An Afternoon in Florence

Hmm …

I debated taking the short train ride to revisit Florence, one of the most popular tourists cities in the world.

And on a sunny Saturday in May?

A hot, crowded tourist trap. The over-priced attractions were all lined-up and impossible to enter. BEST book your tickets online.

The one place I wanted to pay to visit was the Boboli Gardens. But the line-up at the ticket wicket was too much for me.

My favourite stop was Michelangelo Square, for the panoramic vista.

If you are some sort of puritanical prude, convinced you’ll burn in Hell if you see God’s creation without clothing — don’t come to Florence.

Michelangelo Gay porn is everywhere. 😀

I did my own walking tour of the major plazas and oldest bridge, Ponte Vecchio.

As a fan of statuary, Florence is a terrific outdoor gallery.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

On the advice of the waiter at a chic eatery 😀 called Porks in the central market (Mercato Centrale) in Florence, I had Tagliatelle with Amatriciana sauce for lunch. Better than Bolognese, I thought.

Amatriciana sauce on Tagliatelle

Vancouver’s 1st POD hostel

I’ve stayed in a number of pods over the years.

BEST was in the Canary Islands – Atypicap Capsule Hostel. USD $26.15 / night.

The worst nation in the world for accommodation options is Canada. And Vancouver one of the most expensive cities.

So I was enthusiastic to try the new Panda Pod Hotel near the airport.

Reviews are pretty good on TripAdvissor.

It’s ideal for someone who has a layover at the Vancouver airport — and who wants to get some sleep and a shower.

I’ll definitely be staying there in future.

Easy transportation via train.

Cost is about USD $61. Expensive for a hostel bed, but not expensive compared with other options in Vancouver. A friend got a room in a Richmond AirBnB for not much more, however.

It’s one big room full of independent bunk beds. A bit crowded.

Luggage storage is convenient. First item free, second piece will be charged at $5 per night per item. HOWEVER — they won’t store a bike or bike box. I had to take a taxi back to the airport and check it into airport luggage storage. (Maximum 48 hours).

I NEED a First-Person-View (FPV) Drone

My retirement hobby is making hiking videos.

Best of all is drone video.

What’s next?

Certainly I’ll be getting an FPV drone … sometime.

If I HAD to buy one today, it would be the DJI Avata. But the price of U.S. $1428 is too steep.

That will come down quickly.

My current drones cost me about U.S. $300 each.

Here’s the kind of fun shots you can plan and shoot with an FPV. It’s radically different than a normal drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Jenny says I’m TOUGHER than I know 😀

One of my bikepacking inspirations.

Jenny Tough does not have a Wikipedia page.

… a writer and adventurer, and an enthusiast for all things endurance challenges, particularly in the mountains.

Whether it be a race or a solo adventure, her desire to push her limits has led her to numerous corners of the world.

In 2021 she completed a global challenge to run, solo and unsupported, across a mountain range on every continent, including three world-first traverses. She’s also competed in long-distance bikepacking races, including becoming the two-time first woman in the Silk Road Mountain Race and first woman in the inaugural Atlas Mountain Race – considered two of the toughest off-road bike races.

Outside of her personal pursuits, she is on a mission to get more people outside and challenging their own comfort zones, particularly women and girls, which she has championed by launching a book called Tough Women: Adventure Stories.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Spring Hiking/Skiing Banff

Having grown up in Calgary, I’d done a LOT of hiking in the Canadian Rockies in the SUMMER.

But for the past 3 years I’ve stayed in Banff for Spring skiing and Spring hiking.

Hiking in March / April was NEW to me.

Each time I stayed in the Samesun Hostel, the best overall of 3 good hostels in Banff.

I learned the hard way trying Sundance Canyon that micro spikes are essential for hiking ice. I backtracked to town and bought Yaktrax. An excellent product.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BEST Spring Hike in Banff?

For sure that’s Sulphur Mountain. You MIGHT be able to ride the gondola down free. Soak in the Hot Springs at the bottom.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


For a short hike right from town I typically simply walk the rivers and creeks. Lovely.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Lael Wilcox is my Cycling Hero

Lael Wilcox is an ultra-endurance bicycle racer from Alaska who’s set a LOT of records. Almost always the fastest woman, she’s competitive with the top men.

In fact, she doesn’t believe women are at any disadvantage in ultra-endurance sports. BUT most races are 90% men, 10% women.

Lael has a BIG YEAR planned for 2023 again racing the Tour Divide and Arizona Trail.

Her current goal is to encourage more girls and women to cycle. To that end, she documents her races even at risk of being disqualified as she was in the 2019 Tour Divide.

