a video!

Long time no post (five months, really?!). Here’s a music video Annie made for Dr.How and the Reasons to Live using my GoPro footage. Ready for a roller coaster bike ride across Canada?!

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back to the rocky mountains!

Nine thousand and nineteen kilometers. That’s the final number on my speedometer since I arrived back in Vancouver. The cross Canada bicycle tour is over, I haven’t been on the move for more than a week now. I’ve been renting a room through airbnb and it’s been great to just relax, read and explore Vancouver a bit. It’s also been great to have my own private space for the first time in nearly four months. But of course it didn’t take too long before I started missing the daily cycling. Some of you might know that I’ve been silently dreaming of cycling all the way from Vancouver to Colorado to visit Annie…

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Luckily I was able to convince myself that it’s too late in the year to embark on a twenty to thirty day bike journey all the way to Estes Park. By the time I’d get there it would just be too cold and snowy to still be fun. So no more biking for me. Or better said no more bicycle touring: because I’m flying to Denver tomorrow! And of course I’m bringing my bicycle. Really looking forward to see the Rocky Mountain National Park without snow in its Fall coulors. And explore it together with Annie in the next weeks. On my list of things to do: cycling to the top of Trail Ridge Road. I didn’t get to ride it last winter since it was closed because of the snow. Highest point: 3713 meter. A challenging ride for sure, but I think it’s safe to say that I’m in top shape. See you later Vancouver, I’ll be back, but first things first: back to the Rocky Mountains!

vancouver island – tofino to vancouver

arrival at the pacific – vancouver to tofino

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the zigzagging continues – hope to vancouver

In Hope I was only one cycling day away from Vancouver, but I felt like I wasn’t ready yet to go down there so I decided to do some extra kilometers. In fact I wasn’t planning on going to Vancouver at all before exploring Vancouver Island. But my trusted Brooks saddle broke on the way to Squamish, so ended up going to Vancouver after all to get a new saddle. More about that on the Camera/Bicycle Wanderings Facebook page, your place for updates in between blog posts :).  I’m on Vancouver Island now and I’ll be in Ucluelet tomorrow. Coast-to-coast, Atlantic to Pacific, Trans Canada, check!

making plans in hope: a little detour to vancouver :)

making plans in hope: a little detour to vancouver :)

valleys and passes: crowsnest highway – radium hot springs to hope

There’s once more so much to write about. But the perfectionist in me hates half told stories. So I’ll keep some blog post ideas in the back of my head for now and continue down the path of photo blogging. Valleys and Passes is what the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3) is all about as it zigzags along the US border. The road follows a valley untill youSchermafbeelding (141) get close to that border, which then means you have to go over a pass to get away from it. The river on the other side of the pass of course flows South as well, so the game continues… Some of the climbs in British Columbia are definitely more challenging than in the rest of Canada. But beautiful is that same old word again to describe all this. Photo blogs are so much more fun :).

national parks galore – jasper to radium hot springs

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Jasper NP, Icefield Parkway, Columbia Icefield, Sunwapta Pass, Bow Pass, Banff NP, Lake Louise, Fairview Mountain, Bow Valley Parkway, Vermillon Pass, Kootenay NP, Continental Divide, British Columbia, Sinclair Pass, Radium Hot Springs…

Rocky Mountains!  A six-day cycling dream, enjoy.

flying through the prairies – winnipeg to saskatoon to edmonton to jasper

The inevitable moment has come: I’m falling horribly behind on my blog. I’m having a rest day in Lake Louise now in the middle of the Canadian Rockies. The past few days I biked from Jasper to here on the Icefield Parkway. I just don’t know which words to use to describe it, what an incredible ride was that!

