Archive for the 'Argiculture' Category
This past July,2022 I flew from the sultry tropics of Miami to the cool windy streets of Buenos Aires and on up to Salta, where I met a very good friend from São Paulo. Above are winter vineyards – resting from the warm months of producing amazing Malbec.
We met in Salta and spent the night there. As it was winter vacation, the city was packed with tourists from colder parts of Argentina, though it was pretty cold there on the day of arrival.
The High Desert. Just over the Andes from the Chilean Atacama, it’s a very dry part of the world. See the video above for the real experience.
In addition to excellent Malbec, grappa is produced by fermenting whole grapes.
I dipped a ladle in the jar to sample. Real firewater !
Then back to relax at Estancia Patios de Cafayate. Our room was palatial – see it in the video above. Because of the strong dollar – it cost less than when I was here in 2008.
The washrooms are as big as an average New York apartment. With a whirlpool tub to relax after a couple hours on horseback.
A warm evening fire – set during wine tasting.
Before returning to Buenos Aires, we drove North to Punamarca in Jujuy Province. High desert at 2500 meters, but hot sunshine with temperatures near 25 C.
Flying South To Aeroparque Buenos Aires.
A classic Argentina scene . Soon to be on the dinner plates of the best steak houses in the world.
For Example, La Brigada in San Telmo , Buenos Aires.
Where the Bife de Chorizo is so tender you can cut it with a spoon.
And Don Julio – considered now the Best In The World.
The Dollar is King in Argentina. When I arrived the rate was 260 pesos to the dollar on the Blue Market. ( Official rate was 135) When I left 12 days later it was 340 – a 40% increase in value. The above steak dinners were as low as $ 15 to 20 ( not Don Julio) and taxi rides are about $ 2. The peso has since stabilized, but now is a great time to visit Argentina. You need to pay in cash – credit cards are charged at the official rate.
At La Rural – Annual Cattle Show in Buenos Aires. Photo – Daniele Puharre
La Rural. Photo – Daniele Puharre
We also visited the Evita Peron Museum. I have Argentine friends on both sides of the political divide, so I will not take sides here. However we still live in a world of personality cults and unrivaled power by one ( or two) person – this has no place in a democracy.
Roadside in Salta Province.
Incredible Apartment or Office !
A Beautiful Last Evening Before Heading Up To Paraguay.
Click To See And Book Adventures In Argentina
On Saturday afternoon, July 18th, I crossed over the bridge from Superior Wisconsin to Duluth Minnesota. Minnesota was my 46th State and my second new state of the day.
I spent the night in Duluth, a city of low mountains overlooking vast Lake Superior. Though the inhabitants are thoroughly American ,the city has a European look to it.
Iron Ore from the Iron Mountains is shipped to steel plants all over the world.
I stayed at Fitgers Inn, a nice splurge , located in an old brewery.
The Beer Is Pretty Good.
I stopped for lunch in Virginia,Minnesota, heart of the Iron Range.
On Monday morning, July 20th, I crossed the Red River into North Dakota, my 47th State ! The Center of North America ! After an excellent Vietnamese lunch in Grand Forks, I headed out into the farmlands.
Miles and miles of soy and beans. Some corn, but this far north there’s only one crop a year. And wheat more than anything.
I stayed at a hunting and fishing lodge at Devil’s Lake for the night. In the morning I stopped in Esmond and breakfasted at the Esmond Cafe. I ate inside for the first time on the trip. Not one mask in sight, except mine. Everyone very friendly and for most, the first time meeting someone from Miami or New York. COVID was almost nonexistent in North Dakota then, but later the state was devastated, with about 15 % of the population sickened and one in 500 of the population killed.
I stopped for lunch in Bismarck ,the capitol. That building is the tallest in North Dakota.
In Dickinson I was in the real West. Changed the clock back for the second time in 3 days.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a real introduction to a western landscape. Green gives way to brown, flatlands give way to Bad Lands.
South of the Park, on US 85, I entered South Dakota , my 48th State ! Spent 2 nights in Deadwood, which was kind of dead, not because of COVID, which people there did not think existed, but because the drinking and gambling town shuts down at 9. Not quite Vegas !
No words needed to describe Mt.Rushmore. And now – it was time to ride on into Wyoming….
