Inuvik to Ushuaia

Bike tourists and the homeless

On the Pacific Coast we've been treated to great facilities for touring cyclists. And there are plenty of them! They are everywhere. This must be the most popular route we've ever done. And the facilities provided for us are incredible, and cheap. We paid $4/person for camping (with showers!) in Oregon, and it's gone down to $3/person now in California. The facilities are fantastic - beautiful, running water, hot showers.

Of course, bike touring is just a case of almost-homeless. I often say it's the last acceptable form of homelessness in the U.S. But the wonderful and cheap facilities they've provided for us are attractive to others, including *real* homeless people, people who have no home to run back to and no credit card to bail them out if things get hard.

California Redwoods

We went to many places that had redwood trees, and were awed by all of them. But we spent a full day hiking the James Irvine Trail at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in the Redwood National Park. We just couldn't stop taking pictures, and the entire rainforest atmosphere will remain a treasured memory forever. We hope you get a chance to look at all the redwood pictures on the photos page under "California".

A week off in San Francisco

Glass Piece at the De Young Museum
We decided to take a week off from our trip and play in San Francisco. We have done well as tourists visiting many fine places this great American city has to offer. The first day after walking all over the city and getting our bearings, we purchased the "CityPass" for only $50 apiece which enabled us to take the any bus, trolley, or cable car for one week and got us into six fine museums, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the De Young Art Museum, Legion of Honor Art Museum, two Aquariums, the Cable Car Museum, Cable Car rides, the hands-on Exploratorium. We stayed in the most amazing hostel called the Green Tortoise. Free breakfasts every morning, free dinner 3 nights a week, all the internet you could possible use, organized outings, and a lot of travelers from around the world. The evening life around the hostel is astonishing with a mix of music clubs, Chinese restaurants, Italian eateries, girlie strip clubs.

I got my hair cut in Chinatown by a male stylus who spoke very little English but did seem to mutter over and over as he cut my hair "too much hair".

Sick for the first time on tour

Well, I'm sick for the first time in my bike touring career. Too many days at the hostel in San Francisco, with too many sick people there. I just have a cold, but it seems to be hanging on. Nancy hasn't gotten it yet, so cross your fingers.

We always knew that we'd eventually have to deal with being sick if we were going to do long trips, so in some ways this is just a learning experience for us.

But for now we're holed up in a motel near San Simeon, William Randolf Hearst's famous castle. Nancy went and did the tour today and really enjoyed it. Hearst was quite a notorious figure.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle Outdoor Pool
I went on a tour of the amazing Hearst Castle and saw the Imax movie on the building of the castle. [Pictures are here.]

From down on the Pacific highway looking up at the castle way way up on the hill, the castle looks like a Disney like icon but it is something total different when taking tour.

I was very lucky to get the last ticket of the last tour of the day. (mostly because I asked if all the sold out tickets has been picked up.)After waiting an hour I should up at 3:15 when the people on the waiting list got to buy tickets. I got the last available seat on the tour.

For those that do not know about W.R Hearst, he built an empire through publishing major Newspapers and Magazines :throughout the United States in the 1920 to 1950's. He had a dream when he was in his late 50's to build an amazing palace to house a full spectrum of art, sculptures, tapestries from all over the world that dated from around the 3rd century AD to the 21st century.

The famous movie Citizen Kane was based on Hearst's life and he attempted to quash it - with pretty significant success.

Monterey and Big Sur

The Pacific Coast never ceases to amaze us. More coves, more beautiful places. Can you see the waterfall in this picture? It looks like an incredible desert island. We did short days on the Big Sur so we could hike a bit and see the waterfalls and coastline.

There are new pictures on the photos page from the coast south of San Francisco, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Big Sur.

We found Arone Garrison, the rogue biker, near Monterey - she continued on south; the job in San Francisco didn't work out, so she'll go to Texas to see her mother. The cat is still well, and it looks like Arone is also. We're still rooting for you, Arone!

Entering the Big City

Well here we are entering the big city. We have lots of friends to see here and then we'll ride down to San Diego and the border.

We just spend the last couple of days in Oxnard with our incredible new friends Pat and Cat, who just returned from riding their bikes all over the world. Check out their website at They're the most gracious people you could imagine, treating us to warm hospitality and touring wisdom and encouragement. Pat and Cat rode not only the huge ride we have planned, but across the US, Europe, and Africa as well!

Randy is feeling better and Nancy has still not caught the cold.

Our plans are in a bit of flux, but first visit friends in LA, then ride to San Diego to visit another old friend, then go to Tijuana for a haircut for Randy, and then maybe rent a car to come home. We should be home in early November.

Fun in Santa Barbara

We spent an extra day in beautiful Santa Barbara, seeing all the street performers, visiting the mission and the Presidio, and checking out the beautiful Dutch touring bikes made by Koga-Miyata and marketed in the US by Commuter Bicycles in Santa Barbara.

But the local snake rescue people were out in force with lots of snakes to show. This brought back memories of when I was a kid and had lots of snakes. I wrapped one around my neck, two around my arms, and put a lizard in each hand, and brought them in to show off to the kind elderly neighbor woman my mom was entertaining. I was not well received.

Into Los Angeles

We made it into LA. The original plan was to ride around the city on the beach, but we really had to go visit Nancy's old friends Ildi and Paul in South Pasadena. So we took the bikes right onto the Metrolink and the Metro and made it into the city. The transport is quite friendly to bikes. (As you can see, though, I wasn't really very happy about being on the train instead of riding...)

There are lots of pictures on the Southern California section in the Photos page of Paul's incredible house, garden, and stonework. We were in awe. It was like a magic garden hidden away in the city.

There are new pictures of Southern CA on the photos page.

Morgan and Gwen at home on the road

The bike tourists on the coast often tend to move at near the same rate and can see each other over and over again. We met Morgan and Gwen clear up in the redwoods in the very north of California, and rode with them again at Monterey, but found them again this day. There we were riding by agricultural fields and Morgan and Gwen are sitting there on the sofa they found on the side of the road. They looked very much at home.

These two are idealogues. They're on the bikes because of an extreme rejection of cars; they're as green as they come and as delightfully idealistic as any young couple could ever be. They refuse to pay for a place to stay, so we never see them at the (very cheap) campgrounds at night, just along the road in the daytime. They're experts in stealth camping and free camping. They're just 19 and 25, and we are amazed to see the great adventure they've undertaken - they're going on to Mexico.
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