Archive for the 'Remote' Category

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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.

High Over Lake Superior .Port of Duluth Is Almost 2000 Miles From The Atlantic.

Iron Ore from the Iron Mountains is shipped to steel plants all over the world.

City Hall of Duluth

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.

Hello McFly ? A Town Where Time Stands Still.
Small Government is the Best Government.
The plan was to overnight in Red Lake , but the lake is located in the Sioux Nation and Tribal Elders had declared martial law in order to bar outsiders from entering.I turned around and overnighted in Bemidji instead. Bemidji is where the Mississippi River starts, not much wider than a stream
Bridge To Grand Forks

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.

Fordville

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.

Amber Waves Of Grain – By September
Back Roads All The Way . Satellite Is A Big Help
Farmer’s Breakfast

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.

North Dakota State Capitol – Bismarck

I stopped for lunch in Bismarck ,the capitol. That building is the tallest in North Dakota.

Into The West

In Dickinson I was in the real West. Changed the clock back for the second time in 3 days.

Theodore Rosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a real introduction to a western landscape. Green gives way to brown, flatlands give way to Bad Lands.

A Little Afternoon Delight On The High Plains.
Prairie Dog – Related To Gopher and Marmot.
Slots & Blackjack At Every Bar In The Dakotas
Downtown Deadwood

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 !

The 4 Greatest !

No words needed to describe Mt.Rushmore. And now – it was time to ride on into Wyoming….

Mar 4th
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Please Click On Video Above.

Axum Is One Of The Holiest Christian Cities On Earth. It Is Home To The Ark Of The Covenant – The Tablets Of The Ten Commandments Held By Moses.

In Middle Ages Europe ,In The Time Of The Crusaders, there was a tale of a paradise called The Land of Prester John. A land of unimaginable riches, and home to the Holy Grail. Somewhere near Ethiopia, though the Crusaders never got beyond Jerusalem.

A Truly Ancient Land.

Egyptian emissaries erected stellae in the Fourth Century, though quite a few have fallen.

Sunrise in the Land of Prester John.

The modern Church of Maryam ( Virgin Mary ) near the Ark Of The Covenant.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant, or Tabot, in Axum. The object is currently kept under guard in a treasury near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.( Wikipedia) Ark of the Covenant was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I with divine assistance, while a forgery was left in the Temple in Jerusalem. ( Wikipedia.) Melenik I was the son of King Solomon and Queen Sheba.

A Peaceful Dove – An Apparition ?

An Ancient Stellae Field.

A Cantankerous Camel.

Holy Bible.

Brutal Punishments For Sinners.

Rugged Trees For the Dry Climate.Tigray only gets a few showers in the summer.

One of the best restaurants in Ethiopia – in Adrigat.

Lamb and Beef so fresh you can eat it raw.

Hot Tibs.

Hotel In Adrigat. Did not stay there.

Captured In Battle.

Ancient Scripture.

Debri Damo Monastery. Accessible only by rappelling up the cliff.

Even monks 80 or 90 years. old can do it. Once they can’t, they stay.

Two Fascinating Weeks In Ethiopia then came to an end. TotalAdventure moved on to nearby Eritrea, though it took two flights to get there. TotalAdventure would especially like to thank Awaze Tours for making our private journey possible. Also Special Thanks to our driver Engdu ! Ethiopia is not an easy country to navigate and Awaze helped make all this incredible experience possible.

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At 6 AM on Wednesday, October 11 we left Uyuni Town and headed south 3 hours to the southwestern corner of Bolivia – not far from where the country meets with Chile and Argentina. There, we left the highway and would not see a paved road until the return to Uyuni two and a half days later.

The only settlements were some mining and farming villages.

Llamas, a distant relation to camels, are a source of wool and meat, are semi – domesticated , grazing for scarce vegetation and sometimes return to pens, herded by dogs and farmers.

Spring snowmelt brings some drinking water.

The land is rugged and never dips below 12,000 feet. By this time , TotalAdventure is quite comfortable with the altitude. We stopped at a hot springs at mid day. Please view the video above to see it. Swimming was balmy at 105 degrees ( 41C) while there air was around 40 ( 5 C).

 

Climbing higher, we reached Laguna Verde. The green color comes from a high concentration of arsenic. Swimming in or drinking from the lake can be fatal. There are no fish ,birds or four footed animals anywhere near the lake.

Close to 16,000 feet we reached the remains of winter snows, that actually can fall in the summer as well. The strong dry wind and strong subtropical sun  three miles above sea level evaporate it into strange shapes.

