Archive for the 'Swimming' Category

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When most people think of Michigan, they think of Detroit,city of cars and now, urban wasteland. The Upper Peninsula is a very different land that most Michiganders have never been to, and very reminiscent of nearby Canada. People even add ” eh” to the end of every sentence.

The Castle @ Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

On Wednesday, July 15 I departed Whitehall and drove through the only major rainstorm I encountered in 3 months and spent the night in in Sault Ste. Marie, normally a bustling border town, now a ghost town because of the almost total border shutdown.In July instead of 2500 cars per hour crossing, it was 50 trucks, as commercial traffic was permitted.

Soo Locks .Ontario on the other side.

It was about 4 hours to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I parked and took a 4 mile hike through the woods ( each way) to Lake Superior.

Otherworldly Beauty.
Glacial Architecture
Pure Michigan !
Greece ? No, Michigan.

For Full Effect, Watch The Video Above.!

Smoked Trout ,Whitefish And Walleye Provided Many Delicious Meals.

For lunch and dinner I dined on delicious lake fish ,fresh smoked. Much healthier than burgers and not a slave to the early Midwestern clock.

Downtown Marquette.

Saturday morning, July 18th I departed Marquette and drove the rest of the vast Peninsula. Crossed into Central Daylight Time The iPhone changed instantly, but the X2 had to be set manually.

Wisconsin !

Around Noon,I entered Wisconsin, my 45th State – the first of 2 new states that day. Mostly I stuck to the Lake Superior shoreline. Though it was a beautiful summer day, outdoor eating is not a thing in Wisconsin ,so I had my only McDonald’s meal of the trip. And then – it was on to Minnesota.

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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.

Beartooth Highway

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.

A Sheer Climb,With Nowhere To Rest. This Zoom Is About 400 Feet Up.

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.

Ranch Riding

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.

Wyoming Has The Lowest State Population 578,759 – Less Than Uptown Manhattan.
Snake River Canyon – Wyoming/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.

# 48 !

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.

Mountain Goats Above Snake River
Dinner In Red Lodge

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 !

Late July Beartooth Highway

From Red Lodge to Yellowstone the winding ,high altitude Beartooth Highway crisscrossed several times between Wyoming and Montana.

1st National Park – 1872

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.

Do not pet the furry cow. He can ram and stomp you .
Geyser

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.

If You Stick Your Leg In Here, Only Bone Will Come Out.
One Ton Swimmer
Yellowstone Grand Canyon Falls

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.

Lucky 13 ?
Big Money In 1900

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.

Entrance To Glacier National Park

In Glacier , on the first day of August, I swam over a mile in 2 lakes and walked in the snow.

Summer Snowfields That Won’t Completely Melt Before First Snow In September.
The X2 Loves Mountains.
Cold & Clear
Above The Snow Line
Granite Peak

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.

Canada – The Forbidden Land – Looking Into British Columbia

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 .

Yaak Montana – The Political Scene Of Summer 2020

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.

Northern Border Country
Target Practice On The State Line

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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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.

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Just a few hours from the Peace Pagoda, nestled in the Catskill mountains, is Kaaterskills falls trail head. This is a free two mile trail in New York that offers beautiful waterfall views.

The hike to Kaaterskills falls is very short, but don’t be fooled, it is steep, rocky, can be treacherous. On the day we visited, the falls were roaring from the rain.

On the mountain, there is a nearly floating observation deck great for taking in the sights and beautiful sunsets.

If you’re more brave and not afraid of getting wet, you can also go right up to the waterfall and swim in the lagoon below.

Finally, don’t forget to drive around the forest to check out the many other falls and rocky cliffs.

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On Monday, January 16 ,TotalAdventure drove to Esenada Nombre de Dios on the Gulf of Mexico. Other than Mexico itself, it is the only place on the Gulf where one can actually see mountains – the limestone monoliths of Viñales about 30 miles distant.

As the peninsula was only 30 miles away, we thought it would be a quick morning trip to explore’s the area’s possibility as an eco-resort ( not likely ) and a  snorkel swim. However, the roads were in serious need of repaving and turned out to be an all day excursion instead.

