Our route runs across Americas, from the North to the South. We have started in Fairbanks, Alaska and planning to finish in Ushuaia in the South of Argentina – and that is what we know for sure…
There is around 27 000 km to go; which way? We will see…
An invitation for a cup of tea, a story heard in a local bar or even tossing a coin can decide which way we will go…and that’s the whole point!

US, Alaska 

This was generally an easy ride; the road is mostly flat and straight with big shoulder. There are some rolling hills, but nothing serious - perfect for a warm-up. There were some strong head winds around Delta Junction which is apparently common for this area. There is enough services to spend night on a campground every day and buy food supply every 2-3 days. However, most of the places opens seasonally and the season in Alaska starts late (by 1st of June everything should be open), so if you are an early traveller - as we were - call campgrounds in advance to check if they are already open or just go with the flow...Water shouldn't be a problem, there was generally plenty of ceeks to refill bottles, apart from one streach maybe - south from Delta Junction there wasn't any creek or lake for about 60ish km.


The first part of this streach was very rough; the road is been constantly destroyed by permafrost, so, if it's paved, it is full of big cracks, holes and bumps, otherwise it is just gravel and then is very dusty. Apart from that there are strong winds along Kluane Lake, mostly blowing North. This is deserted area with little services and we came across quite a few shut down, even though the guidebook said the opposite; however, you can still make it to a campground every day, if you want. There is a pass before Haines Junction, called Bear Pass, however it is not that bad comng from the North, it is long and steady, but not very steep climb.
The rest of the road is fairly easy. We did the Carcross loop, which is a nice scenic ride.

CANADA, Northern BC

This is very diverse ride; starting with Liard Hot Springs, which are a definite must and then followed by very scenic ride through The Northern Rocky Mountains (the highlights for us were: Trout River Valley, Muncho Lake and the very last climb of Summit Pass with the overview of MacDonald Valley). Then there are three big passes before Fort Nelson (Summit Pass, Sikhanni Chief Pass and Steamboat) and constant rolling hills with few good climbs after it, pretty muchh all the way to Fort Saint John. The road is generally good, with 
a shoulder, but the traffic gets much worse after Fort Nelson (lots of big trucks due to gas industry) and the views are not that pretty any more. We have seen the most wildlife in this bit, so keep your eyes open and camera ready!

CANADA, Alberta

The beginning of this route is a nice rest for the legs, but just after Grande Prairie the 'rock'n'roll' starts; Hwy 40 is very hilly with 2 or 3 big climbs before Grande Cache, including 6-8 km long steep climb just before the town (Grande Cache is situated on a hill, so there is a long ride down leaving it!). After the town the road is easier, but just be aware of traffic (big trucks!) as there are long streaches without shoulder. Hinton-Jasper is a busy road, but with a big shoulder and virtually flat. Hwy 93 is a must (by some considered as one of the most scenic routes in the world) and even though it crosses Rockies it is not that difficult at all; there are only two tough clims, one of which is short, but steep (Columbia Icefields) and the other of a lower grade,but long (Bow Pass). Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) is a huge super busy road, that is not a pleasant ride at all, althought the shoulder is big most of the time, so you can have your safe space. There is a big ride downn after Lake louise and just before Revelstoke (this one has no shoulder! and is very windy!, so be careful - drivers sometimes become unpatient). We made this side trip to Takakkaw Falls, which was worth it, but the road to get there is super steep!

CANADA, Southern BC

Those two first rides go through valleys - The Kootaneys and Okanagan, which are beautiful places , with many lakes, cliffs, and mountains around, but all these leave little space for building roads. So they are mostly narrow, with no shoulder, windy and hilly. However,the traffic is not that bad, so the ride is much more pleasant than on Hwy 1 (with an exeption of Hwy 97 that is very busy; watch for RV's as they are often not a good drivers and not aware of the size of their cars!). The road rolls pretty much all the time and sometimes the is a bigger climb, includding two tough mountain passes: New Denver to Kaslo (which for us was the toughes one so far; a surprise as no-one mentioned it before; it goes 20 km uphill, but then there is a steady 30 km ride down:)) and Needles to Cherryville. Although the road runs mostly along lakes, there might be sometimes limited access to water as the shores are steep rocks and both valles are very hot in the summer, so make sure to have enough water at all times. But if you find a little beach those lakes are great to havea a swim and cool down in the middle of the day.There is a couple of ferry crossings, but they are for free and run constantly. After Princeton there is 'the last pass of BC' over The North Cascades Mountains; it is tough, but we were rewarded with super long ride down - in one day we went 1000 km down. At the bottom of this hill we reached Hoped, from where is pleasantly flat . Apart from one, very short, but tough hill - around 1 km of steady 11% grade. The rest of the ride is nice and flat. Shoulders are generally good and traffic not that bad until Maple Ridge, which is the edge of Vancouver metro and where the traffic significantly increases. Vancouver itself is very good for cycling, has plenty of bike paths and you can get pretty much anywhere by bike. However, the metro is challenging; there isn't a continuous bike path to Vancouver down town. Hwy 7 goes all the way to the city centre, but the traffic is very high and there isn't a shoulder, so it is better to make the trip a bit longer, but safer and use neighbourhood streets and bike paths, where they exist. 

