Archive for the 'Buildings' Category
On the morning of Friday,July 24th I left Deadwood South Dakota and within an hour had entered Wyoming on SD 34/ WY 24 . The first stop was Devil’s Tower.
Rising straight out of flat farmland,Devil’s Tower is 867 feet and formed in a short time due to volcanic upthrust. It is very geologically different than the Black Hills over 100 miles away, or the Rockies , more than 200. You can experience it in the video above.
By mid afternoon I settled into Sheridan, at the foot of the Big Horn National Forest. As usual I dined alone on the hotel porch rather than in a lively restaurant .COVID life on the road. Everything closed by 8 anyway.
Big Horn National Park offers hundreds of square miles of hiking, climbing, glacier trekking and ATV trailing. Since it’s not a National Park, it’s not well known except locally. I was the only Florida plate, most were from Wyoming and Montana.
Dropping down a few thousand feet from the Big Horn Range, TotalAdventure explored the Snake River Canyon , traversing the Wyoming Montana border. The canyon had been dry with a seasonal stream until a dam was built in the 1930s.
I then entered my 49th state, Montana ! Just one more to go – Oklahoma, but won’t be there until the return trip East in September.
Before Yellowstone, I overnighted in Billings and Red Lodge Montana. In Billings I enjoyed a big Montana steak, but when I arrived at my hotel in Red Lodge after a day in Snake River, about 7:30 to discover that due to COVID my hotel restaurant was closed and the few restaurants still open in town would be closing at 8. This New York/Miami traveler is not used to small town hours but had to adjust on this trip or face night time starvation. I was the last one served from the line at a Mexican cantina and scored a PBR from the bar/casino across the street. The bars closed at 9 !
From Red Lodge to Yellowstone the winding ,high altitude Beartooth Highway crisscrossed several times between Wyoming and Montana.
The Summer of 2020 was probably one of the best to explore Yellowstone. Though crowds were sizable , they were all American crowds, as most foreigners, not even Canadians, could visit in the COVID summer. The notorious traffic jams did not appear.
Yellowstone sits atop a super volcano. When it does finally blow – anytime between the next 10 minutes to 10,000 years – the park will become a 50 mile wide lake of boiling red lava and will cause global cooling for years to come.
The falls look even more incredible in the video above. Be sure to watch it all.
After a day and a half in Yellowstone ( many people stay a week or more) it was time to head north into Montana. Passing Big Sky on a beautiful highway with a legal speed limit of 80 mph I arrived in Butte around sunset. I would stay there 2 nights, to explore the old mining city , to catch up on work ,do laundry and get the extremely dusty X2 washed.
Gold Copper and silver were mined here. Butte was known as the “Richest Hill On Earth.” Miners came from all over the world. Copper is still mined, but there’s not much left. The old city is quiet but not quite abandoned.
From Butte , a few more hours to the Northwest and I arrived in Whitefish ,gateway to Glacier National Park. Whitefish was full of California ‘refugees”,many who had arrived in private jets ,escaping mask and lockdown restrictions in their home state.
In Glacier , on the first day of August, I swam over a mile in 2 lakes and walked in the snow.
On the morning of August 2nd, I left Whitefish for a day of mostly dirt roads from Montana into Idaho. I missed my westward turn and would up at the Canadian border. When I originally thought of this cross country trip,years ago, I had always meant for it to include Canada. Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Banff would have been on the itinerary. But in March 2020, the Canadian government had shut the borders to all but commercial traffic, due ,of course to disease spread.
All I could do was look into this closed off , beautiful land – in this case the easternmost corner of British Columbia ,near Alberta. The next several hours was on windy isolated dirt roads – into the town of Yaak .
I walked inside the bar, which of course was all bikers . Had a friendly beer and they were amazed I was all the way from Miami. No photos were permitted, probably for very good reasons.
