By The Numbers: May

And just like that, May is gone. It treated me well, as in I probably got rained on a little at least 20 of the 31 days, but none of the rain was super heavy so I never had one of those cold and drenched miserable days, which is great! Also, I went swimming for the first time this year. Yay! Which is funny, as I have literally been waking up to temps around freezing most mornings recently. Here is a quick recap of the last month of travel, as well as the journey so far. All stats are up to and including May 31, 2024. *If you don't give a hoot about cycling, I have included some non-cycling stats at the bottom; feel free to go directly there! 

Kananaskis Trail/Hwy 40 is closed to cars until June! 

Mileage Stats (overall):

Total Days on Road: 69 *PS last month I miscounted. Oops. 
Total Days Ridden: 55
Total Miles: 2,690
Average Miles Per Day Ridden: 48.91 (vs 49.6 as of May 1; pretty steady!)
Total Hours (moving only): 329
Average (moving) Hours Per Day: 5:35 (vs. prior of 5:40) 
*like last time, I would say there are about two additional hours of drinking, eating, bathroom stops, sheltering from the rain, looking at maps, warming up by stopping for coffee and/or looking at mountains.

I am so happy to be on a dirt road!

Accommodation stats for May: 

Established Camp: 7 (75% from last month)
Friend: 2 (↓ 85% from last month)
Motel: 11 (↓ 15% from last month)
Warm Showers: 0 (↓ 100% from last month)
Wild Camp: 9 (↑ 13% from last month)

Verdict: Apparently, I know more people in CA, OR, WA and the west coast of Canada than I do in the interior! Also, I was on a lot of dirt and in more parks, so my camping as a whole increased over town stays. However, as you will see below, the lack of staying with friends/warm showers caused my costs to be higher this month. 

I had to stay an extra day in Fernie to get my bike fixed.

Budget stats for May: 

Accommodation: $1,093 (↑ from last month)
Dining Out: $246  (↑ from last month)
Groceries: $271  (↑ from last month)
Health: $234 (same - insurance premium)
Transportation: $0 (↓ from last month)
Phone: $81 (same - cell phone)
Entertainment: $274 (↑ from last month - bike repairs/camping supplies/bear spray/satellite messenger)
Misc.: $78  (↑ from last month - VPN, credit card fees, gifts)
Shopping: $120 (unfortunately, a new category, 100% increase from last month)

Total Spent: $2,405 ( (↑ 35% from last month, which was $1,767)

Verdict: Uh oh. Although this is still not super high and is still less than half of what I was spending at home, as I mentioned last month, my thought was that I would shoot for about $2,000 per month. However, I did know that I might have to tweak it a little as I got more knowledge about what I was actually spending. 

The main culprit is the cost of accommodation, which was about 35% higher than last month. I would say that I maybe stayed in more motels, but as we see from the accommodation stats, that was not true; they just cost more. I crossed the border into Canada at the end of April, so once again, I am going to blame Canada (so sorry)! Also dining out and groceries are both about 25% higher. I also had to buy a few things along the road:  a new pillow, some new dry bags, camping fuel, memory cards and a new charger. This inflated my entertainment cost quite a bit and added a whole new category of Shopping. Some of these costs, although not necessarily recurring, will probably be replaced by something else, so maybe $2,500 is a more realistic goal. We will see. 

Also, in the question form (P.S. You can still ask questions here), Nicole asked, "How long will you be biking for? How many kilometres do you bike a day on these adventures?" Well, as I mentioned above, my average is currently about 49 miles / 78 km, but my longest day so far for this trip was about 70 miles / 112 km. My shortest day was a day with my Dad, where we biked around Vancouver, and that was 20 miles / 32 km. I think for him it was his longest day ever, and he was very glad to get his butt off the bike, literally. 

As for how long I will be biking for, I hope to get to the East Coast before the snow starts to fly. If I am tired by then, I will fly or take the train home; if not, who knows, maybe I will bike home. That is way too far in the future to decide at this point. So, to answer your question, somewhere between October and December most likely. After that, I think I will do some international (non-North American) travel, probably without the bike, but who knows. My friend Dr. G asked if I planned on doing any international cycling and I my answer to this question is yes, but I do not know if it will be right after this trip or if I will need a break from Bob for a while. Europe has a whole network of cycling routes called the EuroVelo and I would love to spend some time exploring that at some point, plus there are many, many other routes on all of the continents that have piqued my interest. 

