I have travelled across the continent many times.
Each time, I marvel at the size, grandeur and diversity of the country. It is hard to believe there are shortages of any kind. This is a resource-rich country. There appears to be an abundance of power – hydro electric, wind, solar; an abundance of water; and, an abundance of space. And, yet, we continue to pay excessively high prices, gravitate to the large cities that foster inequities and discontent. I think of cities as pimples on the landscape, filled with discontent, ready to burst.
I am a cyclist. I live in cycle-friendly city amidst many other cyclists of all types. It is a growing and flourishing culture, at least where I live. Not so much in other parts of the nation. I saw a few cycle tourists and a few family bike shops but the mid-west is a car-loving place. Big cars. And trucks. It wasn’t until I was back in Canada near the cottage that I saw road cyclists on training rides. In an odd way, they looked out of place.
For the past decade, I have traveled with a bike by plane, and on the back of my car. This was the first long trip with both of my road bikes. I can’t imagine being at the cottage without a bike. This is the first time Chas and Lou have been at the cottage together. It was one or the other. I wonder how they will like sharing time with me and on the roads.
Chas: “I can tell you I don’t like it. This is my place.”
Lou: “Wait a minute. I like it here too.”
Chas: “Ya, but I was born here. This is my place. Not yours.”
I have never been on the road for 6 days with bikes on the back. Luckily, I had good weather. The bike bags didn’t stand up, but once reinforced with duct tape, they kept the bugs and road dirt off, not to mention thwart would be thieves. I need better bags for the return trip.
Car camping is OK. I was surprised how easily I found clean, safe sites near the highways. I met some interesting travellers along the way with a lot more experience at this than me.
I met a woman travelling alone in an SUV with 2 kayaks on top, towing a bed sitting room with 2 bikes mounted at the back.
A couple motorcycling to the west coast with a sleeping trailer in tow.
Two motorcycles that packed tent-beds. It took them 30 minutes minimum to setup and then pack up the next morning.
And then there were the RVs. That seems to be the favoured mode of long-trip travel. I even met a couple that have traded their 5 bedroom home for a large RV and a 5 acre track north of Minneapolis.
I felt out of place at times. I was the only person travelling and sleeping in the back of a SUV. This is how I look at it. The SUV is safer, and more comfortable than a tent. I’d rather sleep off the ground, keep dry, and have some comfort. It is also easy to set up and take down camp. No time wasted there.
Two professional guys on a 5 day motorcycle trip in western Washington with very comfortable setups.
A women travelling for 6 months with kayaks, bikes and a rolling bedroom that include a TV and a kitchen.
A couple from Ontario travelling to BC on motorcycles towing a trailer with sleeping quarters and a dining area.
I spent the day cleaning and food shopping. It takes me 1-2 days to open up the cottage at the beginning of the season. And, several days to clean up the lot. There are a lot of large cedar, pine, and spruce trees that need trimming attention.
But I am ready to ride. Tomorrow morning I will clean the drive trains and hit the road for a few hours.
Chas: “Me first?”
Lou: “I can’t wait to clean up. I must smell. Can you smell me Chas?”