Michael Harrell

Shan Yang

Michael Harrell

Life should always be an adventure...

Asia » China » Yunnan » Kunming November 18th 2015

Welcome one and all to the 2015 Colorful Yunnan Granfondo Cycling Festival! As most of you are already aware, cycling has become my hobby of choice over the past couple of years. Hiking in Korea was so convenient and affordable, but higher and higher peaks came calling and the hobby of hiking became more remote, dangerous, and expensive (especially to do alone). Cycling was introduced to me by a friend in the states and it was continually on the back burner until recently. This year I finally splurged and picked up my first real racing bike fitted for my body size and type. Carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra groupset, the Swift R830 is the a very solid and much to my dismay, entry level road bike. If Jimi Hendrix could make even the worst guitars sing, I ... read more
Racing Yuxi
Racing Fuxian Lake
Me and the Chuxiong Policeman

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » Can Tho August 6th 2015

Ho Chi Minh City (Part 1) I've heard rumors and stories about Vietnam and it's chaotic cities and was excited to see it for myself in Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City which locals refer to equally as Saigon, is the largest city in the country and our gateway to the Mekong Delta and a grand adventure into the unknown. Antoine Wilson, my great friend in Korea and proud NYC native, is my travel companion this time and we were very excited to get underway. I arrived in Vietnam after midnight and sought a reputable cab to take me to Saigon Inn located in the heart of the backpacker district downtown. Pham Ngu Lao is Saigon's answer to Bangkok's Khaosan Road. Though not as crazy and disgusting as it's Thai counterpart, Pham Ngu Lao ... read more
Spiny Lizard
Getting Lost in Bokor NP
Abandoned Church

Asia » China » Yunnan » Kunming July 7th 2015

CYCLING AROUND KUNMING As many of you already know, I have become a pretty avid cyclist. Living in Kunming provides some excellent places to ride and explore. Just 15km or so from my front door brings one into the real countryside of Southwest China. Lacking of cars and trucks, the routes usually get held up with herds of goats, water buffalo, and dairy cows. The occasional flock of geese or random chickens running about also make it a fun place to ride. It has been fun to cycle this year starting in February to watch how the crops cycle, and seeing when (and where!) our food is being produced. Early this year saw the planting of wheat, which was harvested about a month or so ago. The farmers take the stalks and beat them against wooden ... read more
Dear in the Tobacco
Wet Ride

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an June 18th 2015

Hello dear blog followers, it has been a long time. I have had a few minor adventures since coming back from Laos and Thailand over the winter, but I didn't feel any of them were blog worthy. Then, I went to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province and the former capital of China itself. A bit of background before I jump into the adventure: Xi'an was chosen by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, to be the site of the capital of his country and served as the capital of China for a millennium. It was the starting point of the great Silk Road, is nearly 3000 years old, has had settlements in the area for nearly 7000 years, and is nestled in a region where the Lantian Man was discovered (500,000 year old man). ... read more
Terra Cotta Warriors
Gavin and Michael at the Warriors
Kneeling Archer

Asia January 25th 2015

Greetings from Laos! A drier, yet colder, first step out my door this time and onto the bus to Luang Prabang. 26 hours (16 Chinese and 10 of Laotian, teeth rattling roads) and I'm there! Welcome back to Southeast Asia and the lovely provincial capital of Luang Prabang. Founded in 698, this town has its own special history and architecture. The French wandered in about 100 years ago and set up their own "Paris of the East", and I think this is about the 15th "Paris of the East" that I've visited so far in Asia. Though this one is certainly one of the more beautiful Parises out there. Colonial French architecture among ancient Laotian temples with traditional housing sprinkled in the mix provide a really special atmosphere for wandering. And no I do not feel ... read more
Kunming to Luang Prabang Bus Driver
Lao Houses
A Trip to the Market

Asia » China » Guangxi » Xingping January 13th 2015

Well this will be the final entry for this trip. I woke up early this morning in hopes of catching the sunrise. I hiked to the top of a peak in hopes of getting a glimpse of the sun. No such luck. It was the same hike I did yesterday, and it is a nice one. I still had some nice views and could enjoy the morning music blasting from the elementary school down below. China, I've got to say, is a noisy place. I was pretty high up, but all the noise reached me unimpeded by buildings, trees, or other obstructions. The car horns, boat motors, music, and voices all reached my observation point. A lot to take in. After the hike I had breakfast at the hostel and then took off. I rode about ... read more
A Herd of Water Buffalo
Harvest Season
Tour Guide

Asia » China » Guangxi » Xingping January 12th 2015

The weather did NOT improve at all as I set off on my ride on Sunday morning. I left the hostel around 10am and into the cold rain. I took precautions to ensure that I stayed completely weatherproof. Waterproof shoes, gaitors, pants, jacket. I was good to go; so I thought. The ride started smoothly enough, heading south out of Guilin. The road was good and the rain was light. After a few kilometers, I got off the main road and was heading into the Karst landscape of the region. I don't know really how to describe the geography of this area. The flat plains are interrupted by tall jagged peaks that seemingly come out of nowhere. I am in deep southern China, perhaps on the same latitude as Miami, so the climate is tropical. That ... read more
On the Road
My Bike
Streets of Xingping

Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin January 10th 2015

Well every journey of however many miles begins with a single step. My step landed in a big puddle as I left my house for the train station this afternoon. Kunming is in the midst of its annual winter storm and I choose this fine occasion to leave the city for a few days. I had spent the morning running errands in a mixture of sleet, rain, and snow. Wind, too, of course. I went to my favorite bike shop and had a chat with my friend that works there while he added a luggage rack and mud guards to my newly acquired mountain bike. A friend of mine had recently gone back home and left me his Giant mountain bike free of charge. I had already installed disk brakes, a new crank set, bottom bracket, ... read more
Western Mountain Park

Asia » China » Beijing December 25th 2013

Greetings Everyone! Well, David Friedman hit the ground running on the evening of December 22 after 18+ hours of travel. Both of us were immediately awed by the sheer size of China's capital city. The plan was to ride the subway to Tiananmen Square and walk from the subway station to our guesthouse. As it happens so often when travelling, things don't always go according to plan. We arrived at our transfer station and were not permitted to continue as the subway shuts down at the early hour of 11pm. So, plan B is to take a cab. What can I say about Beijing cabs? They're unfair? Unprofessional? Uninformed? All of the above? Anyway, we exited the subway station into absolutely frigid temperatures ranging from 0-10F. It was also quite windy in the evening. Cab hawks ... read more
The Forbidden City
Friedman at the Nest
Peking Duck

Hello Everyone! I'm losing track of the days here, but the trek goes on! We are having a great time on this trip and the fun continues. We are stopped in Reeth right now in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales. We continue on to Richmond tomorrow, the largest city on the trek. I can't remember exactly where I left off last time, but I think I have a pretty good idea. SOOOO we left Grasmere and headed into more countryside (this trip is almost entirely countryside by the way). The more the better imo. We hiked from Grasmere to a town just outside the Lake District called Bampton. We were picked up by the guesthouse and driven even further into the countryside to an old country estate built about 400 years ago. The place was ... read more
Country House
In the Woods
Shap Abbey

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