Rambling Transportation Anecdote

Blog posts while I'm traveling are supposed to be interesting. That's half the reason I travel. But, with no offense intended to the wonderful visits I've had so far, "interesting" might not be the best word to describe what's I've been up to. While movies, food, puzzles, pub trivia, walking, and lots of chatting is always a recipe for good fun (esp. with such great people), it's not the same as, say, a corrupt border crossing agent shake down or a visit to a million year old temple. In fact, the most interesting part of this trip so far (or at least that which I end up talking the most about because people seem the most interested) is the transportation itself.

Instead of subjecting you to a rambling tale of less than smooth transportation (with no pictures), I thought I would instead give you the option of reading my account of one leg of this trip, with all its ins and outs, ups and downs, etc. I wouldn't take the time to write it all out if I didn't find it pretty interesting, but I know I'm slightly skewed towards alternative transportation.

Anyway, if you are intrigued, read on. If not, at least go check on your bingo card, as some unexpected squares might be marked off.


Thursday December 10 2009File under: travel, transportation

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Snow in Fort Collins

It's not really supposed to snow on a vacation unless you are skiing or something of the sort. Luckily this is neither a vacation nor am I looking for what is supposed to happen because it's pretty much been snowing non-stop since I've arrived in Fort Collins. Not only is there snow, but it is COLD*!

But we've not been deterred. Courtesy of my wonderful hosts, we've been having a great time. There's been playing in the snow, checking out the local garden's light show, and even a little productivity. Luckily we got the fireplace going so we've had some nice warmth and atmosphere to come home to.

But with all this cold weather and snow, I could really go for a little warmth. Hmmm...maybe I'll look into that*.
Monday December 7 2009File under: travel, USA

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Colorado Is Pretty


Not that I ever had any doubt, but I was struck today with the realization that a mountain vista with snow, sun, and water is a dang pretty sight (even if it is below freezing at midday). A couple of inches of snow are predicted for tonight which will give everything an even prettier glow. Yeah for scenicness!
Saturday December 5 2009File under: travel

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Transportation Bingo

Last time I did a meandering domestic adventure (spring 2008 through the Northeast, if you recall), I noticed how many forms of transportation I was using. Ferries, craigslist rides, biking, etc. This time around, I thought I'd make a game out of it.

Transportation Bingo works like this:
     * each person gets a card with many forms of transportation in a random arrangement. (The arrangement is based off a seed word which you might be asked for that allows for you to get the same arrangement from any computer. Capital letters matter.)
     * when I use a certain form of transportation on this trip, I will add it to the list of "used methods" which will cause that square to be red.
     * when someone gets 5 in a row, just like in bingo, they win.
     * prize for the winner is yet to be determined, but is bound to be "oh gee thanks, I guess" worthy.

The hope is that those who want to follow along for this latest adventure can do so by just checking in on the bingo page. "Oh, he just rode on a passenger only ferry across Mobile Harbor. Bingo!"

So the programming aspect of this was done kind of hastily without much cross-browser/cross-platform troubleshooting, so let me know if it isn't working for you. I wanted to get it posted before I get on the train to Denver this afternoon. Speaking of which, I had better go pack up and hop on the bus down to the station.
Tuesday December 1 2009File under: travel, coding

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Costumed Frisbee

This past weekend, I made the trek* over to eastern Washington for a frisbee tournament. Well, if you want to get technical, it is called an ultimate tournament because "frisbee" is a trademarked name. Still, I call it frisbee.

Anyway, a couple things of note about this tournament:

1. Teams were supposed to play in costume. Our team took inspiration from The Princess Bride. We had a Humperdink, Buttercup, 2 Fezziks, Inigo Montoya, the "Boo Boo" rag lady, an RoUS, the Grandpa from the beginning, and 2 Dread Pirate Westleys. (I was one of the Westleys but was sorely outdone costume-wise. Alas.) Many aspects of the costumes, however, got shed throughout the day due to weather and hindrance of play concerns. (I tried to take pictures but my camera ran out of batteries. Hopefully someone from the team will post some pictures which I will intern re-post here.)

2. Speaking of weather, since when do we get 70 degree sunny days in Washington in November. Maybe I've been living on the wrong side of the mountains all these years. On Saturday, however, there was a wicked wind to contend with. We got our fair share of zone offense practice.

3. Traveling for sports in a non-academic environment is kind of fun. This was my first multi-day tournament that I went with a team (instead of meeting them there, picking up with a random team, or just commuting from home) and I really enjoyed it. Seeing new scenery, getting to spend time with good people, etc. etc. Yeehaw.
Tuesday November 3 2009File under: games, travel

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Family Reunion in Des Moines

Interchallenge virtuouso Sara totally nailed it. Des Moines, Iowa was the secret location of the last blog post. Why was I in Des Moines, Iowa you ask. For the not even close to annual* Studer Family Reunion.