I Just Want To Ride – Lael Wilcox and the 2019 Tour Divide

Foolishly, many ultra-endurance races don’t allow video crews, considering them psychological support. That’s true, of course. BUT those races should encourage ALL to have media support people.

Click PLAY or watch her 2022 TED Talk on YouTube.


Alee Denham, from Australia, is one of my bikepacking gurus. A man.

He put together a page promoting women’s cycling resources:

Women Cycle The World – A handful of profiles on solo women travellers
Bicycle Travelling Women – More profiles on solo women cyclists
Bicycle Travelling Women – Facebook Group with 6000+ members
Solo Women Cyclist Interviews – A series of interesting interviews by Heike Pirngruber

These Solo Women Cyclists Have Epic Bicycle Touring Experience

AND he names names. These are some of the women he follows:

Ann Johansson – Mairawa – Cycled Sweden to Tajikistan and Sweden to Thailand
Anna Kitlar – Bikexploring – Cycled North America, Asia to Europe, Africa
Anne Westwards
 – Anne Westwards – 1.5 years through Asia and the Middle East
Astrid Domingo Molyneux – Cycling Full Circle – 2 years through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America
Blanca Fernandez – Blanca on a Bike – Cycled London to Asia, now travelling Africa
Blandine – Kick The World – 5 years, 57000km, 37 countries
Barbara Graf – Caretaker – Long bicycle journeys all over the world
Carmen Mickley – Vegan Cycling – 41,250km, 31 countries, three continents, three years
Cinderella Servranckx – Cycling Cindy – 50000km across 45 countries
Dervla Murphy – Full Tilt – Ireland to India on a bicycle… in 1963! Check out her book on the experience.
Dorothee Fleck – Women’s Cycling Guide – 12 years, 98 countries, 180,000km by bike
Eleanor Moseman – Wander Cyclist – 2 years, 26,000km, China, Mongolia & Central Asia
Emily Chappell – That Emily Chappell – Europe to Asia, North America and currently focussing on ultra-endurance cycling
Ewa Świderska – Ewcyna – Travelling by bike around the world since 2013
Fredrika Ek – The Bike Ramble – 1000 days around the world, 51000km, 45 countries, 25 years old
Gaëlle Bojko – Bike to the Blocks – One year around Europe, Lake Baikal in Siberia (lots of snow!)
Genevieve Fortin – On The Bike Again – Has cycled dozens of countries since 2006
Heike Pirngruber – Push Bike Girl – Travelling by bike around the world since 2013, an amazing photographer
Helen Dainty – Hels on Wheels – Cycling for six years (so far!), three continents, 43 countries on the bike
Helen Lloyd – Helen’s Take On – 45 countries, 45,000km, four continents
Hera van Willick – Wild Awake – Cycled extensively in Europe, Asia, North & Central America
Hyojin “Jin” Jeong – Universe With Me – 80000km around the world since 2011
Ishbel Holmes – World Bike Girl – Cycled 20 countries over three years
Jeannette Gagne – A Voyage of Mysterious Me – Cycled to the “North Pole”, in Oceania and currently in Africa
Jenny Graham – JennyGrahamIs – Fastest woman to cycle around the world (124 days)
Joanna Kaszewiak – On By Ways – Europe to Asia by bike, bus and plane
Josie Dew – Josie Dew – 35 years of solo adventures, author of seven bicycle touring books
Jude & Astrid – Foons On Bikes – Australia to the UK, then the UK to South Africa
Juliana Buhring – Juliana Buhring – Around the world in 152 days, ultra-endurance extraordinaire
Kate Leeming – Breaking The Cycle – Lots of big bike expeditions since 1993
Lael Wilcox – Lael Wilcox – Extensive touring experience with her ex-partner, more recently has won ultra-cycling events solo
Leana Neimand – Leana Neimand – Around the world since 2007, 89 countries, seven continents
Loretta Henderson – Solo Female Cyclist – Cycled five continents, 51 countries, author of a book for solo women cyclists
Louise Sutherland – Louise Sutherland – Cycled 60,000 kilometres through 54 countries in the 1940s through to the 1970s
Lydia Leibbrandt – Lydia Leibbrandt – The Netherlands to China as a 20-year-old
Mareike Dorf – Mina Travels The World – Cycled Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and NZ
Marielle Jauring – The Biking Viking – 39000km across Australia, NZ, USA and Canada
Martina Gees – Colorfish – Five years, 25 countries, 60,000km in multiple continents
Mirjam Wouters – Cycling Dutch Girl – Cycling all over the world, now with a toddler!
Nicole Heker – Unlearning By Bike – 22 countries, 377 days, Thailand to Spain
Phoebe Tan – Riding Cyclette – Northern Europe to South East Asia
Sarah Outen – Sarah Outen – London to Russia’s far east, also long-distance ocean rower and kayaker
Snezana Radojicic – Snezana Radojicic – Cycling around the world since 2011
Tara Weir – Margo Polo – 21 countries, 37,000km, extensive travels through Asia in particular, but also Aus, NZ & N.America
Valentina Brunet – Valentina On Wheels – 25000km from Vietnam to Italy


