Travels to all continents except Antarctica. Preference for do it yourself trips, meeting locals, and learning local customs and food. I have been doing a daily travel diary through email for the last several years(mostly Asia), and received many compliments from friends. I plan to visit the following in the years to come: Turkey, Burma, Alaska, Ireland, and Russia. I went to Japan in March 2009 and drove a lot of the length of Chile with my golf buddy in September 2009. Several African countries and safaris in 2012. Things like the Orient Express and the Trans Siberian Railway interest me. I have played golf all over the planet as well. I went to Wimbledon in June and rank it behind only the Masters golf as the best sporting event in the world. I have also become more interested in our great national parks, like Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Glacier, Teton, and Yosemite here in the U.S. I have almost completed my quest to visit all fifty states. Then, I may start on the Canadian provinces, and all of the countries in South America. I am also looking for volunteer opportunities overseas now that I am semi-retired. I enjoy writing about my travels, and sharing with others who cannot travel. I also take tons of photos, which I publish.
Recent trip to Antelope Canyon, near Page, AZ was a revelation. The Navajo guide actually had me taking Ansel Adams like photos for a couple of hours. You must go!!!! South Africa and Tanzania just completed in 2012, to be followed by the Trans Siberian Railway in 2014.
I am just seven states away from having visited all 50 of our great states. Guess which ones are left? There will be only two left by mid August.
I also completed my "sports-fecta" with events like the Kentucky Derby, Olympics, Super Bowl, Wimbledon, Masters, Indy 500, Final Four, World Series, and NBA Finals.
November 21st 2013
So, what is the deal with the Pearl District in downtown Portland? It seems among (I almost used between) the food trucks, and Pearl, everything else in Portland has fallen off the map. Originally, it was known as the Industrial Triangle, not a love triangle, and certainly not an isosceles triangle. It was old railroad yards, and creepy old warehouses. All of a sudden, with urban renewal, and "LEED" certified buildings, this is the hot spot of Portland. Most people think the Pearl District was named for the prize inside an oyster. Here is the story of its rebirth:Much of the re-development of the Pearl District was the result of collaboration between the city and private sectors. In the early 1980s, the Pearl District became the focus of planning efforts by the Portland Development Commission. Work ... read more
November 20th 2013
I have not been in Portland in over 20 years. Much has changed and some has remained the same. Same? How about venerable Powell Books about 2 blocks from my hotel? And Jake's Grill is still here. But right across the street are the now world famous Portland food trucks. I must tell you that as fabulous Powell's might be, the variety of ethnic foods on Alder and SW 10th is perhaps unmatched anywhere I have been. There are many pockets of food carts and trucks throughout the downtown area. These are just some of the places I can recall: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Halal, Greek, Mexican, Korea-Mex, German, Italian, Georgian, Indian, Ethiopian, Burgers, Egyptian, pizza, Turkish, Dogs, Vegetarian, and many more that I forgot. I tried the Korean. It was both delicious and inexpensive. Each item ... read more
November 19th 2013
Portland has a population of around 600,000 people, yet their food truck scene has made the national foodie blogs and travel sites. But there is more to Portland, also called City of Roses and Stumptown, and home to the largest wilderness park, Forest Park, within the city limits. Seattle even takes credit from Portland for Paul Revere and the Raiders, as well as The Kingsmen of "Louie, Louie" fame. Of course, there have been a few other famous Portlanders. These include Gus Van Sant, Sally Struthers, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Beverly Cleary, James Beard, Richard Diebenkorn, Phil Knight, Linus Pauling, Peter Jacobsen, and Clark Gable. But there must be more to Portland than food trucks, pale ale, roses, and rain. Portland straddles the Willamette River, which runs mostly north through the city center. The Willamette joins ... read more
November 6th 2013
Sometimes, good things happen when you least expect it. Last night in Quito was such an event. Mike, Barry and I were on our way back home. Barry had to stay one night near the airport before leaving early Thursday morning. Mike and I had to kill about 6 hours before our midnight flight from Quito to Houston, then on to SFO. We were picked up by a nice man named Pablo, and driven about 15 minutes away, eventually to a cobblestone driveway about a half mile long off of a main road. The automatic doors opened, and we pulled up to what looked like an old farmhouse, or hacienda. We were looking at each, thinking what the heck is going on? Pablo took us to Barry's room, and we arranged dinner there at the hotel ... read more
