WEEK #95 HOW ARE WE DOING? Back to Alaska & Canada

I’m back in Alaska. It’s cold, green, there’s dirt roads and very few people. I’m also back in Canada. It’s also cold here, the air is the freshest my lungs have ever breathed and the mountains are so immense I turn silent.
Then I’m back in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and some parts of Colombia & Ecuador. Trees and huge plants have all the space to grow. When the sun comes out the morning frost and clouds are burned away and the white blanket makes way for the thick, green vegetation covering the mountains. A beautiful site to see.
Water is in abundance, and it’s clean and cold. Delicious to drink, I love filling my water bottle under one of the hundreds of waterfalls, coming down from one of the many glaciers, lakes or snow topped mountains.
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The Carretera Austral has it all. Never have I had so many flashes to the past, or at least to the recent few months. 19 months to be exact. I feel this is a moment of closure, of saying goodbye to everything I have seen along the 28,000km road my legs have pushed me forward (so far). There’s still a short way to go, but the Carretera Austral has put my mind at rest. Everything comes together here. Along the road I meet different people, 3 Argentinians who are also cycling on Austral, but for a short period. We cycle together, enjoy dinner, drink mate and laugh a lot.
I meet a French cyclist, only 22 years old and making his way north. He started with a friend but is now alone. Afraid he won’t be able to stand the lonelyness he has already decided to stop early in La Paz, Bolivia. I try to convince him otherwise, yet without luck. I hope he keeps going, though. I told him something I’ve written before; you are never really alone.Leaving Coyhaique, a small “city” in the middle of the Austral, I bump into Richard, a Dutch cyclist who has been on the road for two years now. He’s walking with his bike, the alumium frame is broken at the back wheel, he’s hoping to find another frame in Coyhaique. Having met a few people along the way with good Austral knowlegde I try to help him with contacts. I really hope he gets a new frame and can continue his journey.IMG_7771The Carretera Austral has not only given me the sights and nature to enjoy, but also the pleasure of meeting fellow travellers enjoying the surroundings and the cycling. This reminds how important it is to meet others and to listen to their stories.
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Unfortunately I have to cut the Austral short. I arrived late in the season and most of the towns and ferries I need to keep going are shut down for the winter. A small detour east into Argentina and I’ll be on my way south again, there’s still lots to see and enjoy, but more important, maybe another potential project 99%RIDE can help out in some way. Because in the end, that’s what I really want to do.

Helping people, raising awareness and bringing people together is one thing, the adventure is the other and comes with the job. Will both come to an end when I return?

From Coyhaique, Chile,

Dirk Spits

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2 Thoughts on “WEEK #95 HOW ARE WE DOING? Back to Alaska & Canada

  1. Dirk,
    Journeys live on. Some change ideas, some perspective. Few changes lives. This last one is what yours is doing. Stand tall in the saddle of the bike as you cross your destination.

    It is not a finish line. It’s another beginning and along with it, you have more pages of your soul’s thoughts to go with you. For as long as you breathe. Except for the pure air of those few places on the planet that defy gravity, the places inside you that make you taste and smell eternity are those that will change lives, including yours.

    Thank you for making this journey. It continues to offer hope, show determination and bring change to many. Include me in that group.

    Pieter

  2. Great written words Dirk. I am a very proud brother. Enjoy these very special moments, and I can’t wait to drink a pint (or two..) of beer at our local Irish pub when you get back to Amsterdam!

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