But first things first: The Prairies. I flew through it: I did 1800 kilometers in ten cycling days. There’s so many topics to write about: the good winds, the bad winds, the horrible winds and how to deal with it, the flatlands and about how that’s a stupid word because there’s actually hills in the plains, that crazy day I biked 315 kilometers to Saskatoon, WarmShowers hosts who had a solar oven and others who were making an alcohol camping stove, another bear in a field right in  front of me (who doesn’t like oats?), endless canola and wheat fields, the meaning of that word endless,…

Sadly enough I don’t have the time for it all, maybe I’ll do some specials later when my tour has come to an end. Which it slowly is, I’m getting terribly close to Vancouver when I fold open that map of Canada. But first there’s many more mountains and passes to enjoy, This trip is seriously getting better every day. Yes, I’m in a bit of a euphoric mood right now after a hike to the top of Fairview Mountain earlier today (short video here), maybe I need some more oxygen? Or maybe I just love the mountains, who doesn’t?!

I selected what I think are sixteen representative pictures. I want to stress out that in contrary to what most people say, I don’t think the prairies are monotonous, boring or anything like that. If you make an effort to get off the major highways like I did there’s lots of beautiful places to discover in the plains of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, I had  great time cycling through it!

around lake superior – sault ste. marie to thunder bay

Just photos, not too many words. I need some time away from my laptop after that rather extensive one year ago in lander, wyoming post and I still have to do my laundry and get some groceries for the next few days. Highway 17 will continue to be my guide as I bike 2014-07-28_2969_internetfurther out West towards Winnipeg. Although I did hit some rainy and cold weather between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, the scenery fulfilled all my expectations in terms of natural beauty. My wild camping spot in the Lake Superior Provincial Park was without any doubts one of the highlights of my cross Canada trip so far. Although none of them are in the pictures, I met quite a few cyclists heading East in the past week. Special mention to Jason from Taiwan who I actually met on my second rest day in Sault Ste. Marie. It’s truly inspiring to me how he’s been cycling across the world for the past year and has only payed once for overnight accommodations. Follow him here. Here’s some photos!

 

the land of the saints – quebec, part two

We had two weeks to spend together, so instead of going straight to Montreal along the river we went more inland to explore Québec a bit more.2014-07-01_3792_internet We biked through a region that is known as the Laurentides. Further up North this mountain range has some real mountains, but the part that we were in consisted more of a series of steep but short hills. Together with the warm and humid weather these rollercoaster hills made us both think of our passage through the Ozark mountains in Missouri last summer. It was also the land of the Saints: Saint-Paulin, Saint-Gabriel, Saint-Donat, St.-Faustin-Lac-Carré,… Yes, nearly all the village names here start with Saint. The most original one we biked through was Sainte-Émilie-de-l’Énergie. Still not as cool though as that place called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! I biked through on my first day in Québec, you can’t beat that.

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In Saint-Jean-de-Matha we were welcomed by Alain & Véronique. We had a great time together and it was a pleasure to talk with Alain about bicycle touring, cycling and lots of other things.  I recognized my own passion in him and I think we could have easily talked for two more days. Right now they’re on their own bicycle trip with their son and a friend of his along the Pacific Coast from Portland to San Francisco.I wish them a great trip, which it undoubtedly will be, the Oregon and Californian coasts are beautiful.

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We mostly biked on quiet roads. The hills and the heat were persistent, but the lush and green landscape made up for that. Between Saint-Donat and Lac Supérieur we basically had the road to ourselves on the Chemin du Nordet, a 40 km route highly appreciated amongst cyclists with some views on the higher Laurentian mountains further up North.

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2014-07-02_2659_internetIn Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré it was time for a well deserved rest day after five days of cycling. The Camping Domaine Desjardins must be one of my favorite camprounds. Over the past years I’ve stayed at a couple of hundred campgrounds while bicycle touring, so that says a lot. At 24$ per night with cyclists reduction it’s still a bit expensive. But their camp spaces for cyclists are gorgeous. In fact the whole campground is set up with respect for nature and it basically feels like you’re camping in the woods, but with all the amenities of a normal campground. Luckily they also had a shelter where we could cook on our first night while the rain kept on pouring down with heavy force.

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After this rest day we were ready to head down South in direction of Montréal for the next two days…