Sierra Cascades

I am heading south to Mexico following, at the moment the Sierra Cascades Route designed by Adventure cycling.  After Cheryl Strayed wrote her book “Wild”, they decided to create a bike route that would follow the Pacific Crest Trail, but on road.

My route:  Sierra Cascades | Adventure Cycling Route Network | Adventure Cycling Association

So on August 31st I headed out to visit my son Jonathan in Victoria, having left all my worldly goods in storage with a friend in Royston.  Then I took the ferry to Anacortes and up to Bellingham to get a new rain jacket (which has performed marvelously so far).  I stayed with Warmshowers hosts- Jeanie and Mike and met their friends Sue and Paul at dinner that night.

After Bellingham I camped in Sedro-Woolley at the city park – nice grass sites for $10 a night with showers.  Along came Robert, a homeless person, who asked if he could share the site and give me $5.  We had a chat.  He had been laid off his job and was just starting to collect UI.   So he was choosing to be homeless for a while like me.  He is thinking of heading up to Alaska to work and then kayaking back.  Of course being the dreamer that I am, I encouraged him to follow his dream.  That night was the first rain for the whole Summer and on green grass to boot.

From there I followed the Cascades Trail (40 km’s on a beautiful rail trail) to Rasar SP.  All the Washington State Parks have hiker/biker sites for $12 a night.  They also have a policy to never turn away a hiker or biker, unlike BC Parks.

The next 2 nights we had heavy rain resulting in splashback on my new Hilleberg Anjan tent.  So I contacted the American Alpine Institute.  They took it back and I got the Namattj 2 Hillebrand 4 season tent.  It had been recommended by different reviewers, if you could only have 1 tent to do it all this is it.  It was the tent Hillebrand recommended – lesson learned.

The next adventure with the new tent was a night of rain (nice and dry) and then a long 30 mile climb up to Washngton Pass at 1 mile high.  It was cold and took over 8 hours of riding.  Arriving in Winthrop, I stayed with Mary Ellen and Rob.  I had met her in a park earlier bike touring and she had invited me to stay with her and her husband.  Winthrop is a small town with 200 km’s of cross country ski trails.  It has produced 4 members of the US Olympic team – 2 gold medalists.  Great mountain biking in summer.

After a great visit with them I had a nice ride to Pateros and camped in City Park beside the Columbia River.  Many towns have a city park for camping at a very reasonable rate and include showers.  For the past few days the route has been following the river.  Parts are beautiful and parts are downright ugly.

I am staying 2 nights in Confluence SP and enjoying the beautiful city of Wenatchee with a 10 mile loop trail that crosses over the river twice and a beautiful market complex with coffee, restaurants and a local micro brewery.  I’ll head out tomorrow for a 2 day ride to Ellensburg and camp for the first time in a US Forestry Site.  Basic and usually free.

Not a lot of photo opportunities so far, but here are a few starters:

Flickr Link:

Spot Messenger: see where I am and have been for last 7 days:

Baja Divide

Sunday January 14th

Well the adventure has already begun.  My flight for today was cancelled due to heavy fog.  We have had a lot fog in the last month, I would say 12-14 days.  Very depressing.  Any way now I fly out on Wednesday, back Feb 3rd.

I was sick last week and still not fully recovered.  Should be fine by Wednesday and start the ride on Thursday.  The Universe moves in mysterious ways.  Not sure it had to delay me by 2 days though, 1 would have been enough.

January 17th

After an uneventful flight I arrived in San Diego and my new friend Chris picked me up at the airport in his Toyota 4Runner, the perfect vehicle for cyclists with big bike boxes.  We headed off to REI to pick up a foam sleeping pad, so that thorns would not deflate it.  It was very uncomfortable.  Will just protect the inflatable pad in the future.

Turns out Chris’s daughter trained to be a yoga teacher and the whole family is vegan.  It was so great to be picked up in a strange city and given a bed and a place to stay.

I put 3.0” tires on the Salsa Fargo and was worried about damage from the flight as we had to put a chain tensioner on to get the wheel far enough back to prevent rubbing on the chain stays.  Everything was in fine working order and so I set off the next day.  The ride along the Pacific was not all that interesting (passing by a naval yard and industrial area) but going up the Sweet Water River Trail was excellent.  I arrived at the Sweet Water Reservoir campsite after a tough dirt trail that required walking up hill, but with a magnificent view and spectacular sunset.  I slept in my new Rainbow I Tarptent for the first time.

