Monday, December 26, 2011

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas from the colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas!  Since our last update we have travelled through two very different regions of Mexico: the coastal plains of the Yucatan, and the mountains of Chiapas.

Our trip through the rest of the Yucatan was quite interesting.  We followed Mexico’s Gulf Coast through the cities of Merida, Campeche, Ciudad del Carmen, Villahermosa, and Cardenas before heading inland.

Campeche street panorma from our rooftop view.

Colonial streets in Campeche.  The city center is enclosed by a big stone wall which was used to defend against pirate attacks in the 1600s.

Cathedral at night.

The main square in Campeche.  Every night there was music or performances on a big stage.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Culture Shock

Holy cow, we’re in Mexico.  After about 6600km of riding from Vancouver, BC to New Orleans, LA, we’ve finally made the jump to the Yucatan in Mexico. 

It’s been a huge shock to instantly transition from a familiar routine to being completely out of our comfort zone in some of the big towns.  But we’re getting better, trying to look less like gringos, and starting to soak in some of the culture.  Here are three of our favourite things the Yucatan has to offer:

Caribbean Beaches: We spent a few days lazing on beaches in Playa del Carmen and Tulum.  In Tulum we camped right on the beach for two nights!

Jenn in the Caribbean in Tulum

First taste of the Caribbean

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rollin’ into the Big Easy

After almost 100 days on the road we’ve reached our final destination in the United States… New Orleans! We’re taking it easy in the “Big Easy”, preparing for our journey to Mexico.

For the last week we have been cruising through the thickets and marshes of East Texas and Louisiana. We’ve been revelling in flat but windy riding and Cajun food.


Looking into Texas’ “Big Thicket National Preserve”. This dense bush used to be a popular hiding place for criminals and outlaws.

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Truths Learned as the Tour Continues

Texas is big

… and some parts are really remote! 

Most of West Texas is composed of desert and cattle ranches.  Since the abolition of slavery, much of the rural Texas economy has shifted from growing cotton to cattle ranching.


A cow, and wind powered well near Fort Davis, TX. This day we rode 70 miles without passing any civilization or services.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shades of the Southwest

If you imagine the south western United States as being home to gun-toting rednecks and cowboys, you are partly correct. Never before have I seen so many trucks with rifle racks in the back and this morning I saw my first real cowboy up close. I noticed him because of the sound his spurs made when he walked. That being said Texas is one of the most friendly states we’ve been in. Normally I would be terrified riding into a city like El Paso (pop. 650 000) on a three lane highway with no shoulders, but the drivers here all gave us plenty of space.

Looks like they really live up to this motto: “Drive friendly, the Texas way”.

We like the Texas' thoughts on how to drive.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Changing of the Seasons

If you think of Arizona, what comes to mind?  Heat?  Desert?  Cacti?  The Phoenix Suns? 

We had similar expectations of Arizona and were expecting lots of hot desert riding.  But as we climbed on Route 66 towards Flagstaff we were surprised to see forests and grassland.  The leaves were changing colour and the night time temperature was dropping below zero.  It was the first sign of fall that we’ve seen so far.

We ended up staying with our friends John and Vicki in Flagstaff longer than originally planned, enjoying the surroundings and catching up on rest.  Flagstaff is a small university town up in the mountains and has an exciting feel. 

John and Vicki were wonderful hosts (as always) and we had a great time with them.  The best part was that Vicki loves to cook … and we love to eat!

Our first stop was the Grand Canyon.  We decided to go for a day hike with John, so we headed about halfway from the rim to the river.  Both Jenn and I were blown away with the scenery.  It’s so much larger and prettier than either of us could have imagined.

At Plateau Point in the Grand Canyon with John

John and us at Plateau Point

Friday, October 21, 2011

Opposites Attract

Our last post left off just as we entered Nevada. Since then we have been mostly in the Nevada and Arizona desert. It's an area of extreme temperatures, hot during the day and cold at night. We've noticed a number of other opposite extremes along the way. Here are three of our favourites:

1. Churches and Brothels

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Striking East: Highway to the Danger Zone

As you may have noticed we were treated wonderfully in San Francisco and were sad to say good-bye, but all good things must come to an end. After all how else would we find out about all the other good things to come?

We kinda cheated and took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) as far out of San Francisco as it would take us. It was still a tangle of suburbia and construction zones for a half day until we were back on the open road.

Ghost town near Sonora
Sometimes open road can mean ghost towns where you expect to find services

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Northern California: 5 Things I Hate and Love About You

We’ve spent the last two weeks in Northern California. This has taken us from Crescent City, CA to San Francisco. California is a little more intense than the other states we’ve travelled through. Here are a few of the good and bad things that we have noticed so far.

1. Prius’ and Their Hippies

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The 7 Cardinal Sins: How They Apply to a Touring Cyclist

The last time we left you we were happily cruising down the beautiful Oregon Coast. The southern part of the state was no less impressive. In some places it looks like the mountains have literally met with the ocean and started tumbling in to it. There are also spots where the power of the ocean has carved out magnificent features in the rocks, like Devil’s Punchbowl…

And chasms like here at Devil’s Churn…

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Truths Learned so far on the Tour de Safeway*

Life is better on a proper sized bicycle...
All gas stations should have full sized gun shops in them.
Exhibit A:

Monday, August 29, 2011


The time has come, and we're on the road! It's hard to believe that after all the planning, moving, and packing (note that I didn't say training) we're finally away.

A lot of our trip planning time has been spent organizing equipment. You don't want to be carrying anything extra, or be short some important item. Check out our painfully detailed packing list here.

Everything on the list neatly piled

Friday, August 19, 2011

Humble Beginnings

About a year ago, Jenn and I started talking about riding our bicycles down the Pacific Coast of the US to the Mexican border. This would be a month long trip, well within our physical and mental limits. But then we thought ... since we're already at the Mexican border, why not explore Mexico. And then later ... well this would put us in Central America, we've always wanted to learn about the Mayans and explore the Caribbean ... may as well keep going.

To make a long story short, our month long trip has turned into an eight to ten month odyssey which will involve us quitting our jobs, moving out of our apartment, and liquidating most of our belongings! Our endpoint is still undetermined, but will most likely be Buenos Aires, Argentina.