Anna Kortschak – A Thousand Turns – Alaska to Argentina (Europe too!)
Anna McNuff
 – Anna McNuff – Bolivia to Patagonia and 50 states of the USA
Anna-Luisa Becke – Radmaedchen – Canada to Guatemala, 10000km, 10 months
Cynthia Valladares – En Bici al Fin del Mundo – Ecuador to Patagonia as a 24-year-old
Hilde Green – Working On My Calves –  30,000km bike trip from Alaska to Argentina
Juli Hirata – Juli Hirata – Alaska to Argentina
Kate Rawles – Carbon Cycle Kate – Brazil to Patagonia on a bamboo bicycle she made herself
Leah Manning – Cycle South Chica – Cycled from the USA to Argentina
Maria Garus – Solo Woman Cyclist – Alaska to Argentina, 24000km, 33 months
Stefania Cioldi – She Is Around – Cycled about South America with a very cute cat
Sissi Korhonen – Strangerless – Argentina to Mexico over three years
Wiebke Lühmann – Pack and Tri – Colombia to Argentina over six months as a 23-year-old

Planning for Summer 2023

Though I claim to dislike Europe, my current plan for summer is mostly Europe.

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



Vancouver Island

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.

If time allows, I’d love to head back to the nearby Dolomites for hiking, cycling and via ferrata,


With stops in Switzerland, 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.” 

Lisa’s Birthday Adventure Week – Moab, Utah

I had a GREAT time with Dave and Lisa Adlard in one of my top 10 hiking towns of the world – Moab.

End of March should be ideal weather for outdoor activity. BUT 2023 was colder than usual.

Lisa rented a huge house. We had 19 people.

AND another 10+ over at other rental properties.

Click PLAY or watch a HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO on YouTube.

The birthday girl and friends enjoyed a SPA session.

That same day we were at a Climbing Club in Salt Lake City.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Rapel at William’s Bottom was a highlight.

I was video guy for this one. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I skipped the Side-by-side Quad adventuring. Jason only rolled his quad once. And only a quarter turn into sand. No injuries.

We had 2 dirt motor bikes, as well.

Corona Arch was the hike where most of our group got together for sunset.

Arches National Park was cold and windy when we were there. A fantastic place.

Dead Horse Point is wonderful. We had one group hike. And one group cycle.

Click PLAY or see Deadhorse on YouTube.

We ate most of our meals at the house. One restaurant blowout was hosted at Zac’s.

The infamous mountain bike circuit is called Slickrock Trail. I survived it in 2007 and did NOT want to risk a second time. BUT some of our group cycled it safely. Jeni and I hiked Slickrock.

A wonderful adventure vacation. It reminded me of a similar trip with Adlards to the Oregon Coast in 2021.

My video/photo editing workflow

Updated March 2023.

A #CovidGoal was to improve my video editing.

Here’s a summary of my video editing journey. So far.

A secondary goal, to improve photos and start sharing them more. I started an Instagram account for my hiking pics – BestHikeVisuals.

Mostly I’ve been disappointed with the many limitations of Instagram. I’m not at all a fan of that platform. I store my best photos on a paid site ➙ Flickr by Smugmug.

I shoot iPhone photos and video in HDR (High Dynamic Range). The BIG advantage of phone cameras is the black magic used in the automatic setting.

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

The remaining 25% has mostly to do with colour. Skin tone. Complicated stuff. Creators who can afford it often send their own work out to a specialist for colour correction.


Story. Story. Story.

Every edit should contribute to the STORY.

I threw this one together quickly as a teaser for upcoming West Coast Trail videos. But in some weird way, it’s evocative of that wild and challenging hike.

I’m particularly happy with the audio.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mostly my videos are for outdoor recreation, but I also hope to get back indoor soon shooting Gymnastics.