Speaking of international trips, one of my inspirations for this trip was from a woman named Lael Wilcox, who got the women's record for the Tour Divide race (Canada to Mexico) and won the TransAm (west coast to east coast of the US) race overall. She is currently (right now!) trying to set a world record for fastest round the world bike tour (18,000 miles). She is very inspiring and is so cheerful and she will even respond to your comments on Instagram. If you are interested, here is her Ted talk about the TransAm race and how she got her start, and here is her Instagram, where you can follow her RTW FKT attempt. 

And now, some non-cycling related stats

This month, instead of ice cream by the numbers, I am just going to show you my new favorite ice cream: Two Scoop Steve's in Yahk, BC. Since it was in the name, I got two scoops! Mint chip and butter pecan. It was delicious, and was even worth sitting in the spitting rain to order it and eat it. 

Favorite new town: Fernie, BC. Although it rained the entire time I was there, this little town is nestled in the mountains, has a cute little downtown and has any action sport you may like, like skiing, hiking, mountain biking etc. Plus they have everything you need, including three bike shops, within about a five block radius! *Runner up: Nelson, BC, which sits on a lake and really kind of reminded me of Tahoe a little bit. 

Favorite new lake: There have been so many, but I would probably have to say Kootenay Lake. Not only is it next to my runner up, Nelson, but it is huge, very beautiful, surrounded by mountains, and not even that cold! Also nearby there are hot springs, skiing, hiking, and beautiful vistas! PLUS, there is a free ferry, the longest free ferry in the world apparently! *Runner up: Okanagan, which has great vistas but not as many nice green trees. 

Kootenay Lake at Nelson

Favorite hamburger: Little did you know this would end up being a category, but if it's not an ice cream, it's a hamburger (or surprisingly, a GF pizza!). I think it is a toss up: the birthday wiener burger at Clyde's in Grand Forks was good, but the GF bun was a little odd and the fries were not super crisp. The Royale with Cheese at the Royal in Nelson was great, the GF bun was better and their poutine was also GF, but they really skimped on the fixings (the burger looked so sad, just meat and bun). 

The Royale, a sad little burger

Favorite book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Facing The Mountain by Daniel James Brown. This one is near and dear to my heart, as it talks about the Nisei solders, the second generation Japanese Americans, who went to fight in WWII, even as their parents, the first generation, were imprisoned in internment camps in America. The reason it is so dear is that my good friend K's grandfather was one of them and I remember sitting with her grandma talking about being in the internment camps. Many of the Nisei died, as they were sent on suicide missions, but they were the unsung heroes (along with many others) of the war. However, we don't know much about them, and this book really can open people's eyes about some of the things they went through. 

Okay it's your turn!! What unexpected thing did you have to spend money on last month? Who is your real life hero or inspiration? What was your favorite book last month and why? 


Contemplations Regarding Canada

Holy moly, it is June!! Can you believe it? I thought I would do a quick recap of some of the things I have noticed and/or thought about regarding Canada, as I ride along, thinking deep thoughts. 

Disclaimer: I want to apologize in advance if I offend any of my Canadian readers, friends of Canadian readers, or people in general. All opinions are my own and none of them have been fact checked. If there is an error in any of the data, blame Canada. And if you can name where that phrase came from, I will give you a prize of my choosing. 

(1) Things are not as cheap as you may think. For those of you who have been to Europe, you may have noticed that fruit and vegetables seem a lot cheaper there. Perhaps one thing that makes them seem that way is that they are priced by the kilo. So when you see apples for $1.99/kilo and you are used to working with pounds, you have to do a double take to realize that they are basically half off! However, as I strolled the produce aisle upon my first Canadian grocery store foray, imagine my surprise when I realized that they are denoted by the pound! This did not make sense to me, as I always thought Canada was on the metric system. Then I started digging and realized it is all befuddled! Gas is by the liter, ice cream is by the liter, cereal is by the gram, chocolate is by the gram. Why is fruit by the pound???? 

Yes, that is $3.69 per pound! Yikes. 

(2) Things are not as far away as you may think. The mystery continues. As I rode along a rail trail, I noted that the distance was denoted in miles. All of the trestles have mile names: 66 mile trestle, 12 mile trestle etc. However, the road signs are in kilometers. But wait, it gets even more fun. People usually tell you their height in feet, a friend I stayed with told me his well was dug to 300 feet, and when I told someone the other day that I had ridden 70 miles, their eyes did not even glaze over. Most people say the elevation is meters, but some signs are in feet. Which one is it and why are they seemingly random and different? 

