Tag Archives: USARoadtrip11

USA Roadtrip 2011 Map & Data-fest

Here is the map of my recent travels promised some time ago to Liz (who has a great blog going of her & her husband’s ever-increasing self-sufficiency on a small block of land in rural Queensland). It’s taken me most of the day to compile this & frustratingly I found out two-thirds of the way through that to keep page-speeds up Google separates larger My Maps in to different pages which you can’t view mashed together. I was looking forward to adding in all the rides I did & some photos at various scenic places, but with such a poor user-interface & result it’s not worth the effort. I did manage to find a way so that one can view the whole map at once – so here it is.  As it’s not obvious, the trip started & finished in Canmore, Alberta, & was a counter-clockwise loop (or thereabouts).

edit – You may have to zoom out a bit for it to work first time.

A few more links for those that are interested or just like spreadsheets:

[Footnote: Heartily sick of Google Maps now, I recommend you don’t try using Google Maps to compile such a set of data as the page-ifying is really annoying.  If however you, like me, start & then find that you exceed the ridiculous 3 MB limit for viewing a kml file in Google Maps (by right-clicking on KML, copying the link location & then pasting that in to the Google Map search box) & don’t want to give up on all that you’ve just done – you can use Google Fusion Tables.  Click on the KML link of your Google Map & save it on your computer, then open Fusion & go New Table>Import Table & point Fusion to the kml file you just saved.  Press Next two times & then Finish & you will have a table of your data – just press Visualize>Map to see your map.  Now you see why I said don’t use Google Maps to map out your big trip.]

Back to Canmore – Roadtrip Complete

To finish off the three months of driving I decided to drive all the way back from Vancouver to Canmore in the middle of the long weekend. The logic there being that Jasper would be a zoo on a sunny holiday weekend & I’d be better off checking it out a little later when there were less people around.

So Saturday morning I set off on a wonderfully sunny drive east across BC. The traffic was pretty good & BC was beautifully forested – it really is a large province when you drive across the bottom in one day. After Kamloops I was back on roads I’d driven before & there was a half-hour wait near Shuswap – but I had the Kindle out so I wasn’t too fussed. Over Rogers Pass & coming into Golden there was an ominous big cloud of black smoke billowing into the sky. I was near the front of a queue for almost an hour as some poor family watched their RV incinerate. The rest of the drive was uneventful & I was soon driving below familiar peaks – just they had a lot less snow (almost none) on them than I remember. It was a little odd getting closer to Canmore – being away for three months & doing so many other things must have lessened the blow of leaving such a great place as I wasn’t too concerned that I’ll be gone in three weeks.

So that was it really, just under 22000 km, 87 days, 13 states, two provinces, 45 MTB rides totalling a thousand kilometres, at least 15 National Parks & 5 National Monuments, only 2600 photos & 435 gallons of gas. What a great trip! We were blessed by the weather – notably it never got really hot, as it did the last time I visited Utah, Nevada, Arizona & California in 2009.  Highlights are hard to list as there were so many. But I’ll try anyway:

A separate list for the riding highlights, which is even harder as I rode so much quality singletrack.

That’s that – thanks again Valerie for coming along for the ride & sharing the experience (& financing a lot of it too!).  I’m in Canmore until mid-August before flying back to London to catch the last of the English summer.  Mum’s coming across to England for the last few months of the year, so it’ll be great to see her & plenty of other friends & family in the UK.  From then on, I only have vague ideas as to what I’m going to do with myself… But riding better figure in there somehow.

No rain in Vancouver

For a whole week I was in Vancouver & I didn’t see it rain once. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. With mild summer temperatures it was quite pleasant. Valerie & I spent a bit of time Wednesday & Thursday on the North Shore doing pleasant little walks & enjoying the sun. Karin & I caught the final installment of Harry Potter one evening in the city – it really is a very good conclusion to the series & the 3D adds something extra.

Thursday night I said goodbye to my traveling buddy as Valerie flew off back to Sydney. It’ll be a huge shock for her to go back to work after thirteen weeks. It was great to have someone to share the such a large trip with & we really did see a lot & have some great memories – plus having a shuttle driver for my MTB rides was a huge bonus.

