We still had two open issues remaining.
Skippy needed her shoes and I realized that the battery-time on the
GoPro was too small to last for a whole riding day, thus I wanted to
have at least one spare. We stayed for a few days in Globe, Arizona to wait for our
deliveries and in the meantime had great hikes in the nearby “Round
USA and Canada in hindsight
We were 277 days in USA and Canada and rode about 25300 km starting
from New York City all the way to the west coast and down to the Mexican
border. Out of the 277 days we spent about 5 weeks in Canada. The USA
is huge! Comparing this kind of mileage to Europe, one could easily ride
from the Ural mountains to Paris and from Gibraltar to Nordkapp,
We have been fascinated by the nature. We
experienced the forests of the east, the great plains in the center, the
mountains on the west and the deserts of the south-west.
hospitality, friendliness of people and their willingness to help us
was overwhelming. We got spontaneously invited by people which we just
met 5 minutes ago to stay at their place instead of going to a motel.
When Skippy had her accident, the owner of the nearby house instantly
came to help and then even gave us their car so I could drive Skippy to
the hospital. In New York, we spent about one week in downtown Manhattan
in the Adventure Loft. When we stayed in Colorado, we were almost three
weeks at another motorbiker's home. In Portland, Oregon we even got a
deluxe apartment just for us for almost two weeks. In Phoenix we were
for few weeks at other bikers' homes and in all the places we could come
and go as we please (got our own key) and it was even free of charge!
Where in Europe would one experience that?
A HUGE THANK YOU
to all who accommodated us and helped us in one way or the other! We will remember you!
some of the pioneer spirit is left in the culture. Talking about that.
We followed the roads of the Oregon and California trails and swallowed
the same dust as those thousands of settlers before when they headed out
west. I watched a few documentaries and got my "picture of the wild
wild west" significantly demystified. The history of the US is pretty
short. 200 years seemed to be a long time.
Canada are pretty much free of litter. Whether we made a stop at the
highway or had our walk with the dogs in the motel neighborhood, we were
able to enjoy the nature without the horrible sights and smells we
experienced in West-Africa.
No matter how remote we
were and I would say that the most remote was in the deserts with 100
miles (160km) to the next place of civilization. Surely the distances in
the west are longer compared to the east USA, especially compared to
Central Europe. The north west reminded me a lot of northern Finland
where it is also usual to drive a lot for grocery shopping.
Nevertheless, for us (and especially after Africa) there was all the
comfort always nearby.
One finds the major chains e.g.
Whole Foods, Walmart, Napa, Motel 6, The Home Depot throughout the
entire US. In every bigger city there are several motorcycle shops and
repair places. Shopping is easy and shopping is welcome ;)
fuel was cheap. At first we paid a bit over 4 USD/gallon (0.87 Eur/l)
and in the end only 1.80 USD/gallon (0.47 EUR/l). We felt that organic
produce was more expensive compared to Europe even though the produce
came from the US or nearby Mexico. The accommodation was often more
expensive compared to Europe but offered at the same time more luxury
(e.g. the only place we had a shared bathroom and shower was in the
Grand Tetons). The worst pet-friendly hotel charged 60 USD per night for
the room and 40 USD per pet per night, of course we did not go there!
The cheapest motel was 40 USD cash and dogs were for free.
did a fair share of camping, whereas camping in the US mostly refers to
having a huge RV or RV-trailer with you. Tent camping appeared to be
not that common. The most amazing fact was that most government owned
campgrounds do NOT offer shower facilities. E.g. in a State Park, one
pays 15 USD for the camping and 10 USD vehicle entry fee for each
vehicle - a total of 35 USD, no showers, no Wifi and dogs were (almost
always) for free. Compare that to a motel? The privately owned
campgrounds had all the facilities, Wifi and so on. We also spent some
nights at city-owned campgrounds which were free of charge. Of course
there we had to be inventive with the showers or get lucky.