This was a fun singletrack

(3) Some things do not make cents. I brought some spare change with me that I had from the last time I came to Canada in 2018, and some of it was pennies. When the guy at Timmy's rang me up a coffee for $2.02 and I gave him $2.02, he just arched his eyebrow and smiled and gave me my coffee. When the lady on the ferry rang up my coffee for $2.87 and I tried to give her $2.87 she poo-pooed me and made me give her $2.90 (of course they round up!) I remember this happening in Australia when I was there; they were phasing them out or had just phased them out and I thought the same thing then as I do now: why are the prices still in cents when there are no cents? The price should just be $2.90. Side note: either way, the coffee is very cheap and I am very happy about that! 

Timmy's: warmth, plugs, internet. 
What more can you ask for really.

(4) Alberta reminds me of Texas with mountains. I have been to Alberta before and have mostly stayed in the mountain regions, which are stunning, and are not like Texas in the least. However, I spent a LONG time riding along the Cowboy Trail, which is flat and mostly made up of ranch land, agricultural land or oil derricks. Additionally, there were a lot of trucks, which of course go hand in hand with ranches, farms and the oil industry. However, I have stayed in Calgary and more recently in Cochrane and both of them slightly remind me of Houston, where things are flattish, spread out, and full of chain and big box stores. Don't get me wrong, the items at the Super Walmart were a lot cheaper than the ones I have been getting in small town grocery stores. However, I feel a bit of deja vu...am I in Texas, Toto? 

I was the only person walking (on foot) here.

If you are Canadian, can you please solve these mysteries? If you are not Canadian, how much is a cup of coffee at your local coffee shop? Have you been to Alberta and/or Texas, and if so, what did you think? 


A Day In The Life

Happy Monday and Happy Memorial Day! I hope that if you have the day off you are having a great time and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and you are happy. If you are working today, I'm so sorry, but may your next day off be wonderful. This weekend brings me a little feeling of nostalgia, at is is usually my first backpacking weekend in the Sierra, and normally I would be in Yosemite or some other high rocky place, enjoying the views and loving it. However, this year brings a different sort of adventure, but it is interesting how we pine for the past even so! 

Yosemite: Memorial Day Weekend 2023

I thought I would do another day in the life, and may do this each month, as even though sometimes the days seem the same every day, they are actually often quite different. Last time, if you recall, it was in the 20s in the mornings and this time, I went through a few days in the 80s, only one month later! 

Monday, May 13, 2024
Hydraulic Lake, British Columbia

4:00 am: I wake to the sound of honking geese. This has been my alarm for the past few days, as I have been camping near bodies of water and they are very active in the morning. The other day, I could even hear them walking around near my tent, but when I poked my head out they skedaddled. They are noisy though! Luckily I fall back asleep. 

5:00 am: It is light! I wake up to the sound of the dawn chorus. Now this I can get on board with! I notice that they have the cheeseburger bird in Canada too! For those of you who are not familiar, this is a bird that I grew up hearing and the sound it makes kind of sounds like it is whistling "cheese-bur-ger!" When I was a kid, I thought it was just us locals that called it that, but apparently other people do too (this is what is sounds like). The actual bird is a chickadee. However, in BC, this bird sometimes has an extra syllable in its call, so it sounds like it is saying, "three-cheese-bur-ger!" 

5:45 am: I think about getting up. It is actually not too cold this morning, which is usually my excuse for lingering, and bonus, my tent is dry, as the site near the lake was windy and not too humid. I rejoice silently, as a wet tent is the bane of my existence. 

Hydraulic Lake

6:00 am: I do my normal morning tent routine of dressing and putting things away, with one critical addition. Before putting on any clothes, I put on sunscreen. I have learned the hard way that this is best done before everything else, while you are focusing and not in a hurry on the side of the road. Also, this way I can get that little strip near my watch, the backs of my hands, and the weird armpit-side-area that I sometimes miss when I am in a hurry. Also it's better to not be wearing my helmet and glasses and sleeves and cuffs etc. Preferably when I am at the beach, I would do this naked, as I always miss a spot when I do it after I am dressed, even in a swimsuit. Life lesson learned. However, I am not in the mood to get naked in the tent so I make do. 

6:20 am: I exit the tent. The lake is calm and the view is great. I heat up water for oatmeal and coffee. This consists of instant coffee and although I often drink it black at home, while traveling I like a bit of a treat, so I pilfer sugar and cream packets from any motel or gas station when I get coffee and I use a couple of those when I am camping. Normally I would scoff at any fake creamers, but currently I am happy to have anything! For the oatmeal, I put a couple of sugar packets and if I have peanut butter, which I do today, I put a scoop of that in there too. If I have extra creamer packets, I may even throw one of those in (decadent!!), but usually I do not have extras and today is no exception. 