Karin took Friday off work for an extra long long-weekend & we tossed around various ideas for a hike close to town. The forecast was good, but the morning started off with a shroud of cloud covering the city. We eventually decided on walking to Eagle Bluffs from the Cypress ski area to hopefully get a good view of the city & out to Vancouver Island. The trail started by climbing steeply up to the top of the ridge & Black Mountain. There was a lot of snow to cross as we approached the ridge, walked along it & then went down the west side for forty minutes before reaching the bluffs. There were a few small ponds around doing their job of looking pretty well.

We did get out on the bluffs for a good view of the surrounds. It was still a little hazy, so the photos don’t show nearly as much as we actually saw. The clouds came & went & were replaced by various others, but it was worth the walk as most of the time on the top of the ridge we had clear blue skies.

From a bit further down the hill on the drive home

We took a slightly different route back to the car & were down after about four hours in total. After resting for a little while we pulled bikes out & went off in to the city to meet a couple of Karin’s friends to watch the sunset from Kits beach. The skytrain took us half way there & we had a very pleasant forty minute ride around the waterfront to the beach where we grabbed some sushi. After sitting & chatting on the beach for too long, it was rather dark for our return trip but we managed not to knock anyone over of get hit ourselves. A very fun little outing to cap the day off.

Whistler Riding!

If Moab is the most famous overseas MTB destination when you live in NZ, Whistler is definitely a close second.  So it was great to get back up there yesterday with (what’s left of) my bike & get some cross-country & downhill rides in.  It was a slightly later start to the day after finding my car had been towed from the Visitor Garage in Karin’s building; but with that sorted I was in Whistler & riding by 11.30.

I started from the village & followed the Whistler Valley Single Track route that ended up being just over twenty kilometres. Mid-week, the trails close to town were still insanely popular – especially with large family groups. There were plenty of small kids out there & they were doing well as the rocky trails weren’t exactly a cake-walk. Mind you, I was climbing & they were mostly going downhill so maybe it was a little easier that way. The quick-fix of the dogbone on my bike only lasted three kilometres before the stresses of me pedalling uphill bent it, most annoying. The trails were good, but the names were even better – I rode Peaches, en Regalia, Dinah Moe Humm, The Torture Never Stops (it wasn’t that bad), Fountain of Love, Pinocchio’s Furniture (lots of wooden bridges & so on), & Gee I Like Your Pants among others.

With a little time on the road & cyclepath I was riding Cut Yer Bars & then A River Runs Through It. ARRTI was rated a black & had a lot of structures to balance on, jump over & so on. With my bottom bracket wobbling around & being worn out after three months of traveling I wasn’t really in the mood for what is quite a boring trail if you’re going slowly. There were a few see-saws/teeter-totters, this was the most interesting one & I managed to ride over this quite OK. I think it was the first one I’ve seen on a bike trail with industrial bearings for pivot.

I wonder what the lubrication schedule is for this, I could probably put it in Maximo if required

I spent an hour or so going around bike stores in town trying to make my bike more rideable so that it was worth going on some lift-assisted rides. Eventually I found the side of a long-cage derailleur in a crate of old ruined parts & after some filing I got it to fit. I was a little confused by the accent of the girl I bought my ticket off – turned out she was from Auckland, NZ; I’m disturbed by that. Off I went to join the DH set, feeling completely out of place as usual with my open-face helmet, clipless pedals, only four inches of travel & a 27lb bike.

I got one good run down B-Line that was great fun before the derailleur cage broke & my bottom bracket started thwacking around. The next two runs were good too, just I was a little distracted. More good trail names: I rode Ninja Cougar, Karate Monkey Samurai Pizza Cat, Heart of Darkness & Crank It Up. A mildly frustrating day all up with the bike, but the riding was good (if not completely my cup of tea) & I rode Whistler! I do hope I can find some solution to the dogbone issue back in Canmore as I’ve been so looking forward to doing all my favourite rides back there for the last few months – I still think Jumpingpound Ridge/Cox Hill rates as highly as any I’ve done on this trip (but just might be a nostalgically distorted view of what was a really good ride).