Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rainy Day Woman And Her Dog

Posted by Justene

I promised you another post as a sequel to my last one. In that post I went on a bit of a rant about the people that we meet along the way who seem to have lost their sense of adventure. Yes, it was a rant, but I want you all to know that, we meet all sorts of people while on the road and not all of them are  are like that, plenty of them could talk your ear off with amazing adventure stories.

Home is where you pitch the tent.

I'll share a bit about one woman we met recently...

On that same rainy morning I wrote about in my last post, Chris and I were riding back towards the highway from our undisclosed stealth camp spot. The clouds were grey and heavy with pending rain. It hadn't started falling yet, but it looked like any minute it would and neither of us were wearing our rain gear. I suggested we pull in to the lodge, grab a hot drink and put on some more water resistant clothing.

We always get pretty excited when we see other bicycle tourists and that morning we saw two fully loaded bikes propped against the picnic tables, so we parked beside them. Barking at us from underneath the bikes was a little Pomeranian cross, the toughest Pom I'd ever seen, sitting out there guarding the bikes like a pro. Amused, we patted him and headed inside for coffee and hopefully to meet this little guy's travel partners.

Ross, eager to get back on the road.

After looking over the expensive menu at the lodge's bistro, we settled on a cup of jo each, hoping they wouldn't boot us out into the rain for being cheap and not ordering food. As we sat warming our hands, a young woman approached the coffee pot for a refill, she had on soft-shell pants and a well worn merino wool sweater. We assumed she wasn't a regular lodge guest, so Chris said, "Are you the other bicycle tourist?"
With a smile she said, "Is it that obvious?"
She pulled up a chair.
He name was Marina, a Dutch woman who'd transplanted herself on the Island of Spitsbergen in northern Norway. Her dog's name was Ross and together, with their American friend, Norton, they were cycling a portion of the Continental Divide Trail...Banff to Colorado.
We were curious about how Ross did on the ride, he loved it! He had a little box strapped to the back of her bike that he would sit in and sometimes he even trotted alongside her, for pretty good distances too!

We exchanged some road beta; routes, dog friendly camping, hotsprings...
She humbly told us about her goldsmith business in Spitsbergen and how she used to own sled dogs there, her sailboat that is currently moored in Greece and her plans to move it Istanbul in the near future. Her travels had brought her to many countries and consisted of a variety of adventures.

I really liked how Marina thought about travel and trying new things. She said that when she took up sailing, friends wondered how she would just take up a new hobby as demanding as navigating a sailboat across the oceans to far off lands. The way she looked at it was, she had experienced the elements before and just by transferring this knowledge, she could try any new thing she had the desire to do. Whether is was dogsledding, canoeing, skiing, rafting or cycling, she was well versed at handling the wind, rain, snow, hot weather, frigid cold...How hard could it be to learn how to sail a boat accross the Mediterranean?
Her confidence and innate curiosity to explore the world was evident.

When she and Norton decided it was time to get back on the road, we watched them repack some stuff, Ross wiggling and barking with excitement the whole time, and off they rode...into the pouring rain, happy.

Marina and Norton, ready to ride!

Farewell new friends, and happy travels!
It may be a fleeting moment,  a wave to a passing cyclist on the opposite side of the highway, a smile and a nod, a high-five; or a good conversation, a shared camp spot for a night, an invite to dinner, or a cup of coffee while you wait out a rainstorm...either way, the exchange of inspiration that occurs when fellow travellers meet is a beautiful thing. The looks in their eyes tells you, they've felt it...the freedom of the open road.


  1. Hi Christopher,
    I know Marina, and have always been highly inspired by her and her view of life. But let me tell you, she was being modest when she talked about sailing. She has wintered in a boat in the high arctic, and sailed from Spitsbergen to Greenland and back, through heavy storms. The Med is a piece of cake for a hard core traveller like her.

    Nice blog!

  2. Hi,
    I know Marina for a few jears now. She is the most adventurist woman I ever met.
    I wish I could be like her. I admire her a lot.
    Hope to see her in Turkije.
    love Feryal