Oh my god, this is amazing! What a trip.
After just over a month on the road our time in Alaska / Yukon / (a tiny slither of) BC is over - 1800km and more mountain views than I thought were possible.
The stretch across Yukon and back in to Yukon has been mind blowing, quieter roads (although still super wide) and an amazing spread of landscapes.
We finally came across some grizzly bears but fortunately no drama. The first was a pair of biggish cubs on a lake foreshore a few hundred metres away, perfect viewing. The second was a single bear feeding on plants at the side of the road - he was set on eating and after waiting a while we realised he wasn’t going to retreat back in to the woods. Fortune timing with a car heading our direction meant we could slowly convoy past him with no issues - still a bit spicy for 2 Londoners used to seeing nothing more than foxes and pigeons.
Tonight we board the ferry down to Bellingham, WA and will then head north to Vancouver for week to see friends before starting the ride south through Washington, Oregon and California. We’ll spend the ferry route planning and trying to work out how many sights we can see along the way while keeping to our rough schedule. I think we’re going to try and take in some of the islands West of Bellingham and Seattle and loop round the Olympic National Park - adds 400 or 500km to the more direct route but I think it will be worth spending more time in the area.
Turns out I’m not much of a writer so ride reports haven’t happened as I intended but we’re still out here riding and having fun.
A whistle stop report of what we’ve down since leaving Alaska:
After the ferry (which was great, camping on the deck 10/10) we headed around the Olympic Peninsular and spent a decent amount of time enjoying the traffic free ODT rail trail. Then down the coast in to Oregon where we headed inland to Portland for a few days. Back over to the coast (on a 38C day) then south to San Francisco.
Here we decided that we’d seen enough coast and that we’d drive to South Lake Tahoe and ride the Sierra Cascade route to LA. The central valley was hot af but we hoped it would be a little cooler in mountains. We were right in some ways but as soon as the elevation dropped the temperatures went through the roof. We got as far as Yosemite where we enjoyed a few days rest despite the wild fire smoke before deciding it would be too miserable (and dangerous) to continue south through the Sierras in 40C+ temperatures. A bus and a rental car later we were in Monterey on the coastal highway again. Down to LA where we had another week off (out to @JB for being our post receiver, putting us up for night and showing us Pasadena).
LA to Santa Barbara to San Diego was fairly uneventful then on to Tecate in Mexico where we started riding though Baja California and Baja California Sur. Initially we had ideas of riding some of the more chill sections of the Baja Divide but those plans went immediately out the window once we discovered how sandy any road other than the highways were. Not a chance on our 40-50mm tyres. The bigger roads were still fairly quiet though and traffic was easy to deal with. Plenty of hot days, killer headwinds, desert camp spots and hot tub temperature sea swimming.
From La Paz we took the ferry to Mazatlán and then joined the Trans Mexico Norte
route. The riding from Mazatlán to Durango has been some of the best of the trip, climbing from sea level to 2800m then traversing the Espinazo del Diablo was incredible. From Durango we had a mainly off-road route to Zacatecas city but after a few days of riding we heard about some spicy cartel activity happening so hopped on a bus for 200km, this was the first time in Mexico we were told the road wasn’t safe and despite not being overly worried about being the targets in any violence we also didn’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Zicatela to Guanajuato to Mexico City, lots of climbing, lots of bumpy roads, lots of paletas, lots of gorditas. Out of CDMX we left the Trans Mexico route and instead went up and over the Paso de Cortés between Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl where we camped at 3600m and it hit -10C at night. Fortunately we picked up so new sleeping bags in the city a few days before. From there we had a great mix of faster pavement riding and super nice unpaved roads to Oaxaca city where we arrived just before Christmas. We spent a few weeks off the bikes on the coast in Puerto Escondido with a fellow tourer we met in Washington (and rode together with for all of Oregon and Northern California) and tomorrow we’re starting the Trans Mexico Sur route to the Guatemalan border.
Dreamy. Particular love for all the rerouting, jumping on buses, detouring, working with what's in front of you. Safe travels!
Great read. And you are so welcome! Before I read this I was just telling my mum about the terrible service we had at that Indian restaurant we went to as we walked past it on the way to dinner.
An update picture of your loaded bikes please :)
Nothing super recent but these are from Yosemite valley, somewhere in the desert in Baja California and camping at 3400m on the pass close to Ajusco (just outside Mexico City).
In terms of bikes they aren’t too different from when we started. Cassettes have been changed to 11-42t which also meant new rear mechs. I’m slightly regretting bringing my Straggler now that we’re riding more unpaved roads, bigger tyres would be nice although I’m making it work with the 40mm I have on there.
You can squeeze 1.9s in the back of the Straggler!...but only just.
Nice thread, glad to see you're still going.
fires off quitty email
Jinxed myself with the tyre chat - 3 punctures in 2km this morning…
Sounds epic. Wish I was doing exactly this right now. Great pics.
looks as good next to the cacti as it does on Blackfriars Bridge to be honest.
Happy cycling Edwin!
Top tip: don’t strap a scarf to the top of your front pannier.
Stupidly did this yesterday and it got caught and jammed the front wheel on a descent. Flipped over the bars and took a pretty big hit.
Luckily we were just outside a village and could get things sorted but the end result is a fractured finger, some medium grade road rash on my hand, mangled Tubus rack, bent fork. I think the frame is ok but I’ll give it a proper look tomorrow and try and check the alignment.
We’ll be staying around Antigua or Xela in Guatemala for the next 3-4 weeks and then hope to continue on the route. We were already a month behind our planned schedule (enjoyed the Mexican dirt roads too much) and would have got caught in the beginning of the Colombian rainy season. Now we think we’ll be so far behind that we’ll just catch the tail end of it and should be able to stay in the dry season for the rest of South America.
All in all not too bad but also we’re gutted to have this set back. Hopefully new parts won’t be too difficult or expensive to source and we’ll use our time off the bike to do some language lessons.
Still a long way to go to Ushuaia
Bruh. I’m sure it’s cost prohibitive but let me know if you need me to send anything down there.
Ooft shit. Heal up
Heal up Ed! Hopefully the damage is not too bad and you can get back on the road soon.
Oh man, that's bad news. Heal up soon, i'm following you guys closely on all the platforms. Good you've missed the rainy season though.
Shit bro, heal up!
I was very careful with my Albion scarf and burner during AMR - made sure they were tucked up on top of the front roll with no danglies for this reason (still bloody crashed but that was 100% my fault).
How hard is it going to be to get the bike fixed?
Thanks all, looking at options for what to do while I heal and also how to get the bike fixed. Nothing unsolvable but not super straightforward. I’ve sent some emails to Surly etc to try and source and ship the parts. Plan B is a weekend flight to Miami to collect everything.
That ambulance is proper oldschool, very glad it was good enough and safe further travels.
Am following on Instagram, super jealous, looks amazing..