So mileage wise we figure we are over half way. Total so far we have pedaled over 3500 miles or 5632 km. We estimate that to make it all the way to Anchorage, Alaska it would be 6700 miles. This is still our hopeful destination although we are still leaving an escape route through Prince Rupert in British Columbia for if we run out of warm weather or money, in which case we will take a ferry to our slightly less but still happy ending. We are riding about 75 miles a day on a normal day and try to get crazy once a week and crank out a 100 mile ride, before our day of rest on Sundays. The last few days we have seen several other bike tourists who are headed east crossing Canada. We have talked with several bikers who say that they left Vancouver only a month and a half ago. This gives us a great deal of confidence that we can still make it but it will most likely be late September, as long as Jack Frost holds out that will work.
Our bikes and really all of our gear is holding up great. We wore out our chains and some break pads but that's going to happen after this kind of distance. Our biker tans are dark and extremely defined, complete with ankle socks and even our fingerless gloves.
Frequently asked questions.
Where are you from?
This is always a loaded question, because you never know if they want to know the beginning location of your trip or where you were raised, conceived, lived most recently, or where the IRS currently thinks your address is. So most of the time we just answer Utah.
Where did you start?
We started in Bangor, Maine on May 6th
Where are you headed?
Again kind of a complicated question. We receive looks of doubt when we answer Alaska, and often are even discouraged. Often times we just respond that the Pacific ocean is our destination. But then I always feel the need to elaborate with the details of our route since its not a direct line and I want the credit we deserve for what we have biked and when the other cross Canada bikers ask this I can't let them think we are undermileaged rookies. (still rookies just with a minor credibility)
How far do you go in a day?
We have lately set the goal at 75 miles a day. Some days we do more some days we do less, it depends on weather and whatever other distractions we encounter. Passing up on opportunities is something we actively try to avoid so often big mile days take the back seat. Our record day is 103 miles and our least is Zero. And Sundays we do our best to make it the day of rest.
What do you eat?
We eat everything. Biking all day turns us into bears after a long hibernation. We eat it all and we eat a lot. While in Canada we have been doing our best to try the local favorites, which has given me a lot of first times. I had my first Lobster, in Maine. My first raw oyster, mussel and clam in PEI. First Poutine in New Brunswick, which is now a staple. And first moose stew in Labrador. But mostly we try to cook our own food on our little camp stove. The meals we have created vary a ton depending on whats available to us. For a whole week in Labrador we enjoyed military MREs thanks to Wilf. Having spent countless weeks working in the woods and living off of dehydrated food cooked on a little stove for our work, this was nothing new for Mary and I. We are now improving our camp stove meals and expanding a bit, just last week we got crazy and bought a frying pan to add to our kitchen. Now the possibilities are endless. Whatever the meal we try our best to take advantage of the roadside veggie stands and toss in some fresh food to keep our cadence up. This morning we got a hold of some milk, mixed with the bread and eggs we bought the day before from the Mennonites, our peanut butter french toast was amazing. Quebec was a haven for roadside ice cream stands, that's a tradition I hope the rest of Canada can carry on.
What happened to Keith and Michaela?
Keith and Michaela are another couple we started our trip out with. Keith is the only one of us who had any previous bike touring experience, so he let us ride his knowing tail for a bit. Once Mary and I got the hang of the whole bike touring concept, we cut them loose. Those two have more pedaling endurance than we knew what to do with. They are now about a week ahead of us and you can follow them at http://thelifeoflarsens.blogspot.com
Where do you sleep?
Most nights we stay in our tent. Its a lovely tent, the Mountain Hardware Hammerhead3 has been amazing at keeping us dry and bug free in some pretty crazy times. We never really know where we will sleep most nights and just hope that a place opens its arms to us. Now that we have returned to more of an English speaking population we have been asking farmers for permission to camp somewhere on their land. So far no has said no and often we make friends that way. We also have been taking advantage of http://warmshowers.org which is a network of bike tourists who will open their home to you for a shower and tent space or often times even a bed. We have been warmshowers every chance we can and have met some of the coolest people through that. Also attending church is always a great way to see direct blessings through the invitations and meals we receive. If all else fails we sneak into the woods or anywhere hidden and call it home.
Whats your favorite part so far?
Big question, vague answer. The experiences. Most mornings we wake up (way later than planned) and we know we are going to bike further but we never know whats going to happen along the way. The many amazing things we have seen, the people we have met, the kindness we have felt, and the challenges we have beat. This trip is only half way through and has already been the best trip/ summer I have ever experienced. I am convinced that for me this is the best way to travel, you can't have these kind of adventures from your car or camper. You don't mix and live the place when your tucked in a hotel room. We don't move fast, and yet we still can't catch it all.