We’ll follow the sun - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

August 13, 2018

We’ll follow the sun

One day you’ll look / to see I’ve gone / but tomorrow may rain, so / I’ll follow the sun

This tour has gone through many revisions since we first imagined it last winter when we decided to sell our home and live the coming years primarily on the road with our bikes.  At first we thought we’d bike from Venice to Lisbon, in the heady days before we heard about the Schengen Zone and its 90 day visitation limit.  Then we resized it to start from Venice and end in Valencia, until I stared longer at the road options west of Barcelona - we faced an unappealing choice between the busy coast highway and the high route through Morella and Teruel that I’d love to take but looks impractical so late into the year.  So, Venice to Barcelona then, until it occurred to us that we might as well lengthen the tour by packing a visit to non-Schengen Croatia at the front end.   Our revisions to the original plan were chronicled previously, here.

Under all iterations though, we kept two thoughts in mind: we wanted to bike the Dolomites, while we’re still (hopefully) up to the challenge of another pass through the mountains; and we wanted to end up in Southern Europe, so we can extend our summer and avoid the cold, wet Pacific Northwest as long as possible (you’ll recall that we began planning this expedition in the middle of winter when we were both getting quite sick of the rain).

So, where have we finally landed?  Two tours, actually.  Taken together, we’ll be on the road for a bit over five months.  This one begins in Dubrovnik and ends in Barcelona, generally following the arc of the Mediterranean westward, biking into the sunset, with a detour through northern Italy to pick up the Dolomites.   After that we’ll fly from Barcelona to Taipei, for a second visit to Taiwan that we’ll blog under a separate journal later this fall.  At the end we’ll return to Portland in late January, in time for my father’s birthday and the International Film Festival.

So in summary our Autumn tour looks like this:

  • A month in Croatia, generally following the coast and island hopping our way north from Dubrovnik.   We’ll cross over into Italy  in mid-September, on the first day we’re allowed back into the Schengen Zone for another full 90 day visit.
  • A month in Italy, generally following its northern border through the Dolomites, the Lake District and the Piedmont.  At the end we’ll drop to the sea a bit west of Genoa, arriving there about the first of November.
  • A month in France, following the Mediterranean.  We’ll generally stay close to the sea and at lower elevations due to the late season, and keep our schedule flexible so we can work around whatever surprises the weather puts in our way.  If we’re lucky and get a late autumn spell of fine weather, we’ll try to make it inland into the hills as well.
  • Two weeks in Catalonia, ending in Girona in mid-December.  I imagine we’ll make it down to Barcelona at the end on a day trip or overnight from Girona, but it’s not the best city to bike into from the east so we’ll pack up the bikes at Girona and take the bus to the Barcelona airport for our flight to Taipei.

Please join us!  If you’ll be anywhere along the way, let us know so we can hook up to share a meal and a few tales of the road.

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Emily SharpSounds like a great mix of riding! Xavier Rudd has a laid-back song with the title Follow the Sun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E1bNmyPWww
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3 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Emily SharpGreat video and song! Thanks.
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3 months ago
Ron GrumbyThats weird...I just had that song in my head about 3 days ago! I look forward to following you guys!
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3 months ago
Bennie D. BarfieldMy wife and I took a tour of Italy and over for a short bit of Southern France.. We're looking so much for this ride.. Me being an ex bike rider, especially a treat,, THANK YOU GUYS !!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bennie D. BarfieldSo glad to have you along for the journey, Bernie! Thanks for checking in. We feel so fortunate to be able to do this, and are glad to share it.
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2 months ago