Chad & Allison

Bike Tour Eurasia

Chad & Allison




Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antalya April 13th 2014

Water is always a fierce issue in the American west. Through the doings and undoings of the last century, we have managed to steer our course to a place where few of us are immune to the concerns of drought, water rights, gerrymandering of vast drainages, and their consequences on our often overabundant lives. This becomes especially evident when one or more of the core elements in this increasingly strained system fails to fall into climatological norms. Nowhere is this more evident than in California, where the largest agricultural nexus in the US and several of our largest and most sprawling cities must compete for water that comes from as far away as Colorado to keep the machine wet. When winter does not produce snow for the great ranges of the west, nearly everyone in California ... read more
Half Moon Cirque looking like any other epic year
Scratchy approaches
The planning phase consumes our little house

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Binh Thuan » Mui Ne September 29th 2012

A few years ago, an aquaintence of ours slowly managed to convince himself that he had become a world-famous rock star. He would appear at our place in his dilapidating Audi wearing tight jeans and a leather jacket and tell us his story of the annoyances of becoming so "recognized". Rather than dispute his claims to fame or try to intercede, we listened in a way that seemed oddly pathological and tried to sympathize with his plight as it was clear that trying to derail his train to a psychotoc break was fruitless. Finally he showed up one night in a panic, the whole world was turning against him, his fans were always watching and it was driving him crazy. Other superstars were on his side, only they could understand, but he felt safe with us ... read more
Incense production
Drying rice on the national highway
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Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thanh Hoa September 7th 2012

They told me I was goin' down to Vietnam. Up until that moment I had never heard of it before. Had to go look at a globe to see exactly where that was. -John D. Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Vietnam. John D. worked as a ski lift operator in the winter months and ran a fishing boat out of San Diego in the summer. He had a mild manner and a sometimes distant look when he talked about the past at the twelve-step meetings I drove him to a few times a month. He seldom talked about the war at all, but the more he exposed about his life leading up to and following a certain event, the more I was curious about the scars, the rumors, the medal, the moment.... I wanted ... read more
Greetings in Sapa region, Vietnam
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Asia » China » Yunnan » Kunming August 17th 2012

Take me to the magic of the moment On a glory night Where the children of tomorrow dream away In the wind of change -Scorpions Carl the brewer moved up to Dali from Thailand about a decade ago. In those days, the expressway from Kunming was a dream and the journey out to the little village took days from the provincial capital. He looked around at the shacky little place and saw a unique atmosphere where the local Bai minorities and a few Han settlers lived in a sort of separated reality. There were more westerners in the town than Chinese tourists. Ganga grew through the cracks in the streets, and the police were more interested in drinking beers with visitors than hassling them for documents. For Carl, the place was an unexpected and perfect mix ... read more
Yunnan Province
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tourists in Dali

Asia » China » Yunnan » Shangri-La August 1st 2012

Note (again): This blog is also photoless thanks to the myriad of incompatibilities between Travelblog and your average Chinese computer. We are presently unsure whether this relationship is the intention of some saavy censorship body or merely innocent technical difficulties. Assume what you will but, as we will endeavor to highlight, censorship in China is broad spectrum and actually quite lacking in intention and daftness. Reading a map is a martial art. It is easy to understand the idea of cartography, but difficult to replicate that ideal on the surface of a spheroid. Add to that the complications of rivers and mountains and major pieces of information become obscured on the surface of the paper. Multiply that with the changes of human development and false information enters the fray to make navigation something not so firmly ... read more
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Asia » China » Qinghai » Golmud July 5th 2012

Note: Our photo upload capability seems to be blocked here in Qinghai. We will post these later when we can make it happen. In China, drivers blow their horns. They blow them to warn pedestrians, to signal to other vehicles, to send a warning as they speed through a town, and to part livestock. It is also a habit perhaps concurrent with the excitement of the recent arrival of cars in the mainstream. In 2009 we observed a driver cruising down a six lane highway in the middle of nowhere blowing his horn vigorously at the empty road. It can be irksome but the system is quite useful at times. In many towns, a broken horn could be deadly; we recently sat eating breakfast at a gas station and watched countless scooters cutting straight across a ... read more
Chinese bike tourist
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Asbestos mine

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Kashgar » Taklamakan Desert June 11th 2012

"There once was an old farmer with one son and one horse. The horse ran away and the man was unlucky. When the horse returned it had found a mate, now the man had two horses and was very lucky. His son tried to ride the horse and fell off, breaking his leg. Now the man felt unlucky again but soon the nation went to war and all of the young men were called to fight. Luckily, because of his recently broken leg, the farmer's son was excused and he was again lucky" A swiss man told us this story at Chinese customs the other day as we were receiving a bit of unexpected news. The Irkeshtam pass bridges the border from Kyrgyzstan into China's wild west in a gap where the Tien Shan technically meets ... read more
Tokbel Pass, Kyrgyzstan
Invite for breakfast
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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Jalal-Abad » Arslanbob May 15th 2012

Leaving Karakol was bitter sweet. We had been there for ten days and we had grown attached to the characters, the mountains, the friendly dogs and the hot springs. But Karakol itself is a hole. How it became so famous as a "pleasant, leafy, fresh air town" is either some relic of a Soviet secret or (more likely) the work of overzealous guidebook authors with a tight schedule and no bicycle to slow down the pace. Either way, it is a pretty rough town with an increasingly bad reputation and we were happy to have minimized our days in the town itself. We said our goodbyes to Sergei and his friendly dogs and even crazy Kolia stopped by to bid us farewell. The north of Kyrgyzstan is decidedly Russian and though we knew that things would ... read more
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Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Karakol May 1st 2012

"Humankind is the only creature that refuses to be what it is" -Camus Winter never seems to last very long. No matter how many days we get out in the cold, there never seems to be enough hours spent on frozen water of some sort. The more one becomes informed about and examines the finite crystals that fall from the sky, the more it becomes clear that snow is basically a miracle. This year saw less of these miracles falling on the Sierra but it did not prevent the making of some epic days. Sunrise to the beat of a pounding heart, long skin tracks scribe a human line in a wilderness of white. Tools sink into supple ice, soft as plastic, rare as gold in the state of eternal sun. Blue hardwax grips but barely, ... read more
Cage the dead
They like big butts
Soviet residue


Years ago, in what can now be called youth, my comrade Eliot and I struck out for Alaska one spring as the Sierra melted out. I had an injured ankle but figured that I could stuff the thing into a kayak if nothing else. We worked at a greasy spoon in the Kenai, paddled the local coasts and rivers, clambered around the peaks of the Chugach, and lived off "da fatta da lan". After a few months of smelling like a hamburger, one day the axe just fell and we headed for the great north with scarcely more beta than what could be garnered from a few conversations with a retired long-haul trucker named Norm. Thanks Norm. We took the Haul Road for the Brooks range and climbed the first big, imposing ridge traverse we could ... read more
Descending to Denali Pass.
Topping Out
On the way to high camp




Tot: 0.236s; Tpl: 0.011s; cc: 19; qc: 75; dbt: 0.0466s; 75; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 2; ; mem: 6.6mb