Richard & Colleen’s Excellent Adventure: Backpacks, BNB’s and Ubers

By Colleen Wileman

Photo: Richard & Colleen at the Muir Woods National Monument in California

Before we go much further, I thought that I should give you some insight in what we carried, where we stayed and how we traveled locally. After much research, we decided that we would each carry one backpack.

Now this took a lot of planning and I sometimes think that I spent more time planning what to pack and what to pack it in, than the trip itself. We had to pack for warm, cold, rainy and sunny. We could only fit one pair of shoes and one pair of sandals, so they had to be the perfect ones. We allowed ourselves only a couple of pairs of pants, two button-up shirts and two t-shirts. We each packed a thermal, long sleeved top, a thin winter jacket, five pairs of socks and five pairs of underwear. I carried all the medical supplies – Advil, Immodium, Gravol and the like as well as some band-aids and other miscellaneous items that could come in handy along the way. Richard carried our notebooks, shoes and anything else that I couldn’t fit.

In total, my Osprey Farpoint 40 L backpack weighed about 10 KG and Richard’s Gregory Zulu 55 L, about 13KG. The rule was that if we decided along the way to buy another article of clothing, we had to discard one item that we were already carrying. This worked well and we came back to Canada with basically the same set of clothes that we departed with.

We had also decided that we would use AIR BNB’s for the majority of our journey. For those unfamiliar with the term, these lodgings are usually a room in someone’s home that they rent out for the night. They can be booked online, and we had great success with these throughout our travels. In many cases we actually had an entire apartment to ourselves where we could cook our meals as well. The first of these BNB’s was a single room close to the bus station in Vancouver. The bed was comfortable, the shower was hot and there were even a couple of beers in the fridge as a welcome gift.

After a lovely train ride from Vancouver to San Francisco, we took our first Uber ever to our BNB. Uber is a prepaid taxi service that you book online. We found that this service was an affordable alternative to hailing a taxi in the street. It also gave us a peace of mind that we would arrive at our destination within a reasonable amount of time and that there would be no quibbling over price once we arrived due to a roundabout route taken by the driver. When we were not using public transportation during our journey, we used Uber when it was available.

Our BNB in San Francisco was awesome, and our hostess made the best breakfasts. In fact, of all the BNB’s that we stayed in over the 10 months, Mama Marie definitely won the award for her breakfasts – eggs, ham, yogurt, lovely fresh fruit, croissants, English muffins, toast, and even a snack to send us on our way for the day. We had lots of adventures in San Francisco and I can’t wait to tell you about it in the next installment!

Since July 2019, the print version of the Advocate has been running a series of articles submitted by Colleen Wileman and her husband, Richard Chevrefils (Richard is originally from Pine Falls). The couple left their jobs and sold their home to travel around the world in 2018. During these times when all of our travel plans have been uprooted due to COVID-19, we thought our on-line readers might enjoy the chance to live vicariously through these crazy adventurers, so over the next several weeks we will be posting these articles until we are caught up with the print edition.

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