Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 19 (0km): Day of Rest

My Mom flew into Tuscon yesterday where we met her at the Best Western. It's not as hot as it was yesterday, but still very hot by my west coast standards. We are spending the day catching up on chores: laundry, internet, bike repairs ... 

Right now the whole family is lounging around the pool (which we have to ourselves), some of us enjoying the sun, some of us hiding in the shade (me).
Enjoying a comp beverage
Beating the heat

Since nothing is happening today I will reflect on our travels through the United States, since we will probably be leaving for Mexico tomorrow. 

What I really enjoyed about the route we took through the United States was the National Forests. Tons of land set aside with great camping opportunities. Especially in Montana where there was an abundance of cheap primitive campgrounds. I wish Canada had a similar set-up. Also the signage is great for the National Forests (you always know when you are entering or leaving). 
The weather has been great, despite the snow at the beginning. We've been told by everyone we meet that the weather isn't normally this nice. So that was a bonus for us. 
We managed to ride, by chance mostly, some of the best biking roads we've ever been on. We'll be making plans to come back on our sport bikes for the best ones (Colorado and 191 in Arizona). Not sure if we got lucky but we mostly had them to ourselves.
One thing we always like about touring in the US is the cheapness of everything: camping, food and gas. It makes a difference on a long trip, which we noticed when we went across Canada last summer and we did 2.5 weeks in the US.
Finally everyone has been amazing. We've met tons of really nice, friendly people. Also lots of people waving to us as we drive by. Oh and in particular, service is always top notch in the US. After coming back from South Africa earlier this summer it has been a welcomed change of pace. Actually even compared to Canada service is leaps and bounds ahead.

On the other side of the coin, the signage is lacking compared to Canada. Highways not identified, or signs being hidden by trees. It's hard to navigate by signs only if you're used to Canadian standards. 
This isn't a complaint more of just a comment but driving on the Interstates on these types of bikes is a scary experience. The wind just blows you around and huge semis are passing you at 120-130 kph.
The dust suppressant experience was not favourable. Though that is more a reflection of our map showing the road as a normal road and it turning out to be an oil access road. But on the topic of road work, on some of the nice bike roads they were oiling them. Why? That sucks when you're on a bike and negotiating tight turns.
Road construction has been weird. There would be signs and reduced speed limits but no construction. It was particularly bad in the Rocky Mountain NP.  And on the subject of National Parks the two we went through were a bit of a disappointment. What I like about NPs in Canada is that you're allowed to drive through without paying the park fee, not the case in the US. 

We've had a nice trip in the US but now it's time for the real trip to start: Latin America awaits.

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