Chad & Allison

Bike Tour Eurasia

Chad & Allison

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Krasnoyarsk January 25th 2020

When we flew away from Krasnoyarsk after our last bicycle tour, something felt unfinished. We had made a few friends and become comfortable with the neighborhood. We knew where to go for a nice run, a beautiful hike, the cities best espresso machiatto, and the best bowl of noodles we have ever had in Russia....maybe anywhere. Fate doubled down on our departure anxiety with a two hour delay on the tarmac. We waited in a long queue with the seatbelt light on trying to think about anything besides urinating. Finally, one of us rushed the bathroom and used the "I'm a girl in a chivalrous country" ploy, while the other nearly overflowed an empty bike bottle under an in-flight blanket. One would think that a couple of weeks in a smoggy, Siberian city would leave ... read more
Lit up night skiing right from our door
Krasnoyarsk from Bobrovy Log
Our cozy flat

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Lake Baikal January 5th 2020

We hunkered down on the narrow, snow covered train platform, and turned our backs to the frozen blast that the train pushed ahead of it. The east bound freighter rolled past at full speed a meter away as we sat on our bags and held on to our child. Had we known the exact nature of the Baikalsk rail station, we would have booked our tickets to Krasnoyarsk from Irkutsk and taken the morning bus back to the city. The cashier that sold us our tickets in Irkutsk two weeks prior had assured us that we would simply be able to load our bags into the baggage wagon, and then take our seats. But as Andre (taxi driver and Baikalsk native) drove us to the voxal, and we ran our plans by him, he became ... read more
First ski in Russia
Angara River.

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 girls ... 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

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