USA, Washington

Many cyclist skip Washington as the least interesting part of Hwy 101. But if you've never seen old growth rain forest it is a must. We really really enjoyed the Olympic National Park, especially around Quinanlt Lake;   later the road winds through few declining towns and oyster fishing villages. This is beautiful and easy ride; the road is flat or just rolling, with wide shoulder and good amenities for cyclist (ex. a bottom to activate flashing lights to warn drivers that there is a cyclist in a narrow windy road ahead). Hwy 101 is very popular among cyclist and apparently the more south you go the better the road is prepared for cyclist. Traffic wasn't that bad, but we were there in September, so most of the RV's were gone, however logging trucks stay on the road all year long and can be dangerous as they know the road very well and so go fast.

USA, Oregon
Here the acknowledged beauty starts; Pacific coast from Oregon to Mexico is considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The Oregon part of the coast is very rough - cliffs, natural bridges, beaches scattered with interesting rock formations and the Hwy 101 running for most of the time just along the Ocean. The ride is very scenic, but demanding sometimes; there is few good climbs and 'roller-coasters', but the road is generally well prepared for cyclist as it is a part of the Pacific Bike Route. The shoulder for southbound cyclist is for most of the time comfortably wide (South is the recommended direction due to favorable winds), there is sufficient number of campgrounds and most of them have hiker-biker sites (cheaper option for people who hike or bike:)). The biggest disadvantage is the mist (and quite frequent rain, despite the time of the year). We weren't lucky we had it both:( it can get foggy every day and when it happens it normally doesn't break until lunchtime. So the mornings are cold and unpleasant and all your gears soaking wet.

USA, California
Brookings - Ukiah (Hwy 101, Old Hwy 101/Redwood Highway)
The northern part of California's ride passes through three Redwood Parks; there isn't as much coastline as in Oregon, but the old-growth Redwoods are breathtaking. We highly recommend taking side scenic rides - Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and The Avenue of Giants; they were for us the best part of the west coast ride. Both routes parallel Hwy 101, so it won't add much extra miles to the daily schedule. The road is still a part of The Pacific Bike Route, so it is as much prepared for cycling as possible. In Leggett there is an option to either stay on Hwy 101 or turn west on Hwy 1 towards the Pacific; either way there are some big hills to go over.
After Redwoods Pacific Bike Route hits the coast and follows it pretty much all the way to Mexico; and that's what we did too, apart from few side trips. This part of California coast can be divided into two - before and after LA. The first part is beautiful, however demanding; there are lots of hills of all kinds - short, long, steep, steady, but the road runs just along the Ocean for most of the time with stunning views of all sorts of rock formations. Past LA the landscape changes into long sandy beaches and the road flattens, but unfortunately natural beauty is replaced with  endless towns. There is plenty of services (apart from Big Sur, where there is very few small communities with super expensive groceries) and state parks with hiker-biker sides most of them. The wind can be an issue on the coast; apparently it blows South in the summer and North in the winter; we cycled South in the winter and we had strong head wind many times.

Mexico, Baja California
San Diego - Guerrero Negro (Mex Hwy 1)
Guerrero Negro - La Paz (Mex Hwy 1)

