U.S. 395

When roadtripping, road selection is everything. Well, okay, maybe not everything. Who you are going with plays a big part too. But since I am stuck with little old me, road selection is key. The right road offers views, interesting local flavor, and something more than just McDonald's and 7-11s. When you are talking road trip on a scooter, add to that little traffic, frequent enough service stops, and slow speed limits, if you can manage. U.S. 395 between Carson City and Mammoth Lakes fits the bill perfects (except for the slow speed limits, but you can't have it all, eh?)

When thinking about this adventure and what routes I might take, Saxtor suggested 395. Not knowing anything about what I would be looking for in a route or road, I committed to nothing, but did commit the suggestion to memory. Through a funny occurrence of out of date maps, local suggestions, and weather, I ended up on 395. I can't say I've been on a more breath taking stretch of road.

Anyway, since I am sitting on a sidewalk in the town of Lone Pine, CA writing this with the most tenuous of internet connections, I'm unable to add the usual spice of wit and pictures. I'll write more soon.
Friday April 27 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Harry, I Cant Feel My Fingers

Last night, I camped near Eagle Lake, just NW of Susanville, CA. Elevation: 5000 ft. Pulling in just at sunset, I set up camp under a juniper(?) tree and fixed some Frito chili pie over my hobo stove. As I sat watching darkness slowly fall over this weird and wonderful landscacpe, I reflected on what diverse countryside I saw in just 1 day at 35 mph.

Flash forward to morning. Being able to see your breath while still in the tent isn't a lot of incentive to get up. Camping where you probably shouldn't be is. Lo and behold, it is even colder outside the tent than in. Heavy frost covers scoot scoot. Wearing almost every item of clothing I brought, I still had to stop every 20 minutes on the ride in to Susanville to warm up. Luckily, hot chocolate and hash browns were waiting at the local casino.

As the sun starts to rise and the elevation falls, it looks to be shaping up as a great day for my ride into Reno and beyond!

For those who don't get the picture or headline, listen to this
Thursday April 26 2007File under: travel, road trip

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The Columbia River

The Columbia River is just awesome. Not "awesome" in a "totally tubular" or "Mom, those were some awesome potatoes" kind of way. We are talking "awesome" like aweinspiring, full of awe, etc. Driving along the Columbia gives you vistas around every turn. Driving along the Columbia on a scooter surrounds you with the vistas as well as the sounds, smells, and even temperature and humidity changes (which do add to the overall feeling.)

As I proceeded east, the sky ahead was blue and the sky behind was grey, which is quite typical of east of the mountains vs. west. Having that great weather made for the morning's scoot all the more enjoyable. I crossed the river at The Dalles and before I knew it, I was out of beautiful river gorge country and into beautiful rolling hills grasslands country of Eastern Oregon.

(Oh, but just before I crossed the river, I came across this sign that I couldn't help but take a picture of.)
Tuesday April 24 2007File under: travel, road trip

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The Civilized Leg

Three days in with about 500 km down, I'm starting to get into the road trip mentality; equal parts of extremely tangible logistics (Stop for gas? Left or right? Is it going to rain?) with the extreme intangibles (illogistics?) (I am where I am. Neither "left" nor "right" is better.) These first 3 days have been wonderful; relatively few miles per day, a comfortable place to sleep each night, and a chance to figure out the newness that is long distance scooter travel.

Today, however, the civilized leg of the journey is over. No more comfortable places to stay. No more frequent service stops (which are so handy for my 1.3 gallon gas tank.) No more semi-familiar terrain. Today, I take off on the wilder side. The "plan", as such, has me following the Columbia River east out of Vancouver to the east side of the Cascades before heading south on the back roads of Oregon. I'll eat when I'm hungry and I'll camp when I'm tired. This "wildness" is going to be an adventure. But that's what I in it for, right?
Tuesday April 24 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Road Trip!

"Road Trip!" Those words have always evoked a spectacular sense of freedom for me. In my day, I've gone a few doosies. There was the high school road trip to mythical South Whidbey. And who can forget Duck Itch Lake up in Canada? Both the eastward and westward Marilyn roadtrips were not to be forgotten as well.

The time has come for a new page in my road trip history. Much like the road trips of yore, this one is about the journey as much as the destination. What makes this one different, however, is that there will be no sleeping in the back of the car, picking up hitch hikers, locking the keys in the car, or blasting the stereo full blast. This road trip is just me, Scoot Scoot, and the open road. So with my sleeping bag bungeed on, a shiny new trunk for my laptop (can anyone say "internet addiction"?), and perhaps an unrealistic sense of enthusiasm, I embark. Stay tuned to BdW for reports from the road.
Sunday April 22 2007File under: travel, road trip

