You may have recently seen two cyclists with very loaded bicycles making their way north. In mid-July, via a website called Warm Showers, I had the pleasure of hosting the pair.
Diane Toulemonde and Leo Pettersson met in Vancouver. He is from England and she is from France, and they connected in Canada. Before the visas ran out, they decided to make the trip of a lifetime. Not only are they pushing themselves physically and mentally, they are selflessly promoting other groups that attempt to make our world a little better.
They started from Vancouver in early July and took two weeks to make their way to Quesnel. They came through the Fraser Canyon and conquered those mountain climbs. Once past the Coast Mountains, they found that our interior plateau is not all that flat.
With the goal of seeing as much as possible, they leave the main highway whenever possible and got to see a slice of the Chilcoltin near Dog Creek. Dust and bugs were prevalent. They had also wanted to travel on the west side of the Fraser River between Williams Lake and Quesnel, but learned of the Deep Creek washout and had to change their plans.
Here in Quesnel, they were eager to get clean and refuelled. They joined us for a showing of the Lion King Jr. and came away with rave reviews. They enjoyed the Farmers’ Market with the chance to add fresh foods to their camping menu and, as a bonus, they left with tiny cheesecakes. From there, we went to Granville’s for their favourite coffees and then hit the road. We stopped at the Goldpan on Two Mile Flat for one more photo op before I waved a final goodbye and they continued north and up another hill.
Diane and Leo are hoping to raise funds for an island group that supports women. The Cowichan Women Against Violence- (CWAV) will receive funds that are donated to the pairs’ go fund me page: https://www.gofundme.com/4wheelstoalaska
As well, these cyclists hope to raise awareness of the HeforShe movement. If you would like to know more, Leo and Diane have a website explaining their project and why they are willing and wanting to cycle 3,600+ km with Anchorage as their final goal. Visit their site at https://www.4wheelstoalaska.com. And they will be uploading photos of their journey to their Facebook page at 4 Wheels to Alaska. Take a look.
Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious and I very much enjoyed our brief but delightful encounter.
Liz-Anne Eyford is a regular Observer contributor.