of the most fuzzy things we came along were the immigration
regulations. We have our 10-year multiple-entry visa and normally one
gets a permission to stay 6 months at the time in the US. What about if
you want to stay longer e.g. 8 months? Now it got really fuzzy and in my
attempt to clarify this matter I must have found many patriots or woke
up the patriotic feelings in those Americans which replied to my
questions. In any case, the replies were less than helpful and caused me
In the end we used our own judgement
and when we entered the USA for the third time (that was the critical
one as our permission to stay in the US had expired) we had a solid
story to tell why we want to enter the US again, all went fine and in we
Another side note here was I felt a huge
difference comparing leaving the country and entering it. Leaving the US
- nobody cares and when we crossed towards Canada there was no US
immigration officer stamping you out of the country. When we entered the
US for the first time at the airport, it was a normal procedure for me.
When we entered the US for the second time when coming from Canada, I
felt being treated like a criminal (I guess the guy was utterly jealous
that we ride around the world).
Traveling with dogs has
been fairly easy. Vegan dog food was available across the country and
easy to find. There are vet clinics in almost every town. The shocking
part has been that the prices for veterinary care are sky high compared
to Finland. We spent several thousands of dollars on vet-care, maybe
three to four times more than in Finland! We also had our saddest moment
in the US when Hertta died on the 21st of November 2014. We still miss
her a lot!
Maybe living in Finland had spoiled us. There is a legal concept
called "freedom to roam" (also valid in Nordic and Baltic countries)
which is the general public's right to access
certain public or privately owned land. When we rode through the US, had
our stops and hikes, we had moments where we felt a little bit like in a
prison. There were plenty of “posted”, “no trespassing”,
“keep out” and so on often in combination with barb-wire fences.
Parks were one alternative, but typically for a far too high price for a
lunch brake or even camping. City Parks and National Forests were often the
most convenient places to stop and camp. We had the annual pass for the
National Parks which allowed us free entrance and we used that a lot as
most of the great and stunning sceneries were in a National Park. The
downside was that dogs were typically not allowed on hiking trails and
thus the walking was limited to the parking lot area.
already said earlier the USA is huge and we saw plenty of empty land.
We noted that in most of the regions, the house trash goes to a landfill
and not through a recycle system. In best cases we saw a separation of
plastic bottles and the rest, or plastic/paper/glass and the rest. It
really hurt my environmental soul to throw normal (AA, AAA) batteries as
well as watch batteries (button cell) into trash since I was not able
to find a recycling possibility besides my attempts in several shops. If
one only thinks about money in short-term it might be that the recycling
is more expensive compared to the throw-away and landfill mentality.
However considering the long term effect of the poison in the ground
which might come to people's drinking water then the story will be a
very different one.
With the time and money constrains
we had to make some tough decisions on what NOT to visit and
experience. Sometimes the weather helped us and when it started snowing
and freezing in the north-west, it was easy to go south. We detoured a
few times to avoid road closures due to snow and flooding. Sometimes we
flipped a coin on which way to go and sometimes we went there where we
found a cheap motel.
SilberWolf entered the US pretty
much naked and left with plenty of stickers on and Skippy's V-Strom also
faced a few changes in the outfit.
|Naked SilberWolf. Picture taken at Tim's backyard - a few days after we left New York.|
|Taken at Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona - after which I could add the Route 66 - sticker also :D|
|Pussy Ride (with only a few stickers) converted to ...|
|... to Fruitarian Power with a few new stickers and no more fairings.|
Overall, we had a fantastic time, did some
fun riding, met great people, experienced a different culture, enjoyed
nature, learned a lot and spread the word of veganism and healthy life
|Our track (each color indicates a new riding day - light blue are solo trips by either me or Skippy)|
|Zoom in on the east ... |
|... and on the west.|
~ Farewell USA~
Wolfi looks a bit rusty......ReplyDelete
He does! Needs more oiling...? :DDelete