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Guest Post du Mom

Since I have just returned to BdW headquarters from a month in New Zealand I have been invited to do a guest post to share my travels. See, I leave my children for a month and they suddenly get interested in me. I could wax poetic (if I could wax or be poetic) about the breathtaking beauty of New Zealand and the kindness of her people but I'll save the sappiness for the uncut version and try to hit some highlights. Flying into NZ gave me a sense of its awesome geology, eons of continental bumps and shakes are condensed into this small country-spiny-ridged mountain ranges; vast, lush, glacial valleys; lunarscape volcanic craters and plateaus with picture-perfect farms nestled in here and there. I hooked up with Kiwi native and good buddy Judith and we became far more intimate with this terrain on our 4-day tramp in the Marlborough Sound region of the South Island. We tramped the Cape Campbell Walkway following a goat track through grassy hills and sheep farms out to the eastern most point of the South Island. Lunch huts along the track were setup for proper tea and a chilled bottle of the local Sauvignon Blanc awaited us at each day-end farmstead. It was a challenging hike but fun and rewarding too.
Read more...
Thursday March 1 2007File under: travel, New Zealand

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What a Wondrous World

The world in which we live is a pretty spectacular place filled with all sorts of wondrous things. To see some of these things, both man made and natural, are among the reasons I like to travel so much. Often, seeing pictures doesn't come close to relaying the beautiful and awesomeness as does being there in real life.

Throughout my travels, esp. when in proximity to some especially wonderful place or building, the conversation often turns to The Seven Wonders of the World. I've yet to meet someone who can name all of them (without the help of the internet). It was amidst one of these converstations that I got to thinking about the wonders of the modern world.

Well, it turns out I am not alone. Days after I had this conversation, I ran across this site on one of the blogs. It is accepting votes on what should be included on the new seven wonders list. Unfortunately it requires signing up for something which makes me think it is some promotion or something, but the concept is good and browsing the nominations is very interesting.

Perhaps the best site I've seen on world wonders is Hillman Wonders of the World. This list contains 100 wonders and is good for killing a whole afternoon's worth of productivity. I've visited to 26 of the wonders, 8 of which were in this last trip. How many have you been to?
Tuesday January 16 2007File under: travel, links

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Travel Slideshow

In lieu of a slideshow presentation in person, I've decided to go with the BR-esque online slideshow to display the better of my travel photos. Actually, many of these photos aren't mine. Many thanks to Andrew, Per, Myke, and Trista for their generous photo contributions. (Also, many of the photos are repeats from previous posts and from Andrew's Thailand slideshow. But I just couldn't pass up putting them in)

Oh, and a tech note. I've decided to try YouTube in order to cut down on network traffic on nwlink's servers. Also, it seems like a good cross-platform solution. If it isn't working out for you, or you for some reason hate YouTube, I can e-mail you the .wmv file. So, press play (or visit the YouTube page directly here) and enjoy!



Wednesday January 3 2007File under: travel, video

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Environmental Atonement for my travels (part one)

Travel, general speaking, is bad for the environment. Until a year or so ago, I didn't realize that air travel was among the worst forms of transportation for the environment. (The all-knowing David Suzuki has a great explanation of why here.) Throughout my trip, I was thinking about what I could do to atone for this. Carbon offsetting was something I knew something about, so I promised myself I would environmentally redeem myself, or at least make an attempt, when I got back.

First step in my quest for atonement was to assess the damage. A quick calculation of the miles traveled by plane came out to around 20,000 miles. This figure alone hit me pretty good, as it is approximately equal to 4 round trip flights from Seattle to NYC. To equate that to environmental damage, I chose carbon dioxide production as a measure. Various "calculate your impact" websites gave total carbon production from just me from 7,500 kg to 10,800 kg.

Step two is to find a way to offset said carbon. The sites that help calculate are quick to offer an easy way to offset the impact of your flights. Each does it a little differently, but the general idea is that they use the money you give them to support clean energy projects, which conceptually takes carbon out of the atmosphere. The prices for this ranges from $13/tonne(1,000kg) to $27/tonne putting the environmental cost of my flights between $100 and $300.

This investigation into my impact and what I can do to offset it has been very enlightening, but I hestitate to drop a couple hundred bucks on such an abstract solution. As the title of this post implies, this is to be an on going project. My next focus will be alternative methods for offsetting carbon. Stay tuned!
Tuesday January 2 2007File under: travel, environment

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Reminiscing - map and calendar

One of my major activities since coming home (aside from eating cheese) has been reliving, reviewing, and recovering from my trip. I've been compiling photos from the people I traveled with, sorting through maps and books I brought back, and transfering notes from the back of crosswords to a more usuable computer format. In light of these activities, I foresee a couple more travel related posts in the future for BdW. Here is the first one.

In my last couple days in Vietnam, I saw a fellow traveller outlined their general itenary on a big map. It was such a neat idea that I copied it. Here's what I came up with. It is best viewed at large size. (To avoid clutter, I left off the into and out of asia lines. Starting point is Bangkok and ending point is Seoul)

Also, on my trip, I kept a general log of where I was and what I was doing on a daily basis, just to jog my memory when I got back. The bold at the bottom of each day represents where I spent the night. It is prolly an overkill of information for all but the very bored.


Wednesday December 27 2006File under: travel, pics

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