… visiting Dubai, cycling Oman?

I’m considering heading to Oman for the first time. For hiking and cycling.

Perhaps October 2020.

Craggy peaks and rugged terrain, empty deserts and a long picture-perfect coastline, ancient castles and forts–that’s what draws adventure cyclists to Oman. …

Why Oman deserves a Spot on your Bicycle Touring Bucket List

Watch a video on Lonely Planet.

my 2019 YEAR in REVIEW

Tim Ferriss recommends we review the past year (which was GREAT) before making any plans for the next.

I want to be a #winner in 2020. Like this guy.

1. What were three to four highs of last year … and three to four lows?

23 day cycling tour of Patagonia

24 day cycling tour of the Pacific N.W. 

30 days in Nepal – hiking and dental work

first visits to Prague and Budapest

So … travel, hiking and cycling remain my annual highlights.

I can’t recall any significant lows. I broke two laptops. Got stuck in Hungary without an exit visa. Ruined a pair of shoes. Nothing significant.

2. What enabled or motivated you to reach those highs, and how did you successfully move through the lows?

For travel I was more organized than in the past. Put together detailed gear lists. Made my plans months ahead rather than weeks or days in advance.

3. What worked and didn’t work? In other words, what do you need to do more or less of?

More of the same. Get organized early for my travels in 2020.

I spent more than I earned in 2019. I should work more, play less in 2020.

I did not ski enough in 2019. My goal is at least 5 days downhill.

4. What stressed you out the most, and how could you navigate it better?

Bicycle maintenance stresses me out. I’ve now downloaded The Complete Bike Owner’s Manual to my laptop and phone.

My only medical concern is high blood pressure.  Need to monitor that more consistently.

I follow the high crimes and misdemeanours of Trump. The world seems to be getting worse, not better. … BUT my own life is unaffected. I don’t worry about an unexpected health care emergency as so many Americans do.

5. And, most important, what were you most grateful for in 2019, and how can you take that into 2020?

Good health. Myself and my family.

I ran more in 2019 than I have since at least 2008. Should run an hour a day  at least 45 days of 2020.  Enter at least 3 races in 2020.

related – How (and why) you should give yourself a year-end review

running race Pokhara, Nepal

♫ … going to Kathmandu?

Kathmandu is awful. One of the most polluted cities of the world. Traffic is a nightmare. Drinking water highly risky. The airport is horrid.

UPDATE – the core streets of the tourist area Thamel have been made mostly pedestrian only. That’s a BIG improvement.

On recent trips I’ve flown into Kathmandu — then departed as quickly as possible to Bhaktapur or Pokara.

For one thing, many visitors get sick in Kathmandu within the first couple of days.

In 2019 I ended up staying in Kathmandu two days at the end of my trip as the departure was out of the city.

As always, I visited my favourite attraction — the Monkey Temple.

Swoyambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley … It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living (there) …

The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. …

The stupa consists of a dome at the base, above which is a cubical structure painted with eyes of Buddha looking in all four directions with the word “unity” in the main Nepali dialect between them …

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The second night I went, as usual, to the Great Stupa. Had dinner on one of the rooftop restaurants.

The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. …

Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. …

Here are a few other random photos from my last days in Nepal.

Sizzler at Rum Doodle (new location)

unique and excellent donair Nepali-style

I’ll be back. There’s no better way to hike the Himalayas than from Nepal.

Looking to river valley between two 8000m peaks

traveling the world on my birthday

It’s my birthday. 62-years-young today.

I’ve been on the road for many birthdays.

My 53rd was in Porto, Portugal.

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I’ve had a few birthdays out on the hiking trail too.

Spent my 57th birthday tenting in a stone Yak shack at 4110m, close to the Tibet border in Nepal.

And for 62 I’m climbing up the Annapurna massif in Peru … Nepal.

You can see I’m already suffering old-timer’s disease. 😀

Goodbye Europe. Hello Nepal.

In November — for me — there’s no better place to be than Nepal.

Is this my 7th or 8th time to Nepal?

I’m bypassing poluted Kathmandu. My digital nomad buddy Joshua is in Pokhara. He booked me a room at the Sweet Dreams guesthouse, $15 / night.

Josh is working in Pokhara — online for Digital Guruz, an internet marketing company.

I hired a couple of boatmen to row me over to the Peace Pagoda.

