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June 2004 Route update

Bits and stories about World Bike for Breath. A Bulletin for sponsors. Volume 2, June, 2004
Paula Eber
June, 2004

Hi Dear Friends and Sponsors:

I am now writing to you from Missoula, MT. It is hard to believe that we are on our home stretch after one year of extraordinary adventures.

During my last email I promised that I would send a detailed itinerary of our route from Hong Kong to Tonga (for those of you who are following our exact itinerary on the map). Our next email will be about following the the Lewis and Clarke trail in the U.S.

Kilometers for asthma: 10,441
Miles for asthma: 6531

We have now completed well over 10,000 kilometers. Our realistic expectation is to finish with 15000 kilometers and just under 10,000 miles. We feel this is a tremendous achievement. We have cycled through 24 countries (only 4 of which speak English), followed our route amazingly closely and are still on schedule. Quite a miracle for the first two children to ever pedal completely around the world.

However our original route schedule did plan 15000 miles in 20 months. When we reversed the route and shortened it to 16 months we figured that we would cycle fewer miles, but thought it best to see what we could do. We hope all of you still feel that your donation for 15000 kilometers is still an amazing goal.

Our route:

  • After spending a very tinselly and colorful Christmas and New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, we flew to Thailand with my mother and stepfather
  • Our bikes now disassembled into a hundred pieces to fit into bike boxes, we spent ten days relaxing and sightseeing with my family in Bankok and Pattaya. It was a great break and a fun unexpected addition to our original route (which did not include Thailand)
  • Flew to Sidney Australia where we reassembled our bikes, had them tuned up and repaired, after five months of serious abuse through Eastern Europe and Asia, and went shopping to replace our now seriously depleted and used gear
  • On the basis of misinformation from the Lonely Planet guide to Cycling Australia--which said that the predominant winds came from the south--we took an overnight bus to Melbourne. After a painful month of 20 to 30 mile headwinds in Taiwan we were tired of fighting to pedal uphill against wind. We figured that if we started in Melbourne and biked north we'd finally have the winds at our back as we headed back to Sydney. All we have to say about Lonely Planet bicycling books (they mislead us numerous times in Australia and New Zealand) is *@#&**$$#####!!!! As all local inhabitants along the coast could tell us, in the summer the winds come from the Northeast. So we spent another tiring month pedaling right into headwinds thanks to our helpful Lonely Planet.
  • From Melbourne, where we visited Captain Cook's cottage, we headed briefly south and west to Geelong and the famed Great Ocean Road.
  • Once on the Tasman Sea, we continued north and east along the beautiful although intensely hilly Australian coast. Probably the greatest highlights of the ride were the animals and the many many beautiful unspoiled beaches. We petted koalas in a wildlife sanctuary near Geelong, watched thousands of tiny penguins in their nightly migration to their burrows on Phillip Island, observed hundreds of kangaroos out grazing in the evening on the hills of the Mornington Peninsula and saw a hedgehog-like echidna waddling across a quiet lane near Barnesdale. A huge dragon-like water monitor almost made Yvonne jump off her bike as it transformed from an illusory log to a waddling crocodile like creature in Cape Conran Coastal Park. Each morning we would wake to the raucous din of cockatoos, yellow crested corellas, parrots, and magpies flying in the trees above our tent.
  • Near Bateman's Bay we spent the night in an old gold mining town. Two days later my father flew to Sydney and drove down to meet us near Jarvis Bay. Anya and Yvonne got a rainy reprieve from biking, taking a two day drive with my dad into the Blue Mountains where they hiked through pouring rain and mist to view waterfalls and beautiful vistas. Meanwhile Lorenz and I had a romantic two day ride north in the rain to Sydney, where we all met up at his long lost uncle's house.
  • After an obligatory visit to the Opera house, the Sydney bridge, and a boat ride in the gorgeous harbor we flew to Auckland, New Zealand
  • From Auckland (on the North Island) we cycled over to the famed Coromandel Peninsula, then headed south to Matamata where we toured the Hobbiton set of the Lord of the Rings. We then climbed up to the volcanic plateau and stopped in Rotorura to view spurting geysers, yellow and red bubbling sulphur pools and oozing, spluttering mud flats.
  • Headed south along the beautiful volcanic lake to Taupo and then to Turangi, where we hiked the awesome Tongariro crossing through the crests of volcanos, across volcanic craters, along lava flows and past sulphur springs.
  • At this point Yvonne ended a race with her sister at the Turangi hostel by fracturing the side of her foot. After several days of laying over and taking buses forty miles back to Taupo to determine what had happened, we decided to catch a bus to Wellington, where we could wait until Yvonne's foot had healed enough to continue biking. In Wellington we visited the amazing Te Papa natural history museum and viewed LOR: The Return of the King in the Embassy Theater (where the world premier was held). Anya sat in the seat with Frodo's name and Yvonne in the seat with Sam Gamgee's name.
  • We then took a gorgeous ferry ride to Picton on the South Island, and after a few more days of laying over, started biking again along the east coast to Christchurch, stopping to swim with seals in Kaikoura.
  • Getting a great $20 drive back deal from Budget-rent-a-car we returned to Auckland (we had not quite counted on gas being $5 a gallon though!)
  • From Auckland we flew to the tiny Polynesian kingdom of Tonga. A forgotten island, with little tourism, we were treated to a true South Pacific experience over Easter. We slept in grass fales, drank kava (their traditional drink) attended a pig feast, and biked around the island (a grand total of 150 miles) to visit beautiful coves and ancient tombs and monoliths.
  • From Tonga we flew to Los Angeles USA, where we began a whirlwind tour of talks and media interviews, trying to fit in a visit to my family in the meantime. Taking the train along our January 2003 shakedown ride's route north on the coast to Seattle, we stopped in briefly at our hometown of Bainbridge Island WA for another whirlwind talking and media visit.
  • Finally, on May 8, World Asthma Day, we left Bainbridge and headed to our US West coast starting point in Astoria OR: the beginning of the Lewis and Clark trail

We'll be sending you our many wonderful stories about pedaling the Lewis and Clark trail soon. Until then, happy trails to all of you on your summer vacations.

World Bike for Breath
P.O. Box 11581
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 855-2907
www.bikeforbreath.org
e-mail: bikeforbreath@hotmail.com

Updated: June 16, 2004

Thanks to our sponsors!

Our Mission: World Bike for Breath is a nonprofit corporation raising AWARENESS and MONEY for asthma.

©2004 World Bike for Breath, 12106 Heron St, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 Tel. 206.842.6706 Email BikeForBreath@hotmail.com