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Revival at the Beach

The forecast said 50-70% chance of rain. Perhaps high winds. It didn’t matter. We were going to the beach. Some are drawn to the vast, dramatic vistas of the desert. Some feel more attuned to lush mountains. While we love … Continue reading → Revival at the Beach is a post from: The Next Big […]

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Querétaro – A Cidade de Ronaldinho Gaúcho

Hoje 26/04/15 deixamos a Cidade do México e seguimos até Santiago de Querétaro, ou simplesmente Querétaro, localizada a cerca de 220 quilômetros de distância. Sede dos Gallos Blancos de Querétaro (atual time de futebol do Ronaldinho Gaúcho) e declarada Patrimônio da Humanidade pela Unesco em 1996, Querétaro se destaca por estar no centro de alguns dos […]

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6 months

26/4/2015 – six months ago today we left the UK to start this trip. We are currently in Mexico and today we travelled from Zihuatanejo a pretty seaside town to Zamora, further inland, where the 2nd largest church in Latin…

Dora entrando al Ferry

Ferry-Stress: cruzando de Colombia a Panamá

Lo primero que hicimos al llegar a Cartagena es resolver el tema del cruce a Panamá. Ya que nos habíamos apurado para llegar a los últimos viajes del Ferry-Xpress, queríamos tener todo en orden para cruzar sin problemas. Acá les contamos nuestra experiencia. ANTES DE EMBARCAR Sacamos los pasajes para el martes 14 de abril…

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A Week in Azul

We’ve been in Azul for well over a week now. And although it seems like a long time to stop in one spot, especially one not high on anyone’s sightseeing list, we’ve taken advantage of this slow mid-sized farming town. With cheap camping, little traffic and new friends to boot, we’ve found our time here very comfortable […]

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BAJA BOUND: NOTES FROM THE JOURNAL

18th/19th March: I’m quite sure that guy the other day told me the Mazatlan to La Paz ferry was one of the most comfortable boat rides he’d ever taken…nice quiet cabin, good food, new boat. So how come I’ve crawled into this 1930s playhouse, with its greasy chairs ripped from a Pullman coach, the roof panels […]

Major step forward this week as we got the new starter motor delivered and fitted by Wednesday, so once again we have a fully functioning sidecar outfit. This week has been great weather wise and it heated up a bit which was fantastic however Friday th...

Progress

Major step forward this week as we got the new starter motor delivered and fitted by Wednesday, so once again we have a fully functioning sidecar outfit. This week has been great weather wise and it heated up a bit which was fantastic however Friday th…

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Boulder Departure

We returned to Red Beard after a few weeks visiting family. Red Beard has been sitting in Boulder, in front of our friends’ house. Obviously, there were a few bus projects that needed doing, so Jason spent a day replacing windshield wipers,  re-installing our front license plate which Hurricane Odile had removed back in Baja, […]

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Adeus Portugal !

Bij het ochtendgloren bekijken we het kasteel waar we vannacht geslapen hebben. Het is zo vroeg dat er nog niemand aanwezig is. Wel bijzonder die hordes mensen in Lissabon, en wij lopen hier heerlijk alleen rond. We gaan op weg naar Arrifana, aan de zuid west kust. Onderweg doen we boodschappen bij een grote supermarkt. […]

The cathedral on Arequipa's Plaza de Armas

Colorful Photos from Arequipa

Yes, I said some of the nuns had nannies. Although they took a vow of (among other things) poverty when they entered the convent, apparently poverty is relative among nuns too. Those that came from wealthy families brought assistants with them and had better rooms and furniture. On Friday afternoon we visited a museum dedicated […]

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Sintra en Lissabon

De zon schijnt, een strakblauwe lucht en we gaan weer op pad. We bezoeken vandaag Sintra (Wereld Erfgoedlijst). Een plek waarvan iedereen zegt dat hij niet op ons lijstje mag ontbreken, maar we weten niet zo goed wat we ons ervan voor moeten stellen. Het is inderdaad verrassend, het plaatsje staat vol met kastelen en […]

DE EERSTE 24 UUR

AARDBEVING !!!!! Nog nooit zijn we zo bang geweest. Op de grenspost van China waar we net zijn toegelaten, staan we in de rij voor de laatste stempels. De auto’s staan nog op de Friendshipbrug. In de hal voel ik ineens een raar iets. En dan roept Ronal…

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Moving along…

Well, we did it again. We killed another perfectly good winter skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. The bus is packed. We’re finally back on the road. Alaska or bust.

