Kong into the old 2008 folder.

On my first trip into S21 (the concentration camp in Phnom Penh) I refrained from taking pictures to try and fully appreciate what happened there.  On my second time through I thought it would be okay to take a few pictures to try and illustrate some of what happened.  I’ve posted 6 photos from the concentration camp, but this really does the place no justice.  It’s full of photos and stories of people that went through a very tragic time in the history of Cambodia.  It’s a bit altruistic to think that these photos will change anything but for history’s sake I post them anyway.

Hong Kong pictures are the typical food and people types of shots.  I tried to give an idea of what Mong Kok is like, it’s the reason I enjoy the area so much.  You are absolutely enveloped by people the moment you step onto the sidewalk.  I can walk down the side walk and people don’t even give me a second glance, a nice change from Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam.