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  1. #26
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    Fear not! I am not dead! There simply wasn't anywhere I could update you all from.

    Day 16 Ė A Day Full Of Excesses Ė 109.89 km
    I started my day off refreshed and in good spirits after spending the previous night in a warm cabin. Unfortunately, I soon hit a nice long stretch of gravel road to beat me up again, 25 km long actually. Although not as terrible as I expected, the stretch of road went slow and was very shaky. In fact, my hands are still trembling from the aftermath as I type this! There was one really nice and long section of downhill, but let me tell you, rushing down a gravel road on a bicycle at 50 km/h is quite the adrenaline rush! You know that if you slip or hit a pothole itís going to hurtÖ a lot.

    I made it to the village of Dease Lake where I stopped at a restaurant called Mama Zís. On the menu was something called the ďKing Mountain BurgerĒ, a huge burger containing one pound of beef topped with bacon, cheese, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and who knows what else. What I found quite funny is that there was actually a warning on the menu: ďWarning! Do not order unless you are extremely hungry!Ē So of course you can all guess what I ordered!

    The waiter brought me my burger and said that it should fill me right up. Let me tell you my dear readers, I devoured that burger faster than a bear could devour me! When the waiter asked me if I was full, I told him that I could easily eat another one of those. ďNo way!Ē was his response. So then I asked him, ďWant to bet? If I can eat another burger like that, you have to give me both for free, if I canít, Iíll pay for both!Ē Needless to say, the waiter consulted the owner, both of whom seriously considered my offer. However, seeing that I was a hunger stricken cyclist and that I could probably eat a second burger, they declined my offer. Perhaps itís a good thing, because had I eaten that second burger, and I know I could have, I probably wouldnít have cycled much further!

    I did however find out that there is a place in Vancouver where they have a burger with a whopping two pounds of beef, and if you can finish it itís free. Guess where Iím stopping when Iím in Vancouver? Anyone want to bet me if I can finish it? If I win the bet, you have to make a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation! (Which you should do anyway, even a few dollars makes a difference)

    Before heading out of Dease Lake I had to do some grocery shopping, as there really isnít anything for the next 340 km. I figured I needed about three full days worth of food, which means breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course snacks! Let me tell you, I think I overdid it a bit. I walked out of that grocery store with thirty-two pop tarts, ten packets of instant hot chocolate, three boxes of Kraft dinner, two pouches of instant mashed potatoes, two pouches of instant pasta, two bags of jelly beans, and two loaves of bread. Grand total: $33 CDN. Not too bad at all! I finally realized that I may have exaggerated a bit when I had some serious trouble closing my bag. Needless to say, I now have two bags with food hanging in a tree as opposed to one!

    Coming out of Dease Lake I encountered some colder temperatures as well as quite a lot of wildlife. I would have taken out my jacket to put it on, but since it was under all my food, I decided I would rather freeze a little than have to repack all that! When I reached the place where I am camped for the night, which is simply a clear patch of ground not far from the main road, I saw fifteen deer and seven elk.

    Day 17 Ė Where Do I Begin? Ė 125.92 km
    Today was by far the worst day of the trip and quite possibly one of the worst days I have ever had the displeasure of living through in my entire life. Disaster struck in the morning and continued throughout the day up until this very instant. Todayís day quite simply kicked my butt, hard.

    Yesterday my fuel ran out for my stove. Luckily I was in Dease Lake where I could re-supply. My little stove burns denatured alcohol, which can be found at any paint or hardware store, as well as Wal-Mart. There happened to be a hardware store in Dease Lake, which as my luck would have it was closed. My stove is also advertised to burn other alcohol based fuels such as rubbing alcohol or 150 proof alcohol. Since 150 proof alcohol is kind of expensive and would be a waste to burn, I opted for the rubbing alcohol.

    I found out the hard way that my trusty little stove does not burn rubbing alcohol as advertised. Luckily I was able to fall back on my Boy Scout skills and constructed a fire with which I managed to boil my water with ease. I used the rubbing alcohol as a fire starter, at least one thing itís good for. I made myself a delicious meal of Kraft dinner and of course bread.

    Shortly after breakfast is when the fun started. I once again hit a stretch of gravel road, one of which I hope I never have to experience again. This gravel road was not hard packed as was yesterdays, but was rather quite loose. The first section consisted of a 5 km downhill. Since the gravel was loose I nearly lost control countless times. The second section was a nice 7 km uphill grade of 8%. An uphill grade of 8% would be bad enough, but combined with loose gravel, it makes it terrible. To make matters worse, at about 11 AM it began to rain. This meant I had to put on all my rain gear, in which it is very hot when the sun is out at the same time.

    But wait, it gets better! It began to rain harder. Then it rained some more, and then it kept raining. By this point I am absolutely drenched, completely filthy, and kind of cold. Keep in mind that my stove doesnít have fuel, so the only way Iím going to make myself a warm dinner is by making a fire. Well, as you can guess, that didnít happen. Todayís dinner involved pop tarts, granola bars, bread, and jelly beans for desert. I guess Iíll just have to make do with what I have.

    On a funny note, I participated in my first moose chase today. I saw a moose on the road, so I yelled some stuff at it in order to get it to move out of the way. The guy just started running along the road. I cycled after him for about three kilometers before he finally got off. It was actually quite a challenge to keep up with him since he was doing a good 25 km/h!

    Right afterwards I hit another stretch of gravel road, once again loose packed and only a downhill of about 2 km this time. However, what made it really interesting is that at this point it was pouring rain. Let me just say that going down that hill was quite scary. I have never been gladder to have disc brakes, as those things can stop me in rain, slush, snow, or mud.

    If there is one thing I hate more than anything in this world itís putting a tent up in the rain. Well, guess what I had to do today? To make it even more fun for me, I had to battle wind at the same time. Could it be worse? Oh yes! Since there is about two feet of snow everywhere here itís quite a challenge to find a bare patch of ground. Therefore the best I could do was a combination of grass and mud, just great!

    It is now 11 PM. It has not stopped raining for even five minutes over the last 12 hours. I am tired, cold, and miserable. I donít think I have never gotten so drenched in my entire life. I would have gladly stopped at a motel or even at someoneís house to ask to sleep in their garage. Unfortunately for me, I have not seen a single building for the last 70 km. I think that Iím going to sleep in tomorrowÖ

    Day 18 Ė A Beautiful Day - 160.56 km
    In the morning I suffered several hardships which led me to believe that today would be another bad day. It stopped raining at about 7 AM, but I promised myself the night before Iíd sleep in and thus woke up around 9:30 AM. Dark clouds loomed overhead, and it was quite cold. The night before I had hung my food bag up in a tree so well that not only could a bear not get it down, but neither can I. Needless to say, I ended up climbing 20 feet into a tree in order to recover my precious food.

    It also turns out that Iíve had some electronic failures. My phone gives me a message saying ďGPS failure. Contact service provider.Ē, perhaps thatís why I canít seem to get any service these past few days. My iPod is also giving me issues, the screen shifts off center and the thing just freezes. The only way I can get it to work again is to let the battery completely drain, then charge it up again. This is the second time itís happened and itís quite annoying. I didnít drop either of these or get them wet or anything, they just decided they hated their miserable existence and thus stopped to function. No worries, Iíll simply have to locate the nearest Best Buy to exchange my iPod and Telus to exchange my phone.

    The rest of the day turned out to be absolutely awesome. The sun soon came out, the winds died down, and the road was in great shape. There were some steeper hills, but they didnít prove to be too much of a problem. The thing I find so strange about it up here is that there can be absolutely nothing for 100 km or even more at a time. I mean not a single house, gas station, building, anything. Just road, road, and road.

    While stopped on the side of the road in order to take a drink of water an elderly couple pulled up to me and asked me if I had just seen that grizzly bear sleeping right next to the road. It turns out there was a big one lying pretty much right next to the road way, but I somehow didnít notice it! Donít ask me how itís possible not to notice a big brown bear, but I guess it is!

    On the other hand, today I happened to see six black bears! The first proved to be the most trouble. I yelled at him in order to try to get him to move, but he just wouldnít. Iím not daring enough to just roll on past him and hope he doesnít do anything, so I got a ride past him on the back of someoneís pickup truck. I managed to get a picture of him while driving past. The other four bears didnít prove to be too much trouble. When far away I just start yelling and waving my hands, if they move, I just keep on rolling by yelling off some gibberish. If they donít, which has only happened with that first one, Iíd have to stop and back up.

    I decided to push on further today in hopes of reaching some civilization. Seeing six bears was also quite a good incentive in order for me to not just pitch a tent in the middle of a forest. I made it all the way to Mezidian Junction, which just so happens to be one of the furthest things possible from civilization. Itís amazing this place is even on the map. It literally consists of five buildings: a house, a storage building, a gas station office, a restaurant/grocery store, and this big empty log building in which I am sleeping. May I add that everything here is still closed for the season!

    I ended up setting up my lodging in this big empty log building which I came across. Initially I just setup my sleeping pad and sleeping bag, but upon seeing that the birds above are dropping hazardous wastes, I decided it would be wise to setup the rain fly from my tent. I would have had to set it up anyway in order to let it dry from the night before. As a side note, I saw my sixth bear of the day while looking outside of this log building, he was just minding his own business next to the road. Needless to say, my bear spray is within close reach!

    I am still out of fuel for my stove and am thus living off of pop tarts and bread. I really would love to make a fire in order to cook up some pasta, but everything here is snowed in and itís impossible to find firewood. Itís still the end of winter here! Hopefully tomorrow I can find some fuel for my stove as well as a restaurant where I can charge up my laptop, I only have 30 minutes of battery time left!

    Day 19 Ė Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures Ė 152.04 km
    Next to the building I was sleeping in was parked an RV. Just as I, someone had decided this would be a good place to stay for the night. In the morning I went to go ask these people if per chance they had any denatured alcohol, and if not if I could simply have some boiling water to re-hydrate my instant mashed potatoes. As luck would have it this couple was from Germany and they didnít speak any English. As further luck would have it, I used to know German but unfortunately was young at the time and forgot it when I learned English. So basically: no denatured alcohol, no water.

    As I was packing up I noticed that I was down to my last six pop tarts, the rest of my food all required cooking. As the German couple was leaving they brought me a cup of coffee. For those who know me, I simply do not do coffee. Either way I thanked the man graciously and continued to pack up my things. That cup of coffee just kept looking at me, all hot with its rising steam. I unfortunately could not resist drinking any warm beverage and thus somehow managed to ingest that beverage. It was the first cup of coffee I have ever drank in my life and I sincerely also hope my last. It is by far the most vile beverage I has ever consumed, and I have no idea how some of you drink it daily and like it!

    No matter, I decided to push on. At about two oíclock I found a suitable stream in a dry place where I could start a fire. Although it took me an hour to filter water, rather firewood, find stones, prepare a fire, and cook my meal, it was well worth it. Being as this was my first warm meal of any kind in two days I can honestly say that Kraft dinner has never tasted so good. Unfortunately at this point I was completely depleted of my supply of dry food, and to make matters worse, I also found out that my one and only water bottle had sprung a leak in the bottom!

    As much as I did not want to push on today, I decided it would be best to make it to civilization. I rode 100 km without a bite to eat and very little to drink, but in the end it was all worth it. Three black bears later, which I all yelled and waved at, I made it to a town called Kitwanga in which I found a splendid campground. I was fed two burgers as well as two popsicles. I decided I was still hungry and rode to the dinner three kilometers down the road. Here I swallowed a roast beef dinner with fries, as well as a drumstick for desert. Luckily tomorrow I will finally be able to decently resupply. There is both a hardware and grocery store here in Kitwanga where I can make all the necessary purchases. The worst of my road is over as the rest of my route is fairly populated, or so I hope! The next two days should be fairly relaxing as I have only 170 km to go until I reach a town called Houston, where I will surfing someoneís couch.
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  2. #27
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    Day 20 Ė The Case of the Missing Croc Ė 105.09 km
    Today in the morning I had the biggest craving for two things: chocolate milk and cereal. I decided it was best to kill two birds with one stone, and thus ate cereal with chocolate milk. The grocery store was having a sale on Rasin Bran at $2.54 a box, so how could I pass that up? I must say that it was actually quite good. Perhaps next time Iíll have a craving for orange juice and cereal, although Iím not sure how that will taste! However, on my to do list food wise are: drink a gallon of milk in a hour, eat a gallon of ice cream in an hour, and eat that burger with two pounds of beef? Why you ask? Just to see if I can!

    While in the village of Skeena I took a seat on the steps of a church, where there conveniently happened to be a WiFi hotspot. From here I updated you last after my absence of several days. Many locals passed by, many of whom I chatted with. A teacher from the local school also passed by, and after finding out what I was doing insisted that I be a guest speaker at their school. Of course I agreed! I distributed several of my cards, told them about what I was doing, and answered some questions. It was actually quite fun!

    Today I also had quite the adventure. When I made it to New Hazelton I looked at the cargo rack of my bicycle and nearly had a heart attack, one of my Crocs had gone missing! As you know I occasionally strap loaves of bread in the same place in order to not take up space in my bags. At the last rest stop I had removed a loaf of bread from there and put it in my bag, but I forgot to tighten the bungee cords holding my Crocs! Needless to say, I backtracked 10 km to that rest area searching for my Croc. I searched high and I search low, but to no avail. On the way back I searched the ditches, and as luck would have it I managed to find my Croc! It would have been very bad to lose it for several reasons: I had grown very attached to it after 2000 km, I would have had to pay $44.95 for a new pair of Crocs, and theyíre my only pair of non-cycling shoes! Needless to say, disaster was averted at the cost of an additional hour and a half as well as 20 km, which may I add are not included in todayís total.

    On another note, I broke a speed limit on my bicycle today! On the way into New Hazelton I reached a speed of 54 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. I kind of wish they gave me a speeding ticket, how cool would that be? Although my maximum speed as of now is 65 km/h, it still feels pretty cool to break a speed limit!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  3. #28
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    Day 21 Ė The Quest for Denatured Alcohol Ė 78.33 km
    In the morning today I was supposed to meet up with a reporter in Smithers who was supposed to do a story on my trip, but unfortunately he was off for the day. Perhaps I will get in touch with him by phone later on. Either way, I still decided to stop for breakfast in the town of Smithers. I stopped at an oasis with the name of ďTim HortonsĒ. Here I feasted upon a toasted twelve grain bagel with cream cheese and a medium Iced Cappuccino with a flavor shot of hazelnut. As you can tell by now, I might as well have Tim Hortons running through my veins!

    Today I was not only partaking in my epic journey from Alaska to Panama, but I was also on a quest. My sole mission for today was to find denatured alcohol for my cooking stove. I visited four hardware stores and two outdoor stores in the town of Smithers, but it was to no avail. It was beginning to seem as if my quest for denatured alcohol may as well be a quest for the Holy Grail itself! I have been looking for the stuff since Whitehorse and havenít been able to find it anywhere. Needless to say I decided to give up on my search, and opted to buy a new stove at the next REI I pass that will burn anything.

    From Smithers, which is a very cool town with an absolutely awesome main street may I add, I traveled to the town of Houston, where I am surfing someoneís couch today. While fixing my bicycle in the garage, my host for the night, Paul, came in and asked if I needed a hand with anything. I explained to him my dilemma of my lack of denatured alcohol. No more than twenty seconds later I was staring at four liters of precious denatured alcohol. It turns out that over here it is called by many different names, and denatured alcohol does not happen to be one of them. With my fuel bottle filled I showed off my very cool alcohol stove and my superior light weight packing skills.

    So I managed to find denatured alcohol, tuned up my bicycle, and received a monster of a dinner meal. All in all I must say itís been a very good day! Remember that I post photos on my website, check them out!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  4. #29
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    Day 22 Ė Smooth Sailing Ė 163.77 km
    I stayed up quite late last night. It was not because I could not sleep, but rather I had to watch the season finale of ABCís show ďLostĒ. Absolutely brilliant finale, I wonít ruin it for you if you havenít seen it yet, but it was simply awesome. If you donít watch Lost, you really should!

    Being as I got a mere five and a half hours of sleep, I figured today would be a rough today where I wouldnít be able to cover much distance. Luckily that proved to be quite wrong. A great breakfast combined with an early start, great weather, and smooth roads turned out to be quite the good combination, an absolutely great day for cycling.

    Although I covered quite a bit of road today, the day was actually quite uneventful. The highlight of my day was seeing five bears at once, a large black bear along with its four cubs. I remember that someone recently told me that if I come across eight bears at once, Iím better off just spraying myself with the bear spray and hoping for the best. I decided that really wasnít necessary in this case, luckily!

    The only other highlight of my trip was buying some souvenir at an antique store, which of course I talked the price down for. May I point out that I have not yet once paid full price for any lodging/camping or souvenirs on this trip. It may not seem like your saving much, but it really does add up! What can I say, Iím quite the economist!

    Remember to check out my website for photos. If youíre feeling extra generous you can also make a donation, just as every kilometer counts so does every dollar!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  5. #30
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    Day 23 Ė The Day of Champions Ė 141.23 km
    Yesterday it was late when I got to my campground, so I didnít think too much of its location. When I awoke in the morning I finally looked around and saw that I was next to a major highway on one side and a railway on the other side. Luckily Iím a very sound sleeper, otherwise it would have been a rough night!

    In the town of Vanderhoof I met up with a reporter who conducted an interview with me regarding my trip. I would say things went fairly well, at least I hope so! Vanderhoof is quite a small town, but very neat. Then again, any town with a Tim Hortons is great in my books! I of course stopped by there to get myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese as well as an Iced Cappuccino for brunch.

    Quite a ways past Vanderhoof I stopped at a gas station where they were also selling some food. I decided that I would have the lunch of champions. Any meal of champions simply involves adding as many things to it as possible. Thus, I ordered myself potato wedges with gravy, to which I added ketchup, mustard, relish, and mayonnaise. As disgusting as it may look and sound, it was actually pretty good. Sure, each forkful may have tasted different, but it was probably nutritious and definitely filling.

    Following my lunch of champions I slowly made my way to the city of Prince George. A fairly decent sized city of about 80,000 people, as a hunger stricken cyclist you can find anything you need here. I managed to locate my cell phone provider, who told me as long as I donít use my GPS function I need not worry about my error message. I also stopped at a Future Shop at which I bought a new case for my iPod, as my old one was inadequate to say the least. It was quite pricy at $34.95, but necessary none the less.

    From here I made my way to the downtown area of Prince George. I took a few pictures of buildings and other things that I found to be pretty neat. All in all itís a fairly nice city. The only thing that surprised me was that the downtown area was practically dead even though it was a Friday. I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner which proved to have most excellent food. At least I think so, however when your hungry everything tastes good! Although I must admit that it was quite strange being the only person in the restaurant. Keep in mind that it is 8 PM on a Friday night. Where Iím from all the restaurants are packed at this hour. In the time I was at this restaurant no one else came to eat there. Two people did drop by in order to pick up orders they made over the phone, but that was it.

    I am currently surfing someoneís couch here in Prince George. If youíve never tried couch surfing, you really should. Itís a great way to not only travel cheaply, but to also meet some great people.
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  6. #31
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    You're making good progress, ya Mutt! Keep at it and continue to have a ball!
    Quote Originally Posted by Muttsta
    Day 23 Ė The Day of Champions Ė 141.23 km
    Yesterday it was late when I got to my campground, so I didnít think too much of its location. When I awoke in the morning I finally looked around and saw that I was next to a major highway on one side and a railway on the other side. Luckily Iím a very sound sleeper, otherwise it would have been a rough night!

    In the town of Vanderhoof I met up with a reporter who conducted an interview with me regarding my trip. I would say things went fairly well, at least I hope so! Vanderhoof is quite a small town, but very neat. Then again, any town with a Tim Hortons is great in my books! I of course stopped by there to get myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese as well as an Iced Cappuccino for brunch.

    Quite a ways past Vanderhoof I stopped at a gas station where they were also selling some food. I decided that I would have the lunch of champions. Any meal of champions simply involves adding as many things to it as possible. Thus, I ordered myself potato wedges with gravy, to which I added ketchup, mustard, relish, and mayonnaise. As disgusting as it may look and sound, it was actually pretty good. Sure, each forkful may have tasted different, but it was probably nutritious and definitely filling.

    Following my lunch of champions I slowly made my way to the city of Prince George. A fairly decent sized city of about 80,000 people, as a hunger stricken cyclist you can find anything you need here. I managed to locate my cell phone provider, who told me as long as I donít use my GPS function I need not worry about my error message. I also stopped at a Future Shop at which I bought a new case for my iPod, as my old one was inadequate to say the least. It was quite pricy at $34.95, but necessary none the less.

    From here I made my way to the downtown area of Prince George. I took a few pictures of buildings and other things that I found to be pretty neat. All in all itís a fairly nice city. The only thing that surprised me was that the downtown area was practically dead even though it was a Friday. I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner which proved to have most excellent food. At least I think so, however when your hungry everything tastes good! Although I must admit that it was quite strange being the only person in the restaurant. Keep in mind that it is 8 PM on a Friday night. Where Iím from all the restaurants are packed at this hour. In the time I was at this restaurant no one else came to eat there. Two people did drop by in order to pick up orders they made over the phone, but that was it.

    I am currently surfing someoneís couch here in Prince George. If youíve never tried couch surfing, you really should. Itís a great way to not only travel cheaply, but to also meet some great people.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . ďHe who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.Ē- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  7. #32
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    Good job man, looking forward to more updates.

  8. #33
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Nice work! I'm going to be flying into Vancouver on June 1st, so it seems like you're on pretty good pace to make it down there by then. Send me a PM if you're going to be there next week!

  9. #34
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    Day 24 – So Much To Do, So Little Time - 117.24 km
    Today in the morning I woke up refreshed and full of energy after getting a good night’s sleep on a real bed. My hosts made me a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and bison sausage. I must say, it was quite good!

    My first order of business for the day was shipping off a package home since it was quite a pain to carry around, I mean, it was literally the size of a pizza box! Luckily I managed to find a post office that was open early on a Saturday. Soon afterwards I had an appointment to meet a reporter from the Prince George Citizen at the place where most business is done in Canada, Tim Hortons of course! I tell you, that place is a gift from the gods sent down to us Canadians. Afterwards I headed out of Prince George, but not before buying some superglue. I cracked my sunglasses yesterday and had to fix them. I tell you, there isn’t much superglue, tape, and zip-ties can’t fix.

    The road to Quesnel was quite dull. There really wasn’t anything interesting along the way. Unfortunately I got rained on quite hard before reaching Quesnel. I did put on my rain jacket, but simply didn’t feel like putting on my rain pants or shoe covers. A big mistake I tell you. My shoes and socks are still wet. I am definitely never doing that again!

    Since I made it to Quesnel early, I managed to catch the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie playing at a theatre. I thought it was pretty good, but I didn’t realize it was that long! I am currently staying at a campground on the outskirts of Quesnel. In the morning I’m supposed to meet a reporter from the newspaper here, and then I hit the road once again. So much to do, so little time!

    Remember that I post pictures on my website, be sure to check them out!
    Last edited by Muttsta; 05-27-07 at 12:17 AM.
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  10. #35
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    Day 25 Ė Food Overload Ė 132.42 km
    Have you ever heard anyone say that itís nearly impossible to drink a gallon of milk in an hour without throwing up? Well, I decided to put this myth to the test today. In the morning I bought a gallon of milk along with my favorite add to everything food, bread. Supposedly in some places heavy drinkers eat bread before a good night of partying as it absorbs some of the alcohol and lets them drink more, I thought that this same principle might work for milk.

    Let me just say that doing this was a very bad idea. The first two liters went down without a problem; I actually managed to drink them in under ten minutes. It all went downhill after that point. The next liter was real rough. What made it even worse was that I was sitting on a park bench outside, and the sun was making my milk warm. Needless to say, after three quarters of a gallon I felt that should I take another sip of milk, all that I had drank would spontaneously and suddenly erupt out from within the deepest and darkest bowels of my stomach. That, and the fact that I actually planned on biking that day made me call it quits. Alas, a failure, but I did manage to finish the whole loaf of bread without a hitch. I plan on attempting this daring feat again sometime, but next time I will utilize chocolate milk and keep my milk refrigerated to keep it cold!

    After recovering from my milk drinking spectacle I hit the road. Although the roads here are in southern British Columbia are both flatter and in better condition than in northern British Columbia, the landscape is nowhere as scenic. The only upside is that with the presence of civilization there are neat places to stop along the way.

    My first stop was at a country restaurant where I tried something called bumbleberry pie, heated with vanilla ice cream on the side of course. Thatís the only way to eat any slice of pie after all! This pie is basically a combination of a bunch of different berries. I can honestly say it was the absolute best piece of pie I have ever had the pleasure of digesting. To make things even better, the owners of the restaurant were so intrigued with my trip that I ended up getting it for free. It doesnít get much better than that!

    Further along down the road was a gift shop where they also sold fudge. I had never really tried fudge much before and decided now would be an excellent time to do so. As luck would have it, they gladly provided me with free samples to taste the various kinds of fudge. I think that I sampled nearly every flavor they had, and they were all so good! My favorite flavor ended up being mint chocolate, of which I purchased a small piece of for the road. Fudge is a winner in my books, although I donít dare wonder how many calories it contains! And to think, my mom worries about me being malnourished!

    One strange thing that I have noticed about British Columbia is that most people here give distances in terms of miles and not kilometers. I mean, we use the metric system in Canada! When I asked a few people in a restaurant how far it is to the next town they all gave me distances in miles. Most of the signs for gift shops and such are also provided in miles. It seems that our friendly neighbors to the south have infected our western Canadians with their confusing system of measurement!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  11. #36
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    Day 26 Ė Showered With Gifts - 123.42 km
    Today while on the road I got flagged down by some people standing at the side of the road next to their car. It turns out that these people had seen me cycling up in Alaska and were wondering if I was the same guy. They graciously bestowed upon me priceless gifts of snacks and a cold beverage. It turns out that they are also avid bicyclists, so they naturally asked me all about my bike, route, and gear. I tell you, for a hungry cyclist nothing is better than being showered with nutritiously filling food!

    Afterwards I passed through the town of 100 Mile House, which is actually a very neat place. I bought myself some bread and bananas at the supermarket, then took a quick snack break at Tim Hortons. Amongst the interesting things I saw here were: a railway cart store, a giant pair of skis, a teepee, a ski through tunnel. Check out the pictures in my photo album, theyíre actually quite neat!

    On another note, I reached my top speed on my bicycle today. A staggering 76 km/h. On these skinny bicycle tires that I have, it kind of makes you think about how much faith you put into your equipment. Although, at the time I didnít really care as I was making excellent time. You know your going fast when your eyes being to tear up!

    I managed to get a killer deal on camping today. Most campsites charge anywhere from $12 to $15 per night, but today I only paid $5. As always, there is a catch. No water, electricity, bathroom, or showers. Most campgrounds have laundry and showers and such, but today there were no such luxuries. I had to make use of the power outlet across the street at the post office in order to charge up my collection of electronics as the only outlet that was present here was not functional. It could be worse though, at least I have a WiFi hotspot nearby!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

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    Day 27 Ė I Need to Buy a Better Map Ė 108.37 km
    Yesterday while planning my route I noticed that there was a shortcut I could take which would save me nearly 50 km. Brilliant! My map shows that about 15 km of this road is gravel. But hey, no biggie, Iíve done plenty of gravel roads on the Cassiar highway with no problems. I mean, how bad could it be?

    The day started off real well. I made it to the town of Clinton where the junction for this road was. I managed to find it without any problems and was quickly on my way. The first 20 km of the road went by great. The road was a peaceful two lane road through rolling meadows which was really beautiful. There were hardly any cars on it and the climbs were not bad at all. I arrived at a provincial park called Downing Lake, which was really beautiful. The water of this lake was so clear and had such a brilliant color that it was truly a sight to behold.

    Right after Downing Lake is where the gravel, as well as the fun, started. It was a one lane, rough gravel road. I really have no ideas how two cars could pass each other on it, as it simply wasnít physically possible. After two kilometers of this gravel I saw a sign which made me both curse aloud and nearly break down into pitiful sobbing: ďSteep Up-Grade 14% for 5 kmĒ. For those of you who donít know, a 14% grade is very steep. Add a dirt/gravel road, my skinny tires, and my sharp gearing to that mix and it spells disaster. I tell you my dear readers, it was bad. Very, very bad.

    I can honestly say that it was one of the most painful experiences that I have ever endured in my life. What makes it real rough is that although you are exhausted from climbing, you really donít want to stop, because if you do itís very difficult to get back on your bicycle. Stepping into those clip-in pedals on a 14% grade is not at all easy.

    Not expecting such a sharp climb I depleted my water supply quite early on. As luck would have it, a couple passed me by soon after. They first commented on the fact that I was crazy for taking such a route, then they asked me about my trip. One topic of conversation led to another and I was soon offered water. Unfortunately all that they had was frozen, so I ended up getting a two liter frozen block of ice. A great success either way as it slowly melted throughout the day, always staying cold. I once again thank the good Samaritans from Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia!

    Soon after passing the couple who gave me the block of ice I came upon an ice cold mountain stream. I tell you my dear readers, I pounced upon that stream faster than a college student jumps at the opportunity to get free beer. As time was of the essence I decided to take my chances and pass on filtering the water. No worries, Iím still alive!

    I soon figured out that the way down would not be much better than the way up. I may not have to pedal anywhere as fast, but there were countless other obstacles. Going down a one lane winding gravel road at 60 km/h is simply scary. Letís just say that your holding onto your handlebars for dear life praying that you donít wipe out and nearly soiling yourself on every bump and turn. After awhile the road got so bad that I had to constantly apply my brakes as I feared I would lose control and go down a 100 foot drop.

    The road flattened out slightly after several kilometers, but was still fairly downhill. It was here that disaster struck. As I was going around a corner I came face to face with a car. I instinctively slammed on my brakes. Unfortunately, my bicycle isnít equipped with anti-lock brakes and thus I slid all over the place then crashed. I didnít hear the car at all as it was one of those hybrid cars, which are deadly silent. They may be good for the environment, but they are dangerous to cyclists like myself. Although I bled quite a bit I suffered a mere flesh wound. I quickly managed to bandage myself up and be on my way. What makes this all the more ironic is that the car which caused me to lose control was a government forest service car!

    To make the day even more eventful than it already was I also saw two grizzly bears in the meantime. Me being so scary and all, when I yelled my bear yell, which is usually just random gibberish, they hightailed it into the woods. Disaster averted once again!

    Pain and suffering aside, today was an absolutely gorgeous day. The views were simply spectacular and there was not a cloud in the sky. I am currently camped at a provincial campground not far from the city of Lillooet. This particular campground is really nice because it is provided free of charge by BC Hydro, all you have to do is register.

    From what I am told the road tomorrow is quite brutal as well, involving numerous 14 and 15 percent climbs. However, since the roads are paved it makes them much more manageable. What makes this all even worse is that I have to cover 130 km of this brutal terrain to make it to Whistler tomorrow. I plan on waking up extra early!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  13. #38
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    Day 28 ĖUp and Down and Up and Down - 131.93 km
    Today in the morning I saw a sign which read: ďNo service for next 100 kmĒ. As I have found out previously, what this basically translates to is ďNothing for the next 100 kmĒ. Luckily I was fully supplied with both water and lots of snacks!

    The road started off rough from the get go. I was at first hit with a very sharp hill ranging in grade from 12% to 14% for roughly 8 kilometers. This was followed by a slight downhill, and then 15 more kilometers of what I like to call rollercoaster riding. It basically involved a 13% uphill followed by a 11% downhill, and it kept repeating and repeating.

    I am basically crawling up these hills at a snails pace. Sometimes I even travel across the road in zigzags so that itís easier for me to be able to get up it. The next 40 kilometers were easier, but far from easy. The whole time the road ran next to a raging river which was ironically called ďCanyon CreekĒ. This meant two things: I was going slightly uphill for a staggering 40 km, I was facing headwinds for 40 km.

    Needless to say I somehow managed to struggle through all this. The road then flattened out a bit to my great relief. Soon afterwards I say a sign which made me truly happy: ďExtreme grades for next 13 kmĒ. For the next 11 kilometers my speed did not once drop below 50 km/h. Although I was freezing for most of the time, it felt great to be able to make up all that lost time.