While the water is heating, I break down the tent and load the bags onto Bob. After doing that, I eat breakfast while staring at the lake and watching the fish jump; dare I call this "meditating?" 

7:00 am: I get going. Today I would like to try to get 50 miles at least, but preferably 60 miles, as I have a town day planned for tomorrow and the more miles I do today, the less I have to do tomorrow. I like to have as much time as possible in towns, as I often have errands to do, administrative things to take care of and also would like to relax a little bit sometimes. Ideally, I would get to town right at or just before check in (around 2 pm usually) so I would have a few hours for errands, and a few hours for admin/relaxing. 

7:06 am: Since I was wild camping, I did not have a toilet, but I knew there was one a few minutes down the road. I never pass up an opportunity to use a real toilet, if you can call a pit toilet "real." It is much more real than digging a hole in the ground though, so I use it while I can! 

Do you see the sign on the wall? Dog poop bags?  Who does that?

8:00 am - 11:59 am: Yesterday I spent the entire day climbing up about 3,500 feet and today, I spend most of the day going downhill (aka losing what I gained, but such is life). However, I am on a rail trail and so it is a gradual 1%-2% downhill, and although you may think that this is awesome, it is not! The surface is gravelly and rocky and sandy and I actually have to pedal downhill most of the time in order to keep the flow going. Also, this kind of riding hurts the butt! If you are a runner, you will know what I mean. When the spectator says, "it is all downhill from here!" and you are like, "my quads are dead, downhill is NOT my friend at this point!" My butt is dead. Bring on the 5% incline (just kidding!) 

However, I do have the trail all to myself and it a nice ride through the pine trees. And it is not raining, which is another bane of my existence, so I am as happy as a clam! I am listening to Everyone Here is Lying by Shari Lapena, which is entertaining. This downhill is perfect for audio, as steeper ones with more wind noise make it so I cannot hear well enough. 

Kettle Valley Railway

12:00 pm: I veer off track for a bit at Beaverdell, where there is one restaurant open that has pizza and ice cream. I eat half of a pizza and a scoop of ice cream, and wrap up the other half of the pizza for dinner later and put it in my bike bag. While eating, I charge my phone and sit for a bit watching the cars go by until I finally have to get back up and get going. At this point, I have done 35 miles so far. I am still aiming for 60, which would put me right near the Kettle River at a campsite there. 

Yes please.

Pizza in Beaverdell

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm: I ride near the Kettle river for a long time. There are a lot of gates, as much of this part of the trail goes through private land. I get tired of getting off the bike, opening the gate, closing the gate, getting back on the bike. I am ready to be done. 

5:00 pm: I get to the Kettle river campsite. It is $30 for a tent site. After having a lot of free sites lately, this seems like a lot (however, it is almost summer, so this will likely be the norm more often). Plus they only take cash and I only have $20. Poop. The camp host is very nice and she tells me all about the other campsites further along, as well as the possibility of ATMs. I ride to town, which is about 5 clicks away, the lady says. (side note: clicks are kilometers; however, the town was more like 7 clicks away, and those extra 2 clicks were felt). 

Spring runoff in the Kettle river


5:27 pm: I get to the second campsite possibility. The office is open from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. I go to the office and it is closed. I peer in and it is dark. Poop. There is a phone number to call after hours. I call it, but nobody answers. Poop! Luckily there is another campground across the river. I know I should get cash before going to the third option, so I go into town and ask at the local pub, which I was told had an ATM. It is closed, but the man working outside directs me to the Petro Canada (gas station). 

5:45 pm: I ride to the PetroCan, but their ATM does not take my card. It keeps saying chip read error. I ride to the next possible ATM, which the gas station attendant told me was 2 minutes away. It takes me 6 minutes. I get cash! Yay. 

6:00 pm: I ride to the campsite. The building which has the name of the site on the roof has a "private" sign on the front door. I knock anyways. Nobody answers. The next building over looks like someone took a sledgehammer to it, or maybe it was a fire? There is a building that looks like an apartment building nearby as well, but nothing else. There is only one other person in an RV site, and I pass by him to see if he is a host, but there is no sign and I do not want to bug him. I decide to go and pick a spot and maybe someone will come to me for the fee. 

6:15 pm: I pick a nice spot right near the river. I eat my pizza, plus four coconut macaroons, while staring at the river in a comatose manner. I am tired. My final mileage is 70.73 miles, which beats my prior one day high for this trip so far of 70.28. 