On the morning of September 10th, I awoke for an early morning dip in the Pacific before heading Eastbound the the Atlantic. Pulling out of my AirBnb Santa Monica garage I was soon eastbound on the 10 and then north on 15 to Las Vegas. Most of this TransContinental Adventure has been off interstates, but they will be used into Utah and again in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida.
Fires raged in the San Gabriel Mountains to the north, sending thick smoke down to I-10. Some of the smoke from all the California and Oregon fires spread all the way to the East Coast ,dimming sunrises in New Jersey. This southern smoke band would follow me. I managed to always be a day ahead of it, until Colorado where I changed my itinerary because of it.
Normally I would spend a night in Las Vegas, but the wide open fun loving town is a bit clamped down for the moment due to COVID. In the video you can experience a very quick trip up the Strip. I did stop for some video poker at an empty slot hall in Mesquite, Nevada and walked out $ 30 richer. From there it was about 40 miles across extreme Northwest Arizona to St.George Utah where I would spend the night. Changed from Pacific to Mountain Time.
The next morning I was up with the sun and off to Zion National Park. It was an introduction to the the incredible Utah geology. On the way I visited Hilldale, on the Arizona border. Hilldale is the town known for the highest number of polygamous families adhering to the original Book of Mormon. I saw groups of wives out shopping together dressed in 1800s style farm dresses and driving pickups.
Bryce Canyon National Park was the next stop. Now the temperature changed drastically according to elevation. St.George had been expecting a high of 100 degrees and this evening near Bryce the temperature slipped to 32 – I was glad to have a gas fireplace in my cabin for the night.
In the morning I continued through Bryce and then headed Northeast to Teasdale where I would explore Capitol Reef National Park with an old childhood friend I grew up with in Germany. We took a 6 mile hike up a canyon.You can see all the national parks in the video at the top of the page.
The final two nights were in Moab – home to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National park. In Canyonlands the X2 did amazingly well on rugged roads, in spite of the warning signs.
Finally I turned around where a spring had flooded a section of road turning it to muck. Without 4WD,I did not want to risk spending $1000 to be towed !
Crossing from Utah into Colorado, the smoke from California finally caught up, turning skies from bright Western blue to greyish white and encasing mountains in haze – diminishing prospects for photo and video acquisition.
Highway 50 climbed rapidly higher into the Rockies and by lunchtime I had reached Telluride, for the first time in 30 years. The big changes are to be expected. What was once a laid back Wild West type town with great skiing with a few bars up and down the main drag was now clogged with tourists even in off season September – looking for parking and lining up for $ 6 lattes. Tourism was higher than in the summer when people had been more cautious of COVID.
The second night in Colorado was spent at the home of an old friend from the East. His wife is an Olympic ski champion.
On Friday September 18th the X2 crossed the Continental Divide. For the next 1000 miles I would be tracking the Arkansas River from its’ glacial small steam origins to the wide river flowing into the Mississippi.
Spent the night in Syracuse,Kansas . The next morning , driving across table top flat land and crossing from Mountain Time to Central Time, I entered my 50th State – Oklahoma !
I stopped for lunch in the Panhandle town of Guymon and then went on to the Texas Panhandle.
Stopping in Amarillo for the night, I stayed next door to the Big Texan. In one of my very few indoor meals of the trip, I dined on Rocky Mountain oysters and delicious Texas T-Bone that was about 20 ounces. The 72 oz steak is free if eaten in an hour. That’s 4 1/2 pounds, 2 kilos of meat. It comes with salad and baked potato which also must be consumed. If not finished in one hour the price is $ 72.
I-40 Eastbound the next morning. Back into Oklahoma. At Oklahoma city, the California smoke finally ended and the skies were clear once again, over the rolling Southern Plains.
Spent Sunday night in quiet Little Rock and toured the Capitol city the next morning. The Clinton Library , on the Arkansas River is an architectural masterpiece but closed by COVID.
In Stuttgart I stopped for perhaps the best BBQ I’ve ever had with chopped ribs in a sauce that tasted like plums, coffee and super hot spice ! I bought a gallon jug to take home, which I carefully rationed over the next month.
From Arkansas into Mississippi I began a straight run back to Miami. Overnighting in Hattiesburg and then through Mobile Alabama to Panama City Florida for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Across the beautiful Panhandle . Though TotalAdventure has been located in Miami for over 18 years, I have never been to the Panhandle. Overnighted in Perry and then to Sarasota, a surprisingly young and thriving town on the Gulf of Mexico.