    The going got ugly when I saw a sign that read ď15% grade for next 2 kmĒ. I take pride in breaking speed limits, but I now know that they exist for a reason. There was a fairly sharp turn at which a sign for 30 km/h was posted, I decided to be adventurous and go into this turn at 50 km/h. Bad, bad idea. When I realized that I was going too fast and decided to apply my brakes it was too late. I hit the gravel shoulder and wiped out. Falling off a bike at 50 km/h hurts just a little bit. The worst thing is road rash, letís just say that it hurts and letís leave it at that. My second fall in two days, I have to be much more careful!

    Luckily I suffered only flesh wounds, quite a few of them, but nothing overly serious. Iíll have a few black and blue bruises to add to that as well. Iím actually quite surprised that my fall didnít hurt that much. I was a little sore but not really in too much pain. My mom bought me this spray called ďNew SkinĒ which you can spray on injuries and it kind of acts as a band-aid. Letís just say that if the hell came in a spray bottle, that would be it. Spraying that stuff onto my injury caused pain excruciatingly worse than was caused by my injury. I donít know who invented that stuff, but itís terrible!

    Although I came out of the ordeal with only scratches, my bicycle was not as fortunate. It too suffered some scratches, but it also suffered an injury to the right shifter. Needless to say I canít use a bunch of my gears. I managed to do a quick repair to be able to use only my lowest gear so that I could still climb hills, allowing me to make it to Whistler with ease. I will have to take my bike in for some minor repairs tomorrow as well as a tune-up.

    I managed to make it into Whistler, mangled but alive and well. Wow is it expensive here! The only campground in town wanted $35 a night for a tent spot! I decided to bicycle 5 km out of town to a hostel where I paid $23 a night. Tomorrow I will be doing absolutely no biking, well, none that will count to my total at least. I will be dropping my bike off at the shop and taking a day off to go skiing! Luckily falls on snow are much less painful that falls on pavement!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  14. #39
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    Day 29 – On the Slopes of Blackcomb – 0.00 km
    Today in the morning I got a nice and early start. I woke up at 6:30, full of energy and ready to go skiing. I made myself the breakfast of champions, which consisted of two helping of instant pasta. For dessert I had a bowl of cereal with milk, which I conveniently got from the free food cupboard here at the hostel. At about 8:00 I headed to town on my bicycle. I had to drop by bicycle off at the repair shop to get a few things worked on.

    Whistler village is about 10 km away from where this hostel is, so the ride took me about 40 minutes or so. Unfortunately I did not know that the bicycle shop opens at 10:00. In the meantime I visited the post office where I had a care package shipped to me from home. Inside were countless priceless goodies ranging from quality Polish chocolates to more of my business cards and even permethrin, a long term mosquito repellent. In the meantime I also visited the local IGA in hopes of finding a very cheap backpack into which I could put my camera as well as some other stuff for when I went skiing. Unfortunately I had no success in finding anything suitable.

    The bicycle shop opened about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, giving me 10 more minutes of precious skiing time. I explained the problems I was having, which I was assured would be fixed without any problems. I begged and pleaded with the owner to let me borrow an old backpack of some sort, but unfortunately all he had were new ones. I did manage to get quite the bargain though. I got a backpack that was originally priced at $70 for a mere $25 as it was the last of its kind and I guess no one wanted it. It is baby blue and looks kind of girly, but oh well! I originally anticipated on borrowing an old backpack and throwing it away, but since this one is really nice I think I’m going to hang onto it.

    Map in hand, I quickly proceeded to the main gondola for Blackcomb. I managed to find it with ease and in no time was downstairs in the rental shop. I had a choice between two kinds of boots: beginner boots that were my size, or intermediate/advanced boots that were a size too small. Never would I dream of wearing beginner boots on a hill like Blackcomb, so I opted for a day of toe pain in exchange for better skiing. I also told the guys that I wanted the best skis they got, and needless to say I was not disappointed! I got a very nice pair of Salomon twin tip skis which were quite long and wide, perfect for today’s conditions. Price for ski rental: $35. Not too bad at all for such fine skis! The lift ticket for Blackcomb was $40, not the cheapest price in the world but nothing that will make a big dent in my pocketbook.

    If there is one thing I love on this world more than cycling, it’s skiing. I don’t know what crazy guy had the idea of strapping two wooden sticks to his feet and going down a hill, but that man was a genius! There is nothing like the feeling of rushing down a ridiculously steep hill at breakneck speeds. Needless to say, today was an absolutely incredible day. The snow was wet and felt heavy, but it was still excellent for summer conditions. There is nothing like being able to hit the slopes in a t-shirt and shorts and not be cold at all!

    Whistler Blackcomb is quite simply an amazing hill. The runs here are so beautiful they actually bring a tear to my eye. Other ski resorts in the east like Killington and Tremblant might as well hide in a corner in comparison with a place like this. Although the conditions were anything but ideal, today was probably the most fun day that I’ve ever had skiing, and only a small part of the hill was open! Only a small section near the top is open as that is where the snow is, but let me tell you, it was more than enough skiing. You know that a hill is decent when your legs begin to burn on the way down! To be able to ski all of Whistler and Blackcomb in the winter season you would probably need at least two weeks. Needless to say, I am definitely coming back here sometime in the winter. I love this place!

    All in all it was an awesome day. Although I didn’t do much cycling, it was still quite strenuous physically. Skiing sure takes a toll on your legs and knees, but it is so worth it! Currently back at the hostel where I hitchhiked to without many problems. My bicycle is still at the bicycle shop as I decided it was probably wiser to pick it up in the morning. Will be making it into Vancouver tomorrow and will be stopping at that restaurant with the infamous two pound burger, hopefully they still offer it!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

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    Day 30 Ė The Road Is Long and Narrow - 125.10 km
    In the morning I quickly packed up all my belongings in the hostel and proceeded downstairs. Here I begged people for a ride to Whistler village. I left my bicycle there the day before, thus I had no means of transportation. I would have walked to the village, but with all my belongings it would have been quite a difficult feat. Luckily I managed to find someone who was going to the village, so I packed into their car. It would have been really tough trying to hitchhike with all my junk!

    I picked up my bicycle when the shop opened at 10 AM without any problems. Everything was in working order and it didnít cost me an arm and a leg to fix. A $28 well spent if I may say so myself! Afterwards I waited around for about thirty minutes to get my picture taken for a paper in Whistler. It was 11:15 AM and time to hit the road!

    The road from Whistler to Vancouver wasnít exactly tough due to the fact that it consisted of many hill climbs, but it was tough due to the fact that there was construction almost throughout the whole road. This meant that there was nearly no shoulder, yet I still had to squish in there on the side with a semi truck passing me on the left. Quite scary when a big car like that passes you with mere inches to spare, yikes!

    Closer to Vancouver the road basically turned into a major highway, yet it was still the official bicycle route! This meant that at every exit and entrance ramp you had to stop and make sure there was no cars coming in order to avoid being hit and becoming flat as a pancake. Within the city of Vancouver itself things are really well organized for bicycles. There are specific lanes and paths dedicated solely for use by bicycles, however these are not always available. There were quite a few occasions where I had to squish in between cars and busses, as my bicycle is wide with all the bags in the back, not the easiest task! I would say that bicycling in downtown Vancouver was similar to bicycling downtown in a city like Toronto, you really have to be careful!

    Without getting lost or making too much hassle I made it to the famous restaurant that I was told has a two pound hamburger which you can get for free if you manage to finish it. I of course ordered the mythical beast; the waitresses asked me two times if I was sure I wanted it! I found out there was a catch, I would have to finish the burger in 40 minutes or less or pay $27 for it. Not being one to back down, I accepted the challenge either way.

    This burger was absolutely massive, I didnít think it would be this big. The picture is posted in my photos, you really have to see it to believe it. The bun for this thing was basically a loaf of bread cut into three parts. This came accessorized with two burger patties of one pound each topped with cheese and mushrooms. Donít forget the tomatoes, lettuce, and a lot of sauce! Armed with a fork, knife, and pitcher of water I was good to go!

    Things went quickly at first, then gradually slowed down. Needless to say I wrestled with the beast for quite awhile. I was both determined to finish it and I really didnít want to pay for it! Ultimately, I both succeeded and failed. It was a success in that, although with great difficulty, I managed to finish the burger in a still quite impressive 46 minutes. It was a failure in that I went over the time limit, and thus had to pay for it. In my training for this feat I didnít realize there was a time limit, arg! Still not a total failure, since I got my name and picture up on their wall of fame. According to this wall only two people have finished it in 40 minutes, and one other in 45. That puts me at number four on the list, not too bad at all!

