Friday, October 27, 2017

End of my Summer in Portland and Beginning a New Adventure in Mexico

In this blog post, I discuss all my plans taking shape including some very complicated winter travels coming up! 

Video about my winter plans

My summer in Portland finished with 2 of my most favorite cycling events of the year; the Kirke Johnson Memorial Ride on the Banks/Vernonia rail trail and my 12th year riding to the Recumbent Retreat on the Oregon Coast. Kirke Johnson was a wonderful man and this was a ride he lead every Labor Day weekend. He was hit and killed by a delivery truck a few years ago while riding his beloved Fold Rush Easy Racer in Portland. I miss him very much and love that we all get to continue his ride to remember our friend. 

At the start of the Kirke Johnson Memorial Ride
Barbara climbing at Stubb Stewart State Park
Kathi on the trail
Video from the Kirke Johnson Memorial Ride with lots of recumbent buddies

The Recumbent Retreat is actually an annual tour for me, and whoever wants to come along. This year a new trike rider, Brandon, joined me. From my house, to ride west towards the coast requires a tough 1000 ft climb and more than an hour's ride. Luckily, my friend Kathi offered to give me a ride over the hill. She has done this for many years now and 'the lift over the hill' makes the 1st day of this coastal tour very manageable. We also picked up Brandon who lives on the way but still far from Banks and the start of the Banks/Vernonia rail trail. This is where I typically start this ride. The ride to the retreat is only a few days after the Kirke Memorial ride and so I get to ride the fabulous Banks/Vernonia rail trail twice in a week's time. The Banks/Vernonia trail is 20 miles long and makes for a delightful start for the ride to the Recumbent Retreat. 

Just a small obstacle in our path
Passing deer

This was Brandon's 1st tour and we had a blast riding together. As usual, we camped at Big Eddy State Park after a very nice 35 mile ride stopping in Vernonia for lunch and picking up anything we needed for dinner and the next day. There are some logging trucks on this route but it seems every year there are less and less. After camping at Big Eddy, there aren't any businesses until we reach the coast so we needed to be prepared with snacks and whatever food we wanted for lunch the next day. The 2nd day's ride is incredibly beautiful but is 73 miles and much more demanding than the 1st day. There are a few places to stop for water and bathroom breaks but there are no stores or restaurants along the way. My 1st stop is always the firehouse in Mist to use their bathroom. Even though I only stop in once a year they remember me and are always very nice. From there it's another 20 miles to the Jewell Elk Preserve. There are tons of elk in this area but the only time I've seen them is when the weather is bad. Today's weather was very nice which meant no elk were to be seen. The Jewell Elk Preserve is a sweet place to stop. It has everything a touring cyclist needs. There are picnic tables to make and eat lunch as well as bathrooms to get cleaned up and wash our dirty dishes after making lunch. It's in a perfect place for a break because just a few miles further starts the climb over the coastal range. I'm a really slow climber and this isn't too bad. I think it's about 6 miles and 700 ft to the summit. From there we had a fabulous twisting turning downhill on a freshly paved road through lush forest. Cycle touring doesn't get much better than this. Almost at the bottom of the hill is an active fish hatchery with another perfectly placed bathroom stop. I've never taken the tour but hear it is worth the time. (Unfortunately, I need the whole day to complete the 73 miles to the Recumbent Retreat.) Leaving the fish hatchery begins the hardest part of the ride for me. From here, the next 20 miles have lots of short and steep hills along the Young's Bay River that really slow me down. The views are amazing though. Once we got passed the Warrenton airport it is a simple ride to Ft. Stevens State Park where we met up with everyone already camped. I found my site (many thanks to Greg and Lori for letting me camp) and got set up just as rains started to fall. I had a good time riding with Brandon and expect we will be riding together again next year to the retreat.

