Moped Trip website

How I Did It

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Here is a list of some of the foods that I ate at various times during the trip. I never ate in a restaurant. I always cooked over an open fire.

  • canned stew, soup, Campbell's "Chunky Soup"

  • canned vegetables, such as tomatoes

  • canned sardines, tuna, corned beef

  • raisins, nuts

  • cookies

  • lunchmeat

  • bread

  • cheese slice, pieces

  • fruit: apples, oranges

  • fresh vegetables, such as cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes

  • margarine

  • fruit juice

  • potato salad

  • wieners

  • And so on. Basically I lived on grocery store food that could either be eaten raw or cooked in a simple manner.

One time, in Atlin, BC, I was so hungry for cooked meat that I bought, cooked and ate an entire pound of sausages in one meal!




In settled areas I obtained drinking water from people's houses (after asking), gas stations and restaurants.

Out in the wild areas, I simply dipped water from the nearest stream (upstream from the road). This was in the days before giardia was everywhere.

I carried water in two bicycle-style water bottles I had attached to the vertical portion of the handlebars.





Cooking supper over a campfire.

The hat was to help protect me from the mosquitoes.


If I cooked, it was over a campfire. I did not carry a camping or backpacking stove. By the time I undertook the trip, I had a lot of experience in getting fires going in adverse conditions, such as rain. Sometimes (in the rain) I would build the fire under a small plastic "roof", to shelter the sticks as they caught fire. Other times (more commonly) I would simply douse the fire-to-be with gasoline, throw a match (or do some very quick work with a lighter), and -- foom!! -- instant fire.  :)

Making a campfire is simple. The finer points come from experience. First, select your spot. If possible it should always be built in an existing fireplace or fire ring made from stones. If there isn't such a place, at least build a ring of stones. Please always strive for low impact. Be very mindful of building the fire in a place where surrounding vegetation will not catch fire (and possibly start a forest fire). Always build fires on bare rock, gravel, or sand. Vegetative matter underneath can catch fire and smolder long after you're gone. Note how in the above photo I have made the fire in the middle of a gravelly area, away from any vegetation.

Gather up the driest sticks you can find, of various sizes, from pencil-lead thin to pieces as thick as your thumb. Sort these into piles of different sizes. Get some dry paper and scrunch it up into a loose ball (not tight) and place it on the ground. Build a loose pyramid, or teepee, of small sticks over it, using the tiniest ones, with some bigger ones mixed in. Light the paper with a match or lighter, and you have fire. If it doesn't catch because it's too damp and what flame you had dies out, then throw on a little gasoline -- be sure that it's no longer smoldering -- don't overdo it! -- and light it again -- carefully -- you don't want to burn yourself. Gasoline is dangerous!! 

When you're done with the fire put it out -- very out! You should be able to stick your hand in the ashes afterwards.

At one campsite along the Alaska Hwy where I was stuck in the rain, there was a woodstove in the picnic shelter. I put in lots of wood, but after many tries I still couldn't get a fire started, even after using gasoline several times - the wood was simply too damp. Not willing to give up, I then threw in a very generous amount of gasoline and threw a match in the open door. It was only my reflexes that saved me as I instantly slammed shut the door on the stove as flames shot out about 4 feet!! As the fire roared away inside the stove, I was seriously concerned that the stove might melt. It didn't, and I was finally able to cook dinner.





I camped every night that I wasn't staying with friends or acquaintances. Sometimes someone I met along the road would invite me to stay with them. I never stayed in a hotel or motel the entire trip. It was not my habit to do so while traveling in any case.

I either stayed in do-it-yourself campsites off the road, or at free campsites. The prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta), BC, Yukon, and Alaska were littered with free informal campsites. There were no showers, and usually only a pump for drinking water. But they usually had picnic tables, fire pits, and shelters. I never had to pay for a place to stay the entire trip.

In Ontario I was always able to find a place in the bush off the road, usually up a small road or track in the forest, especially in northern Ontario. Roads that led up to microwave towers were often good places to look.


Here's one of my do-it-yourself campsites. This is north of Lake Superior, off the Trans-Canada Hwy in northern Ontario, at the side of an access road that led to a microwave tower.

