The City of Lights

We’re deep in research mode for our upcoming trip to Paris this summer. Watching Rick Steve’s TV show and reading his guidebook (he loves Paris and we’ve had good experiences with his suggestions), perusing Airbnb, VRBO and CouchSurfing for accommodations options, and hitting up friends and family for suggestions. Also keeping an eye on plane ticket prices. They’re expensive this year… probably $1,400 per person.

Do you have a favorite neighborhood in Paris you like to stay in?

An extra day for rest and preparation

I’ve read that flexibility is an excellent character attribute to cultivate when embarking on a bike tour (and probably any type of long-term travel). I’ve also read that it’s important to listen to your body and not try to push yourself too hard. It was 10:15pm Sunday night, we weren’t done packing, and we wanted to get an early start to do most of our biking before the heat and rain of the day.

So, we decided to postpone our departure one day. Today would have been a beautiful day for biking – slightly less hot than it has been, and less rain than usual – but it was good to have the time to finish getting everything ready without rushing. I would certainly echo other advice I’ve heard – load up your bike and go ride it around to make sure everything’s OK. Amy’s bike shimmied a bit after it was all loaded, and required some weight redistribution.

The shimmy has stopped, and we’re ready to go! Here are some pics of the bikes fully loaded, minus our backpacks, and of sleepy Olive and Michael saying goodnight.

A few days left in sunny Florida

Those who are in Central Florida understand that “sunny Florida” only applies to certain locations at certain times of the day. We had an unusual week of solid rain recently, and the last few days have been a nice respite from it. Although I’m sure the rain is coming back, I hope it holds off on Monday so we can get a quick, dry, start.

Amy and I started taking a closer look at our maps last weekend, and found out that our 6.5 – 7 weeks won’t be enough for us to bike the whole way. Note to self… using Google Maps to estimate mileage from point A to point B is OK for driving, but not for biking, particularly when you’re going to use the Adventure Cycling Association’s maps.

But rest assured! We are still biking from Orlando to Banff. Since we’re on a bit of a schedule – attempting to be on time for the Bridges Conference – we’ll have to cut out about 1000 miles by train, in either one or two stints along the way. We’ll still be biking about 2500 miles (~4000 km) in 47 days, which averages out to about 65 miles (105 km) a day, depending on how many rest days we take.

Here’s our basic route. Note that this is just to show the main North and West turns we’ll be taking – the in between paths are the default travel-by-car results from Google Maps. Our bike routes will be quite different, but overall, you can get an idea of where we’re headed:

View Larger Map

Speaking for myself, I’m definitely feeling a bit nervous! Super excited, and nervous. It’s hard to tell the difference between those two things sometimes. Certain members of my family aren’t helping with the nervousness (Mom, we’ll be OK, don’t worry!).

A friend of mine suggested we watch The Motorcycle Diaries before we go, so we put it on the Blockbuster queue last weekend. Amy and I really enjoyed watching it yesterday. I love the portrayal of Che’s relationship with the outcasts of society – the poor, the sick, the lepers, the oppressed ethnic minorities. They are always in his mind and in his heart, and the injustice he witnesses stirs something inside of him that won’t let him go. And I love that he acts on these thoughts and feelings, sacrificing comfort and giving of himself relentlessly.

That’s the kind of man I want to be, though I often find myself only making it halfway there – connecting in my heart and mind, but lacking the follow-through into my actions. I think this adventure will be good for me. We’ve got another country to get to in 47 days! There’ll be no dawdling about…