The second day was the ride to Tecate, Mexico.  Arriving at the border I had to change money.  Since they would not take $ Canadian, I had to use an ATM and get $ US and then convert them to pesos.  Crossing the border you must pay $29 US to get a 6 month visa.  The officer in the customs house showed me his home remedies for cold and keeping warm.  I don’t think you would get a Canadian or US border guy doing that.

As soon as you cross the border it is like entering a whole new world.  You are immediately confronted with mess, noise and no English.  First item was to get a room in a hotel.  The first hotel wanted 3 hours to get my room ready.  Since it was already almost dark and I was tired, needed a shower and dinner, I kept going and found a nice room in the Tecate Hotel right on the plaza for $350 pesos (about $24 CNDN).   Almost all the hotels have WIFI now (pronounce we fe).  I spent a rest day in Tecate and walked everywhere around the town.  It has a nice small city feel to it and is home to Tecate Brewery, which takes up a whole city block.

The climb out of Tecate was on pavement and was steep and long.  I was glad I had put a new chain ring and sprocket on to lower my gearing.  I used that low gear a lot.  After 14 km’s, the route takes you off the highway and in to the desert.  It was tough riding in the desert, but it felt safe as there was some local traffic, a few motorbikes and ATV’s passing by during the day. Often people driving SUV’s would stop to check that I was ok. I met a couple from Vancouver returning to Tecate as they felt it was too tough for their gear setup.  After a long hard day, I found a place to wild camp off the road behind some bushes and went to bed just after dark for a long sleep.  It was below freezing most of the night and I was just barely warm enough.  It was very beautiful to watch the sun going down and the silence broken only by the wind.  I heard coyotes howling during the night.

The next day I rode 76 km’s to Ojos Negros arriving just at dusk.  I ran in to rough surfaces, loose rocks, hike-a-bike climbs and soft sand.  I was glad for the 3.0” tires and amazed at what I could ride through.  One time I came to an abrupt halt, the sand was so deep.  At one point I passed a couple of cattle, including a young steer.  It was very interested in me.  It started kicking up its heels, as if it wanted to play with me (a metal steer?) and started following me.  I had to tell it to go home.

I spent a rest day in Ojos Negros.  The restaurant had the most delicious authentic food with terrific rich flavors.  It was so cold in my room that I slept in my sleeping bag.  They don’t heat their homes on the Baja as it gets warm during the day, but those cold nights……brrr.

The next day of riding took me to Aruapan.  The guide said 4-6 hours.  Well I found it very tough going with lots of climbing.  I left at 7 and arrived after dark.  The campground was closed and across from it is the Santo Tomas winery.  I ended up getting invited to ‘camp’ inside the winery.  Even inside I slept in everything I had and shivered all night.  The young security guard showed me pictures of his 4 months old twin girls and made me coffee in the morning.

At this point I decided to ride on the highway.  The loss of 2 days travelling made me feel tight for time, I could not get any $ until Vicente Guerrero and was running low on cash and because it was so cold I didn’t want to camp anymore.  I didn’t wear a short sleeve T-shirt until the last 5 days.

Arriving in Santo Tomas I found a nice restaurant at the gas station with a fire burning in the fireplace, the only heated place I saw the whole time on the Baja.  I had only some nuts for dinner the night before, so a big breakfast restored my energy and my spirits.  Heading out of Santo Tomas was a very long steep climb, maybe 10 kilometers or more and 7-8% grade (my gps says 18%!).

Parts of the highway have been upgraded and have nice wide paved shoulders so it feels quite safe to ride and traffic, although heavy at times is not bad.  I arrived in San Vicente early in the afternoon and found a hotel and some good food.  The next day I arrived in Vicente Guerrero, my goal accomplished.  The last 14 km’s were the worst, as the road was all broken up with heavy traffic.  I ended up riding most of it on the sandy track beside the highway.

Arriving in V.G., I was excited to find an espresso bar and F.A.S.S. Bikes.  I met Salvador, his wife and two boys, all involved in the family bike business.  There is a map on the wall with signatures from all (including myself) who have stopped by.

fassbikeJanuary 27 2018 – 02:32  We keep getting more surprised everyday, today we receive Peter from Vancouver, he’s 75 years old and now holds the tittle of the oldest person that attempts to ride the amazing Baja Divide, this make me thing that i still have some time to do it..

There is a photo of me in the bike shop in my Baja album.

Only the week before, Bob from Colorado had the record for the oldest rider at 70.  I caught up with Bob taking a break with his partner Teresa in Ensenada and am invited to stay with them when I pass through Colorado on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route later this year.