Camping at Big Eddy Country park

Just before the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Warrenton

Sasquatch lives at Ft. Stevens!!
The 4 day Recumbent Retreat weekend is put on by OHPV (Oregon Human Powered Vehicle) and they do a fabulous job. The weekend is filled with lots of riding, good food, hanging out and looking for stamps for the treasure hunt. The busiest day of the retreat is Saturday and it is jam packed with activities. The day starts with the photoshoot where over 90 recumbents gathered. This is far from the record but, I think, being the 19th year, lots of riders are over it. Then we all break out for many riding options. Some rides are on the bike paths in Ft. Stevens State Park and other longer rides are out of the park. There was the lunch ride that had over 40 trikers and the sunset ride, both led by Lonnie, out to the Peter Iredale shipwreck. Super fun! The day was colder and there was some rain in the afternoon but it all passed in time for the pot luck. People really put effort into the dishes they serve and we, again, had fabulous food. Then, we all light up our bikes and trikes in preparation of the lighted bikes parade where we ride through all the loops of the campground.  Ft Stevens State Park is huge and there are many, many loops. The parade probably lasts about an hour and it is a hoot.  Some of the lighted designs are super clever. The lighted bikes parade is legendary and one of my very favorite events of the entire year.  It is simply good clean honest fun and this year was no exception. Next year will be the 20th annual Recumbent Retreat and I expect it to be an extra special event. If you are interested in attending, click this link for more info

Video of the wonderful Recumbent Retreat weekend.

Lunch stop
Official photoshoot photo
Lots of different kinds of recumbents
Peter Iredale shipwreck at sunset
Pic from the trikes ride with 40 trikes!!

Super Duper Fun Lighted Bikes Parade

Fun shot of the lighted bikes

Beautiful Portland
Every year, when I get home from the retreat, it is time to buckle down and get serious about planning my next trike tour. This year I've put together winter plans that are super complicated. Without a doubt, this will be my most complicated winter travels to date. I've already decided I'm going to spend the next few years riding through Central and South America. With this in mind, I've also decided having stronger Spanish language skills will not only be very helpful but actually necessary. So, my plans, at the moment, are to fly with my trike from Portland to Los Angeles. I'll be leaving my trike at my aunt's house while I spend 4 months in Guanajuato, Mexico studying Spanish. Learning Spanish is something I've talked about doing for many, many years. I'm getting to an age where 'if not now, when?'. Throughout the many years I've spent touring, I've been to many countries where I don't speak the language and it, certainly, can be done. Somehow, I always manage to get what I need - no matter what it is. I even found an amazing bike mechanic in Agadir, Morocco! But, that said, not being able to speak to locals is a lonely way to travel.  Over the years, I've met a lot of cyclists who say they pick up languages as they go but that doesn't seem to happen with me, at all. I spent 6 months traveling through Mexico on my 1st tour and I wasn't able to speak much more Spanish at the end of the trip than I did at the beginning. I'm not expecting to be fluent, after studying for 4 months, but I think being able to speak somewhat comfortably will make for a much richer experience on my future tours.  I also think being able to speak another language will make my life richer. 

Another view of Portland
Escuela Falcon in Guanajuato
I'll be returning to the same school, Escuela Falcon, that I went to last January. I had a good time and learned a lot. Even though I'm still very shy to speak and feel like a deer in the headlights whenever I want to say anything, I noticed while walking the Camino de Santiago that the 2 months I spend studying really helped. I was able to have small conversations (very slowly) with other pilgrims and also talk to shopkeepers. It was fun to see the improvement. The teachers at Escuela Falcon are very sweet and incredibly patient with me. And Guanajuato is a fabulous city. The school offers many options for housing and I'll be renting a room in a house they own across the street. The last time I was here, my language skills were next to none.  I wasn't able to understand much of what people said to me and, if I did understand, I had no clue how to respond. Speaking Spanish was nerve-wracking enough that I really didn't feel comfortable taking part in a lot of the school excursions. This time I want to be more social to, hopefully, break out of my shyness.  I've signed up for 2 group classes and 1 private lesson every day, 5 days a week. Since I've been to this town before I know where everything is. One thing I really liked about my last stay in Guanajuato is I ate really well. There are fantastic, inexpensive restaurants and the house where I'm renting a room has a full kitchen so I can cook and eat how I want. All the time taken to study Spanish this winter means my trike tour will be shorter this year  but, over time, I think this investment in learning more Spanish will pay off big dividends and I'm excited to start my classes. 


Another thing recently occurred to me. I have been touring on a trike all over the world for 10 years now and feel like I have a lot of knowledge I could be sharing. With that in mind, I decided to start a new Travels By Trike YouTube channel where I want to make short videos about trike stuff, updates while I'm touring, reviews of gear I use and any other information I think could be of interest. Matt Galat, of the Jayoe Nation, made me a new logo and intro for my videos. The logo is super cute and I love the snappy intro! This was a very thoughtful gift and the new intro is making my videos look much more polished. Aside from learning Spanish, another goal I've set for myself while I'm in Guanajuato is to get more comfortable shooting and editing video. I'll be making short videos about the town, culture and my experiences.   I've upgraded to Final Cut Pro for editing and making videos will help me learn that software as well. My idea is to make videos that are less than 5 minutes long giving a taste of my experiences. 

