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  • Writer's pictureXPLORid

Canada here we come!

We are ready to go. After a winter break of 3 months, we will be back on our pedals on March 1. We are very excited to continue our world bicycle tour! We are energized, fit and well prepared. We enjoyed spending time with our family, the delicacies of Maastricht and the luxury in Bram's apartment. But now it's time to go.

On March 1 we will cycle from Maastricht to Antwerp, London and Southampton. A boat will take us to New York on March 20. Next we head north along the coast to Canada. In Canada we cycle from east to west for about 9 months to finally arrive in Vancouver. There we will be having an interview at the American embassy to get a visa for the USA.

Visa problems

Besides the ETA and ESTA’s, it is not easy to arrange visas online. Due to Covid, the embassies have less manpower and as a result we have to wait 420 days to get an interview in the Netherlands. We find a solution by scheduling the interview in Vancouver. The first available date is February 17 2023.

The online visa application wants to know everything about us. It’s a lot of work to fill out all the forms, but it’s a good exercise for future visa applications. We now have an ETA for Canada, an ESTA for the USA and a scheduled interview for the B1/B2 visa for the USA.

We prepare ourselves for the interview. We make a booklet for each of us with proof of our world bicycle tour, sufficient liquid assets, (family) ties with the Netherlands, and so on. We don't want to work in the USA and we don't want to stay there either. Hopefully the gathered proof is enough to get a visa for half a year.

Crossing the ocean

When all the paper work is done and the signals turn green, we look for a boat that will take us to the other side of the ocean. Covid is not making this easy. First we are told that cargo ships will not take passengers until April 1 2022. We are on a waiting list. Later we receive a message that passengers are not allowed for the whole year of 2022.

In terms of planning, but also in terms of seasons, it is not the best time to wait at a harbor for a sailboat that wants to take us along. We make a tough but wise decision to book a cruise ship. Of course that doesn't fit our way of life at all, but there is no other way. Besides, we still don’t get on a plane.

What you don't have, doesn't need to be cleaned

We have transport and we can cross the border. In the meantime we’ve emptied our garage. Why should you keep your stuff in storage for 7 years? Who knows if you'll ever be using it in the future? We keep a few moving boxes in storage at our family.

Cleaning out the garage is not easy. After 2 weeks everything is sorted in a different place, but the garage is still just as full as when we started. Sometimes we wonder if this will ever work out fine. What were we thinking? But in the 3rd week we see light at the end of the garage.

We give things to family and sell other stuff through Marktplaats. Next a visit to the environmental park and second hand shop. And here you go, the garage is empty at the end of January and we have a tenant in no time.

Maintenance and fine-tuning

We are on schedule when we start the maintenance of our bikes and fine-tuning our luggage in February. Mr. Blue Sky and Mrs. Sunshine have already been pampered at Idworx during a thorough inspection. The finishing touch is done at Cycling Evers. New chains, lighting, tires, Pinion oil… We have a long list that we have to finish. Ben is now almost a bicycle mechanic and we do a lot ourselves.

Socks in sandals

We prefer to wear our Teva sandals. When it is 10 ºC or colder, we put on our Alfa winter shoes. We re-soled them. For all other occasions we wear our Barefoot sandals. To be connected to the earth feels wonderful and the feeling of freedom is great.

Weather extremes

We expect to encounter more weather extremes. In early February, there was a heavy snow storm in New York and the entire east coast. But it can also be very hot in both Canada and the USA. We therefore ordered a Da Brim sun visor which we’ll pick up in Boston. With the Sawyer water filter, Steripen filter and Hydrapak water bags we keep hydrated. We tackle the cold with enough layers and a down jacket.

Besides, cycling will keep us warm.

Bears on the road

In Boston we will also get an Ursack Allmitey beer-proof food bag. If we have to camp in the wild, we don't want to be attacked by a hungry bear. We keep our food in this bag at least 100 meters from the tent. The food bag material is so strong that a bear cannot penetrate it with its sharp teeth and nails. This Ursack also protects against smaller mammals, such as squirrels and mice.

Canada here we come!

Linda can now navigate as well. With the new Rox 11.1 EVO from Sigma, she will lead the way more often. Yet we still like to see our route on a map. It’s nice to have a bit more feeling with where we are cycling. Till Vancouver Island we have maps from Reiseknowhow with us. Last, but not least, the new Vlaggenclub flags can be added to our itinerary soon. We bought a sturdier stick to tie the flags to. No more worries broken wooden stick.

The new maps, navigation and flags are set to go. We are ready for new adventures!


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