The ground underneath is always frozen.

From underneath the frozen ground comes boiling sulphur clouds. All of the Bolivian Altiplano borders the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Llama and quinoa for lunch. Tough and lean, but tasty and very healthy !

A steam vent.

Rock formations that look manmade but aren’t.

We spent the night at Hotel Tayka. See more in the video. Amazingly at 15,500 feet, ten hours over very rugged dirt tracks from the nearest paved road , that such a hotel can exist. Comfortable beds, reasonable heat and solar generated hot water  (quick shower) .Oxygen is kept behind the front desk for those in need.

The next morning we explored several lakes that were home to huge flocks of flamingos. Most people think of flamingos as a bird of the tropics – but here they thrive in  very cold temperatures.

A coyote enjoys some llama meat.

San Pedro de Quemes  from another Tayka Hotel.

The town store closes early, but has the essentials.

On The last night in Bolivia, TotalAdventure looked forward to Salar de Uyuni the next day.

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This is a very quick post as TotalAdventure has been on the road for two days, spending last night in a mountain refuge with not much sleep. On the road at 6AM tomorrow,

A 21,000 foot mountain. Name to be updated later. We went as high as 17,200.

Mate de coca is legal everywhere in the Andean Republics and is used to treat altitude sickness.

 

La Paz from 14,000 feet.

Lake Titicaca Duck.

Shaman Graveyard,

Hauri.

Solar Uyuni Sunset,

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Video Highlights – Germany – Austria – CzechRepublic – Poland – Slovakia – Hungary- Romania and on to Montenegro.

 

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Nightfall in Krakow Poland.

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The Route Travelled by Train.

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Red For Train. Pink For Plane. Blue For Road. Green For Boat.

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A five hour journey from Rio de Janiero, via Brasilia, landed TotalAdventure in Belém – capital of the vast Pará State – about 80 km from the Mouth of The Amazon. The 450 year old Cidade Velho is closest to the River and there is a surprisingly  large modern city with skyscrapers not far inland.

TotalAdventure boarded a ferry for the one hour ride to the river town of Barcarena, which would be a 10 hour car ride by circuitous muddy roads through the jungle. These elevated cabins are not connected to the power grid, but many have generators to run their satellite TV’s.

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In the Old City.

 

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Galinhas Comem.

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Ver O Peso Market.  Belém has a refreshingly remote feel, with few tourists – yet is only about 6 hours via connecting flights from Miami. For all TotalAdventure’s Brazil Adventures – CLICK HERE.

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Across the blazing hot Outback – ArcticTropic dashes from Adelaide to Sydney – over 1200 km in 36 hours, with nights in Broken Hill and Narromine.It was not unusual to go over an hour without seeing another vehicle. The temperature held steady at about 41 ( 106 F) throughout the day. The video begins in the Southern Ocean and ends in the Pacific Ocean.

Apr 1st
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On the first leg of the trip back to the USA we flew over Greenland. The entire way was clear – very rare for late March.

Mountains accessible only by dogsled or on snowshoes.

Atlantic ice shelf. Soon to give birth to icebergs.

Icebergs calving.

Icelandair Flight 631.

Some open water.

Southwest Cape – onwards to Labrador !

For Adventures In Greenland  CLICK HERE.

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Today was a relatively light day with only 200 km on the road. First above the beautiful Arctic City of Akeryuri to Hliarfjall Ski . Though there is only 600m ( 1900 ft ) of vertical it looks delightful – fresh powder, no line ( there were only about 8 people on the whole mountain) . All for about $ 30 a day – far less than US ski prices – now over $ 100 a Day !

We then headed west to Hvanneyri, on the way to Westfjords. Once again we encountered wind and snow, though not the blizzard conditions of yesterday.

Typical house of Akeryuri.

An early Prime Minister of Modern Iceland immortalized in Akeryuri’s Lutheran Cathedral.

Oceanic Ice ! Not quite the Arctic Ocean, but the Greenland Sea, which leads from the Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean.

Evening snowfall in Hvanneyri.

 

For Adventures In Iceland CLICK HERE.

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Crossing North Iceland from Egilsstaðir to Akureyri was slow going as a blizzard struck in the mountains. The landscape was literally torn apart by volcanoes and earthquakes over many millennia. We also crossed from Europe to North America, as this is where the Eurasian and North American plates meet on the MId Atlantic Ridge.

Courtesy BBC.

Cold beyond imagination.

Icy.

Country Church.

Whiteout.

City Church. Akureyri 65.68 North.

 

For adventures in Iceland, CLICK HERE