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Explorando a Cidade do México

Como mencionamos em um post anterior, em razão da restrição para circulação de veículos na Cidade do México, decidimos chegar um dia antes do programado, na terça-feira 21/04/15, e sair somente no domingo 26/04/15. 5 dias parece muito, mas na realidade é pouco para conhecer uma das maiores metrópoles do mundo com quase 9 milhões de […]

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Venezuela: pour les braves seulement

Comme on le dit et le lit partout, c’est vrai que le Venezuela est un pays dangereux. Ceux qui s’y aventurent courent le danger d’y vivre des émotions fortes et d’être totalement renversés par l’incroyable richesse de sa faune et … Continuer la lecture →

Bad Girls

A noite de hoje…

De um lado BAD GIRLS e de outro, PECADOS! Alguém se habilita a adivinhar nosso paradeiro desta noite? Bom, não tivemos opção, pois nosso carro teve um problema mecânico e não ficou pronto hoje. O jeito foi dormir na frente da tornearia que fica entre duas casas noturnas na cidade Palenque – México. Pelo menos, […]

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Un paseo por el Caribe colombiano

Cabo de la Vela: paz, siestas, viento Saliendo de Barichara nos encontramos en el camino con Javier de Soplando al Norte, otro viajero que va de Trenque Lauquen, Provincia de Buenos Aires hacia Alaska. Él también se dirigía al Cabo de la Vela, nuestro primer destino del Caribe colombiano. Como nos habían dicho que el…

<a href="http://www.tripetnomade.ch/TripetNomade/Chroniques/Entrees/2015/4/24_Carrizo_Plain_files/IMG_2732.jpg"><img src="http://www.tripetnomade.ch/TripetNomade/Chroniques/Media/object001_3.jpg"/></a>Carrizo Plain est la vallée la plus étendue de Californie. Le sulfate de sodium du Soda Lake fut exploité, son sol et ses nappes phréatiques furent intensivement exploités aussi par l'agriculture; tellement que Dame Nature a repris ses droits. La plaine a été inscrite comme monument national, juste avant de devenir un désert alcalin. La préservation de la faune est aujourd'hui prioritaire. Ne persiste qu'une usine électrique solaire. Les exploitations agricoles sont repoussées au nord-ouest, dans California Valley et les forages pétroliers restent sur l'autre versant de Temblor Range, la chaîne de montagnes parallèle à la faille géologique San Andrea qui coupe la plaine dans sa longueur.<br />Grégoire nous a écrit de ne pas manquer le détour par Carrizo Plain en montant en direction de San Francisco. Il nous a aussi recommandé de relâcher à Big Sur et à Point Lobos. D'autres chroniques en parleront. Merci Grégoire pour tes excellents conseils.<br />Nous prenons un peu de hauteur en quittant la côte pacifique à la hauteur de San Luis Obispo. Après avoir traversé la verdoyante et viticole California Valley, nous nous faufilons dans une courte route tortueuse qui débouche à quelque 700 mètres d'altitude sur le plateau très sec de Carrizo Plain. La carte est curieusement hachurée d'une multitude de routes distantes les unes des autres d'à peine plus de cent mètres. Elles portent toutes un nom indiqué sur de petits panneaux et si une petite partie chemine à travers d'immenses champs de panneaux solaires photovoltaïques, la plupart encadrent des parcelles qui semblent avoir été abandonnées depuis longtemps. Fin du goudron, la route devient piste.<br />Après avoir contourné le Soda Lake dont l'exploitation du sulfate de sodium pour l'agriculture et la chimie a cessé en 1953, nous traversons la faille de San Andrea et nous franchissons la Temblor Range en empruntant une piste escarpée qui tourne autour du mont McKittrick. Il est nécessaire d'enclencher la traction sur les quatre roues. L'autre versant est étonnamment plus vert, les coteaux sont couverts de bonne herbe qui fait le bonheur de troupeaux de bovins. Nous comprendrons pendant la nuit que les orages de fin de journée restent accrochés à la chaîne de montagnes et qu'ils se déversent sur le flanc opposé à Carrizo Plain. En continuant la descente, nous passons à côté de forages pétroliers. La route du pétrole n'est pas loin. D'un côté de Temblor Range l'exploitation pétrolière, de l'autre celle su soleil pour produire de l'électricité dans le cadre d'une ferme solaire de 250 mégawatts. Outre son intérêt écologique et énergétique, elle procure un revenu accessoire substantiel aux agriculteurs convertis de la culture céréalière intensive.<br />Après avoir repassé Temblor Range et la faille de San Andrea, retour à Carrizo Plain. Nous nous rendons à un des deux bivouacs autorisés pour passer une nuit dans un silence noir. Plus de bruit, le chemin de fer de la mine de Soda Lake a été démonté et la ferme solaire produit en silence. Plus de pollution lumineuse, les rares fermettes encore habitées s'éteignent peu de temps après le couché du soleil. Le bivouac est aménagé simplement, mais efficacement. Ni eau, ni électricité. Les toilettes sèches sont très bien conçues et proprettes. Chacun repart avec ses déchets, y compris les chasseurs avec ceux des animaux tués ou mangés. Les animaux sauvages, cerfs, coyotes, écureuils, lézards, lièvres, lynx, chouettes, condors de Californie et autres ne se nourrissent pas de déchets humains. La nuit sera bonne…<br />Le lendemain matin, nous nous rendons au centre d'interprétation tenu par une équipe de bénévoles accueillante. Elle nous apprend que les peintures Chumash et Yokuts de Painted Rock ne peuvent pas être visitées à cette époque, pour préserver la tranquillité des nidifications. Nous repartons alors rejoindre l'époustouflante Hwy 1 longeant la côte pacifique. Changement de décor. Nous nous arrêterons à midi à la hauteur de San Simeon pour piqueniquer en observant plusieurs centaines d'éléphants de mer arrêtés là quelques mois, le temps que les plus jeunes soient assez costauds pour entreprendre la grande migration annuelle vers le Nord.<br />RT, à suivre...

