Posts labeled with Country ' USA'

Jan 21st
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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.

Crater Lake National Park

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 destruction uploaded via Apple devices. The brutal murder of George Floyd was the supposed reasoning, but such destruction is senseless.

Burned and Bashed – The Federal Courthouse.

Hawthorne Bridge Over the Williamette River.

In a three week break from the road ( TotalAdventure and family business) we managed to take beautiful trips within the state.

Crater Lake National Park

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.

Pirate Ship Island

Portland is two hours from the Pacific Ocean. The X2 had finally made it coast to coast !

Tillamook

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.

X2 By The Pacific.

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 !

Jan 21st
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On Thursday August 20th, after lunch with my son and future daughter in law, I left Portland Oregon and headed south on the the I-5 ,then US 101 before arriving in California’s northernmost town, Crescent City for the evening.

Humboldt County

Crescent City is a big fishing port . The water is slightly warmer than nearby Oregon, in the high 50s, so I was able to swim. I had had a delicious seafood soup breakfast before heading to Humboldt County.

Eureka

Eureka, the county seat, is a funky old town reminiscent of 1960s San Francisco. Most Californians have never visited Humboldt , one of the most remote end unspoiled coastlines in the Lower 48.

A Place For Meetings.

I was privileged to spend a night in Shelter Cove, an isolated community at the end of a long and windy road that raises and lowers up to 3000 feet before arriving at sea level.It’s very hard to find a room there.

Exactly Opposite Bay Head New Jersey

Incredible black sand beaches with very dangerous surf. The Cove of Shelter Cove is where all water activity takes place. Please see the video at the top of the page. The summer weather is pleasant, about 70 and sunny in the afternoons, but the winter can bring up to 100 inches of rain from December to March.

Danger !

Northern Humboldt is home to huge legal marijuana farms supplying the California marketplace. One can smell it while driving by the tents used for growing and drying.

After Humboldt it was off to volcanic Lassen National Park. See the video. Night was spent in Reno Nevada – not in the COVID restricted casino but in a huge luxurious suite at $ 90 a night.

Carmel Valley

2 nights in Tahoe, 2 nights in cold smoky San Francisco and a night in Carmel are all highlighted in the video. The plan was to drive down Big Sur, but again ,closed because of massive fires. I wound up at the farm home of a friend in Ojai. Finally was getting towards Southern California.

Ojai Sunset.

TotalAdventure has always been interested in living part time in Los Angeles. A week in an AirBnb as I did in Santa Monica this time, and last year, a week in Beverly Hills.

Incredible Sashimi In Santa Monica !
121 !

Although Santa Monica stayed cool, never going over 90, Las Angeles County experienced its’ hottest day in history on September 6th. We drove to Van Nuys to experience it – 121 degrees ! Also the hottest temperature ever recorded west of any mountain range in California.

On September 10th – it was time to head back to the East.

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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.

The Highlight of the Eastbound Cross Country Would Be Utah ,Exploring 5 National Parks.

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.

Quick Trip Through Vegas.

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 Gateway To Arches National Park

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

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.

Arches National Park Is Otherworldly !

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 !

South Central Utah

 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.

Telluride – Old West Town, Now A Mini -Aspen.

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.

Rocky Mountain Stream.

The second night in Colorado was spent at the home of an old friend from the East. His wife is an Olympic ski champion.

La Junta Colorado

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 !

Near Where Eustace and Muriel live.

I stopped for lunch in the Panhandle town of Guymon and then went on to the Texas Panhandle.

The Big Texan, Home of the Free 72 Ounce Steak.

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.

Bill Clinton Library Little Rock Arkansas

Spent Sunday night in quiet Little Rock and toured the Capitol ton the next morning. The Clinton Library , on the Arkansas River is an architectural masterpiece but closed by COVID.

Kibb’s BBQ – Best In The Southland ?

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.

Last Stop – Sarasota Florida !

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 tot he 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 !

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In Part 2 of our USA series, TotalAdventure explores Southern California, though we did foray for a short while into Mexico.

 

A younger member of the TotalAdventure Team will be starting college in 2019 and had come West to explore some college campuses in Southern California. Spectacular beaches are always nearby. Pictured above is Swami’s  – a world famous surf break in Encinitas.

In the High Desert of the Mojave Desert – Joshua Tree National Park.

Somewhere East of Indio – I-10.

Korean Dinner in Koreatown – Los Angeles.Kimchi, Pork and Beef, Along With Soju – a Korean Firewater.

Black Pacific Pelicans, Soon Learning To Fly.

The Lazy Can Now Be Lazier – LOL.

CA 94 runs along the southern border of California. Note the border fence about 3/4 the way up the mountain. Now imagine installing a 25 foot high cement wall to replace it. Many geographically challenged people in favor of the wall  think that the border is a flat desert for 2000 miles. Not the case. The mountains are much higher in New Mexico and West Texas. Note the power lines crossing the border as much of the Southwest USA and Northwest Mexico share a power grid.

Running parallel to 1-10 and 1-8 on the other side of the border is Highway 2, rolling 3400 km from Tijuana to Matamoros.

 

USC Film School – in Los Angeles – Modeled after Paramount Studios.

A California Cultural and Culinary Icon.

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TotalAdventure travels mainly to exotic adventuresome locales overseas – but there’s plenty to experience right here in the USA . A few weeks ago we were attending a wedding in trendy Asheville NC. But just 30 miles up the road was the Heart of Appalachia – Erwin, Tennessee.