After a day of rest in Vicente Guerrero, I headed back north with money in my pocket.  I was cruising along just past Punto Colonet, on the way to San Vicente when a fierce wind came up.  It was so strong that I was riding in my lowest gear at 6 or 7 km’s/hour on the highway.  It was already early afternoon and I figured there was no way I was going to reach town before dark.  I turned back to a hotel just 2 km’s back and stayed the night.  I had no food with me, but there was a rodeo going on close by and they had food and drink there.  Ironically, 2 hours after I had stopped the wind shifted back.  It howled all night, but was fairly calm in the morning.  However, again after about half an hour a strong cross wind came up.  I had to lean my bike on angle and hang on to avoid being pushed in to traffic.

Impressions:  Mexican people are very friendly.  Many people live in very poor conditions, but family and friends make their lives rich.  I saw a lot of happy people with very little in terms of possessions, living and working in run down, dirty conditions, but content.  They are also very hard working people.  Victor asked me how much I pay for an avocado here in Canada.  I said around $2 or more.  He pays $5 pesos, which is around $0.35.  I bought a container of fresh olives from a farmer at the market in San Vicente.  They were not packed in salt like the ones we get here, very tasty and inexpensive; I think around $1.

So a made it to San Vicente and took a bus to Ensenada to catch up with Bob and Teresa.  We spent a nice evening having dinner and chatting.  Bob is now much further south, intending to complete the whole route soon.

Six years ago I spent 2 ½ weeks in Ensenada studying Spanish and met Victor and his wife Damaris.  From Tuesday until Thursday they took me to their place and then involved me in their everyday activities for a couple of days.  I led them in yoga on the beach one morning and next morning we meditated on the beach.  Their 12 year old daughter Natalia is an avid ballerina.

I met several friends, members of the family and the last day we drove out on the Routa del Vino to see their country property, which is now a B & B.  Victor has a garage door business, but his passion is architecture and art.  He designed their multi-level house and has been slowly renovating the country property.  The art work and attention to detail reminded of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  You can see photos on flickr –

Victor’s cousin Patricia has a 1 bedroom apartment for rent later this year.  I may stay there for 6 months this coming winter and teach yoga and meditation.  We may offer a weekend retreat at the B & B.

Returning to San Diego by bus and train, I spent my last day going for a trail ride with Chris in the Mission hills not far from his house.  I arrived home to rain and dreary weather, but feel stronger and ready for more adventure.



Longing to be on the road again

This is the third day of fog in the Comox Valley, with an air quality and fog advisory.

Today with the fog, I feel trapped, longing to be on the road in a warm climate.  I feel like I am wasting away here, as much as this is a beautiful place.

At times I long for the simplicity of life on the road. I feel tempted at times just to get rid of everything and become a nomad. Maybe find an inexpensive place to live in a warmer climate, such as Central or South America.

I recently learned about Bike Traveller Magazine, a free publication.  It is so inspiring to see so many people exploring the World by bike.

Reading all these tales of adventure, is definitely helping to stir up these longings.  They are calling me to dream bigger.  I love this quote by John Barrymore, “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams”.

Some of the photos you will see are by Juan Sisto.  We traveled together for several weeks in Argentina and Chile.  I was sitting on a stone wall one day in a National Park in Argentina when this cyclist came along.  He said, “you must be Peter”.  He had heard about me at the warmshowers hostess I had stayed at in El Bolson.

Beginner’s Mind


Recently as I started to teach a yoga class, one of the women said she had been practicing yoga for some but was not an expert.  I thought that was a very profound statement, although she probably said it so I wouldn’t be too tough on her.

It reminded me of Shunryu Susuki’s book “Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind”.  It represented a series of informal talks on meditation and practice.  In one talk he talked about Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind, “in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities in the expert’s mind there are few”. Continue reading “Beginner’s Mind”

Park Lane

I left Christina Lake on Tuesday heading to Texas Creek Provincial campground, about 13 km’s away.  When I arrived the campground was full.  I talked to the host(ess) and she would not let me stay.  I was shocked as in Ontario, if you are a cyclist they will always find a little bit of grass somewhere to accommodate you.  So back to Christina Lake I went, and the positive side is that I am staying at a wonderful campsite Park Lane, where the hosts Wendy and Pete give a 50% discount to cyclists.  The place is very natural and quiet.  So it is a rest day today; enjoying reading a novel and relaxing in the sun.

Continue reading “Park Lane”