Carrizo Plain

Carrizo Plain est la vallée la plus étendue de Californie. Le sulfate de sodium du Soda Lake fut exploité, son sol et ses nappes phréatiques furent intensivement exploités aussi par l’agriculture; tellement que Dame Nature a repris ses droits. La plaine a été inscrite comme monument national, juste avant de devenir un désert alcalin. La […]

<span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/KzEocpBl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>As many of you know,  Roel and I have toyed around with the idea of crossing the Darien Gap.  When we were initially talking about South America, we’d heard that the  Stahlratt was the only option for crossing to Colombia from Panama and  that it was some ridiculous price. We had since learned that is it  actually a reasonable price, but for the past few months, for the first  time, there has been a very affordable ferry service operating that runs  between Panama and Colombia. Nevertheless, a dream was born about  crossing the Darien Gap. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>We’d met a fascinating man in  California who had told us fabulous tales of crossing the Darien 2.5  times (by Land Rover and by horse), and the adventure and wonder  inherent in this experience appealed to both of us. We both like the  idea of having to get creative to get around roadblocks, whether they be  rivers or steep inclines. And the Anthropologist in me would be over  the moon to get into some of these villages that have been largely left  alone and are insulated from the outside world by acres and acres of  jungle. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>Anyway, we’re also not entirely crazy and we do believe  in signs: for the first time in years, there has been an inexpensive  Darien Gap crossing option available that fits in well with our budget  and has actually been available during the time we want to cross (it  started operating in December and if the rumors are right, it’s final  sailing took place on the 20th of April, because they’re not making  enough money.) So, we pay attention to the signs and we take the ferry. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>So  although our ferry tickets had been booked and paid for, we had a few  days to play with and so we set off for the end of the North American  portion of the Pan-American Highway: Yaviza. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>There was an  annoying toll system where we had to actually buy a card for $13 that  had $10 of credit on it. We didn’t fully understand why we had to pay  for the card and couldn’t just pay cash, so this created a little issue  with the manager of the toll who came over and laid a hand casually on  my bike, and began leaning on it while telling us in Spanish “You don’t  have money? Hah, you MUST have money to travel in Panama” in a  condescending and mocking tone, like we were trying to get away without  paying. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>Roel fortunately didn’t understand enough of what he was  saying to react, but I did and proceeded to push his hand off my  motorcycle “Hello a$$hole!!! I have two toes on the ground here - are  you trying to push me over!!!” OK, I didn’t say a$$hole, but it was  definitely implied in my tone of voice and the way I push-slapped his  hand off of my bike. And if we wanted to evade your stupid toll and not  pay money, we would have just ridden through - Good luck with your  cameras tracking two foreign license plates!! (Not that this would have  been smart in a city where there were cops on every corner because of  the Cumbre of Presidents of the Americas, but still. Anyway, we  eventually sorted it out and payed for the stupid card, but having that  interaction with a nasty official, was exactly what I need be excited to  throttle on down the road to Yaviza, (rather than just sitting  somewhere in air-conditioning for the remainder of the day). </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/ZM0MIAnl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/Nl75drWl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>Anyway,  it seemed the farther East we got, the more friendly people got. There  were several military checkpoints in the Darien province and they were  incredibly friendly. One guy even welcomed us to the Darien before even  asking for our documents. Our moods improved. They generally asked where  we were going, why (because we’re dumb tourists who want to see the end  of the road, duh) and how long we would spend there. All of this was  noted in a notebook at one of the larger checkpoints and a call was made  to someone, describing us and our intentions. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/os8HSuMl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>We  found a lovely Hospedaje with adjoining restaurant to stay at, just  before dark. It was a relief as it was still incredibly hot and the  potholes in the road (which one of the military officials had warned us  was ‘muy feo’ - ‘very ugly’) were growing from normal potholes, to  baby-baths, to full-sized Azure-baths as the kilometers went by. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/1IAjva3l.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/7e63JiSl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/WjNBE4hl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>The  next morning we made it to Yaviza, rode around town amusing small  children who yelled, ran with and laughed at us and eventually we just  parked the bikes and hung out by the port. People eventually began  coming over and Roel looked at a map with some of the older guys in the  port, who described what was beyond Yaviza. