vendredi 8 juillet 2011

A first post to my travel blog in English

It's been brought to my attention that some of the readers (or would-be readers) of this blog would like it if I occasionally posted something in English.

Since I'm taking a day off riding today, I figured I'd write an summary of what I've done so far.

So, as some of you may know, I'm currently riding my bicycle accross the northwest of the North American continent. I'm riding from Anchorage in Alaska to Calgary in Alberta. My plan will take me through one US state and three Canadian provinces. A link at the top of the page highlights my planned itinerary.

It's been a little over two weeks since I've left Montreal for Anchorage and I've ridden 1660km so far, with 15 days in the saddle.

So far, the first week was spend riding from Anchorage to Fairbanks. During the second day, I climbed a lot on the Glenn Highway, between Chickaloon and Eureka. Most other days, there has been a lot of climbing, but generally, nothing more than 500m of climbing on a single day, although there have a few more days with more than 1000m of climbing. On the first few days, the weather was fine, but once I started riding the Denali Highway, a 134 miles stretch of road that includes 110 of dirt road, the weather turned ugly. Wind picked up and it started to rain. The temperature also went down to as little as 5 degrees Celsius in the morning. That stretch of road wasn't a great deal of fun after all, although the scenery was quite amazing when the sky was clear. I ran into another very nice cyclist, Matt from Anchorage.

I also went through Denali National Park, but since the weather wasn't clear, I did not even attempt to ride to see Mount McKinley (highest summit in North America). Instead, I cheated a little bit and rode the passenger train from Denali Park to Fairbanks. From there, I started riding towards the Canadian border, which I crossed a few days later. That stretch of road was cold and rainy, but I managed to cover a lot of distance during these few days.

Since I entered Canada, the weather has improved a bit, but there's been rain on and off, but mostly headwind. I passed the St.Elias mountains, where Mount Logan is located. Mount Logan is the highest summit in Canada. I also rode along Lake Kluane for over 60km. I've made decent progress and today, July 8, is a day of rest in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon.

I ride anywhere between 50km and 175km each day, averaging 100km. The distance depends on things like wind, hills and the location of services. Sometimes, there can be more than 150km between any kind or service. I try to camp whenever possible, but I do spend many nights in motels, where I can sleep comfortably and shower. But I have also had some great nights of camping, especially when I was able to camp out in the wild, when I just ride off the road and set the tent wherever.

A lot of people are concerned about bears, but they haven't been a problem so far. I take the usual precautions (cook away from camp, don't store food in the camp, hang the food in trees, camp away from streams where salmon may be spawning, etc). I'm actually a lot more scared of drivers than I am of bears. Most drivers are very nice and will move to the left lane to pass me (for my Aussie friends, that would be the equivalent of moving to the right lane to pass me), but others don't even bother moving, even if the road is straight and they can see miles in advance. I've seen rearview mirrors from very close. In other cases, drivers don't even slow down on dirt road and I get pelted with loose gravel. So bears, no problem. Bad drivers, yes, a real problem.

Travelling by myself, I've met a lot of interesting characters along the way. Touring cyclists will always stop and chat for a few minutes. Drivers always ask the same questions at rest stops.
- Aren't you concerned about bears? No, I'm concerned about people driving big RV's. Uncomfortable silence...
- Have you ever done something like this before? Of course not, if I had, I'd be doing something else.
- Are you bringing some patches to repair flat tires? Duh.
- I can't even ride 10km on my bike. How do you do this? You start with 10km and then continue.

So far, it's been an amazing trip. I still have between 2500 and 3000km to go. Next week, I will be entering British Colombia and from there, I will ride through Prince George and eventually travel the Icefield Parkway, between Jasper and Banff.

I've taken a lot of photos, but so far, I've only been able to upload to this blog photos I've taken with my iphone. Once I get access to a real computer with a USB port, I will be able to upload better photos to this blog. I'm trying to save bandwidth, so I won't upload photos to this post again, but feel free to check other posts for great photos. Google translate also does a pretty decent job of translating my posts in French.

Take care my friends. I will try and do another post in English eventually.

5 commentaires:

  1. You're very interesting, even in English! ;-) Have a great day.

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  3. Greetings! I believe that you had an amazing trip! However, I will be happy if you could upload more pictures.

  4. Writing the first post on the blog is the most nervous and terrible event, because you are very worried about the result.

  5. That was really interesting. I would like to see some other overviews in the future. Thank you for keeping us up to date!