Another thing I have been thinking about for a long time is buying a drone to take on my tours.  After reading a ton of articles and reviews as well as watching countless hours of YouTube videos, I decided to buy a small DJI Spark to bring with me to Mexico. By buying the drone months before my tour, I can take my time learning how to use it and, hopefully, I'll be comfortable using the drone for my trip through Central America. Guanajuato is delightfully colorful with lots of very beautiful buildings. I think it will be a great town to learn drone video and photography in. Excursions with the language school to visit ruins and historic sights should be very interesting to see from a drone perspective as well. I'm excited!

The Spark drone is so small it fits in my handlebar bag using the case, 3 batteries, an extra set of propellors and the protected RC controller. Nice!

Tentative Trike Tour through Central America

After studying Spanish, I'll return to Los Angeles in February. Then I'll be taking a quick trip to Las Vegas for a college reunion before returning, again, to Los Angeles after a long weekend. From there, I'll fly with Myrtle the Turtle to Cancun Mexico to, finally, start my trike tour of Central America. I don't have an exact route yet but I want to ride from Cancun through Belize, across the southernmost part of Guatemala to El Salvador to ride along the Pacific Coast. From there, I'll ride through a corner of Honduras into Nicaragua and then through Costa Rica before ending in Panama City, Panama.  Because I'm spending so much time in Guanajuato this winter studying Spanish, this will be my shortest tour so far. It will cover 2,000 miles in 3 months. If anyone has any 'must see' spots along the way to recommend I'd love to hear from you.

A fun photo I found on Facebook

Aside from regular video updates on my
Travels By Trike YouTube channel, I probably won't be updating the blog often until I'm ready to start my tour. As always, thanks for following along the continuing adventures of Myrtle the Turtle! Hasta Luego!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Plan is Forming For My Next Trike Tour

Over last winter, I did something different than the usual trike tour. I went walking. A number of years ago, I did a trike tour in Spain and cycled many of the Caminos de Santiago. The Caminos de Santiago are pilgrimage walking paths from various points in Europe. They all end at a church in Santiago de Compostela where the bones of St. James are interred. Meeting so many interesting people who were walking hundreds of miles, sometimes thousands of miles, gave me the inspiration to do the same. I am very happy to have walked both the Camino del Norte and Camino Frances. I highly recommend walking these Caminos for anyone thinking about it. The Camino del Norte is very challenging and stunningly beautiful every day while the Camino Frances offers a different kind of beauty along with the quintessential pilgrim experience.  The Camino Frances offers more places to stay, eat and services for pilgrims, like carrying your bag to wherever you want to end the day. 

I was amazed at how little material things I required. It was thrilling to walk with only 10.4 lbs of gear and never need anything more. On both walking tours I knew I would always have a place to stay at night and food was readily available everyday. There wasn't any reason to carry camping or cooking gear and this made packing simple. Both Caminos are fabulous and, I have to say, after walking 1300 miles, I got the walking but out of my system. I discovered that walking is far more difficult than cycling. With the trike, I now realize how much more freedom of movement I have to go further if I want and I can carry more creature comforts. Trying to keep my packweight down, I only used my Samsung phone for photos, which took surprisingly good pictures, but I learned that I like having a real camera. After these many months of walking, I am really looking forward to my next trike tour.

Camino scene

Once again, I've returned to Portland for the summer. Every summer for the last 8 years I've stayed in a friend's house while she spends the summer in France. This arrangement has worked out as well for my friend as it has for me. She has someone to make sure everything is taken care of and I have a very comfortable place to relax, recover and regroup after many months of touring. This time, I came back to Portland with very sore achilles tendons and lots of ankle inflammation. I've been limping around especially in the morning until my ankle muscles warm up. Apparently, my ankles have a lot to say about all the walking I did on the Camino. I had the injury looked at by a doctor and, luckily, this appears to be something only time can take care of. Soaking in epsom salt baths feels good and seems to be helping with the inflammation. I'm still walking and triking but not as far as I'm used to. It's now been a couple of months and my physical ailments are slowly healing.  I've still got a few months before my next tour and expect to be 100% by then.