At the beginning few general observations about cycling in Mexico. First of all, most of major highways have two options - free and paid one. Bikes are normally not allowed on the paid one, however its quality is much better and it has shoulder (in contrary to the free one, where shoulder is rather an unexpected luxury rather than standard). So you can either accept the standard of free roads or try to sneak to the paid ones (there are often some dirt roads or paths, just ask locals). The disadvantage of enjoying smooth surface and wide shoulder it that you can meet not too friendly policeman, who can give you hard time (but you can also meet ones that they won't bother). Secondly, the condition of the roads is bad and the driving culture terrible. So lots of our attention that before was dedicated to admiring the landscapes, now is taken by checking the road. Roads are narrow (even the co-called national highways), with no shoulder (shoulder may occasionally appear close to bigger cities) full of holes and cracks and they get significantly worse once you cross city limits, there they are just terrible. In terms of driving culture, you have to get into habit of using your mirror all the time and get used to feeling 'the breath' of cars on your shoulder; some cars don't even give us half meter space, they will hardly ever wait behind you if there is a car coming form the opposite direction and some will pass at full speed. You may try 'to overtake' the line. which means cycle close to the middle of the line, so that  drivers must treat you as a car and if they want to overtake you they really need to wait for the opposite line to be empty; works very good in a group - you are more visible. for a solo cyclist may be a bit risky. And thirdly, Mexican roads are full of all sorts of so-called 'topes', 'reductores de velosidad', 'vibradores' and other devices that are supposed to make drivers to slow down. I've never seen so many different speed bumps and, after two months in Mexico, I question their successful functionality. However, they make cycling in a urban area  (on the top of the very bad roads) a nightmare. A! And last but not the least, Mexico is one big mountain, with roads zigzagging at often crazy grade, so get your low gears ready.
Baja roads are not any better than described above, hills are not that bad, compering to mainland, however the grades can be occasionally tough. Winter months are characterized by strong winds (lasting normally few days in a raw), summer - by unbearable heat - your choice :) Plus Baja is full of military patrols (drug issue) that can stop and search any vehicle; however, from what we experienced and heard they don't bother cyclist. 
Although it is desert, camping in Baja is fairly easy; you can sleep anywhere (just take this few simple precaution to avoid scorpion bites) or ask at a ranch (they will most likely allowed you to pinch your tent at their property). Places to buy water are reachable within a day ride; each small community and some bigger ranch have small shop, where you can get purified water (groceries might be crazily overpriced, so it's better to carry some extra rice and frijoles. Also, if you planning on getting supplies or spending night in a ranch, double- o triple- check if this place exist (few times we passed ranches that were marked on the map, but in reality we only found abandoned building).
And at last, the landscapes - extremely reach and diverse desert, unspoiled beaches, undiscovered sierras and breathtaking night sky.

Mexico, Sinaloa, Nayarit
Mazatlan - Ixtlan del Rio (Hwy 15)

Between Mazatlan and Tepic, as for now (2012), we could still cycle on the paid road, so we had shoulder and good pavement; the traffic was not disturbing, road virtually flat and landscapes not exciting, so it was a good bit to cover some distance. However, some 50 km before Tepic things changed - we faced the fact that we had to climb 900m in 50 km. and from then onward we haven't seen a flat surface longer than for a few kilometers. After Tepic the road heads towards Guadalajara (one of the biggest cities of Mexico), so not surprisingly the traffic increases significantly and bikes are not allowed any more on the toll road. The landscapes is still dominated by farmlands, mostly mango orchards and sugar cane fields. In terms of food, from now on wards getting supply is not a problem, there is plenty of villages along the road, where you can either find shops or comedores; here on the North water can be still refilled in 'Purificadoras' (if you carry water container, which is not a stupid idea at all, as for 5-7 pesos you can get 10l of water), which , unfortunately, will gradually disappear the more south you go. 

Mexico, Jalisco, Michoacan
Ixtlan del Rio - Zitacuaro (Hwy 15, Hwy 14)

Through Jalisco and Michoacan the road rolls, climbing gently (with some steep up and downs for most od the time) towards the Mill Cumbres pass (passed Morelia). For most of the time we stayed on Hwy 15 and didn't attempt to enter the toll one (Hwy 15D) as it runs away from the free option. But I think they won't allow bikes as it is a busy highway that links two biggest Mexican cities  - the capital with Guadalajara. To avoid cycling through Guadalajara we headed south just before it through Tala and towards Chapala Lake. It is the biggest natural fresh water reservoir in Mexico that has few touristy towns, but mostly it is surrounded by farmlands and fishing villages. It was a nice ride though. We made small side trip to Jaripo, where we were invited for Quinceanera party and to Lake Patzcuaro, which was well worthy. The road condition and supply possibilities stay pretty much the same. In terms of accommodation what worked best for us was asking at churches - they were normally very helpful and willing to let us to camp somewhere around the church or even put us up in a room. This way we have safe place to sleep and don't need to worry about carrying water and food, because we are in town. You can try free-camp, but Mexico is highly populated and lands between villages are often fenced, so it might take some time to find the right spot. However, we met people who were doing it successfully. 

Mexico, Estado de Mexico, Guerrero, Morelos, Puebla
Zitacuaro - Acatlan (Hwy 15, Hwy 55, Hwy 95, Hwy 160)

It's been some time ago when we rodein central Mexico, but what stands out from this part of our ride is the visit to Taxco. The silver town is definitely well worth visiting, but what also is unforgettable is the climb to get there :) Apart from that hill the ride is very generally speaking flat (ish), as it is within the Central Mexican Altiplano.We made a bit of a loop to go to Taxco, but if you just head straight it is a great alternative route to avoid Mexico City and Puebla.
Food, water and accommodation like in the rest of the country.

