Find something to do…

by connal on July 13, 2011

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Places of Interest

My favorite part of trip planning is Googling “awesome things to visit in (our next stop).” With a little searching you can always drill down past the usual recommendations for fancy restaurants, beautiful vistas and famous museums and dig up the really interesting and esoteric finds like:

Whenever I find something of interest, I toss it up on a Google Map we created called “Points of Interest.” It’s a mix of historical sites, famous monuments, interesting museums, and anything else I find that I don’t want to forget.

It’s fun for us to browse through because inevitably I forget half the things I throw up there, so it’s always a treat to rediscover them.

Feel free too have a look yourself; zoom into an area and click on a marker to bring up a description. The descriptions are usually taken either from the location’s website, or Wikipedia.

And if you have any suggestions to add, let us know!

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On the road north…

by connal on July 7, 2011

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In preparation for our trip to Alaska next year we’re taking a vacation / scouting trip up north.

We’ve loaded up the bikes with our usual assortment of camping gear and we’ll be riding up the California coast, cutting over for a short stop in Bend, Oregon, continuing to Portland to visit some friends and family, continuing north again to Tacoma to visit more family, and finally returning down through Washington, Oregon and the eastern side of California, stopping at National Forests on the way down south and asking questions, picking up maps, and hopefully shedding some light on our future route.

We’ll be tracking some of our on-the-road stats on the “Alaska Scout Trip Stats” widget on the right hand side of the page.

Feel free to email us while we’re traveling – we won’t be able to check everyday, and we have our schedule pretty planned out, but if we’re going to be nearby let us know, we’re always up for meeting new people! Below is a very rough map of our route. Roughly accurate; subject to significant change

Our Basic Route

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35 Summers will be making a quick trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats for Speed Week this year.

Our plan is to arrive sometime in the late afternoon on Friday, August 12th, enjoy a full day on the salt Saturday, and head back home either Sunday or Monday. We’re not exactly sure where we’re going to be camping, but we’ll just have our two bikes and our little tent, so if you’re looking out for us our spot should look a lot like it did last time:

For those not familiar, this is “the big bend” where everyone shows up to camp:

Bonneville Camp Spot Map

There are porta-potties out there, but no water or electricity hookups. There’s a gas station right at the freeway exit that has a basic gas station store, and just down the road in Wendover (~5 minutes) is anything else you could need.

The first weekend is really the best time to go; Saturday evening there’s a car show in Wendover – though it pales in comparison to the “car show” out on the salt.

So if you’re going to be out there, let us know!

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Stocking up in Seattle and Alaska-bound Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License by Scott Schrantz

The following excerpt is taken from Ryan Madden’s book On-The-Road Histories: Alaska.

In 1897 a newspaper in Ottowa, Canada, published an editorial for “fortune hunters” headed to Alaska and then to the Yukon. The editorial asked the reader to take an 11 question self-examination before proceeding on their journey:”

  • Have I a capital of at least $500 dollars? (which would be somewhere around $15,000 by today’s dollars -35s)
  • Am I subject to any chronic disease or organism, especially rheumatism?
  • Am I physically sound in every way and able to walk thirty miles a day with a fifty pound pack on my back?
  • Am I willing to put up with rough fare, sleep anywhere and anyhow, do my own cooking and washing, and mend my own clothes?
  • Can I leave home perfectly free, leaving no one dependent on me in any manner for support?
  • Can I do entirely without spirituous liquors?
  • Can I work like a galley slave for months, if need be, on poor fare and sometimes not enough of that, and still keep up a cheerful and brave spirit?
  • Am I pretty handy with tools and not subject to lazy fits?
  • Can I swim and handle boats?
  • Can I put up with extremes of heat and cold?
  • Can I bear incessant tortures from countless swarms of mosquitoes, gnats and sand flies?

This is now our official checklist before heading out an a new adventure.