Home sweet home

6:30 pm: I put up my tent, use the bathroom (NOT maintained, maybe this campground is closed?), and take off my bike shorts to air out for the night. There is not enough time to rinse them and let them dry, so I just flip them inside out so the crotch section gets some air. It is slightly gross, but such is life these days. I unpack my bags, spread out my sleep gear and put on my sleep shorts. I start my charging regime. My battery pack has two USB ports, and I have one mini USB with two, so I can charge two items on that one, and one item on the other. I then closely monitor them to see when they are full so I can swap them out with the next thing. Despite having so many electronics, generally I only need to charge my phone and maybe two other items each night. 

7:00 pm: I sit with the flap of the tent open and watch a bald eagle land in a tree across the river and try to get a video of him leaving the tree, but he just sits there for a long time. I wonder what he is waiting for. The river near me (still the Kettle) is very high and is moving very fast, so I doubt I will hear or see any fish here! 

7:30 pm - 9:00 pm: I read. I am reading Outlander, which I avoided reading for a long time, as it seemed like a bit of a fad. However, I am enjoying it, even though it is mostly just a romance novel. But who doesn't love a nice strong Norse man in a kilt though, you know what I am saying? Aye!!! 

9:00 pm: It is not quite dark yet, but I call it a night and am asleep in mere seconds. In hiker terms, this is called "hiker midnight." I guess it is the same in the bike world, at least for me! As soon as it is dark, it's lights out! 

P.S. Nobody ever came to get my fee, and when I left the next morning the office was still empty, so I ended up getting a free spot after all! 

Have you ever heard (or heard of) the cheeseburger bird? What is your favorite bird sound? What book are you currently reading? 



I thought I would jump on the TGIF wagon, except that now that I don't have a normal work week, I actually dislike the weekends. Funny, eh? However, they are busier and it takes longer to go grocery shopping and there are more people on the roads and the trails! So now, Monday is my new Friday. However, today is Victoria Day in Canada, so it may still be a bit busier than normal. However, I thought I would do a quick TGIM post anyway. Happy Victoria Day everyone! 

The high of the last week was: My birthday was a great day. I am not really one to celebrate, and I hate being the center of attention (please do not sing to me). However, this day was perfect. I got up naturally, had a nice coffee and breakfast, tackled a nice easy 2% grade uphill, had good weather, then a very smooth downhill with excellent views. It was not too hot, I got into town early and treated myself to lunch, I got like 6 errands done in only a few hours and I had a chance to relax! It was excellent. The only thing I did not get was my free Starbucks drink, as the town I was in was tiny and did not have one. However, my anonymous friend, who reads this blog, and is a very nice dude, gifted me a SBUX gift card so that I could get my "free" coffee whenever I wanted it!! Isn't that just the cherry on top!? Thanks B-man! 

Coming down the hill into Grand Forks, BC

The low of the last week was: I had one day where I had a section of single-track which was sandy and rocky, and was skinny and was right next to the Columbia River, with a wall on one side and a drop off on the other. It.Was.Hairy! Plus there were a lot of steep ups and downs and I ended up pushing Bob a lot. Plus I fell a couple of times, luckily not serious, but it was a frustrating day for sure. To top it off, I was going to camp, but it was an extra six miles past town so I decided to just get a room, but I was hot and frustrated and I accidentally booked one at the top of a hill, so when I got into town I had to go a mile uphill to get to my hotel and it was not even close to a grocery store! I caved and walked to a pub across the street and drowned my sorrows in baby back ribs. 

Bob fell and got a booboo

Something I marked off my to-do list was: Gah! The health insurance has become a fiasco. I got global health insurance right after I quit my job with the understanding that I was going to be traveling to several different countries, but my first two would be the US and Canada. First they tried to get me to give them a domicile in Canada, but I reiterated that I would be constantly traveling. They said that was fine, insurance was approved and I thought I was good. Then a month later, they asked me to give them a domicile in the US. I reiterated that I am traveling and they did not reply. Then a week later I got a notice "confirming my cancelation" of my insurance and thanking me for being a loyal customer. After a big back and forth with the company, who is based in the UK, I finally got it reinstated. Phew! 

The book I am reading is: I am still reading the Outlander on eBook, which is taking me a while because I mostly listen to audio and really only read for about an hour at night in my tent, and this book is also long. However, I do not mind, and I am enjoying it. On audio, it changes every day, but I am reading one called Open Season by CJ Box, which reads like a book written by a man who maybe used to be in law enforcement or the military. It is so-so. 

The best thing I spent money on was: FOOD! I love food! I actually went whole hog for my birthday week last week and I ate out three times! Normally on any given week, I may eat out once, but more likely I would just get groceries (ahem, ice cream) from the store and eat them instead. My favorite thing was a double bacon cheeseburger with a wiener on it! I had to take the wiener off and eat is separately and then split the sandwich in two and eat two open face sandwiches in order to get it into my mouth, as it was so big (insert wiener joke here?)! 