It's raining and cold.

Note the plastic sheet covering the moped.



In the Yukon as well I was able to camp just about anywhere I could find a place, off the road.

Here I am breaking camp in the morning, west of Dawson City. 

I am located on the side of an abandoned road.



Wild Animals (Bears)

Some people asked if I was afraid of encountering bears or other wild animals. The simple and truthful answer was, simply, "No." I saw a few bears during the trip, but they were nowhere close to me. And I was not harassed by any other wild animals. Why?

Well, several reasons. On a purely practical level, I kept my campsites and gear meticulously clean. I never ate in my tent unless I had to. If I did, I was extremely careful to not allow any food to spill in the tent, or to leave behind food particles. If I did spill anything, I cleaned it up immediately and thoroughly. I did not leave food lying about. In fact, I didn't leave any gear lying about unless I was in the process of using it. I always put everything away once I was done with it.

On another level, I feel strongly that if one approaches Nature as an equal, instead of as a superior arrogant being, then one will "fit in" better with Nature. And if one is fitting in better, and not at odds with Nature, then one is much less likely to get harassed, or chased away, by wild animals. Yeah, sure this sounds a little bit "new-agey", but it is simply a personal version of how I believe so-called primitive peoples lived close to the land for thousands and thousands of years.
Please note that this attitude does not at all imply that one act passive and beatific in Nature. It simply means to not approach Nature or move through the Natural world with an arrogant, unequal attitude and manner. To act as if one belongs there, but without trampling all over all of Nature.

Whether you think I'm being unrealistic or not, I figure there must be something to it, because in all the years and travels in my life, for all the time I've spent out in the natural world and wilderness and near-wild areas, I have never been harassed by or had any "problems" with a wild animal.





I washed in streams, rivers and lakes, both myself and my clothes. Yes, it was cold sometimes, but I managed just fine. Nothing like a fresh Yukon lake to get your blood pumping!!  :)

I used Sunlight bar soap to minimize my impact on the environment.


Stuff hung up to dry at my campsite.

I never used a laundromat.



Overall Travel Philosophy


Basically, I approached the trip (as I did every long trip I took) from the point of view that I was living on the road for a period of time. The road was my home. Within this context, I made myself at home wherever I was, in whatever manner I could. Traveling was an exercise in simplicity. Although I didn't have to impose that on myself. I just didn't like being burdened with a lot of stuff.

I loved being outdoors, and I loved being on the open, free road. ...Still do.

If I was to sum up the most important attributes for a person to do a long distance trip on a moped or other small bike, here's what I would list:

  • be independent

  • love being outdoors & like all kinds of weather

  • able to live simply for a period of time (that way you will carry less stuff)

  • be able to service the bike yourself, at least for the most common service items





Generally speaking, if it rained I stayed put. I either stayed where I was, or headed to the nearest place to camp. This was especially true on unpaved roads, such as the Alaska Hwy, which in many places became very slick when wet.

Here I am waiting out some rain in Alberta in a picnic area shelter, with my rain gear on.
Rain again, here at the Alaska border. Sometimes I rode in the rain if it wasn't very heavy or if I thought it wouldn't last very long.

To save weight, I only had a cheap plastic rain jacket and pants. They eventually ripped.



As for temperature, I found that the minimum temperature at which I could ride semi-comfortably was about 55-60 degrees F. Even at that temperature I would sometimes have to stop every hour or two and build a fire to warm up.

I found I could barely ride in 45 degrees F. I had to have all my cold weather gear on, and I would still be very cold. I would definitely have to stop regularly to warm up. Once when it was quite cool I found some foil-backed insulation. With that inside the front of my jacket I could ride longer.

At 50 degrees F. I could ride, and not be real cold. I would still have to stop regularly to warm up. If it was sunny and 50 degrees F. I could manage ok.





I spent $103 (CDN) on gas and oil (for the 2-stroke engine). Over a trip of 11,518 miles this works out to about 9/10 cent per mile.  Or, conversely, 112 miles per dollar (CDN).

I spent $280 (CDN) on food (all from grocery stores).

I spent $0 on accommodation.

Please remember that these are 1978 costs!


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