Chad & Allison

Bike Tour Eurasia

Chad & Allison

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

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

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

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
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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