Planning for Summer 2023

Though I claim to dislike Europe, my way-too-early current plan for next year is mostly Europe.

I’m scheduled to head back to Bermuda sometime January / February.

“Summer” starts March 2023 in Utah. Hiking. Cycling.

Utah

I might try to get to the Gymnastics Jr. World Championships in Antalya, Turkey March 26 – April 3rd.

Turkey

May in Nepal? Why not! I’ve never been there in the Spring.

Nepal

For years I’ve been trying to get to the Tuscany Trail, the world’s largest bikepacking event.

That starts June 1-2 out of Pisa, Italy. With my personal bicycle.

Italy

From Italy I’d want to make my way very north to Tromso, Norway.

Cycle south along Norway’s west coast to Denmark.

Ferry over to the Faroe Islands. And on to Iceland in August.

That was my plan from summer 2022 … that never happened when Scandinavian Airlines lost my bike.

Norway ➙ Denmark ➙ Faroe Islands ➙ Iceland

Will any of this happen?

I’d wager a 50% chance of any of those destinations actually coming to fruition. 😀

Old Yiddish proverb:

“Man Plans, and God Laughs.” 

My Video Editing Journey 😀

When pandemic cancelled all my travel and Gymnastics coaching gigs, I took the time to improve my video editing. It’s become my main hobby.

Three phases (so far):

  1. Learning the technology. Experimenting with different cameras. And acce$$ories.
  2. Story. Story. Story.
  3. My personal style.

After posting my French Creek tribute, I declared I was GOOD ENOUGH at video editing technology for my purposes. I could sit down at a table with a professional video editor and understand 75% of what they were talking about. 😀

Far more difficult is to decide on what story to tell. And to tell it effectively. Many super skillful editors struggle finding their next story.

I threw this short video together quickly as a teaser for my How to Survive the West Coast Trail videos. But in some weird way, it’s evocative of that wild and challenging hike. It tells the story well

I’m particularly happy with the audio.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Putting these together is incredibly time consuming.

I kept trying to find ways to improve my efficiency. And that ended up evolving into my personal style of video — as of October 2022, at least. Who knows what’s next? 😀

I posted Valencia, Spain in January 2022. My edits today are all similar. But I’m adding more personal drone footage rather than drone stock video.

What is my style?

  • Music driven
  • Landscape, not vertical (portrait)
  • Cuts are mostly on the beats
  • Mostly hard cuts
  • Use transitions sparingly
  • Use gimmickry sparingly … though I do love speed ramps 😀
  • Lots of drone footage
  • Normally no voice over
  • No ads
  • Social media pestering only at the end.

Challenging for me is finding the right music for each story.

One of my best edits was Norway Highlights. I credit the song — Odesza Higher Ground — as once I decided on the soundtrack, it was easy to decide where to put each clip. In the example, below, the colours are music blocks to be filled with scenes I decide upon later.

Increasingly I’m picking music first, shooting the video later.

Odesza is my favourite band right now. Very popular for YouTube edits.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

What’s next?

I’ve been studying Colour Grading through a course called … Color Grading Academy.

It’s a very complicated process.

Some of the best video editors online send out their final product for Colour experts to finish. An art, not a science.


Things I’ve decided NOT to use:

  • Tracking
  • Hue / Saturation curves
  • … more to be added

P.S.

I posted the Englishman River Falls hike in November 2020 and again in October 2022. I’ve definitely improved.

Click PLAY or watch the Nov 2020 edit on YouTube. I was quite happy with it. But NOW I’m wondering what weird colour grade I was experimenting with at that time. 😀

Click PLAY or watch the Oct 2022 edit on YouTube.

Cycling Gabriola Island

I cycled Gabriola in the Canadian Gulf Islands in 2020. And again in 2022.

Easy access via a 20-minute ferry service from Nanaimo.

Small. With a full-time population of about 4500, I could live on Gabriola.

Grocery store. Liquor store. Library.

3 provincial parks—Gabriola Sands Provincial Park on the northwest shore, Sandwell Provincial Park on the northeast shore, and Drumbeg Provincial Park on the east shore—as well as Descanso Bay Regional Park and an adjacent community park near the ferry terminal.

There’s a hippie vibe.

cycling Gabriola Island

Only 14 kilometres long, I cycled all the main roadways. Took plenty of detours. Cycled some of the many hiking trails. And still had my tent set up by 6pm same day.

Should I get a Bikepacking Trailer?

Tempting.

BEST of the bunch right now seems to be the BURLEY COHO XC SINGLE WHEEL SUSPENSION CARGO TRAILER.

I love the kickstand. It holds up the bike, as well.

Hike-a-bike will be tougher, for sure. I might want to avoid steep hills. This adds 20 pounds to your total weight. When cycling, however, you don’t notice the weight.

Expensive at U.S. $500. As little as $350 if you get a deal.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Here’s a HIKER who was initially dubious of whether he’s want to add this to his gear shed. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Cycling Arctic Norway – Nordkapp (North Cape)

Finishing a cycling trip to the top of Norway is tough.

This is Europe’s most northerly paved road.

I didn’t do it. BUT Matthew did. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

About 200k tourists travel to Nordkapp (North Cape) each year.

The municipality is named after Nordkapp (North Cape), a 307-metre-high (1,007 ft) cliff that is commonly referred to as the northernmost point of Europe.

However, the true northernmost point of the European mainland is Cape Nordkinn (Kinnarodden), at 71° 08′ 02″ N, located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the village of Mehamn on the Nordkinn Peninsula.