    After taking a detour to the bath room, I hopped onto my bike and headed off to my CouchSurfing host for the night. Yes, even after finishing a two pound burger I was able to continue riding my bicycle! Luckily it was only about two kilometers away from the restaurant and not too hard to find. My host for the night, Gerald, was absolutely great! That night there was actually two other couch surfers staying with him, so I was the third! No worries, we all managed to fit, and all great people of course!

    One of the other couch surfers, Boris, is a musician from France who is currently touring Canada and America. He was doing a show today in Vancouver, so when I was invited to attend I could not turn it down! He was playing at a coffee shop in downtown Vancouver, which is an absolutely beautiful and awesome place. Overall it was a great time filled with of course, great music.

    The show was followed up by a party put on by actors and musicians in Vancouver. They have a warehouse where they make sets and props which they turn into one mean venue for a party every once in awhile. They were actually serving free burgers and hot dogs there, but I could not even bear the smell of another burger. Those last few chews of burger I felt as if I was chewing paper. Once again it was a really great time with an excellent crowd of people.

    Most people would retire at this point, but not us! We had to visit the best twenty-four hour restaurant in Vancouver to try some excellent Vietnamese cuisine. We tried a soup made from tripe and intestines which although it may sound discouraging was very good. We were also educated on how to eat Vietnamese food properly. Armed with a spoon in my left and chopsticks in my right I tackled this soup, I assure you it was no easy feat after that two pound burger! I specifically found it interesting that you dip your chopsticks into your tea then wipe them off on a napkin to clean them.

    It was quite the busy day indeed, but it was a great time! My host for the night as well as the other couch surfers staying with him were absolutely great, and the city of Vancouver really is quite the city to behold. But alas, time to get some sleep, Iíll be headed into the United States once again tomorrow!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  16. #41
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    Day 31 Ė Detours and Delays - 175.76 km
    This morning I had to do only one thing before leaving Vancouver. I had to visit a store called Mountain Equipment Co-Op in order to exchange the pair of cycling shorts that I viciously destroyed as well as to buy some other small bicycle supplies. As I soon found out, navigating around a city like Vancouver without a map is a bad idea. I got lost and ended up somewhere in Chinatown. I attempted to ask for directions, but I really didnít understand the responses that I received as they were in a different language, literally! The only map I had was on my mapping program on my laptop, so I took out my laptop and used that as a map. I was probably a prime target for getting mugged, but I managed to make it to the store in one piece.

    At the store the guy gave me a funny look when I brought my cycling shorts to return them. Iím not sure if itís because they smelled funny, or because something smelled funny about my story. I claimed that my shorts got caught on something and just ripped, since they lacked proper durability I would like to exchange them for another pair. Eventually I managed to get my way, and I picked up a brand spanking new pair of the same cycling shorts that I had destroyed in a high speed accident.

    With all my supplies accounted for I hit the road. I decided to take Highway 99 again just like yesterday. Although it was not the most enjoyable road in the road to bicycle on, it was both the most convenient and probably the fastest. This idea worked fine for about 30 minutes, then I saw a nice sign saying that bicycle were no longer allowed past this point. No problem I though, there must be signs telling me where to go on these side roads.

    Nope. I was simply thrown out into a residential neighborhood and forced to fend for myself. At this point I gave in and finally couched up the precious five dollars necessary to buy a decent map. I managed to find side roads which would lead me roughly in the same direction as the highway; unfortunately much slower and less convenient but doable.

    The real trouble came when I found out that I had to cross a river. Highway 99 consists of a tunnel which goes under this river, but as we all recall cyclists arenít allowed on Highway 99. After much asking around I found out there is a free shuttle bus which takes cyclists across the river through the tunnel with their bikes. Great! I managed to find the place, then my heart sank. I arrived at the bus stop at 1:10 PM. The previous bus had left at 1:00 PM, and the next bus was leaving at 3:00 PM. Absolutely brilliant! I had to wait nearly two hours for a bus to drive me through a tunnel that I could have biked through in five minutes.

    At this point I knew that I was in trouble time wise. Even though I left fairly early in the morning, I had effectively lost three hours of time. Not too bad on any other day, but today I had to cover a staggering distance of 170 km in order to make it to Mt Vernon, where I had arranged to spend the night with somebody.

    Regardless I pushed on. Since the American border was coming up I decided that I would, for what will possibly be my last time for three months, stop in a Tim Hortons. Here I purchased the obligatory bagel with cream cheese as well as an Iced Cappuccino. Today I decided to try one with a flavor shot of mint. I must say that it was quite excellent, even better than the hazelnut which I usually get! I really recommend that you try one.

    The border crossing went smoothly. I didnít receive any trouble, but I did talk with the guys there for a few minutes about my trip which they believed to be absolutely crazy. The rest of the road from here was rough. Even though I was doing a fairly decent speed it still took me a long time to make it to Mt Vernon. It was the first time during the course of my trip that I had to resort to riding at night. Normally I would have stopped, but I had given my word that I would be stopping by on this day, and I am not one to break a promise! Being determined I turned on my rear light for safety and my headlamp in the front so I could actually see something!

    At around 10:00 PM I decided to take a quick snack break. Being as I was cycling through a city, I was the shining lights of Wendyís beckoning me towards them. I swallowed a triple with cheese, which basically contains three quarters of a pound of meat. For those of you out there who think you can finish that two pound burger I ate just because you can finish three triples, think again! These burgers are lightweight with their white bread and lack of other accessories, that two pound burger was a monolithic beast! Either way, thank for Wendyís for allowing me to eat great, even late!

    When cycling through cities it wasnít too bad visibility wise as there are streetlights everywhere; however my hosts for today live out in the county on a farm. There arenít really any streetlights out there. Itís really an interesting experience riding your bicycle on county roads when itís pitch black outside. But no worries friends, when the clock struck 11:30 PM I finally arrived at my destination safe and in one piece. Tomorrow I have a much shorter day into Seattle, which I am told is also a very neat place!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  17. #42
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    Day 32 Ė Refreshed and Full of Energy Ė 100.58 km
    Last night I had gotten the best sleep that I have had in a month as it was the first time that I had slept on a real bed. All the other times I had slept on my air mattress, couches, or rollaway beds. I was as refreshed as ever!

    My awesome hosts made me a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and a whole plate of fruit. Since I have such an appetite, I inhaled everything with ease. My hosts were heading out to church that morning and thus offered to take me along should I like. Although it was not a Roman Catholic church as I am accustomed to, I decided that some church is better than no church! The church we went to was a Christian Fellowship church. The ceremony was very different from what I am typically used to, but hey, prayer is prayer!

    All refreshed and blessed I finally hit the road at about noon. I could have taken I-5 today, which is basically a major interstate, as bicycles are actually allowed on it. However, I decided that even should it take me a little longer, I would take the more enjoyable side roads.

    Along the way I stopped in a country restaurant. These kinds of places always serve the best food in large quantities at the best prices; quite simply a win, win, win situation for a hungry cyclist! Here I was served a handsomely large piece of lemon meringue pie served a la mode of course; thatís the only way to eat pie after all!

    Soon afterwards I made it to highway 99, which is simply a busy road filled with traffic lights. Not at all scenic, and quite a pain to bicycle. About 40 kilometers from Seattle the suburban sprawl had already begun; the farmland ended and the strip malls and suburbs began. Although itís nice from the point of view that there is always someplace to stop and get whatever you need, itís not that great when there is a traffic light every half kilometer, especially since I have the bad luck of being caught by most of them.

    Needless to say that stretch of road took me a little longer than expected due to all the lights on it. I made it into Seattle at about 8 PM, which is where I am writing this from now. I am once again couch surfing with a fellow cyclist who has bicycled both the coast of the United States as well as across the country. He gave me a bunch of great advice with respect to my route and also filled me right up with food, for he too had felt the cravings of a cyclist diet in the past!

