Chad & Allison

Bike Tour Eurasia

Chad & Allison

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Krasnoyarsk October 22nd 2018

Our first taste of early winter on the south shore of Baikal was a real awakening. Following days of rain at lake level the mountains were covered in snow just above us. We think of ourselves as rather cold-hardy people and we have saddled up for some pretty bad weather over the years, but we still felt a sense of urgency to get rolling and not stop. Back in Chita, when we bought our return tickets to the States, we chose Krasnoyarsk as our departure city thinking that we would take a leisurely pace in the fall and make a few stops. We also knew from experience that the highway to and through Novosibirsk would be very busy, making Krasnoyarsk a fitting place to stop. But the winter in the Baikal region started to press ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Lake Baikal September 11th 2018

A note to our readers: To see all of the images, scroll all the way down when you are finished reading and select pages 2 and 3. Enjoy! Maintaining a foreign language that you aquired abroad, while living in a mostly monolingual household, is not easy. Since we left Bishkek four years ago, we have tried hard to maintain the investment we made in our Russian language skills. We listen to Russian music, play with Cyrillic refrigerator magnets, wrestle our way through magazine articles, and strike up conversations with any willing party at work who we hear speaking the language. It is a bit taboo in the U.S. to speak a foreign tongue with a stranger simply because you think they might know what you are saying. After all, we are a multicultural nation and ... read more
Hello Russia
Across Border - Homeland

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia July 30th 2018

Our stop in Tongliao lasted a bit longer than we planned or wished. On our first rest day a nasty cold started to sweep over our team. We tried to quarantine ourselves from one another but our efforts likely only prolonged the amount of time it took all of us to get properly snotty. We likely contracted the illness out on the road but the filthy air in the city was not helping, nor was the hotel's air conditioner. Given the heat and humidity, the aircon was the only option for maintaining comfort in our room, but something just never feels right about those machines, especially in old hotels where the filters have likely gone years without service. Looking around, it seemed that quite a few people were similarly ill. Our friend and college housemate ... read more
Outside an indoor ski area

Asia » China » Inner Mongolia July 11th 2018

This first entry in many years is lengthy, with a protracted timeline that is hard to follow. Pour yourself a cup of tea and take your time....or don't. Some things need to be written as much as they need to be read. In 2014 we were crossing the Karakolpakistan border into Uzbekistan on a hotter than hell desert morning. We had heard some rather cross tales about this border and the magnifier it would bring us under. In the last town in Kazakhstan, many people warned us that the Uzbek officials were wary of foreigners in general but that this particular border was the worst of all, mixing corruption and extortion with scrutiny of every kind.... The crossing was hectic. There were a lot of dusty locals queing and no small amount of push and ... read more

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Jalal-Abad September 17th 2014

Нет Человек, Нет ПроблемNo Person, No ProblemИюсеф Джугашвили (Сталин)Jusef Jugashvili (Stalin) We followed Latchin's youngest daughter down the rocky road through Arslanbob village. It was late afternoon and the sun was casting a California light on the trees and the airy Uzbek homes. A call to prayer sang out from a small mosque and completed the sensory aesthetic. Fall had come to the Ferghana range and the village was quiet and half empty. At 17 years old, the girl was growing into her father's lean, quick stature. She moved along effortlessly on the loose cobbles of the towns roads, leading us to the home of her uncle, where a hot banya awaited. We strolled along quietly, partially silenced by the perfect beauty of the evening, and partially by the lack of a common language. Many gi ... read more
Ala-Kol before the snow
On 18 August about 30cm snow fell at Ala-Kol
Sunny morning at Ala-Kol

Asia » Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek July 26th 2014

Lonliest stretch of desert highway.First car in two hours.A single, white Lada.Skinny red coffin on top.It was beautiful. Experiences may carry a wealth of great potential lessons, however, the whole "best teacher" assertion might be pushing it a bit far. At the least, they add weight to those lessons and drive the point home, especially in the minds of those of us who seemingly have yet to shed the robust cranial structure of our ancestors. Indeed, we are not always the best students and what we take away from our experiences is certainly a product of our receptiveness as much as it is a function of the experiences themselves. We have sweated out sweltering heat before, crossed long stretches without water, laid awake sweating in our tent, and lived to tell about it. Through many of ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara June 17th 2014

"A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken pieces of yesterday's life. Somewhere a queen is weeping. Somewhere a king has no wife." -The Wind Cries Mary, Jimmy Hendrix ---------------------------------------------------------------- Flying is always a bewildering change of pace after a long cycle tour. Our warp from Tbilisi to Aktau was the first time we have flown in the middle of a tour, making it even wierder. The departure from the airport at 0130 alone was enough to turn us a bit on end. To complicate matters further, the cashier at the oversized baggage desk recieved a message just as we walked up requesting that she refuse our payment as our bags had been deemed a great threat to security. "The med kit" we thought, "it must be that".... We sauntered down to the not-so-secure baggage basement ... read more
Caspian Sea
Hedgehogs live in the desert too

Asia » Georgia » Tbilisi District » Tbilisi May 27th 2014

We rolled up the green valley out of Akhaltsikhe and gently back into the steppe. As we climbed, we began to get the sense that we were already in Armenia. Most of the towns in the Javakheti region are inhabited by Armenians and this becomes more so the case as one nears the border post at Bavra. In contrast to the Georgians we met in our first days across the border, the Armenians we were meeting showed a mastery of the Russian language and it was a delight to chat with a dialect that we could largely understand. As we interacted with person after friendly person we began to "warm up" in the language and the wide vocabulary of our counterparts allowed them to get points across to us when we could not initially understand. We ... read more
Fat hail in Armenia
First night in Armenia
Lake Sevan, Armenia

Asia » Georgia » Western Georgia » Borjomi April 26th 2014

This can't be little Hussein, his uncle cried As he drops to his nephew's side, holding his cane Just give me a name, of who has inflicted this bitter sickness, and left us to witness. -Wu Tang Clan, A better Tomorrow Our crash pad in Antalya was a real score. Someone that Maggie met briefly at a party in Madison just happened to have a spare apartment for a week and we had the entirety of a three bedroom flat to ourselves. Antalya is a name we have seen spelled out in Cyrillic outside of nearly every travel agency in Russia and other former Soviet states. It is a very popular destination for Russian travelers and we could hear the familiar tongue flowing from every cafe we passed as we navigated our way down to the ... read more
Mt. Ararat with donkey
Mt. Ararat in clouds
Now why aren't you kids in school?

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

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