In Pokhara I’m getting some dental work done. And then hiking the Annapurna, of course.

 

 

SUMMING UP – my Pacific NW cycling tour

My major project of summer 2019, I finished a month long trip on August 3rd.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | info | video

One excellent adventure.

The Pacific Northwest  is gorgeous. I had fantastic weather. Very few biting insects.

The theme was rails to trails. I tried to ride as many railway lines converted to non-motorized transport as I could.

Kinsol Trestle, Vancouver Island
  • at least 2700 km (1675 miles)
  • BC, Washington State, north Idaho, back to BC
  • 24 days on the bike
  • 2 days off in Port Townsend hosted by the Tumbl Trak crew
  • 8 days off in Coeur d’Alene hosted by the Adlards
  • one night motel

HIGHLIGHTS

Dave and Jeni
  • 5 bears
  • Cowichan Valley Trail on Vancouver Island
  • Iron Horse rail trail in Washington State
  • Kettle Valley rail trail in central B.C.
  • the Relive app for mapping my rides on Google Earth
  • after many repairs en route, my Ghost hybrid bike is running better than new
  • trestles, tunnels, bridges, fantastic wilderness
old Kettle River rail bridge
Othello Tunnels, Hope BC
Myra Canyon Trestles near Kelowna

Click PLAY or watch a 6 minute highlights video on YouTube.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • non-motorized rail trails make for excellent cycling
  • some surfaces are MUCH better than others
Issaquah-Preston trail, Seattle
  • highways are dangerous
  • The Great American Rail-Trail is more of a concept than a thing. There is no signage at all, for example. Current maps on the TrailLink appsuck.
  • Canada’s Great Trail app is better, but still sucks
  • I love the free maps.me app … but it’s lacking in North America as not many people use it here. It steered me wrong a number of times.
  • Google maps offline is not much help as it only shows automobile routes.
  • a British cyclist recommended the free ridewithgps app. I’ll try it next.
  • Canada’s Great Trail (formerly called the Trans Canada Trail) was better than I expected. B.C. includes many of the best sections.
  • I hiked less than anticipated
Sweet Creek Falls, Idaho
  • I had too much weight on the back. Next time I’ll use saddlebags mounted in front and (possibly) mid-frame
  • bikes need a lot of maintenance. And I’m the worst at bicycle maintenance. En route I fixed one flat. Had 4 broken spokes. Visited 4 bike shops. Had both tires upgraded.
  • Dave had his guys replace the chain and some other hardware. That helped immensely.

I started in Nanaimo wanting to get to Lake Cowichan as quickly as possible.

Lake Cowichan is the western terminus of the Great Trail.

  1. Lake Cowichan to Victoria on the Cowichan Valley Trail

2. Islands to Port Townsend WA

After visiting friends in Victoria, I took the most direct route to visit friends in Port Townsend via the American San Juan Islands.

3. Port Townsend WA to Rattlesnake Lake WA

To avoid some highway miles, Doug & Diana delivered me to the Bainbridge ferry. I cycled the Burke-Gilman rail to trail and others connected to get to the fantastic Iron Horse Trail out of Rattlesnake Lake.

4. Rattlesnake Lake WA to Tekoa WA on the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

5. Eastern Washington

Just past Ellensburg I was forced off the semi-official GART on to secondary highways and alternative trails that took me through Spokane.

I found this section of GART to be too soft and sandy for my tires. Also it was too disconnected.

I finally stopped at Plummer, Idaho. Dave Adlard picked me up. We dropped the bike at a shop for repair as I’d broken 3 spokes the previous evening. And then took an indulgent 8 days off in Couer d’Alene.

6. North to Castlegar

Dave and Jeni rode with me away from the Adlard log cabin in Athol. We headed towards Sandpoint on back roads and I later rejoined the route shown in the map below. Dave had suggested I cross the border close to pretty Metaline Falls.

6. Castlegar to Hope 

For decades I’d wanted to ride the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail. It’s totally wonderful. And obviously one of the great cycling routes of the world.

Hope to Vancouver and on to Parksville on the Island was problematic. There is no excellent route yet available. Cyclists I met took a number of different roads.

Psychologically finished at Hope, I managed a series of rides, buses, trains and ferries to cover the 240km in about 36 hours without sleeping.

related – compare my 23 days bikepacking Patagonia, Chile earlier this year

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12-13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | info | video