George Wood

Doc Wood

George Wood

Upon reaching 60 I told my family the only gift I want from now on is to travel, preferably with them. I am not much for blogging, so forgive the errors and misplaced photos. This is mainly just for family and friends.

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík July 9th 2018

We are home after a great trip. The final two days we based out of Reykjavik and were joined by Michael's friend Sam, from England. On Friday Sam and Michael headed for what is known as 'steam valley' and found the river near the town of Hveragerdi that is full of hot pools to soak in. One of the great things about this trip was Michael's ability to search for little known hot tubs, including one that even our host, Thor, had never heard of. While the boys soaked Thor and I went to Lake Tingvallavatn, the largest lake in the country to try our hand at fishing. We were chasing Artic Char, a relative of salmon and trout and while we did not catch any, we had a great time. The tricky part about fishing ... read more
Where the earth grows
Michael and Sam where The Hound was left for dead

Europe » Iceland » North » Húsavík July 6th 2018

We spent days four through six in Iceland touring 'the north.' You always have a sense of foreboding with the people in a nation call part of the country just 'the north,' here for good reason. On Tuesday we spent most of the day just driving to the north, the target being a farmhouse hotel to the west of Aukeryi (the second city of Iceland) where my friend Thor had made a reservation for us. Thor had been the dean of the University of Aukeryi and is also currently doing work in the area, helping the Chinese set up a station to study the Northern Lights. (His current work is with the Icelandic Arctic Institute--they are studying the effects of climate change amongst other things, guess which country no longer sends scientists to their meetings?). For ... read more
Michael in Jon Snow and Egrit's cave
Gettirs pool

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Selfoss July 3rd 2018

On day three in Iceland we hit the road. With several maps and directions from Thor we decided to take on parts of what is known as the Golden Circle road tour. We started with the geothermal power plant about 45 km to the east of Reykjavik. Drawing from he large amount of geothermal activity where the North American and European plates come together, Iceland is powered mostly by hot water from deep in the earth. At the plant they draw water that is 300 degrees centigrade (to covert to F you roughly multiply by 2 and add can just forget the extra 32 here). They use the steam from the water to drive two huge turbines that power the generators that create 30% of Iceland's electricity. The water is cooled and then piped to ... read more
Keep out of the water!
Seculed pool

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík July 1st 2018

We arrived in Iceland at 5 a.m. after an easy flight with WOW Airlines from Pittsburgh. When we landed the scenery let you know immediately you were in parts unknown! For miles around the airport are lava fields, flat, almost barren. Closer inspection reveals that the purple hues are Lupins, stretches of them, planted for conservation reasons and considered by some to be an invasive nuisance. The lava rocks are also coated with green and red lichens and moss, which were are later told is a result of climate change--twenty years ago the rocks were a barren grey. Today, as it is warmer, the ground covering plants are gaining a foothold. We quickly passed through one of the easiest immigration checks ever--"are you staying in Iceland?" "Yes" "Fine, go ahead", passport stamped. We picked up a ... read more
Michael the viking
Welcome to the President's house
Downtown Reykjavic

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza March 17th 2018

It had to come, the end of our trip to Argentina. But not until a few more adventures were had. Last time we left you we were describing a roadside Asado (bar-be-que) with three guys who were spending their Tuesday afternoon fishing and enjoying some meat and wine. After I wrote that blog I felt I had not done justice to our new friends. Seems it is a tradition in these parts to share large containers of wine, could be the plastic two-liter water bottle we were using on the side of Ruta 94, or it could be a glass jar, or there are even large vessels made to suit this purpose. What we were told was it was something you did only with friends, a way of passing the wealth, of sharing with those you ... read more
Sharing the roadside cup
Wine tasting direct
Sharing roadside steak!

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » San Rafael March 14th 2018

We drove south from San Juan headed to the Valley de Uco, the largest expanse of vineyards in the country. But before we left we thought it was important to leave an offering for safe travel to one of the many shrines to the Difunta Correa. Hope she takes care of us and the car the rest of the way. Clearly she was on our side as writhing a few miles of the offering we found a stand full of ripe melons and picked one up for later. We traveled south on the renowned Ruta 40 yet again, passing through but not stopping at Mendoza. But the smell of the Sunday asados was over powering so we pulled over and picked up a bag of empanadas and then some grilled beef and chicken and had an ... read more
An Offering for the Difunta
Joy in the Park, E. Bustos, Argentina
Helping bring in the first Malbec

South America » Argentina » San Juan » San Juan March 11th 2018

Our last full day in San Juan was spent wandering the central city watching as folks just lived their lives...and of course visiting some vineyards! It took us a while to figure out all the roads and the parking system, but once we did we left the car for three hours while we window shopped and Argentine watched in the central part of San Juan. Like Mendoza, the city has blocked off several main streets in the center part of town and made them into pedestrian malls. They are full of restaurants, artisans, musicians, and shops....a delightful way to hail your neighbor, meet a friend, sit and enjoy a coffee or wine. We had lunch at a grill where we could sit and watch the cook manage all sorts of meats and sausages over hot coals ... read more
Sparkling wine
Friendly guides
Just laying around

South America » Argentina » San Juan » San Juan March 9th 2018

Into every good road trip a little weirdness must fall, and Thursday was the day for us! We left San Augustine knowing we had a bit of a slog from there to San Juan, but such is the case in driving around this country. To break up the drive, we counted on stopping in some of the small towns on the map, not realizing that often they are nothing more than a ghost town. We did find some action in Bermejo, in the form of the perpetual festival of San Expedito, the saint you call on for urgent needs (as in expedite this package--without UPS). We rolled into town and were flagged down by a helpful soul who had us park out of the sun...and then asked for $40AR ($2 US) for the service. Then several ... read more
Festival Don Expidito
The original Difunta Chapel
Truckers say thanks Difunta

South America » Argentina » San Juan » Ischigualasto March 7th 2018

We left Barreal after the best breakfast we have had in Argentina, fresh baked bread and pastry (with apples from the trees in the yard), coffee, cereal, meat, cheese and at least four types of home made preserves. We were continuing on north, and had a hard time making any time as it seemed that every five or ten miles we needed to stop and take another picture of the mountains showing yet another side of their beauty. We had pretty good roads as far as Calligasta and then we were in for a treat...some 30K of roads that barely held on to the hillside, and were often covered with shale or mud from the heavy rains the day before. It seemed there was heavy equipment everywhere, whose main job was to shovel the debris from ... read more
The old mill in Huaco
Petroglyphs in Talampaya

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Uspallata March 5th 2018

We spent Saturday morning on the streets outside our hostel at the second parade for the Festival of the Wines. This parade was quite different from the on Friday night that featured the queens of the various districts from the state of Mendoza. Instead, Saturday's parade was more on foot and featured various social and political movements, marching bands in wild costumes, gauchos, and, of course, queens from the region and various other festivals. At times it was hard to tell what was the parade and what was not. There was no real control of anyone, the crowd often squeezing the street closed along with the vendors of everything from tiaras, sandwiches, balloons, cotton candy and empanadas. But when a band or group appeared the throngs pulled back to enjoy yet another band, political group singing ... read more
One of many costumed dancers
Teachers marching
Parade queens love old gringos

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