Saturday, November 5, 2011


Getting a big cardboard box for the bike, which is required to take it on the airplane, was eventually easier than I thought. By talking to at least five different people at different places at the airport some days before, I found out that United Airlines sells bike boxes for 10 $ right at the airport. This was a very convenient solution, as the other option would have been to get a box at a bike shop, transport it to the couchsurfer's place, box the bike there, and then get the box with bike inside to the airport. The bike shop boxes would be for free (and much stronger as I learned when I saw the United airlines box), but it would have cost a lot more time and money for an oversized taxi that is big enough to fit the box in. Anyway, I was glad about the airport box solution, which saved a lot of time.

Boxing the bike at the airport in San Diego

Assembling the bike in Frankfurt. Thanks to the cool bike shop in Vancouver, I knew how to do it properly this time.

I like statistics. Not the serious statistics with standard deviation, error bars and so on, just the simple summary of data and facts, some average numbers. So here are some facts about my tour:

Total days from starting in Vancouver to reaching San Diego: 67
- 9 days British Columbia (Canada)
- 6 days Washington
- 11 days Oregon
- 41 days California

- Riding days: 48
- Non-riding days (relaxing, driving in cities, hiking, etc.): 19

- Total distance: 3660 km (2274 miles)
- All counted kilometers (including driving around in cities on resting days, etc.): 4035 km (2507 miles)

- Longest riding day: 134 km (83 miles)
- Shortest riding day: 24 km (15 miles)
- Average distance on riding days: 76 km (47 miles)

Types of accommodation:
- 38 days (57 %) Camping at campsites
- 19 days (28 %) Private places (couchsurfing, warm showers, coincidences, etc.)
- 10 days (15 %) Hostels

Best days:
- Cycling with Ross, Chris and Christine
- Santa Cruz

Worst day:
- The first one (it was raining. But this was one of the very few real raining days. And nobody besides me was on the hiker/biker site at the campground)

Worst and best day at the same time:
- The scenic detour to the lost coast

Some random things I’ve seen or experienced

- Coolest plant: Redwood trees

- Coolest animal: Banana slug (see this picture in Chris' album)

- Most annoying animal: Raccoons (Waschbaeren). They stole my candy.

- Most scary moment: I heard an animal emptying a box of butter outside the tent in the middle of the night and thought it was a bear and realized that I had forgotten some yummy fruit in a bag inside my tent right next to me... But the 'bear' was only a raccoon, and it didn’t come inside for the fruit after finishing the butter.

- Favourite expression: „Howdy“. It is derived from „How do you do?“ and you’re not supposed to give an answer. So it actually means „Hi“, „Hello“ or „Ei guuude, wie?“ Most frequently used by passing racing cyclists.

- Favourite food: A lot. The longer the name, the better, like for example "Chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough ice cream“

- Another food fact: There is hardly anything that doesn’t contain either peanuts or beans (this is an exaggeration).

- I learned: The star constellation „der Grosse Wagen“ (which means „the big cart or trolley“) is called „the Big Dipper“ in american english, which means „die Grosse Suppenkelle“.

- People are very helpful. A group of four racing cyclists pushed me for some kilometers at the end of a long day (I didn’t ask them to do that!), which was really nice.

- Things I missed: a WiFi capable device. But on the other hand, it was more communicative not to have one. And front panniers (I had accumulated a lot of stuff towards the end)

- A nice coincidence: I randomly met Hardy and Alena from Berlin three times: First time in Canada, two weeks later in Washington, another two weeks later in northern California. Same direction, different routes, however, sometimes by chance the same spot at the same time.

- Coolest cities (not in order): San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Vancouver, Santa Barbara, ... Well, everything except Los Angeles.

A rough map of the route (from The Book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast"


  1. Andrea! Christine here. I wanted to share some of my photos with you:

    Also, what is your address? I would love to send you some letters.

    Additionally, one of my favorite bands is playing in Frankfurt on November 28th! You should go! They're called Vermont Joy Parade. Here's their myspace: If you go to the show, find the trumpet player, Ben, and tell him you cycled with me in California. He's a friend of mine.

    It's so good to finally have found your blog, I've been looking for it for a while and didn't realize that both Ross and Chris linked to it. It's so much fun to read about our trip, it's bringing back so many memories. I'm glad the rest of your trip went well, and I'm so touched that you listed cycling with us weird Americans as some of the best days of your trip. It was awesome cycling with you, I miss it quite a bit. I don't have any serious cycling female friends here in Vermont.

    Stay in touch!

  2. Andi,

    I don't know how to contact you but I hope we can catch up! It was nice riding with you for a few days a few summers ago and I'm trying to reconnect with people. I love that you put a link to my website on your page here! Please contact me on there. My email, facebook, twitter, all of that is at the bottom of my home page!