Iconic lighthouse, about half way between Florida and Mexico.

The Gulf beaches are clean and peaceful. TotalAdventure is exploring areas that might be good for an eco-resort – but the coral reef is not well developed in this area.

A deserted subtropic isle.

Jul 25th
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One of the world’s newer nations, Montenegro declared independence from Serbia in 2006. Montenegro escaped the vicious wars that  tore apart and destroyed most of the other Yugoslav Republics. TotalAdventure entered by bus from Mostar,Bosnia on Sunday night, June 26th. On Monday we hired a local driver ( 65 Euro) to take us to Bar – where we took the last leg of our Eurail trip – about one hour to the capital city,Podgorica.

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The Bay of Kotor is a Fjord coming in from theAdriatic Sea.

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Islands with churches dot the Bay. Montenegro is primarily Serbian Orthodox.

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Herceg Novi ,near Croatia and Bosnia , is beautiful and more isolated from tourist crowds to the South.

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Medieval Ruins in Kotor Town.

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Stevi Stefan – for Serbia’s Elite !

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Herceg Novi.

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Adriatic Coastline. About 50 miles north of Albania.

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Sunset over the capital city of Podgorica – known as Titograd in Titoist times.

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Jul 25th
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TotalAdventure finally had some time to relax after a whirlwind journey. We stayed int eh luxurious resort town of Bodrum, on the Aegean Sea Our gracious host was Nezih Çavuşoğlu,the well known Turkish artist we met in Istanbul in 2012. Read the November,2012 article here.    You can review , and perhaps  buy his paintings here on Artsy.

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Balcony at the house of the Artist.

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Crystal clear Aegean waters. The atmosphere was peaceful in the days after the attack at Ataturk, hundreds of kilometers to the north.

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A newly constructed Mosque.

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The peaceful Mosque interior.

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Bodrum by night.

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Delicious fresh seafood every night.

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On July 2 at 7 AM we left our host’s house in Bodrum to board a catamaran ferry to the Greek island of Kos, only 20 km across the channel. We looked back at  beautiful vibrant  Turkey, hoping  to return in the near future – to explore from Istanbul to the eastern provinces.

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We arrived in port 20 minutes later. We spent nearly 40 minutes to get passports stamped, as we were re-entering the EU and Shengen. Afterwards a 50 km taxi ride to Kefalos .

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In Kefalos , we found a beachside Taverna where we ate excellent grilled squid, stored our stuff and went snorkeling.

The water was as clear as an aquarium.

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There were ruins right by the sea !

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Soon it was time to leave for the airport. We took a turboprop to Athens, flying over hundreds of Aegean Islands. In Athens – once again passport control , as we were leaving Schengen. 4 hours later – another 1.5 hours in customs entering the UK.

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Just before midnight we arrived at our hotel, after a long Tube ride. We were right by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

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Our final day before returning Stateside was a whirlwind tour of some of the major sights.

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Iconic, but we opted for Indian instead.

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GMT + 1. The Trans European Adventure comes to an end.       7pp15pp9pp   6pp

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The legendary Bondi Icebergs Pool, over 80 years old, is carved into rocks by the roaring South Pacific. At 50 meters long, ArcticTropic recuperated from the 15.5 hour flight in United’s tiny seats with a 40 lap – 2 km swim. Upload speeds here in Australia have been rather slow, but more videos are coming soon.

 

For adventures in Australia, CLICK HERE

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ArcticTropic set foot on the Australian continent for the first time. Sydney is the start and departure point. Above ,the Opera House.

Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Zooming in. Here’s and adventure – climbing to the top of the bridge !

Iceberg’s – the legendary 50 meter swimming pool built into solid rock. Waves crash in as one swims. Video coming soon.

Kangaroo Burger – It’s What’s For Lunch. Delicious, Nutritious and Very Low Fat.

Government House.

Videos will be Uploaded in the next few days.

 

For adventures in Australia, CLICK HERE