I spent the night in touristy Couer d’Alene, Idaho, another town where restaurants closed at 8 and I had to order pizza by 9 before that closed too. Changed clocks back for the last time. The next day – through Washington State, past Spokane – to Portland ,Oregon – almost completely cross country !
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On August 3rd I drove 400 miles from Couer d’Alene Idaho to Portland, Oregon, transversing eastern Washington State ,then along the Columbia river as the desert emerges into green forest. Portland is home to my Son, his Fiancée and soon, my Grandson.
I stayed in beautiful downtown Portland in an AirBnb very close to my son’s. The Rose City was on war footing as nightly street battles erupted between extreme left and extreme right factions along with police and federal agents.
The Apple Store destroyed, with the senseless destruction uploaded via Apple devices. However Fox News dogwhistles on “Antifa ” were largely to spread panic and give undercover law enforcement free rein . TotalAdventure does best to stay neutral in these extremist political times. We are about bringing the world together, not ripping it apart.
Burned and Bashed – The Federal Courthouse.
In a three week break from the road ( TotalAdventure and family business) we managed to take beautiful trips within the state.
Crater Lake was created in one day 7000 years ago when the mountain blew its’ top. Thousands of years of precipitation, mainly melted snow, have filled the crater with water almost 2000 feet deep. There is one swimming area, reachable by a path that descends 800 feet from the rim.. . See the video where we jump off a 35 foot cliff.
Portland is two hours from the Pacific Ocean. The X2 had finally made it coast to coast !
In Portland it was 96 degrees, in Tillamook the air was 74 and the ocean ,an icy low 50s. If TotalAdventure is unable to swim, that means the water is only swimmable in a wetsuit.
In Montana the X2 had reached 10000 miles, at the tender age of 3 months on the road. In Portland BMW performed the first free maintenance and took care of a few very minor repairs, as well changing oil.
On August 19th, it was time to explore California !
- central park, drinks, food, museum, natural history, New York City, NYC, park, skyline, the burger joint, the rum house
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- United States
Today we did a drive-by day trip to New York, New York, capturing as many attractions as can be seen in under 24 hours.
As mentioned in March, 2012 posts, TotalAdventure spent 1967 to 1969 in Heidelberg. TotalAdventure has only visited twice until now – in 1983 and 2012;. In 2012, Mark Twain Village and Campbell Barracks, were off limits to non-Military personnel due to 9/11 Security. Consolidation to Wiesbaden and Dortmund has led the Army to return bases to the German people, in many cases for the first time since the 1930s when the German Army requisitioned the same land. Right now Mark Twain Village is a Ghost Town, but will be a new housing area in about 3 years. TotalAdventure attended school on the base from 2nd though 4th grades.
Schloß Heidelberg by night.
Alte Brücke by night.
TotalAdventure’s home base in Heidelberg. Temperature was 95 ( 35 C) but air conditioning has not yet been installed.
The Castle by day.
Home from 1967 to 1969.
Alte KIrche in Handschuhsheim.
On January 12 TotalAdventure returned to Cuba – the first of a few explorations this year. The following posts provide a great visualization of a slowly transitioning Cuba.
TotalAdventure returned to Cuba from January 12th to 19th . Havana has changed quite a bit – due to the relaxed US business and tourism policies. Many new businesses have started – and following in the footsteps of China in the 1980s – a dual system is taking hold. There are more cars – Havana may see it’s first traffic jam in 60 years, about 5 years from now. The weather this year was calmer and warmer, with daytime highs about 78 (26 C) and lows about 62. (16C) Above is the Malecón in the mid afternoon, taken from El Morro.
The Fathom – Bound For Miami.
A reminder of less peaceful times – 1961.
On Avenida Galiano.
Art Deco -style pharmacy.
Local Block Committee.
One of the newer American cars – the 1960 Ford Fairlane.
In memory of the recently departed leader.
At The Museum of the Revolution.
Shot by TotalAdventure’s Blaine Zuver and Martin Zuver.
A an overnight first class sleeper train ride from Budapest had us arriving fresh and rested on the first morning of summer, June 21.