November 6th 2013
So, I have found out a little more about this Colombian city that may be of interest to you. Due to city planning rules requiring that public art be part of any new construction, central Medellin has become a fantastic open-air art gallery. The Metro here, also known as Metro de Medellin, links north and south, east and west, as well as rich and poor. We found that out today on our Metro ride. It is very reasonably priced, three of us rode round trip for less than $5 USD. They say Medellin is the Paris of South America. To some extent, I agree, as the women are more stylish here than in Ecuador. The textile industry accounts for one third of Medellin's employment. Labels from Brooks Brothers to Oscar de la Renta are made here. ... read more
November 6th 2013
They say the beauty of their women, warmth of its people, and gorgeous flowers allows Medellin to attract like a magnet. Personally, I vote for the beauty of the women. The people of the region are called paisas, perhaps due mostly to their proactive spirit and hospitality. They say that loving life on the street and exaggerating colorful stories keeps their spirits high. We shall find out. First, let's address the food issue. Here are some of their traditional dishes: Bandeja paisa: Traditional Antioquia dish with beans, ground beef, egg, rice, plantain, chorizo sausage, pork cracklings, arepa and hogao (a sauce based on tomatoes and onions). Mondongo:A soup based on tripe, pork, hen, and cassava, and flavored with cilantro. Sancocho: A soup based on chicken, potatoes, and plantains. I see a problem already. None of tha ... read more
November 5th 2013
Now that we have been in South America for a week, I have a few more well formed thoughts about this wonderful continent. While Ecuador and Colombia are not many travelers' first choice, they offer a genuine travel experience, without any pretense, or overhyped travel hyperboles. Mainly, I noticed that people in both countries seem to be hard workers, and proud of their countries. And in Colombia, in particular, their is a joy and delight in the everyday lives of the citizens, particularly after some rather difficult years of drug cartels and violence. That is not to say these places are perfect. Actually, far from it. While they have invested heavily in new airports and other infrastructure (their roads are superior to ours), it appears housing is still a big issue. Sewage and the environment are ... read more
November 2nd 2013
If you said Medellin to any American in the past ten years, they would freak out and scream about their drug infested past. Well, with Pablo Escobar out of the picture, and drug sniffing dogs taking over the airport, Columbia has taken a new identity of late. In particular, we decided to land in Medellin, upon the recommendation of many. Medellin is the second largest city in Columbia. It is nestled in the Aburra Valley, in the northerly section of the Andes. Might you remember, that Mr. Mike and I have experienced the southern Andes, down at the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. With a population of 2.7 million here, I am sure we can find something to see and do. Without reliving too much of the past, most people who see or read the ... read more
November 1st 2013
The total land area of Columbia is 439,737 square miles, or roughly the size of my friend's ranch in Montana (just kidding). The population is 45.2 million, with a literacy rate of 90.4 percent. Life expectancy, surprisingly, is 75 years. Bogota is the capital, perhaps too well known to those of us who thing of nothing but drug cartels in Columbia and the rather infamous Pablo Escobar. It is only a 3.5 hour flight from Miami. While Spanish is the native language, another 65 indigenous languages are spoken. The population below the poverty line is 45.5 percent. Yet the gross domestic product is $467 billion (based on 2011 data). They have oil, among other exports, I hear. Perhaps the most endearing feature of Columbia is that nature lovers will love it here. There are more bird ... read more
October 31st 2013
Ecuador has been a pleasant surprise, overall. It is very under rated, or "under the radar" as the experts like to say. But the food is just not up to any kind of world standard. As bad a cook as I am, I could be a master chef here! We ventured into Old Town, to a rather quaint area called La Ronda. Normally, it is very quiet there at night, but it was The Day of the Dead. All the families were out in family style restaurants, enjoying an evening together, instead of collecting candy and making the town dentist wealthy. My stomach was not feeling so good last night, so I retired to my room, while the two remaining Mouseketeers went to a local bars. Things were fine until an armada of Quito's finest stormed ... read more