Iconic Portland sign

Earlier in the summer I visited friends in Missoula for a week. They took me fly fishing on Rock Creek which was super fun. Adventure Cycling Association is also in Missoula and I stopped in to say hello. They gave me a tour and showed me a very professional operation with 40 full-time employees. I also reconnected with Ethel McDonald, another tourer, who I hadn't seen since we first met in Florida at a WarmShower's hosts farm over a year ago.

Visiting Ethel in Missoula

Then I went on a fun trip with tennis buddies to explore Smith Rock in central Oregon. What a beautiful area. We hiked Lava Lands, the demanding Misery Ridge Trail and enjoyed a day in Bend. We rented a very nice house with an impressive view of Smith Rock State Park. This was my first time to the area and can highly recommend visiting.

View from the top of the Misery Ridge hike

A short video I put together of the trip.

A big item on my list of things to accomplish over the summer is upgrading from iMovie to Final Cut Pro video editing software. On my next tour, I want to incorporate more video with the intention of making my blog a richer experience. iMovie has felt limiting and I figured the summer would give me a good start on learning the more complicated Final Cut Pro. I also set up a new YouTube channel called Travels By Trike where I've started doing short videos of trike rides, travel tips and gear reviews. I plan to continue putting together more videos throughout my tours. Be sure to subscribe in order to follow the continuing adventures of Myrtle the Turtle. I've also upgraded my cameras. I bought a Panasonic LX10 p&s and a new Sony FDR-X3000 action camera. I've been messing with video cameras for many years and feel like this action camera is finally giving me results I've been wanting. There are 2 important improvements these cameras achieve. One, image stabilization and two, wind reduction. Shaking and noisy video is difficult to watch and I think these cameras will be much better than ones I've used in the past.  I've also purchased a hand held gimbal to create smooth videos while I'm walking or hiking. 

Testing my new Sony Action Cam

I'm also making a big effort to continue studying Spanish. I've been attending classes twice a week, 2 hours a day at Portlandia Language School and also doing a conversational Meetup at a local cafe to practice speaking. As I walk around town, I often listen to an app called News in Slow Spanish. The app offers a new podcast every week with a transcript I can read to follow along. The stories are mostly current news headlines related to Latin America. Much of what I hear is above my level but I still think it helps to try and understand. Even though learning is slow going, I'm determined to have a better understanding of this language.


I had such a good time studying Spanish in Guanajuato, Mexico last winter, I've already got a plane ticket to return in October to study at the same school, Escuela Falcon. This time I'll stay for 4 months and expect to be much more conversant and have a better understanding of the language by the time I leave. After 4 months of study I want to be able hold simple conversations with less hesitation. I don't need to be fluent in Spanish but think being able to speak easier will make my travels richer, safer and more enjoyable. For me, it's always about the people I meet and being able to talk to locals should make that more fun too.

After studying Spanish for 4 months it will be time to take my language and video skills on the road. I've come up with a tentative route riding from CancĂșn, Mexico though Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and ending in Panama. This trip will be for 3 months and cover about 2,000 miles. Central America is so hot and humid, I'm considering not taking a tent or cooking gear. The idea of camping solo in this type of heat sounds awful. I have a feeling the weather will be similar to SE Asia and I didn't take a tent or cooking gear on that tour either. I'll know better after doing more research.

Tentative route for my next trike tour

View from the house in Portland. Not too shabby.
Otherwise, so far, I've had a splendid summer spent mostly recovering, visiting with friends and riding my trike. As the summer comes to a close, I've got 2 more group trike rides planned. The first is an annual memorial ride on the wonderful Banks/Vernonia trail with lots of recumbent buddies. Then I'll be riding to the Oregon Coast to attend the Recumbent Retreat. This will be my 12th year attending and I have always ridden there. It looks like I'll be joined by 2 other trikers this year, Anni and Brandon. The ride to the coast takes 2 days. We will camp, as usual, at Big Eddy County park before tackling the ride over the coastal range and 63 miles the next day. I love the recumbent retreat. Please be sure to check out the links for more information. OHPV (Oregon Human Power Vehicle Association) has been putting on this event for 19 years. They book 2 loops at Ft. Stevens State Park for everyone to camp in over 4 days. I always arrive on Thursday and stay until Monday typically getting a ride back to Portland with a friend. Ft. Stevens is a gorgeous park in Warrenton, OR with lots of fabulous bike trails. There are many bike rides every day for everyone to participate in. The lighted bike parade is legendary with everyone lighting up their bikes and trikes and riding through all the loops in the campground to the delight of campers young and old. The Recumbent Retreat is truly the highlight of my summer.

