Heading on to Canada!
Heading on to Canada!
Finally it was there: The day where my girlfriend Kerstin and I headed to North America! After countless days full of work, also the nights have recently been part of meeting the many challenges of organizing this project. Before we left the continent, there were not only a few press events, but final meetings, bike inspections and last minute to-do’s too.
On Sunday, Axi took us and our heavy bags including my bike to Vienna airport, where we were welcomed at the VIP terminal. Thanks to the great support of my sponsor Norwex, we were allowed to enjoy a bit of luxury before living a minimalist lifestyle during Ice2Ice. We spent the last two hours in Austria with our families and friends, who support me in so many ways. It was nice that they all came and accompanied me until the last Austrian meters before the start! Shortly before departure, it was finally time to said goodbye. Sarah, my and Kerstin’s parents were allowed to accompany us to the plane, where we were sent into the adventure with hugs, kind words and a few tears.
The privilege of traveling in Business Class was never given to me, nor to Kerstin, and so we took advantage of the break from the Internet and tons of e-mails to enjoy the meal and largely oversleep the long flight.
In Whitehorse, Canada, entry worked – almost – easily. One of our bags had not made it over the pond, but at least I know that it is still in Frankfurt and will be flown to us shortly. At the airport, Peter and Sophie, who are part of the indispensable Ice2Ice team in Canada, picked us up and showed us the big motorhome that will serve as a support vehicle for the north continent. The two had traveled the long distance from the sales point Vancouver to the far north to Whitehorse. The vehicle I knew so far only from pictures, sales documents and foiling montages, finally stood in front of us and met exactly my expectations.
In Whitehorse we went first to the Alpine Bakery, where the owners Walter and Silvia from Germany greeted us warmly with local delicacies. Walter is one of the key figures for Ice2Ice and a cornerstone in the challenging organization for the north continent. Big projects need reliable support and I am very grateful that I have people like Walter on the team that I can rely on.
A long, eventful day finally ended in the yoga room, which Walter and Silvia provided as accommodation for us. Fortunately, there was no yoga lesson on the timetable and so we spent the last night on solid ground before moving into our home on wheels the next day.
There was not much time for breakfast, because our to-do list is long. The first culture shock came along with our first visit to a supermarket: The word “bulk pack” is quickly taking on a new dimension here in North America, and so we set ourselves the task of getting quantities of food that should not feed an entire extended family. Also, the amount of fuel and gas, with which we had to fill the motorhome, can be described quite well with the little word “BIG”. On the agenda was also the replacement of the supply battery. Kerstin, Walter and some other helping hands support me so well that this task was done quickly and we could move on in the organization plan.
On the first night in the camper, whose size, compared with the other short-term residents of Walmart’s car park, shrank from huge to mediocre, we were able to convince ourselves that the sleeping arrangements were really comfortable and therefore probably just right for the short recovery periods between the long day stages. Again, after breakfast we had to deal with a battery. This time it was the power supply of the car, which should be used as a second support vehicle. Between the shopping of tools and other materials for our time in the motorhome and visits to registration and insurance agencies, we were able to recharge the batteries at the Alpine Bakery with a delicious lunch.
Actually, my plan was to use the time in Whitehorse to relax and gather strength for cycling across the continent, but that is just not possible at the moment. Big projects require a lot of passion, which I definitely put in all my work. So even when the biggest challenges of Ice2Ice sometimes give me a hard time, the short thoughts about the start and the possibility to feel the mental and physical limits of my body bring me the best motivation!