Weiner burger + poutine fries!
(GF bun in case you are wondering why it looks so funny)

Good stuff!

My plans this week include: Pedaling, looking at stuff, taking photos of stuff, eating. 

My favorite photo from the last week is: This one! I have been riding a lot of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (KVR) and I completed the entire thing (some parts are washed out but I did all that was possible) and got to mile zero! After that, I went on the Columbia and Western Rail Trail (C&W) and I also completed the entire length of that one too! It feels so satisfying, even though I have many miles left. 

Butt and Gut Update: I have been lucky that since I started, I have not had any saddle sore issues. I was quite worried about that, as there have been long days in the saddle. However, KNOCK ON WOOD, I have only had a little bit of chafe from time to time, but nothing serious at all. For the gut, I have basically had no bloating, except for one time that I had a banana and beans in the same day. However, I have even tried eating a couple of slices of sourdough with no issues and I did have a few beers too. I am still staying basically gluten free and am not really eating beans, garlic, onions or high sugar/fiber fruit. It seems to be working! 

What are you reading? What was the high/low of your week last week? What have you crossed off of your to-do list lately? 


You Ask, I Answer

Happy belated Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there! I hope that you were showered with love and food yesterday! For those of you in places who celebrate on a different day (I am looking at you, UK), I am talking to you too!

I have had several days of no service, so have not really been online or in touch at all much, so I thought I would just do a quick Q&A, update and coffee date all rolled into one! For coffee, since I am "on (perma) holiday," and it is almost my birthday, I will treat myself to a large non-fat peppermint mocha WITH whipped cream, thank you very much. That reminds me, can I still get my birthday drink at Starbucks if I am in Canada? I am not sure if I will have the chance to find out... Maybe I will just buy myself a milkshake later to make up for it. 

If we were having coffee, I would give you a quick update that I am having a blast, BUT the weather is weird!! It was 27 F the other morning and then in the 70s that day, and then two days later, it was in the 90s F during the day and I went swimming! Sorry, Canada, but can you please make up your mind, eh? Actually I am not complaining, but I am a bit burnt. Tan line photos to be revealed later! 

Okanogan Lake Beach

And now, onto a few of your questions! As a side note, I have had a lot of questions about planning, gear and logistics, so that will be a post (or maybe a few posts) of its own! Coming soon... 

Jenny asked: are your parents worried about you doing this, or are they used to things like this? They could pipe up in the comments, but they probably won't, so I will answer for them. YES times two. They are worried, and my Mom tracks me like a very loving stalker, but they are also used to this and know that I am loving it. I don't think they worry about my abilities, but probably about other people who are not looking where they are driving, or are maybe creepy, or not nice people. As a side note, my Dad met me a couple of weeks ago and we ate too much, went hiking and rode bikes (!) together, so he is happy to have an excuse to travel too! Mom/Dad; want to add anything here? 

Anonymous asked: Now that you're up in the "wilds of Canada," have you encountered any wildlife? If you are asking about bears, Anon, not yet! However I have seen moose, beaver, elk, marmots, a bald eagle, geese and lots of the usual deer, birds and squirrels (plus some dead things on the side of the road). My favorite is the heard but not seen: the dawn chorus of birds in the morning. I have also heard coyotes at night and loons and geese in the mornings! 

I did find this Sasquatch. 

San asked: Were you sad to sell your home? I am glad you asked! I actually closed on the house last Friday and I could not be happier. This will likely be a post of its own at some point, but it had some hiccups but nothing big, and I am now officially homeless. I love it! So....NO, not sad in the least. 

Stephany asked: What's one of your unpopular opinions? I would say the fact that I don't love dogs. I know, Stephany, you are probably now blacklisting me, and I do think Dutch was the cutest thing! However, I don't like the hair, or the licking, or the jumping. I don't like people who say, "but he is friendly" as their dog jumps and licks. If the dog is well behaved and leaves me alone when I want to be left alone and doesn't smell or shed, I can get on board. Otherwise, I would prefer to be alone. Sorry dog lovers. 

This is Jelly. I like her a lot when she is sleeping. 

Lisa asked: How do you charge your phone? As I am often camping for several days at a time where they is no electricity, I have an Ankor 20,000 mAh portable battery charger (like this). You are probably saying, but what does all of that mean? My phone is about 3,100 mAh (milliamp hour), so I could technially charge it about six times. However, I have several (11!!) other electronics, so normally I can go about 4-6 days without power before my battery bank dies too. It is a little bigger than a deck of cards but it totally worth the weight. If you are ever thinking about buying one, I suggest Ankor as I do not think this is one of those things you should cheap out on. 