  1. I’m usually shooting solo
  2. 3 cameras (Sony ZV-1, GoPro 7 and iPhone 13 Mini with-or-without DJI OM 6 gimbal)
  3. The BIG upgrade December 2021 was getting a DJI Mavic SE drone, their entry level model. CAD $349. 
  4. For camera video I’ve switched from 24fps to 30fps as it’s a little clearer, though less cinematic. 
  5. ZV-1 is primary A roll footage.   It has by far the best audio
  6. Ignoring advice of most experts, I mostly shoot Intelligent Auto Mode.  In fact, I shoot Intelligent Auto Photo Mode almost all the time — as it’s QUICK on the Sony to take a 5472 × 3080 [16:9] photo and QUICK to switch to Intelligent Auto video 4K 30fps. With 4K I have plenty of room to crop or zoom to my final product in 1080p.
  7. The biggest risk of shooting Auto is shifting exposure during the same scene.  When that happens I’ll have to crop scenes so as not to show the flickering.  One exception is with the DJI drone — with the exposure is set to Auto while flying, I can LOCK 🔓 it in by clicking the small button bottom lower right of the Fly app display.  
  8. Shooting auto I tend to get video more saturated than reality.  To that, I add even more saturation and contrast.  I like that exaggerated look though it’s considered uncool in 2023. 
  9. ZV-1 Memory Recall #3 = 1080p / 60fps for slow motion (60 is better math when slowing for 30fps output)
  10. ZV-1 Memory Recall #2 = 4K / 30fps
  11. ZV-1 Memory Recall #1 = is for Time Lapse  photos 5472 × 3080 [16:9].  This setting I use mainly for photos, choosing the best from the collection. 16:9 ratio makes for a time lapse that matches the dimensions of my export video.  
  12. PHOTOS
    1.  I often shoot photos in RAW and JPG both — but usually edit in RAW.  
    2. Apple’s free Photos app on the Mac is not perfect, but I’m still using it for organization.  And quick edits.  It’s a much better photo editor in 2023 than just a couple of years ago.
    3. I’ve switched to Pixelmator Pro for editing the best of the best photos for Instagram.  
    4. All photos are archived in my Flickr Pro account
  13. I quit trying Sony video S-Log2, S-Log3, and other HLG profiles used by the cool kids as it was way too much hassle for dubious gains in quality. 
  14. iPhone 13 Mini on the OM 6 gimbal apps: Camera, Moment, DJI Mimo, SkyFlow
  15. the 13 Mini probably just as good as the ZV-1 in bright daylight.  But I’ll use it mostly for B roll: slow-mo, time lapse, special effects, etc. (always 4K and 60fps for slow mo or speed ramping.  30 fps normal. 24 fps low light).  I shoot HDR High Dynamic Range 10-bit. The better quality ProRES is not available on my 13 Mini.
  16. I’ll probably switch to the dedicated SkyFlow app timelapse app as it’s so quick and simple.
  17. The 13 has less stabilization than 13 Pro or Max, so I’ll use it on the gimbal as much as possible.
    1. One great gimbal feature that finally works consistently on the DJI OM 6 is GESTURE CONTROL for tracking myself.  It seems like I have a cameraman, though I’m solo.  That’s only available on the DJI Mimo app.
    2. Space on the phone is not a worry as I’ll transfer photos and videos on the fly via a tiny SanDisk 256GB memory stick.  
    3. The 13 Mini will be a dedicated camera and audio player.  I’m currently carrying a second iPhone, the S.E. mini as my phone phone. 
  18. GoPro 7 is for B roll: action, water, fake drone, etc. (mostly 2.7K 60fps as 2.7 is the highest it can go with Superview (16:9 aspect ratio) enabled.  I’d only switch to 4K if on a tripod.)
    1. low light set on auto
    2. ISO min 100, max 400 (400 might be low)
    3. Protune off
    4. Head mount, chest mount, handlebar mount, selfie stick, or tripod, depending on the situation. 
  19. Editing video with Final Cut Pro X on a MacBook Pro 14″ 2021 with 16 GB internal memory. That said, the cheapest MacBook Air is sufficient for almost everything I do. 
  20. Export in 1080p
    1. master file using ProRes 422
    2. export ‘Computer’
    3. export H.264 Faster Encode
  21. Shoot 120 fps only for smoke, fire, fast moving sports, etc. 
  22. As little hand held video as possible.  Use tripods.  Handheld would only be used to show ACTION.  Close-up motion.  I don’t shoot much of that. 
  23. Shorter the better for my videos. 
  24. No ads

Keeping electronics powered while on the road is one of my bigger problems.

For the iPhones, I’ll use a Anker 20W charger adapter as 20W is quickest.

For the GoPro, I’ll carry at least two 3.85 Volt batteries and a tiny charging case. I find these batteries die too quickly.

I’ll sometimes carry a solar panel in addition to a charging battery (or two).

The Sony is by far my favourite camera. But when it breaks I’m planning to continue using only an Action camera on tripod and iPhone & gimbal. Both are small, light and durable.

The top hiking blogger, Kraig Adams, recently sold his big camera and is using only iPhone and drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.