The”Dacia” Boarding in Budapesti Keleti.
Brasov – Romania’s Hollywood ? Brasov is the center of Transylvania.
Dracula’s Castle, known as Castle Bran, is about 25 km from Brasov. Building began in the 1200s and was added on to over the centuries.
A hidden stairway deep in the interior.
The modern day ( 1883 ) Peles Castle, in Sinaia. was built by King Carol. It was built with electricity,telephones,telegraph and other modern conveniences.
The Carpathian Mountains are quite undeveloped. There are a few small ski areas, with a long powdery season, rafting,climbing and seeing rare animals that are extinct in Western Europe. For many years only Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was allowed to hunt.
While forcing his subjects to live in poverty and half-starvation,Ceaușescu lived in the grand style of a Communist Emperor .An entire section of Bucharest ( not just a neighborhood, but comparable to the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Soho in London ) in order to build the People’s Palace – the world’s second largest building in terms of square footage , just after the Pentagon. It took 18 years to complete – from 1978 to 1996 – 7 years after the execution of he and his vile wife Elena.
A chandelier weighing 5 Metric Tons – one of over 100 in the building – constructed at a time the populace was relegated to one 40 watt lightbulb per apartment.
The Dictator. – “Genius of The Carpathians” was one of his many self-bestowed titles.
One of many grand staircases. Many had to be rebuilt several times in order to make him seem taller than his short stature.
The view from one of the balconies from which Ceaucescu would never make a speech.
One in three adults were rumored to work for the Secret Police – the Securitate.
In a nautical mode.
In Nicolae and Elena’s villa – solid gold water faucets. Commoners were rationed to half an hour of hot water every other Sunday.
Modern radio – circa 1988.
Havana is best explored on foot on riding in a 1950s American car.
Rolling works of art.
Waves slamming the Malecón on a winter’s day. On January 29th, the temperature ranged from 57 to 68. ( 14 to 20 C)
Rationed Food Store. All citizens are issued ration cards to buy a small amount of basic staples every month. Prices are low and subsidized. A limit of five eggs per person per month. Anything beyond that must be purchased in convertible CUC currency at market price.
Cigarettes are about 20 cents a pack.
Socialist inspiration in the shops.
Free fuel from Venezuela.
Ready to start the day learning the principles of Marx and Lenin, and of course, Fidel.
For current adventures in Cuba CLICK HERE.
On the way back from Trinidad, TotalAdventure stopped in Cienfuegos for a couple of hours. Cienfuegos is an industrial port, with a center that is like a Spanish themed American town of the 1950s.
A cafecito is one CUP Peso – about 4 cents.
Cienfuegos is the home of the famed musician Benny More.
The Young Communist League.
TotalAdventure was asked not to come inside.
Perhaps this sign will be taken down soon ?
In the Cathedral.
For current adventures in Cuba CLICK HERE.
After Cienfuegos the car returned me to Havana for the final two nights at the apartment in Ciudad Vieja.
TotalAdventure spent the final day exploring eastern Havana from the Malecon to Miramar – the diplomatic district. Above , is the newly recommissioned United States Embassy.
On Avenida 5, the Iranian Embassy.
The very retro Habana Riviera, untouched since the 1950’s. Scenes from the Russian propaganda movie Soy Cuba were filmed here.
Closed since New Year’s Eve 1959. Not much chance to redeem.
Inside – the Copa Room – your Grandparents may have danced here.
The all-seeing Soviet Embassy. The Russian Embassy occupies a huge plot of oceanfront land.
Venezuela, a close ally.
On Thursday, February 4th TotalAdventure returned to Miami, once again, on the 45 minute Eastern Airlines flight. TotalAdventure will return later in 2016, hopefully on the overnight ferry service that is expected to launch from the Port of Miami. In the meantime, please enjoy the video below – “Cuba Road Trip 2016.”
For current adventures in Cuba CLICK HERE.