    Overall it was a nice and relaxing day. To finish it off I watched Mel Gibsonís ďApocalyptoĒ. Not a bad flick at all. Just for the record, itís the second movie Iíve seen in a month after the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

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    Day 33 Ė Ahoy Maties! Ė 111.13 km
    Today in the morning I was treated to a most excellent breakfast thanks to my host, Joe. Breakfast is quite possibly the most important meal of the day, and definitely one of the best! After breakfast I had to call my cell phone provider as I was having problems with my phone working here in Washington. I was transferred from one representative to the next, but thirty minutes later my phone was once again operational.

    Since Joe had the day off from work, he volunteered to not only show me around the city but also show me the best way to get out. This was a tremendous help as bicycling in a city as large as Seattle is not easy for anyone who doesnít know the city and doesnít have a bicycle route map! I visited the Seattle city center as well as all the popular tourist spots. Overall Iíd say itís a very cool place indeed.

    The best place in which I stopped today was the famous REI flagship store in Seattle. REI is probably one of my favorite stores, so this place was simply paradise for me. The only problem is that whenever I enter one of their stores I end up dropping a lot of money in them. Today I purchased: new pedals, new bar tape, a camera tripod, two tent pegs, and a guidebook for bicycling the Pacific coast. The total damage was somewhere around $170 US, ouch!

    With my bags filled with new gear, and my pocketbook slightly lighter, we proceeded to the harbor downtown from where many ferries in Seattle depart. I decided it would be much better to take a ferry across to the less populated side and work my way to the coast that way. I could have cycled south out of Seattle all the way to Olympia, but that way Iíd be cycling over 100 km through a never ending city. With all those traffic lights it wouldnít exactly be an enjoyable experience.

    I must say that the ferry itself was very neat. You drive in, or ride in as in my case, park your vehicle, and make your way up to the passengers lounge. Here you have seats, tables, vending machines, a cafeteria, an information booth, bathrooms, as well as a bunch of other things that Iím forgetting. I must say that I was quite impressed. Not only was the ferry very well organized, but it was also fairly inexpensive (cost me $8) and everything was made to look very presentable. All in all a very enjoyable 50 minute ferry ride from Seattle to Bremerton.

    When I disembarked from the ferry in Bremerton I had some slight problems finding the highway that I was supposed to go on. My map of the city was very general, and there werenít any signs that pointed in the proper direction. I also learned today that many people have real trouble getting around even their own city, which is actually quite sad. I asked four people for directions on how to find this specific highway. Three of them all gave me different directions, all equally wrong. I finally ended up asking a fellow cyclist on the road for directions, and he was finally able to point me in the right direction.

    The ride from Bremerton was fairly calm with gently rolling hills. There were a few hill climbs, but nothing excruciatingly terrible as I have unfortunately experienced in the past. Evidently it went by pretty quickly. I am now staying at a hostel in the town of Elma. I decided it is better to spend $20 for a hostel and get a bed rather than $15 for a campsite where I have to setup my tent.
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  19. #44
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    Day 34 Ė Finally On the Coast - 118.62 km
    In the morning today I decided to stop by a restaurant for some breakfast. It was a really neat place called ďThe Rusty TractorĒ, obviously due to the fact that there were a bunch of rusty tractors outside. A restaurant with a very neat dťcor where I was served a beast of a breakfast: three eggs, three sausage links, three strips of bacon, and three pancakes. To make this place even better, they had free WiFi, so I could update you all on my latest adventures.

    Todayís route was actually quite relaxing. There were several hill climbs and some strong headwinds, however nothing I couldnít manage. The road was more enjoyable as highway 101 is now a smaller two lane highway as opposed to a major freeway like it was beforehand. The highway now also runs in serpentines through brilliant evergreen forest, which is not only a pleasure to look at but makes the air feel refreshing delightful.

    Another thing I have accomplished today is that I have finally made it to the Pacific coast. Earlier I made just skimmed by it or visited a city where I passed by it momentarily, but now I will be hugging it for quite awhile. All the way down to the border of Mexico I will be taking highways 101 and 1. From what I have heard it is not terribly hilly, quite hot in some areas, and very beautiful. I have actually decided to take a route for tomorrow that is about nine miles longer than another route I could have taken. Supposedly there are some cool lighthouses and other neat things along the longer route, which I believed were worth biking the additional nine miles for.

    Deciding that I went slightly over budget today with my hostel stay the previous night, I decided that today I would stealth camp. That is to say, I would simply pull off the road somewhere and camp in a place where Iím probably not allowed to. No worries! I am currently hiding in my tent behind a large bush, fairly out of sight of the road. Sure, I may not have included showers or a bathroom, but I do save $14 in camping fees!

    Day 35 Ė Losses Upon Losses Ė 88.05 km
    As you may recall from yesterday, today in the morning I was stealthily camped behind a bush not far off the road. When I awoke I quickly packed up and hit the road. I soon reached a town called Ilwaco, in which there really isnít much. One thing that did catch my eye was a sign that read ďAll You Can Eat Fish Ní ChipsĒ. I hadnít had breakfast yet, but I decided that a breakfast of fish and chips would be quite a feast indeed. You know how in most restaurants when you get served fish and chips you get a bunch of fries and maybe two or three pieces of fish? Well, in this place it was exactly the opposite. I got a few French fries and about seven pieces of fish. I could barely finish the plate I was given! However since it was technically all you can eat I reluctantly accepted when asked if I wanted more fish. I packed that fish in there to make sure I didnít go hungry later!

    Itís no great feat to get stuffed up at an all you can eat restaurant. What is a daring and impressive feat is being able to get on a bicycle afterwards and pedal for hours on end! Although it wasnít easy, I made my way to Cape Disappointment State Park, where there was a cool lighthouse I could visit. Although a few miles out of the way, I decided it would be worth it. When I got there it turned out that you had to hike 0.7 miles to get to the lighthouse. There was no way I was going to leave my bicycle unattended at a busy parking lot, so I reluctantly brought it along with me. Big mistake.

    The path wouldnít have been so bad if someone didnít put wooden planks on it which doubled as steps. I had to walk my bicycle nearly the whole path, but even so it was not easy. Although with great difficulty, I managed to make it up to the light house in order to take a few pictures. On the way down I stopped by a place called Dead Manís Cove. There was a sign which explicitly said to not hike down there due to bad trail conditions. Whenever there is a sign telling me not to do something, I usually do it!

    On the way back to the parking lot from where the trail left off I ran into some serious trouble. It turns out that while going back down with my bicycle I went off one of the higher steps a little too fast, which resulted in me bending my wheel. I turned over my bicycle in the parking lot and attempted to fix the problem, but I soon realized that it was no quick fix. It was bad, my wheel was totally warped. I could not even ride my bicycle as the back tire was rubbing against the frame.

    Luckily I managed to get a ride into the closest town where as luck would have it there were also two bicycle shops. The first shop told me I have a problem as the particular wheel I have is very difficult to find, however they could custom order it for me and it should be there in a day or two. Not wanting to be stranded for days I picked up my bicycle and walked with it several blocks to the next bicycle shop. Luckily they just so happened to have a wheel in stock. Unfortunately, bicycle wheels do not come cheaply. The bicycle rim as well as the costs to mount it cost $125, however since the owner felt sorry for me he gave me a good deal and only charged me $80. I will admit that the wheel is much better than my old one, but seriously, most car wheels donít even cost that much!

    I headed off down the road and into the fine state of Oregon. I was finally relieved that my bicycle was once again operational. After about twenty kilometers I dug into my bag to grab my guidebook to cycling the US portion of the Pacific Coast, which I had purchased a mere few days ago for $17.95 USD. Alas, it was nowhere to be found! It turns out that I left it on the counter in the bicycle shop. There was no way I was going to go back twenty kilometers, and the bicycle shop was already closed anyway. Great, just great. Not sure if Iím going to be able to find one of those soon. That is very unfortunate as the thing was really great, it literally told you everything you wanted to know.

    To add to my list of casualties for the day my cyclometer suffered a valiant and fearless death, well, not really. At one point I looked down and it told me I was going at an incredibly fast rate of 0 km/h. It turns out that my cable ripped right through, and I was wondering why the thing wasnít working! Will try to fix it tomorrow, hopefully itís possible! Todayís distance was calculated not thanks to my cyclometer, but rather to Microsoft MapPoint North America 2006.

