Archive for the 'City' Category

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TotalAdventure Covered Over 10K Miles , Last Year 15K

In the dark early morning hours of June 28, TotalAdventure once again set out across North America. TotalAdventure was on his way to Portland,Oregon to see his 3 month old Grandson, and also see parts of the 48 States not seen in the Summer of 2020. The continued worldwide COVID crackdowns had eased a bitt, bit still made seamless travel impossible. Even the Canadian border remained closed, and it was hoped it would open in July in time for TotalAdventure’s return to the East.

Florida Sate Capitol Tallahassee

The first 600 miles were high speed and effortless and I arrived in the sleepy Southern town of Tallahassee, which happens to be our capitol. Florida is a large and diverse state . Sophisticated city dwellers of the large International Latin & New Yorker Metropolis 600 miles away do not appreciate being legislated by Bible Belt moralizers. As the joke goes, “Why is the capital of Florida in Alabama ? “

Confederate Graves Selma Alabama

Alabama is a State of the Old South being pulled in seperate ways – those who want to be part of the New South and those who wish to remain in the past.

TotalAdventure spent the night in Montgomery and traveled though Selma the next morning.

Everything From the Pig But Its’Squeal.

TotalAdventure explored the Civil Rights Battlefield city of Selma. Now peaceful, the genteel old buildings are a bit run down. One of the only restaurants in town has some great BBQ !

Pigtails For Lunch.
Birthplace of The King

The next stop of the day was Tupelo, Mississippi, at the Birthplace of Elvis Presley. Not only is it a shrine, but also a National Landmark.

Elvis’ Neighborhood Outhouse

The family was so poor ,the house had no s electricity or running water. The outhouse was shared with 8 other families.

Beale Street,Memphis,Tennessee.

The second day finished up in Memphis ,Tennessee, just across the Mississippi River from Arkansas.

Beale Street Blues

Beale Street, not quite as lively as the French Quarter, was in recovery mode from COVID and music was back on the menu, along with fine BBQ.

I 40 Bridge From Memphis To Arkansas. It was closed due to cracks in the steel.

Most of the the time crossing the Mississippi is on a high steel bridge ,hundreds of feet over the water. TotalAdventure decided to do it Mark Twain style – on a car ferry across the 1.5 mile wide River from Hickman KY to a cornfield 20 miles north of New Madrid MO.

Crossing The Mississippi

One drives off the ramp of the ferry onto a road through miles o Missouri cornfields, , some of which go in circles. Even the map gets confused. Finally we come upon roadsigns. Missouri has lettered routes as well as numbers. The signs are frequently used for high-calibre target practice. New Madrid was the site of one of the most powerful earthquakes in US History. In 1812 and earthquake of 8.2 reversed the flow of the Mississippi, destroyed the town and was felt as far away as New York. It can and will happen again.

Porterhouse -Antoine’s Kansas City

FromNew Madrid it was Westward bound through the hills of the Ozarks. The Ozarks are higher mountains in Arkansas. Watch the video to see the ferry ride and the Ozarks ! At mid day on July 1 I dined on Porterhouse at Antoine’s in downtown Kansas City.

Antoine’s chef took me on a tour of the meat locker. All of it is fresh from Missouri and Kansas organic farms. He actually threw away some very expensive cut that had aged too long.!
Grain Elevator,Kansas

In Kansas City it rained for about 10 minutes. After that, I did not see rain again for the entire trip. After lunch the X 2 did a high speed crossing of the Kansas cornfields.

Many Kansas Towns Have Emptied Out
Flyover Land. Most people only see this from a plane.

Considering the human eye can see 7 miles distant at flat ground level – that’s a lot of corn !

By mid day on Friday July 2, TotalAdventure reached the Rockies at Boulder Colorado. Spnt the night at a lodge at 10,000 feet in Nederland ,where the temperature dropped to 40 at night.

The TotalAdventure X-2 Crosses The Continental Divide For The Third Time. TotalAdventure spent 4th of July Weekend in Aspen. I had also worked there in the Winter of 1979 -giving me the taste for Adventure Travel as I hitchiked around the West.

Last Season’s Snow.
Gas Was Very Expensive In Aspen
The Jerome. Once A Wild West Flophouse, Now A $1200 Per Night Jet Set Hangout.