As you all probably know, my mom's family isn't small. Oodles of aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins-once-removed, and even a couple cousins-twice-removed necessitates some organizational efforts: color coded shirts, name tags, and an elaborate family tree. But in addition to spending some great times with rarely seen but dearly loved relatives, we had a little bit of nuclear time as well.

Family reunions sometimes get a bad rap. And I'll admit I was a little reticent heading into this one myself. But there was no need. I had a great time and look forward to a little less hectic time with such great people in the not as far away future.
Monday September 7 2009File under: travel, misc

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Where Am I

Ever since Andrew made that awesome "Where am I?" post* from some podunk South Dakotan town, I've always wanted to make one similar. I got close with that giant Paul Bunyan post earlier this year. Good times.

Anyway, while I realize my visual clues aren't nearly as good as Andrew's were, I thought I might still throw it out there for anyone looking for a good time waster (or immediately recognizes anything specific). Where am I? I'm only looking for city and state because these 4 photos were not taken at the exact same location (but all in the same city). Oh, and if I told you where I was headed beforehand, no fair "guessing".
Saturday September 5 2009File under: travel

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Sleeping Around

Where a person lays his/her head says a whole lot about his/her life, I think. If you look at this data over time, you get an idea of a person's routines, travel habits, and maybe even relationships. Whenever I heard a traveling salesman or musician say "I spend 200 nights a year on the road" or whatever, it would always make me wonder: where did they spend their nights, in what size chunks was that time spent, etc. It also spurred the question for me: how many nights a year do I spend on the road? It wasn't one that I could readily answer (at least with any accuracy) so about a year ago, I started keeping track.

Now I have over a year's worth of data on where I slept. I've put it together in this [visually pleasing] interface to share with you (so specifics have been omitted), but mostly for myself in getting a picture of what the last year of my life has looked like. Some interesting things I've realized: I haven't spent more than 11 nights in a row at home; nights at home vs. nights housesitting are almost equal; I've spent a month's worth of nights in a tent, 12 in a wheeled vehicle of some sort, 16 on a boat, and 2 on a plane.

Not only has this exercise served as a great way to quantitatively describe my lifestyle (or at least as much as you feel is represented in this data), it also serves as a great log. In 20 years when I wonder what it was like to be young* and free, I can see how I spent my time. This whole thing has been so fun and informative for me, I'm hoping to continue keeping track for years to come. I only wish that I had been doing it for the last 10 years as well.
Wednesday August 19 2009File under: travel, misc

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Taiwan and Japan Slideshow

I was waiting for a few additional images to come in before putting this together, but I'm just too antsy. Everybody seems to love a slideshow, so I wanted to get it out ASAP. If the images do come in, I'll post a few of them in the comments or something.

I tried to use only pictures that weren't posted on the blog from the trip, although you'll probably recognize some of them because they greatly resemble pics I did post. I also more or less tried to maintain the trip's timeline throughout, so if you see a picture towards the end of the slideshow, it probably happened near the end of the trip.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did putting it together. Oh, and make sure you've got the sound on. The music really sets the mood.
Tuesday May 5 2009File under: travel, video

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Good Hosts

Traveling can be a tedious endeavor: language barriers, different beds every night, very little familiar territory, no space to really feel comfortable. Traveling solo adds the extra aspect of not having someone to share thoughts and observations with, etc. Don't get me wrong; all the newness and time for reflection can be a very good thing, but it sometimes is just plain hard.

Enter wonderful people. In Japan and Taiwan, I was fortunate to have a number of wonderful hosts to help ease the hardships of travel. Whether providing guidance on local activities (many of which I would have never experienced otherwise), welcoming me and sharing their lives with me, offering up generous use of their homes and a place to sleep*, or just indulging my brain dumps (and chance to speak English for a while), I realize that my experience wouldn't have been nearly as wonderful without these people. So to Bob, Dave, Kristin, and Bryan I can't say thank you enough. If ever I can repay you in whatever way, I'll be glad to do it.

In thinking about it, all my travels of late have been helped along and enhanced by so many good people: Steve and Hope in Grenada, Gabriella in Mexico, so so many good folks on the eastern seaboard, Andrew and Gretch in Portland, and Sibley and Nina in Santa Cruz just to name but a few. I count my lucky stars each time I think about it, and hope that the generosity they all have shown me comes back around to them someday. As I hope, I realize that the best way to make sure that happens is to be the best host I can be whenever I get the chance. So next time you, any of you, pass through Anacortes, know that you've got a willing host to put you up, show you around, and help in any way possible. After all, it is the least I can do.
Tuesday April 14 2009File under: travel

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