Ankor battery pack

Coco asked: Do you get scared? Hell yeah, but probably not of what you may be thinking. For instance, I am not really scared of bears per se. Sure, if one is near me, I am, but I don't dwell on it, if that makes sense. What I am scared of is riding on the side of the highway and some numbnut hitting me from behind, or maybe a ladder or a bolt or a piece of wood falling off someone's car and nailing me. Or me hitting a patch of gravel or getting a flat tire and falling right in front of a car. Then of course there are little daily worries, like where my next water source is going to be and whether or not I will be able to find a spot to sleep that is not obvious to the not-nice people that my parents are worried about. But those are mostly manageable. 

Riding on the side of the Coquihalla highway. Not fun.

My Mom asked: where do I park my bike when I go to use the restroom or go into the store, etc.? When I go to the bathroom, I just lean it up against the portapotty or bathroom, which is 90% of where I use the restroom when I am in civilized areas. If I am in the woods, well you know the drill there. In that case, I lean it up against a tree. If I have to go inside somewhere, I try to lean it against a window where I can sit, or if there is outside seating, I try to keep it within eye's length. When I go into the grocery store, I have a small lock that I use, but I don't take all of my stuff (bags) off of it; I just get my electronics, put them in my pocket, and go in and hope for the best. 

Parked at the grocery store

Parked at the bathroom

Okay, that's enough out of me! Now it's time for you to answer questions! 

If you are a parent, would you worry about me? What is the strangest or biggest animal you have seen in the wild? What is one of your unpopular opinions? Do you get scared when you travel? 


Looking Back: Books + A Bonus Question or Two

Remember my lack of reading motivation in March? Well, in reading terms for me, April went in like a lamb and out like a lion. I know that is the wrong month or order or whatever but hey, I am going with it, and that is final. Due to having lots of time during the day to listen to audiobooks, I ended up reading 25 books in April, which I am pretty sure may be the most I have ever read in a month. Now, we all know that quantity is not quality, so here were my six favorites of the bunch. I will also tell you my one least favorite AND will answer a couple of your questions that you have submitted at the bottom of this post! 

The Women by Kristin Hannah (5 stars): I am sure most of you have already heard about this book, but if not, it is about the women serving in the Vietnam war, and some of the trials that they go through, both in the war and afterward. 

The Breaking Wave by Nevil Shute (4 stars): I totally crashed Jenny and Birchie's party of two for this book, and am glad that I did. It is a little dry at first, but it ramps up and ends up being fun. It's about an Australian man in WWII who goes through a lot and then tries to find his brother's old girlfriend to help tie up loose ends. Of course there are a few twists and turns along his search, but he ends up exactly where he needs to be. 

The Teacher by Freida McFadden (4 stars): Thrillers are my romance novel. Plop me down with a killer on the loose and a backstabbing wife and I am there. This one is about two teachers, the nice English teacher husband and the cold mean Math teacher wife. Throw in a misunderstood loner high school girl who has both of their classes and a crush on the Mr. and you have a good time for all! 

The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang (4 stars): While not my favorite of her books (that would be The Alice Network), once again Kate Quinn has told a good story. Set in 1906 San Francisco right before the big earthquake and fire that destroyed half of the city, this book is about vice, deceit and friendship. I learned a bit of history and also had an adventure along the way.  

The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros (4 stars): This is my kind of romance novel. This is no Emily Henry fluff; this one has a backbone. About a couple who meets during the war and the woman's granddaughter who allows a writer to try to recreate the ending of the grandmother's unfinished story, it is a story of love during a difficult time, loss, and war. 

Holly by Stephen King (4 stars): I have always been a King fan, and am liking his non-horror books so far! This is another detective novel, where Holly tries to solve a case of a missing girl, and gets herself in deeper than she expected. It has a bit of a Hannibal Lecter element, and the audiobook even has a verbal author's note from King himself. The one thing that was a bit odd in this book was how you definitely realize, if you did not before, that King is a democrat and is not a fan of Trump! He makes that VERY clear, which I found interesting, as I don't remember any of his other books having a political element. 

Did not love: 

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese: This book was TOO LONG!! It was a 30 hour audiobook (normal length is about 10 hours) and it goes through several generations of one family as well as having side stories about other characters. He also goes on and on about medical terms (like the bones in the foot for example). I know what a talus bone is! Move on! It could have been a good book at 300 pages, but 700+ is too much. 