    In the town of Cannon Beach I decided that I had endured enough pain and suffering for one day. I didnít feel like breaking the law today by camping out in the bushes somewhere, so I went to the local campground in order to get a tent site. They wanted $22 USD for a tent site. There was no way I was going to pay that much. For that much I could stay in a hostel somewhere or even buy myself a new guidebook. I decided to visit a local church in order to ask to camp out on their lawn. Unfortunately no one was around, so I cycled away. I did see a man doing some yard work outside his house, so I pulled up and asked if it would be alright if I setup my tent in his back yard.

    He told me that there was a vacant field not far away where I could pitch a tent and no one would probably mind, but he first insisted that I come in and have dinner. I told him all about my travels as well as my life back home. Before I knew it, it was dark outside. I told him I could still pitch a tent without a problem, as I have done it so many times that I could do it blindfolded, but he told me that he had a spare bed that I was more than welcome to use. Lesson learned: ask to camp at churches or yards before resorting to the evil money sucking campgrounds!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  20. #45
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    I've enjoyed reading your thread, in fact it's inspired me. I ordered a Surly Long Haul trucker yesterday and am planning on taking 6 to 8 weeks off this winter for a trek across the southern US. Stay safe.

  21. #46
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    Day 36 Ė Camping Without Tents? Ė 152.15 km
    Today in the morning I once again woke up refreshed after having a decent sleep in a real bed. I feasted upon a breakfast of toast and milk, then hit the road. It was raining outside, so I got suited up in all my raingear. Once I stepped outside it stopped raining, and it didnít rain another drop all that. Thatís Murphyís Law for you!

    Today a large portion of the road was directly along the coast. The views as well as the beaches here are simply spectacular, they truly are a sight to behold. As much as I would have liked to go take a dip in the ocean, it was freezing cold. Since all I carry with me is my ultra-compact camp towel, which is more like the size of a washcloth, I decided that would be a bad idea. Swimming in the ocean will have to wait until southern California!

    Along the way today I passed by countless small towns and communities, each with their own neat felling. One very neat place I visited today was the ďBlue Heron Cheese FactoryĒ. This place made authentic French cheeses, offering tasting of both these cheeses as well as a variety of wines. Since US laws prohibit me from drinking alcoholic beverages, I had to stick to just the cheese tasting, but I did make the most of it! For lunch I picked up some smoked Brie as well as a delicious French baguette. The store was very pricy, but then again, quality over quantity!

    On a negative note I got my first flat tire today. I figured I was slightly overdue after 4,000 km. It turns out that my rear tire is in quite bad shape. It has numerous cuts as well as small holes in it, it is likewise showing wear. To make a simple comparison let us consider that my tire is a piece of bread in a toaster. The bread would currently be dark brown, and will soon turn black. I just hope it doesnít start smoking before I make it to San Diego, as that is where I want to change it out for a new one.

    Today I also accomplished a great feat in the field of multitasking. I was riding my bicycle, listening to my iPod, changing gears, consulting my map, and texting someone on my phone, all at the same time! If that isnít impressive I donít know what it. Probably not the safest thing in the world to do, but quite efficient!

    I had some real trouble finding a place to pitch a tent tonight. The road here is very populated, with a bunch of hotels and restaurants everywhere. It seems that every foot of land next to this road is owned by someone. I did not want to pitch on someoneís lawn and get shot at, and there was no way I was going to spend $45 to stay in a motel. You know those highway signs which tell you that there is food or gas at the next exit? Well, there happened to be a few signs like that which explicitly stated ďCampingĒ and directed you to an RV Ďresortí as they call it. When I get to all these places a nice sign reads ďRVs only, no tentsĒ. Seriously, is RVing now called camping? Since when does camping not involve a tent? What has the world come to?

    Needless to say I am currently tucked away in the bushes in some state park. State parks also charge money to camp, around $16 or so per night, so I decided to be sneaky and stealthily camp out in the middle of nowhere. I hope I donít get busted!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  22. #47
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    Hey Michael great job. Of note there is a very helpful program for cyclist on the coast. That is a hiker/biker campsite at most state parks in Oregon and California. They cost anywhere from $3 to $6. They will never turn you away and in many parks they are the best campsites in the park.
    Last edited by mntbikedude; 06-10-07 at 10:27 AM.

  23. #48
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    Day 37 Ė Just Another Day On The Road - 118.40 km
    Today in the morning I was stealthily camped in the bushes of some state park. Rather than pay $20 for a nice tent site, I decided to go out into the deep bushes and pitch a tent. It turned out to work out just fine. I woke up nice and early and packed up extra quick just to ensure that I wouldnít get busted. The day was filled with absolutely amazing views. The shores of Oregon are sometimes sandy but on many occasions rocky. Several times I was taking a picture off a ledge with a 150 foot drop right next to me. Quite daring considering the strong winds here, but it was worth the great picture!

    I also made a side trip today to the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. I only went to visit it because the road was paved, had it been a path again like the last lighthouse I visited, I would have passed considering the bad experience I had. Unfortunately the inside of the lighthouse was not open yet, and I didnít feel like waiting around an hour.

    After visiting the lighthouse I went to one of Americaís greatest inventions, an all you can eat buffet. It was some neat Italian place. I tell you friends, the best $8 that I have ever spent in my life. There is no way that place made money on me. I loaded up one seven full plates of food. The first four were full of warm food ranging from pizza and breadsticks to chicken tenders and mashed potatoes. The next two plates were loaded up completely with melons and pineapples. The last plate was a dinner sized plate full of ice cream. I practically limped out of that place I was so full. It was a miracle I was able to bicycle afterwards!

    The rest of the day went by pretty quickly. I had nice winds pushing me along the whole time as well as fairly flat roads for most of the time. I experienced a few decent climbs, but nothing like I experienced in British Columbia. I am currently camped at a state campground that has a hiker/biker site. Someone on the internet forums I post on informed me that these are only present at some campgrounds and not all of them. Basically you pay $4 for a tent site. For that much itís not worth the risk of camping out in the bush somewhere!

    There are several other cyclists just like me here, but they are all planning much shorter trips. A pair of other cyclists treated me to a treat of smores. It was the first time I have ever eaten them, since I donít think Pop Tart smores count, and I must say that theyíre great!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  24. #49
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    Day 38 Ė Torrential Downpour Ė 108.00 km
    I was quite surprised to be the first one out of camp this morning. Generally I wake up around 7 AM and get packed and going at around 8. Today I decided to sleep in till about 8:20, but still managed to get out on the road by 9:15. I thought I was getting up late, but here everyone else was sleeping! It looks like I must be really dedicated or something.

    Although I never check weather reports, I already knew in the morning that it was going to be an ugly day. The campsite was located under a canopy of trees, which helped lessen the harsh weather, but on the open road there is nowhere to hide. I dressed up in all my rain gear in preparation for the worst. The bad thing about that stuff is that it is so hot in it. Sure, it keeps you dry from rain, but it still makes you wet inside from perspiration.

    There were some nice views along the way, but unfortunately I didnít take many pictures for two reasons: with the foul weather it was pretty ugly out, my pricy camera isnít exactly waterproof. Itís kind of a shame since today I passed by the famous Oregon coast sand dunes.

    The day only got worse and worse with respect to weather. Now, not only was there a downpour onto my head, but I was likewise being hit by frigid and strong headwinds. Rain is bad enough because it soaks you right through. Combine it with cold winds and your freezing like an ice cube!

    I decided to take a lunch break at a Wendyís, hoping that the rain would subside. Here I decided to visit the bathroom, in which the toilet was conveniently plugged up. I tried to give it a flush hoping that would solve the problem, but then water started coming out the sides onto the floor! I left that bathroom quicker than an underage high-school student leaves a party that is being broken up by cops.

    I made it to another one of those hiker/biker sites I was talking about yesterday and decided I had enough tortre for the day. It was still early and I? could have pushed on, but I decided to leave that for a better day.

    I am now at the campground and type this from mobile workstation. You know how they have those posts with electrical hookups for RVs at these campgrounds? Well, my waterproof bag is on top of one of these posts with my laptop inside. Its actually quite an efficient setup since itís still raining!
    120 Days, 12000 Kilometers, 2 Wheels - Alaska to Panama for Charity - www.CyclingForACause.com

  25. #50
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    Oh man thats got to bite. Nothing worse than having to deal with cold windy rain. Unless its cold windy snow. Anyway for those of us that know the route and are following your journey it would be nice if you mentioned the town or the name of the campground you stayed at.

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