Only A Week Into The Trip – And Already Crossing Into Utah. From Aspen it was on to Dinosaur National Monument, which is in both Colorado and Utah.

Utah About 100 Million Years Ago.

In Salt Lake City ,stayed at the very nice Little America Hotel and went around the Mormon Temple which was under reconstruction, for the first time since being built by Prophet Joesph Smith.

I then swam in Great Salt Lake, which you can experience in the video. It was amazing to float on top of the water,whcih has ten times the salt volume of an ocean. It is not a pleasurable undertaking, but more of a bucket list thing. Bugs swarm, the water smells and you have to walk half a mile each way in 110 degree heat to actually get to the water. See above.

Bonneville Salt Flats

By late day , almost to the Nevada border, I crossed the Bonneville Salt Flats on 1-80. The world’s fastest car has driven there, breaking the sound barrier at 1,220 km/h (760 mph) set October 15, 1997.

Good Morning Elko.

Spent the night in Elko, Nevada, a poor mans Vegas. TotalAdventure hit a $50 jackpot, which paid for a steak dinner and cocktails.

In the morning the X-2 drove north through the Black Rock Desert, not far from where Burning Man is held. Crossed the line into Oregon at Denio Junction.

After spending the night in the High Desert town of Burns, TotalAdventure passed snow covered Mt.Hood. Still quite a bit of snow considering Portland had been the hottest place on Earth a couple of weeks earlier at 117 degrees.
Willamette River Portland

11 Days and over 4000 miles after leaving Miami, TotalAdventure was in Portland !

Pacific Ocean Oregon

We reached the Westernmost Point of the journey at Tillamook ,Oregon. After 3 trips across the USA in the last 12 months, it was hoped the X2 would journey North through Washington State and on the British Columbia, as a Northern Route home through the Great White North.

Mar 9th
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Click Above Video To Watch.

The Highway From Asmara To Massawa Drops Over 8000 ( 2500m) Feet In Just 100 Kilometers. We left early morning temperatures not far above freezing arriving to close to 90 ( 32C) on the coast.

At the entrance to the city is the Palace of Emperor Haile Selassie. Though he was murdered by the Communist Derge in 1975, his palace continued to be used by officials until it was bombed by the Ethiopian Air Force in 1991, when Eritrea began its’ War of Independence. To this day, it is still in ruins, like much of Massawa , in contrast to well preserved Asmara.

The visa to enter Eritrea is only good for Asmara itself. To travel anywhere else in the county , an interior Travel Permit is required. This took about 2 hours to acquire the day before. One must arrange transport as well. The driver’s name and the car’s license number are listed on the permit . TotalAdventure passport number deleted for security purposes.

One must carry the receipt as well, to prove that the 51 Nafka ( $3 ) fee was paid.

Along the highway there may be toll collectors.Baboons demand bananas in order to allow cars to pass without harassment.

Massawa architecture is more Ottoman than Italian.

Statuary Of The Lion King.

Barbed wire – possible live bombs inside of another palace.

The port on the Red Sea – almost all ships from China.

On Haile Sellasie’s Porch.

L – 1011 TO Nowhere.

Wartime damage un repaired after 30 years. But people live here.

Its’ been a long wait for the bus – about 45 years.

Bottled water plant , shuttered in the 60s.

Mothers and Children.

General of the Troop.

1930’s Graffiti.

Returning to Asmara – high above the clouds.

The New Generation Of Eritrea !

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Vietnam Voyage Is A 23 minute excursion from Saigon to DaNang  by air, from DaNang to Hue by train and then from Hue to Hanoi by air. TotalAdventure explores the main sites of the 4 historic cities with culinary adventures ,such as cobra snake in Hanoi.

Aug 11th
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This is Morill Hall, located in the heart of Lincoln, Nebraska. Here you can find a large collection of the Mammoth remains that have been found all across Nebraska, as well as a variety of sea critters as Nebraska used to be under water in the Late Cretaceous period.

 

 

Various Fossils

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these fossils were found in Nebraska over the last century found by various different people digging about in their yards and paleontologists.

 

 

 

Ancient Turtle of the late Cretaceous Period, about 85 Million years old.

Weapons Throughout the Ages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If fossils aren’t really your thing, they also feature a collection of different weapons from throughout the ages. You can find ancient clubs from Kiribati the sovereign nation in Micronesia, or old rifles used back during the Civil War era here in the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 11th
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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.