Back to Miami for a dive into the Atlantic Ocean. Watch the video above !
The two day 500 KM journey from Addis Ababa to Lalibela is rugged and fascinating. Ethiopia is a land harkening to Biblical times, with a few modern twists like cars and smartphones.
The two day
On the first night , TotalAdventure stayed in Kombolcha and posted for the first time to the Magazine. After that , the voyage became too bsuy, exploring and traveling until well past sundown, meals with locals, and slow internet made daily contributions difficult. The next morning, before leaving the city, we passed through a market on the main street.
People walk for miles from the countryside to sell. their wares in the market.
Ethiopian markets have many spices In the US this would be sold in tiny packets for many times the price.
Salt , perhaps from Danakil .
Outside town, Gelada monkeys also shopped for food, asking passerby in cars. While many think the climate must be hot, as Ethiopia in in Africa, we were almost always between 7500 and 11000 feet – 2300m -3400m. In January daytime temperatures were generally in the low 70s F( 21C) to about 40 F at night ( 4C ).
Ethiopia is 33% Islamic and 62%. ( mostly Orthodox) Christian. In general there are no conflicts over religion.
Wheat is pulverized into fine powder by the hooves of oxen.
The powder is used to bake inerja – the ubiquitous bread that accompanies almost every meal in Ethiopia.
What appears to be a towel is the inerja. You use it to scoop up the meat and eat everything.
Evening in Kombolcha.
TotalAdventure Presents “Long Lost Laos” A Video Narrative Of Last Summer’s Voyage.
While Hue remains a warlike image in the minds of many Americans, due to the 1968 Tet offensive, it is a city at peace .
Sampans glide the river.
Evil spirits are kept at bay.
Street Food is incredible !
Making honey at the Pagoda.
Dinner by the Pearl River.
While 70% of US Citizens favor dropping all restrictions for traveling to Cuba, President Trump , delivering on a campaign promise to a vocal minority in Miami, has reimposed restrictions on most individual travel to Cuba. These will likely take effect in the coming months. The purpose of the restrictions is to help individual Cubans in the tourism sector. Thankfully, TotalAdventure trips fall into that category. We have amazing trips that see the real Cuba, working and visiting with local people.
There are 3 places left on Cuba Explorer – 9 Days in August for $ 2199.
Also in August Cuba Rhythms – Only $ 944 !
The Cuba Colonial trip is also in August. 6 Places left at $ 2499.
INDIA INCOGNITO is a behind the scenes documentary shot by backpackers. This is the real India- not the tourist India -showing how people really live. To view it is experience India Incognito- noticing, but not being noticed.
Religious ceremonies, street life, music, and the every day bizarre bazaars are ongoing. The last part of the program explores the little known tribal areas of Eastern Orissa, including the murderous Bonda.
India Incognito was shot and produced in 1990. This is timeless India, however. Though upper caste society has modernized since then – these are scenes that have not changed for millennia and will continue the cycle for eternity.
Check out amazing India Adventure trips at http://bit.ly/1PkhMdH
With a shorter stay in Mongolia this year, ArcticTropic and company opted for riding semi-wild horses in Terelj National Park, northeast of Ulanbataar. The small,but sturdy horses are adept at rapidly climbing and descending the steep,sometimes wooded terrain.
Mongolia – Land of Peace.
Ancient stones tower.
Climbing to Lord Buddha.
All Encompassing Wisdom.
Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhism are very close.
After a long hard day on the range, a warm comfortable yurt.
The fires burn through the icy night.
Genghis Khan Rides Again!
Special Thanks To Tour Mongolia for putting together this Great Adventure on short notice !
For adventures in Mongolia, CLICK HERE
Bagan is surrounded by tiny villages where life changes very slowly. On a silent electroscooter and GoPro strapped to my head I was able to coast through villages almost undetected quickly gathering everyday scenes. Since upload time is too slow here in Yangon , still clips will be posted for now.
Along the mighty Ayarwaddy. In monsoon season this spot will be thirty feet under water.
Water is hauled from a common well by oxcart.
1960s PLA Surplus.
More pictures to come, internet excrutiatingly slow. This much has taken over an hour !
For adventures in Burma, CLICK HERE