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North to Alaska!

by connal on May 5, 2011

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A very rough google-map rendering of our route

EDIT: The trip has been bumped! We started planning only 4 months before our hoped-for departure date in July and knew it was going to be a best-case scenario for us to be able to get out by then. It was not totally unexpected, but some things took longer than we hoped, a few unexpected problems popped up and our window for making it to the Arctic before winter sets in has closed (longer explanation here). The trip will happen, and we’re continuing our prep work, but it will have to wait for next summer.

We can finally announce our next adventure trip! This July, Anjel and I will be riding from the California Bay Area north to the Alaskan Arctic Circle – and we’ll be trying to make the trip entirely on dirt trails.

Instead of taking our usual motorcycles, we’re going to load up our dirt bikes (a ’93 Suzuki DR350 for me and a ’98 Yamaha XT225 for Anjel) with a tent, sleeping bags, cookstove and the usual collection of tools and travel gear and roughly* follow the Pacific Crest Trail as we head through California, Oregon and Washington. (*yes, roughly. We won’t be riding the PCT as it’s not for motorized vehicles, but there are a number of legal, public dirt trails through that land that one can follow.)

[read the full story…]

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Riding Iceland

by connal on February 4, 2011

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Iceland!

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Iceland, and at over 3,000 square miles, covers more than 8% of the country. In the south east, between the towns of Skaftafell and Höfn a portion of the glacier (large enough to have its own name: Breiðamerkurjökull) flows down towards the ocean where it has formed a giant glacier lagoon.

The glacier can be seen from miles away as one travels the main highway, but the lagoon itself (Jökulsárlón; literally “Glacier Lagoon”) is hidden until you finally reach the point where it empties into the ocean, flowing underneath the Glacial River Bridge.

Turning off the main road, parking the bikes in a small dirt lot and walking over a gentle rise, the lagoon comes into view in an utterly surreal sight.

The still waters of the lagoon mirror the clouds in the sky and the massive icebergs, calved from the glacier, alternate in color between a milky white and a luminous blue as the light strikes them at different angles.

It is an absolutely breathtaking sight and as we stood in that surreal location, enjoying some of the most amazing riding we’ve done, it was amusing to look back on the random chain of events that brought us there in the first place.
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9 Hours in Finland

by connal on December 23, 2010

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DSCN8209

Whenever possible we avoided air travel during our trip. Consequently to get to Estonia from the Czech Republic we took a train to Germany where we caught 2-night ferry to Finland where we transferred to another ferry for the short 3-hr hop to Estonia.

The ferry from Germany arrives in Helsinki at 8:30 in the morning and the boat to Estonia didn’t leave until 6pm – which is how we got to spend 9 hours in Finland.

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Food!

by connal on September 30, 2010

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McDonalds Shrimp Burger

If you want to get a lot of strange looks when you travel, take pictures of your food.

It’s understandably odd to see someone snapping a picture of their lunch (“Yeah, it’s a hot dog, buddy.”) but of course the fact that people thought it was absurd emphasized the whole point. Wherever we were, we were usually eating the standard local fare; but what’s normal in one country can be quite exotic in another.

We tried to photograph every unique dish we ate and the following 561 photos are the result.

To get a better look, clicking on an image will take you to the Flickr page where the date and country of the meal (if not the exact city) should  be tagged.

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Turkish Beach Cows

by connal on September 24, 2010

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Beach Cow

It’s not all that crazy, it’s just that we’d never seen a cow anywhere other than out in a pasture. We spotted this guy just hanging out somewhere on the southern coast of Turkey.

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Drinks!

by connal on September 24, 2010

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ХАР ХОРУМ

As we traveled, we took pictures of nearly everything we drank. They’re arranged chronologically (latest to earliest) which give an amusing glimpse into the drinking habits of different countries (or at least our drinking habits in those countries). What follows are 221 photos of beer, wine, soda, energy drinks, tea and whatever else we imbibed along the way.

To get a better look, clicking on an image will take you to the Flickr page where the date and country of the beverage (if not the exact city) will be tagged.

[read the full story…]

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