At Total Adventure, we strive to travel the scenic route, so to get into the city, we decided to take the ferry. It is an inexpensive, safe, and more beautiful alternative to the highway.

The first (and free) attraction everyone should see in NYC is Central Park. This huge park nestled between the skyscrapers has almost everything imaginable to do from petting zoo to ice skating, or a horse-drawn carriage ride. Many people just enjoy the peacefulness of nature in a huge city.

For lunch, we went to the Burger Join. This is a delicious (and clearly popular) burger and beer spot with a dive bar feel. The decor is based on classic movies and music, and is autographed by years of guests. Though it might be hard to find, don’t miss this burger joint in Parker New York Hotel behind the big black curtain.

After lunch, we headed to the Natural History Museum to see everything from dinosaurs, to ancient cultures, to space exploration of today. This is a huge, very informative free attraction for adventurers of all ages.

Finally, we finished the day off with some nightcaps at the Rum House. This vintage style bar has a huge selection of mixed drinks and liquors with a dark, piano bar atmosphere.

Aug 11th
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Day, night, rain, or shine Bourbon Street is bustling with tourists and locals alike enjoying restaurants, shops, loud street music, and of course the bars!

Right in the heart of the French Quarter, Armstrong Park is a gathering place for picnics, sports, and just relaxing.

 

Within the park, be sure to check out Congo Square to reflect on the rich influence of African culture on New Orleans.

 

 

 

 

 

And don’t leave without visiting Armstrong himself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A visit to New Orleans is never complete without one or two of their famous hand grenades: A nearly hazardous concoction of liquor, and NOLA’s strongest drink.

To close up the evening, we suggest dining like a local. Mother’s is a cafeteria style eatery serving authentic cajun-creole food.

Mother’s combination platter comes with Jambalaya, red beans and rice, potato salad, crawfish, and greens. A true slice of the south that will leave your mouth watering for days.

Jun 14th
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After two days in Da Nang, TotalAdventure moved on to Hue on the Reunification Express. Unlike other things in Vietnam, the train has not changed at all, except that the French built cars we rode in in 1993 are now 25 years older. “Express” is a hopeful term, as it too nearly 3 hours to cover 43 miles( 70 km).Beautiful views.

Hue is the exact center of Vietnam and incredibly beautiful.

We’ll move this later , but our travelers will surely enjoy this beautiful videoof a bridge in Da Nag.

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TotalAdventure explored Bolivia from October 8th to 14th – in the high Altiplano , Lake Titicaca , Lipiz Sur and Salar de Uyuni .We landed at El Alto – the world’s highest commercial airport at 14,000 feet. Getting off the plane, after a six hour flight from sea-level Miami – literally takes your breath away.

La Paz – sits at 12,000 feet – this photo is taken from 14,000 feet. As the city is vertical, instead of an underground Metro train, there are gondolas rising to all sections of the city – complete with different colored lines and transfer stations. Bolivia is really like two different countries . The cold dry ,sometimes snowy highlands with Andean cultire and languages – Aymara and Quechua. In many areas it is winter year around. In the hot humid lowlands it is summer year around – the Northern area being part of Amazonia. TotalAdventure was transported by two different guides, arranged by Pierre Lipiko  .  One arranged price included driver/guide, car, hotel and most meals.

Please read the articles below to follow a TotalAdventure in Bolivia !

 

Oct 4th
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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.

Jul 21st
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On the morning of July 3rd TotalAdventure arrived in Paris. While Paris does not conjure adventures other than those of gastronomy ,art and retail , it is home to adventure companies that lead trips into former French West African colonies – the safer ones being Cameroon,Gabon,Mauritania  and Burkina Faso. Niger,Chad and parts od Algeria are inadvisable at this time due to murderous incursions by Boko Harem.

 

It’s about 10 hours from Miami to Paris. It would be great if Air France would have WiFi on their flight. They don’t.

The Tour de Eiffel on a Glorious Summer Evening. In Early July It Stays Light Past Ten.

The Tower From Underneath.

The Louvre.

In 4 Hours It Is Possible To See About Ten Percent Of The Louvre.

Always Real Escargot, Not Canned Like In The States.