Mexico, Oaxaca
Acatlan - Pochutla (Hwy 190, Hwy 175)
Pochutla - Zanatepec (Hwy 200)

Ride across Oaxaca state can be divided into two very discinct stages: mountain and coast. Leaving Oaxaca City there is a very big climb, but after that even bigger downhill. That was one of the most joyful rides of this trip. In some 100km we went from 2700m asl to sea level! The cordillera od Oaxaca was at that time (April) cold, damp and misty so we left wrapped-up in hoodies and gloves, but on the way down we were taking gradually the layers of and by the evening we had only t-shirts and short shorts on and the pool in the hostel couldn't be a better reward asit was so hot on the coast.
The coast is generally very hot and hilly (small rolling and steep hills, that I had to sometimes push my bike). But the beaches around Mazunte and Crucecita are stunning.

Mexico, Chiapas
Zanatepec - Ciudad Cuauhtemoc (Hwy 200, Hwy CA1) 

What stands out from this ride is'the Hill' fron Chiapa de Corzo to San Cristobal de las Casas. 40km steady uphill and 2000m of elevation gain. One of those cyclists talk about. If you are coming from the North, that'll be probably the thoughest hill you encounter, but if you've cycled Los Andes already this climb will be just one of many alike.
Apart from that Chiaps is a very beautiful state and so slow down and enjoy.

Ciudad Cuauhtemoc - Copan Ruinas (Hwy CA1, CA9)

The first part of this ride, from the Mexican border to La Antigua, is srunning. Beautiful Cuhumatanes mountain range, dotted with Mayan villages and first vulcanoes on the horizon are good enough reason to slow down and enjoy. We sticked to the main road and the hills were killers already, so if you decide to take any of the secondary roads, be ready for lts of pushing. Be careful with the bus drivers, they are mad in Guatemala!
Past Guatemala City we left the mountains behind head to steamy and hot lowlands. Not fun and not pretty, so it is good opportunity to cover some miles.

Copan Ruinas - Villa 15 de Junio (Hwy CA11, CA13, CA5, CA3)

Honduras was the only country across which the ride wasn't pleasant. First of all it was potentially dangerous. Honduras is supposedly one of the most violent countries in Central America, which we definitely could feel. Seeing people with guns and hearing stories about kidnaps and killings was our daily routine. But, apart from that, the landscape of the country didn't delight us. And we crossed big section of the country. The lowlands were hot and dull, full of agriculture and the mountains stripped off trees due to excessive deforestation and without any character. Apart from the Utila Island, where we did the scubadiving course, we didin't find anything outstanding in Honduras.

Villa 15 de Junio - Guacalito (Hwy CA3 , Hwy CA1)

Our ride across Nicaragua was the shortest and easiest possible (we had some deadlines for the first time on this trip), however beautiful.  Nicaragua advertises itself as 'the country of lakes and volcanoes' and that is what we got to see. Apart from that we visited two colonial cities: Leon and Granada and met some of the lovliest people of all on this trip. It was definitley far too short stay and Nicaragua is on our 'must return' list.

Costa Rica
Colonia Bolarios - David (CA1, Hwy 34)
Again, we were a bit in a rush in Costa Rica, so we choose the shortest road possible. That meant cycling along the coast and avoiding mountains, which was great choice, as the coast in Costa Rica is beautiful and the road is not that busy like the Pan Americana. There are few Parks worth a visit along this way, with the most outstanding being the Manuel Antonio NP and Ballena NP. Great experience with Fire Brigade in Ciudad Neily! 
Costa Rica is rather expensive and peolpe are less helpful, as they are used to making money of turists, however we had some great experience with 'ticenos' and managed to wild camp few times, even just in front of a gate of a park! (at the end this is still Latin America).

David - Portobelo (Hwy CA1, Hwy 3)

There is not many roads to choose from in Panama, so avoiding Pan Americana can be difficult. There are few side roads you can take, but generally PanAm is a must. It can be busy at times at this is pretty much the only road that runs along this small country. Great time in a tiny fisherman village, called Santa Clara and with Fire Brigade in a place called Maria, just past Santiago and 2km of the main road.
Peru (jungle)
La Balsa - Yurimaguas (Hwy 5N) 
Yurimaguas - Tocache (Hwy 5N)

Peru (Los Andes) 
Tocache - Huallanca (Hwy 12A, Hwy 3N)  
Huallanca - Ayacucho (Hwy 3N, Hwy 3S) 
Ayacucho -  Cusco (Hwy 3S)
Cusco - Copacabana (Hwy 3S)

Copacabana - Sabaya (Hwy 2, Hwy 1, Hwy 4)
Sabaya - Potosi (across salt flats, Hwy 5)