05 Feb The Route – America to Portugal
Once I start the North American leg, it will over three and half years since I left home and I would be around three-quarters of the way through the trip. Although the North American leg only has two countries, the distances I’ll need to travel are huge.
Crossing over from the border of Mexico near Tijuana, I’ll have to apply for my visa into America, which seems fairly straightforward for a British citizen. Once across, I’ll get up to 90 days to travel the 2,600km to the Canadian border, which I plan to cross above Seattle, heading towards Vancouver, Canada.
During my time up the west coast of America, I’ll stop off at a number of places that have been on my bucket list for many years, with the highlight for me being Yosemite National Park. Climbing is a passion of mine and Yosemite is a mecca for anyone who likes life in the vertical. The USA will also be the first country in almost 18 months that speaks English as its first language, which I’m in no doubt will come as a relief after getting by with my poor Spanish throughout South America.
On arriving in Canada, immigration will decide on how long I can stay, although it is normally for a period of six months, from what I’ve read. I plan to cross the border around the start of November. I’ll travel up as far as Vancouver and then head east across the country to Calgary and then on to Winnipeg after which I’ll drop back down into America around the town of Emerson, sometime in early January, 2021.
Once back in the America, I will pass through Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania before catching a flight to Portugal from New York. This second trip through America is approximately 2,600km of riding, so I should be boarding my flight to Europe around mid-March, 2021, that is, if I can get through Canada and North America in winter.
Winter in Canada isn’t ideal for cycling although my route across keeps very southerly so I’m hoping to avoid the worst conditions. I have read accounts of people cycling in winter and making it through okay but I must admit, this section of the trip is the part I’m worried about most regarding the weather. Bearing in mind I’ve calculated my entire round the world route on doing just 50km a day, I may find I’m in Canada before the winter starts. There are definitely going to be days during the South America leg that I’ll be doing far more than 50km and days when I might struggle to make even that small target. Even when it comes time to drop back down into America, it will still be very cold if I am in line with the time schedule above.
There are also a few options that I will look into during the South America leg. There are countries, such as Mexico, that allow me to stay for a longer than I need to, so I can hang back here and wait for the better weather in Canada before crossing to America. Or, if Canada gives me the full six months, I can wait out the worst of the winter in Vancouver before heading east. Either way, I am sure I’ll find a way through.
If all goes to plan, I’ll be leaving mainland America bound for Europe around mid-March, 2021, on to the last leg of the journey. If I have to wait for the winter in Canada to pass, then I could leave as late as July. I’ll have to just wait and see.
Edited by – Emer Garry