Okay now onto a couple of your questions!

The number one question was...do I or will I get lonely? Short answer, no or I don't think so. First of all, I am a solo person, I love to read and am happy spending hours alone. One of my favorite things to do is to go on a 10 or 12 day hike in the literal middle of nowhere and camp on a mountain with nobody for miles around. 

However, I also am not adverse to talking to people at the bar when I stop for coffee, or at the gas station when I stop for a rest break. When you have a bike full of stuff, people talk to you unsolicited. Not only that, but there is a thing called Warm Showers, where people will host you for the night, and I have done this a few times and have had a blast. On top of that, I am staying with friends when and where I can, so I do have those times to fill in any gaps. So far, of my ~ month that I have been traveling, I have stayed with WS hosts two nights and with friends for thirteen nights, so basically about a third of the time! 

And to keep with the above theme, Nicole asked: Do you have a favourite book? When asked this question, for years I would say A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My grandmother gave me a copy when I was small and I read it and re-read it over the years, always loving it again each time. I don't know if it is nostalgia or that it has just held up well, but my most recent reading last year did not disappoint! So I guess that is still my answer, although I have found several authors that usually come through, and actually two of them are in the list above!! I have found Kristin Hannah (in her more recent novels) and Kate Quinn to be two that I usually enjoy. 

Who is your favorite author? What good books did you read in April? Do you/would you get lonely if you travel alone? 


By The Numbers: April

It's May! As you may know, this is my favorite month! Bring on the spring time! I thought I would do a quick recap of the last "month" of travel, including some fun facts about ice cream consumption. I started my biking journey at the end of March, so this month will have a few non-April days in it, but here is what we have so far (through and including 05/01/24). 

Mileage Stats:

Total Days on Road: 40
Total Days Ridden: 29
Total Miles: 1,440
Average Miles Per Day Ridden: 49.6
Total Hours (moving only): 164
Average (moving) Hours Per Day: 5.7 (5:40) 
*my guess would be that average time on the road per day (moving + non-moving) would be around 8 hours. I take a lot of photos, potty breaks and food breaks! 

Sunshine Coast Highway

Accommodation stats: 

Established Camp: 4
Friend: 13
Motel: 13
Warm Showers: 2
Wild Camp: 8

Home for the night

Budget stats: 

*I will probably do this each month going forward, but this time, it will include all 40 days so far. 

Accommodation: $1,084
Dining Out: $275
Groceries: $310
Health: $234 (insurance premium)
Transportation: $79 (bus/ferry)
Phone: $81 (this is a family plan, but since I pay for it, I will account for the total)
Entertainment: $292 (bike repairs/satellite messenger)
Misc.: $17 (VPN, credit card fees, gifts)
Total spent for 40 days: $2,357
Monthly (30 day) cost: $1,767

This is good, as my thought was that I would shoot for about $2,000 per month, but I knew I may have to tweak it a little as I got more knowledge about what I was actually spending. I am happy with this, but know that some weeks I may be spending more on accommodation, which is my highest cost. 

Also, in the question form (it's not too late! You can still ask questions here), my friend Dr. G asked, "How has your spending changed? Do you spend 10% of what you did before?" Well, I do not spend 10% of what I spent before, maybe more like a third, but I think I will have a lot more clarity on this answer at the end of the year. It is hard right now, as I am still actually paying a lot for home things (repairs, inspections, upgrades) and so this cost above is really only my travel cost, and in all actuality, I probably spent more in the month of April than I have in a very long time (or ever). 

Peanut butter milkshake at Bend Burger!

Also, because I know you care, here are my specific ice cream stats

*I have put these in liters so that they will be consistent. FYI, a normal "half gallon" in the US is about 1.5 L (which is not actually half of a gallon anymore). 

Times I have been to the grocery store: 15
Times I have bought ice cream: 7
Total L of ice cream bought: 7.2 L (~5 half gallons)
Total cost: $22.56 (7.2% of grocery spend)
Average $ per L: $3.13 (~ $4.69 per half gallon)
Cheapest: Bremerton, WA / $2.10 per L (~ $3.15 per half gallon)
Most Expensive: Victoria BC / $5.83 per L (~ $8.75 per half gallon) (celebratory pint after good news! Totally worth every bite!)
Favorite Brand so Far: Trader Joes
Least Favorite Brand so Far: Crystal

Okay it's your turn!! How much did you spend on ice cream last month? How many times per month do you go to the grocery store? How much does a "half gallon" or 1.5 L cost in your neck of the woods? What is your favorite ice cream flavor?