Well, that's about all I've got for today. As another fantastic summer in Portland comes to an end, my attention will turn to my upcoming studies in Mexico and my next trike tour through Central America. Thanks for following along!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Los Caminos de Santiago

Hello, my friends, after a long absence. Oh my, lots has happened and there is lots to talk about. In this blog post I'll describe my incredible walking tours, yes two!, on the fascinating El Camino de Santiago.

Las Tortugas Ancianas
I have trike toured in Spain twice and loved it.  Both times I rode many different Caminos that go to Santiago de Compestela. These Caminos are ancient pilgrimage routes that all end at a gorgeous church in Santiago de Compestela in the Galician province of northern Spain where the bones of the apostle St. James are interred. Every Camino is fantastic and wonderful to experience. On my tours, there were a few other cyclists but mostly the Caminos are for walking. These pilgrimage paths have a long, rich history and people have been walking them from every part of Europe, and beyond, to Santiago de Compestela for over 1,000 years. Every day I would meet people from all over the world and it seemed like everyone had a distinct purpose for walking. Some pilgrims were walking for religious reasons, some for spiritual reasons and lots more were walking to get through difficult times in their lives. I met people who were grieving the loss of loved ones, getting over relationship breakups, celebrating surviving cancer and others trying to overcome addictions. The stories I heard were endlessly fascinating. After traveling by tricycle for many years I decided to mix it up and do a walking tour following the ancient pilgrimage route of El Camino de Santiago del Norte.

There are many popular starting points for each of the Caminos. People fly, take trains or buses to get to starting points. Others simply open their front doors and start walking, often thousands of miles from Santiago. I met people who started walking from Bavaria, London, Vienna and even Belarus. After the experience of meeting so many pilgrims, I felt compelled to walk as well.

There are many Caminos to choose from but I was interested in only 2, the Camino del Norte and the Camino Frances. Both Caminos start just over the Spanish border in the French Basque country.   The Camino Frances is inland and the Camino del Norte is along the coast. I chose the Camino del Norte for a particular reason. The year that I wanted to walk turned out to be a special one. This was a year of mercy which is a holy year in the Catholic calendar where the holy doors in the grand churches are open. For Catholics, it is a big deal to take a pilgrimage and then enter the church in Santiago through the holy doors.  Because it was a holy year, the most popular Camino, the Camino Frances, was far too crowded for my comfort  and so I decided to do the Camino del Norte. After posting on Facebook about my plans, 2 gals I know through triking asked to join me.

Guggenheim Bilbao

After lots of research and planning into how to pack for a walking tour, including buying my first backpack, I flew to Spain in early October to start my own Camino. The 2 gals, who also ride tricycles, joined me in Madrid. One gal, Susan, lives in Montenegro and April lives in Connecticut. They didn't know each other but both are also big time hikers. I was a bit apprehensive how they would handle my slow speed. Yes, it's true, I'm not just a slow triker but a very slow walker as well. We continued together on a short flight to Biarritz France to start the Camino del Norte. This Camino is considered the most difficult and also the most beautiful.

The reviews for this Camino were spot on. It was spectacularly beautiful everyday and also very difficult. Some hills were so steep I felt like they were actually dangerous.  But wow, the views were incredible. The three of us called ourselves Las Tortugas Ancianas, the old turtles. Most days we would walk alone not seeing any other pilgrims until we got to the Albergue, pilgrim accommodation where we could stay the night. I have a difficult time sleeping under the best of conditions and the snoring at the Albergues was very hard on me. Not being able to sleep well can really wear me down. Luckily, we were able to stay in many towns that also had hotels. Usually, Susan and April would share a room and I would get a private room. This helped a lot. Each day we walked through quaint countryside with jaw-droppingly gorgeous views of the sea. The whole Camino was stunningly beautiful every day. The path was also super hard for me. It seemed like everyday I would hobble into town completely exhausted.  I have terrible depth of perception and the steep paths required I walk at an even slower pace. By the end of the day I was so tired often I actually had trouble moving my legs. Sometimes all I could do was collapse in my bed and the gals would go out and get me food. I learned a ton about hiking from April and Susan and I don't think I could have finished without their help. We also had fun but, unfortunately, we really weren't the best matched trio. It is hard traveling with 3 people and then so intensely for 6 weeks. With the personality issues, we were all pretty tense and uncomfortable. In the future, I think I would ask more questions about trip expectations to get a better feel for personality fit. I would also figure a way to build in an escape option ahead of time when traveling for so long with others. Many days the mileage was more than stated in the guidebook and sometimes we had to walk 15 miles or more which is too much for me. Being exhuasted and in pain every day didn't help either. That being said, we survived and made it to the end. It was a true feeling of accomplishment to arrive at the church in Santiago to finish the Camino del Norte. Unfortunately, the holy year ended 2 days before we arrived and the holy doors were shut. None of us are especially religious people so this wasn't a huge disappointment.