If Europe’s northernmost point is allowed to be on an island, then it still is not the North Cape. It would be Cape Fligely on Rudolf IslandFranz Josef Land in Russia, which is located much further north at 81° 48′ 24″ N.

If Franz Josef Land is not considered to be in Europe, then Europe’s northernmost point is the northern point of the island of Rossøya, an islet in Svalbard, north of Spitsbergen at 80° 49′ 44.41″ N.

Adventure Travel – WHY?

Part of “adventure” is an uncertain outcome.

And my first 3 weeks in Norway were certainly unexpected. I arrived far north of the Arctic Circle with no bicycle. No luggage. Both were stuck at Heathrow airport where I checked in with SAS (Scandinavian Airlines).

I could give up. Or make do with my carry-on.

WHY not simply go to an all-inclusive beach resort and start drinking at noon?

Here’s a good answer from Jedidiah Jenkins who cycled Oregon to the southern tip of South America.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Arctic Norway – Cycling Senja

I went to Senja inspired by this MattewNorway video.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My original plan was to cycle the Senja National Tourist Road — the scenic and BEST parts shown in brown below. Sadly, summer 2022, the section marked RED below was closed due to construction of a new landslide superstructure.

I’d hoped that only motor vehicles were going to be blocked — BUT a Swiss cyclists told me he didn’t get through. The only folks who made it cycled at night and carried bikes around checkpoints.

THEREFORE I was forced to take the long way around. Less scenic. And a LOT more traffic.

Day 1 Tromsø to Sommarøy

Day 2 Sommarøy to Fjordgård (Segla)

Day 3 to Fjordgård to Finnestes

Day 4 Finnestes to Hamn

Day 5 Hamn towards Skaland ➙ QUIT 🤨

I caught the fast ferry back to Tromsø from Finnsenes. Fed up with rain and wind.

Disappointing — but I did climb Sengla, one of my highest priorities for this trip.

My best campsite (free) was in Sommarøy. A wooden platform with a wind break is ideal in Norway.

Disappointed in having to do a much longer trip hitting Finnestes twice, I decided to take an $80 room in this old house. And was glad I did. A nice break from cycling in the rain.

A friendly truck driver on a ferry tipped me off to this — a rare free hot shower in Norway. Actually, I had 2 free hot showers because I cycled through Botnhamm twice.

My final night I camped in a troll themed free campsite near Hamn. Weird. But a good spot.

Expecting the bad weather to improve, it got worse and worse. And worse.

I finally QUIT en route to Skaland which is the trailhead for one of the great hikes. After days of hard rain, that route would have been too muddy to enjoy. Also — no vista from the top.

Summing up ➙ I need to return to Senja once the scenic road is open again.

My rental bike was pretty good, actually. Perhaps I’ll BUY a used bike like this in Tromsø and ride it south as far as it will go. Next time.

STUCK in Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø has the 3rd largest population (80k) north of the Arctic Circle anywhere (following Murmansk and Norilsk). 

At 69° it’s north of Reykjavík, for example.

350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle.  The summer sun doesn’t set until July 27th.

On my only other trip to Norway I made it as far north as the Lofoten Islands, but not to Tromsø.

Strikingly scenic, it’s increasingly popular with tourists.

The Arctic Cathedral, built in 1965, is one memorable landmark.

I saw this Telephone booth converted into a FREE community library near the Cathedral. Brilliant.

I enjoyed wandering the streets, some bleak but interesting landscapes. And some ultramodern looking buildings.

With long, dark winters, libraries are popular here.

ME at my Bibliotek hangout. 😀

Historically, this was the furthest outpost of “Norweigans” in an area mainly populated by the Sámi.

Explorers like Roald Amundsen recruited their teams from here. Here’s a statue of Helmer Hanssen from nearby Andøya. (He’s unrelated to the Helly Hansen company, originally based out of Norway, purchased by retail chain Canadian Tire in 2009.)

I saw two memorials to Roald Amundsen, first to reach the South Pole and the North Pole. First to navigate the Northwest Passage.

Amundsen disappeared in June 1928 while flying on a rescue mission for the airship Italia in the Arctic. The search for his remains, which have not been found, was called off in September of that year.

It’s tempting to fly to Tromsø in winter. Very unique. The northern lights are visible most clear nights.

I stayed at the only hostel in town. About US $35 / night. They treated me well.

Click PLAY or see Tromso Activities Hostel on YouTube.

I flew to Tromsø to start south on a long cycling adventure. Sadly my bike and gear got stranded at Heathrow airport. I watched them unmoved for … weeks.

Waiting for my luggage. 😀

Surprisingly, there’s a botanical garden at the University here. Astonishing what they can grow in this climate with sunlight 24 hours / day.

After 2 weeks my gear bag finally arrived. But the bike remains in Heathrow as I post. 🤨

I’m finally heading south without it. By ferry and bus.

Cycling Arctic Norway – the Lyngen Alps

I went to cycle and hike the Lyngen Alps inspired by Matthew’s recommendation.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Starting in the tourist town Tromsø, I cycled out to stay 2 nights at Magic Mountain Lodge is in Lyngseidet.

It’s an excellent adventure hotel that also offers dorm beds for about $35 / night.

I’ll never forget their reindeer stew with lingonberries served me on night #2.

I cycled to enjoy the best views I could get of the Lyngen Alps. Finishing in Nord-Lenangen where I caught the fast ferry back to Tromsø late on a Sunday night.

Click PLAY or watch highlights of my 3 day adventure on YouTube.

Here are a few of the photos I captured.

Reindeer close to the Ferry terminal
Fast ferry back to Tromsø