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/tEugklzl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/zIEOSkUl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/9JHYoxll.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/os4KEsel.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/ljS9VUWl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/y3oM01sl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>One  of the older men told Roel we needed to go check in with the military,  so we followed him around the town to the military compound where Roel  stayed with the bikes and I went inside to check in. I answered the same  questions that we had at the other check points and went back outside.  The guy standing guard at the gate asked if we were going across the  bridge to another town. The bridge we had seen could JUST fit a  motorcycle and so we asked for more information about that. It seemed  you could go another “45 minutes” into the Darien Gap with permission.  No one in the Darien province works with kilometers - only minutes. So,  depending on how you drive the distance from Point A to Point B can be 1  hour to 3 hours. Hmmmm. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>So I went back inside to ask  permission, but was told that we needed to get this permission from the  Aduana in Panama City. But next time we’re in Yaviza, if we have this  permission, we can visit Boca de Cupe which is actually where the road  ends in the Darien… 14 kilometers past Yaviza.  </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>Ok, “next time” we’re in Yaviza, we’ll make sure to do that <img border="0" src="http://d26ya5yqg8yyvs.cloudfront.net/mwink.gif"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/JsCUcVhl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/E2XI7TPl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>We  went back to the bridge to check it out and make sure the bikes would  fit (just for curiosity’s sake) and were approached by a young guy who  told me that for $1500, he knew someone who could guide us through the  Darien Gap. He also told me I needed no such permission. $1500  eventually became $300 after I told him that it was too expensive, and  he eventually revealed that the guide would only take us to Boca de Cupe  the town at the end of the road and then a Colombian guide would take  over from there. Not sure what we would need a guide for to get to Boca  de Cupe if there’s only one road and there seem to be a few more  military checkpoints along that road. But we sat down to have lunch with  this guy and his brother (who I think is the one who would have guided  us) just to chat. We shared peanut butter and jam sandwiches with them  and they brought out a pitcher of ice water. (Having seen the town water  treatment facility on the way into town, I said a little prayer before  drinking the water in hopes that this water wouldn’t kill me.) Yaviza is  quite a sizable town to find at the end of a road and so I asked what  the main source of jobs was here. They replied that there was no work to  be had. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/tabtn6Ol.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>Hmmm…  hence being willing to “guide” us into the Darien, which they seemed  not to actually know much about, for $1500. Nice guys, nonetheless. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>The  old man who we chatted with in the beginning found us again and came  over holding out a handful of leaves. He explained that he had a  toothache and was planning to make a poultice of these leaves as they  will get rid of the pain once applied to the gum like chewing tobacco. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/hEb2bK6l.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>Now,  this guy I would love to cross through the Darien with. It was obvious  that he didn’t really speak Spanish and it was easier for him to  communicate with us in broken English, so perhaps he actually hailed  from one of those villages originally. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/MY7ssm8l.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span>We  would have loved to have stayed in Yaviza for a few more days, which is  what I think it would take to get some actual solid information on the  Darien because you need to find someone who doesn’t just see you as a  dollar sign. The people were generally lovely and with all of the  comings and goings on the river, it was a fascinating place to hang out.  But, we had a date with the ferry and I was keen to make sure we were  back within spitting distance of the ferry port by the weekend, just in  case. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span>We both felt really frustrated leaving Yaviza. Our sense  of adventure had been peaked and my desire to meet more people with  priceless, ancient knowledge of nature was filling my mind with  possibilities. </span><br /><span>But we dragged ourselves back in the direction of Panama City, stopping to camp along the way just before the San Blas Hills. </span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/WAylzdpl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/7zA3Xhnl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span><span><img src="http://i.imgur.com/PkTB2KOl.jpg"/></span><br /><span><br /></span>

The End of the Road (in Panama, anyway)

As many of you know, Roel and I have toyed around with the idea of crossing the Darien Gap. When we were initially talking about South America, we’d heard that the Stahlratt was the only option for crossing to Colombia from Panama and that it was some ridiculous price. We had since learned that is […]

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