Pilgrim passport needed to stay in Albergues and receive the Compestela

The experience of being in Spain also inspired me to learn more Spanish. I was the only one in our trio who was able to speak even a little Spanish and that little bit proved very helpful.  Learning Spanish has been a goal of mine for many years and it felt like the time had come to start that challenge. I returned to Portland for a family event in late November and began researching where to study Spanish.  I also kept feeling like my Camino experience with the 2 gals was incomplete and it, somehow, felt unfinished. I kept feeling like I wanted to have a more contemplative and meditative Camino.  I wasn't sure exactly what that meant but the feeling continued to haunt me.  Then a lightbulb went on. Why not go back and walk another Camino, this time alone? I immediately loved the idea and made plans to do the Camino Frances. But first, I decided to go to Mexico and spend 2 months at a Spanish language school. I not only want to learn more Spanish to use while walking another Camino but, in the future, I also want to do trike tours in Cuba, Central and South America. Knowing more Spanish will make those trips easier, safer and much more rewarding. Not to mention that Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the world, after Chinese. More people speak Spanish than English. Spanish is spoken in 22 countries and all over the US.

In January, I went to Guanajuato, Mexico to study Spanish at Escuela Falcon on the recommendation from a friend. Guanajuato is a Pueblo Magico and a Unesco Heritage city high in the mountains of central Mexico. I signed up for classes 3 hours a day/5 days a week for a total immersion experience. When I enrolled, 2 months seemed like such a long time but, in reality, studying a language for 2 months will only give the very basics. I've been to this city before when I triked for 6 months through Mexico in 2007. Guanajuato is one of the few places that truly captured my heart and I have always wanted to return. One of my goals was to feel more comfortable speaking Spanish. I am painfully shy to speak Spanish. It takes me so long to hear what someone is saying, translate and then think of a response I know the words for. The teachers were incredibly patient with me and little by little it became easier. I loved the teachers and, even though it was very hard, I had a great time learning Spanish at Escuela Falcon and want to return to learn more.

In April of this year, I flew back to Spain to walk the Camino Frances. I followed the same transportation method from just a few months previous. I flew into Madrid, took a short flight to Biarritz, France and then a bus to the starting point,  St Jean Pied-de-Port. The first day I walked over the Pyranees mountains. This Camino is the most famous of all the Caminos and there are always many people on the path. There is a lot to see on this Camino. A lot of art, culture, architecture and history. I walked with people from all over the world. Some of the most fun people I met only spoke Spanish and they loved that I was trying. I couldn't believe that I was not only able to communicate but be understood. My Spanish is still very basic and it takes me a long time to translate in my head and think of words I know to form a response but, hopefully, as I speak more this will get easier.

One of the most amazing aspects of walking the Camino is carrying so little on my back. I walked with only 10.4 lbs of gear and didn't miss anything. There is a lot of freedom with carrying so little. I gave myself 2 months to do the Camino Frances. I ended up in Santiago with 2 weeks until my flight and so I walked a loop out to the coast and KM marker 0.0 in Finesterre. Then I walked to sweet Muxia before returning to Santiago. Upon completing atleast 100 kms of any Camino you can receive a Compostela and a certificate of distance from the pilgrim office in Santiago. There are 2 more certificates for walking from Santiago to Finesterre and Muxia. I left Santiago with 4 certificates. Each is very different and a nice momento from the trip.  The last loop was lovely and capped off the trip nicely. The Camino Frances is very busy and the walk out to the coast is tranquil and quiet. It was this last bit that gave me the contemplative and meditative Camino I was looking for. I enjoyed the extra time to digest all the walking and experiences and felt totally done with walking when I returned to Santiago. 

Another thing that happened is I have a whole new appreciation for cycling. Oh my goodness, walking is so much harder than cycling. On my trike, I can go further, carry more and I have more options available. My body doesn't hurt as much either. I'm really happy I did these Caminos and got it out of my system. Now I'm ready and excited to get back to trike touring.

Stay tuned for my upcoming trike tour plans!