Archive for February, 2008

Freighter frustration

Friday, February 29th, 2008

I have been trying for over a month now, rather unsuccessfully thus far, to book a freighter. We want to take a freighter from somewhere on the north east coast of North America (Montreal, New York, Newark, or Philadelphia) to somewhere in Europe (ideally Italy, but we would settle for pretty much anywhere on the continent at this point). I’ve tried 5 different listings to no avail!

My experience so far has been that everything that is posted is “going out of charter” or “changing routes” such that what I ask for is not available :(.

I also tried to book a freighter from Italy to Malaysia. There was one group (NSB Ever Champion etc.) that looked very good and ran very regularly (weekly). When I made the request, the information that came back was that the company is now running from England to Malaysia. Unfortunately, we’ll be on the other side of Europe, so England would be a bit of a stretch.

At this time, I am working on patience. I think I may be taking some of the wrong advice and trying to book too early. I have my fingers crossed that as our departure date gets closer, the boat schedules will firm up and more cruises will be available.

Cross your fingers for us!

Current Plans

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

As of today, our journey looks something like this:

July 4, 2008 – Depart Ottawa and ride towards Newfoundland. We are hoping to follow the North shore of Quebec until we run out of road, and then catch ferries to Newfoundland. We’ll spend the month of August cycling around Newfoundland, and then take a ferry to Nova Scotia. If the timing is right, we’ll meet up with the folks from Atlantic Canada Cycling for their Labour Day Cabot Trail Tour. From there, we’ll have a couple of weeks or so to visit Scott’s sister and family in Fredericton and get back to Montreal (unfortunately, the freighters taking passengers leaving from Halifax don’t go to the Mediterranean).

September 21st,2008 (or there abouts) – Take a freighter from Charleston, North Carolina to Antwerp Belgium.

October 2008 – January 2009 – Ride (and take ferries) from Italy to Jordan via Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and Syria. We’ll need to find our way back to Italy in time to catch our boat.

February 1st, 2009 (or there abouts) – We have tentatively booked a freighter from Naples Italy to Port Kelang (right near Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia. The freighter will stop in Le Spezia Italy and Barcelona, Spain prior to transiting the Suez Canal and going to Port Kelang (about 21 days). We are excited for the opportunity to see Barcelona, as we would not otherwise have been able to visit it. The two stops before the long transit will give us an opportunity to scope out the food on-board ship and stock up on what we want prior to the long passage. We will also be able to stock up on some good red wine in both Le Spezia and Barcelona!

March – April 2009 – Explore South-East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) by bicycle.

May 2009 – Bike up to Shanghai, China.

June 2009 – Take a freighter from Shanghai, China to Vancouver, Canada.

June / July 2009 – Ride up Vancouver Island, take a ferry to Prince Rupert, BC. Ride across Northern BC to Prince George, then head south to Kamloops, then east to Calgary.

August and September 2009 – Make our way east until we reach Ottawa.

All that being said, our boats have not yet been booked, so our itinerary is still rather fluid.

Trip to the travel doctor

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Today, we paid a visit to the travel doctor. I’m of mixed feelings about the visit. I found that I trusted the Doctor’s advise, and that he really knew about the various things; but I also felt that he didn’t do a good enough job informing me about medications and shots. If I hadn’t done a bunch of advance reading and research, I think I would have been completely lost. He did provide two comprehensive handouts though, which we are still digesting.

I’m going to have to do a little more research and be prepared with questions for my second visit.

I decided to document his recommendations and other information I’ve found in my research, but IANAD (I am not a doctor). Please consult your family doctor or local travel medicine clinic for recommendations before using any of the information below. (more…)

Scott and Becky are Going East!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

When we tell people we are going on a 15 month bicycle tour, the first question we are asked is “Where are you going?” The simplest answer to the question is, “we are going east.”

When we first talked about this trip in September 2007, it was only 4 months and involved cycling across Canada from Vancouver to St. John’s. However, I wasn’t so sure about cycling long distances with a regular touring bike. My experience last summer cycling in PEI was an indicator that with anything longer than 80km per day my neck and wrists were not happy. I wanted to try out the idea of long distance cycling on a recumbent. Unfortunately, it was too late in the season to buy a new bike, learn how to ride it, and be ready for a cross-Canada tour by mid-May. So, we decide to start in August and extend the trip to include parts of Europe and Southeast Asia — always, “going east” until we got back to Ottawa.

The adventure has changed a little since then. We now have plans to concentrate on cycling across Canada, around the Middle East, and around the Far East. We are also hoping to accomplish this entire journey without an airplane flight.

Our itinerary keeps changing, and likely wont be solid until the trip is complete! Click here for the latest plan.