Houses are simple but have withstood the test of time. Much of Erwin is in a “Holler” – local dialect for Hollow – which is a very steep narrow valley in relatively high mountains.

Deadly fires are quite common – due to use of volatile propane for heating, or illegal meth labs.

In Erwin, in the easternmost part of Tennessee, which is one of the widest states. Memphis is 600 miles West, on the Mississippi River.

The Stars and Bars – Flag of the Southland !

This was early spring ,so the trout should be running soon. The highland area normally sees a lot of snow in winter, but it melts quickly in the Southern sunshine.

Down the Holler.

The small town of under 2000 people has over 30 Churches, almost all Baptist. The Bible is taken seriously and literally.

 Making this morning’s breakfast, or tonight’s dinner.

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Exclusive Annapurna Panorama Trek

(Kathmandu/Pokhara/Annapurna panorama 10 Days Trek and Tour)

HOTEL:
Package price includes stay in standard three star hotel one room with twin beds adjustable for two people. We also provide breakfast, lunch and candle light dinner. Package price do not include personal expenses for beverage, tips, cloths laundry in the Hotel

VEHICLES:
Package includes vehicle facility according to need of people visiting. We can arrange car, jeep, costar and bus for the travelling. All vehicles are luxury to travel with AC .

APPLICABLE FEES: Our package includes all applicable fees during seven days sight-seeing. That includes entry fee to visit Historical world heritage site, sunrise view, mountain flight, religious places visit, and educational zone visit.

PERSONAL GUIDE: An experienced package guide will be keep in touch with you once you check-in to the Kathmandu International Airport and until you check-out. Your personal guide will be available without any additional charge that excludes personal tips. They will be with you in your every new experience sharing their lots of collective information related to the complete sight-seeing package.

Sight-seeing package description:-

Day 01: arrival to Kathmandu and Check in to Hotel Mirage Lords Inn.

Kathmandu – On arrival, meet our representative at the Kathmandu International Airport & transfer to hotel. Check-in at the hotel. O/N stay in Hotel Mirage Lords Inn. Evening Candlelight Dinner with Live Music.

Day 02: Kathmandu City Tour.

Kathmandu sightseeing. After breakfast, meet at the hotel lobby for your city sightseeing in Kathmandu S/S Pashupatinath, Boudhnath, Swoyambhunath & Kathmandu Durbar square. O/N stay in Mirage Lords Inn.

 

Day 03: Fly to Pokhara.

After breakfast Kathmandu Domestics Airport fly to Paradise Pokhara and Transfer to Lake site Hotel Kailash Resort and evening dinner with Live Nepali Culture Music memorable One.

Day 04: Start Panorama Trekking.

After Breakfast Drive to New Bridge and Trek to Birethati Via Tikhedhunga and Uleri 1000 Step Hill and Overnight Ghorepani Beautiful Village.

Day 05: Early morning climb to Poonhill Panoramic Sunrise view Tower and back to same hotel and make breakfast and Trek to Ghandruk Eco Tourism Village overnight Mountain Lodge.

Day 06: Morning Annapurna Panoramic view and breakfast and trek down to Landruk village and overnight Tolka Beautiful Village.

Day 7.After Breakfast to Climb to Pothana village panoramic view Dhampus and drive back to Pokhara same Hotel evening Dinner Lake site and Overnight.

Day 8: After Breakfast make Pokhara sightseeing Lake Booting and David falls, Mountain Museum and Bindabasini Hindus Temple and Tibetan Refuse camp and Overnight same Hotel.

Day 9: After Breakfast departure to Pokhara Airport and fly to Kathmandu and Transfer to same Hotel Mirage Lords Inn and Farwell Dinner.

Day 10: Visit Touristic Area Thamel visit and departure to Kathmandu International Airport see you again next Destination.

Special Trekking Cost Per Person: US$ 1599/-.

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Jan 10th
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TotalAdventure has been busy updating back end systems on the website and apps and is now ready for some real travel. Our first stop – Back To Cuba on Thursday. Later plans may include Ethiopia, much of Europe, Central Asia and the central Andes.

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From September 14th to September 17th, TotalAdventure travelled on the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage north to Talkeetna, back to Anchorage and South to Seward as well as whistle stops in glacier areas. The video shows a compilation of the entire trip, along with the the incredible adventure experiences offered in each area.

Coastal Classic Train - Train_GlennAronwits

On the morning of the 14th, we left Anchorage on the Denali Star Train at 7:50 AM for the 3 hour ,150  mile ride North to Talkeetna. As Gold Star passengers we were seated in a glassed roofed upper deck, with an outdoor balcony for photography and viewing.Upon arrival at the tiny frontier town we passed Nagley’s Store. The Denali Star Train goes all the way to Fairbanks – an 8 hour journey. Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city and serves as a Gateway to the Arctic.

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After lunch we walked to the security –  free , private, Talkeetna Airport for our incredible flight on K2 Aviation to the Denali Base camp, where climbers for Mt.McKinley begin their 2 week climb to the Summit. Experience the flight in the blog posts below.

Afterwards we were invited for cocktails at the incredibly beautiful Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge – 5 Star Luxury Rooms with ample views of Mt.Denali on a clear day. A simple, but hearty dinner was enjoyed at Mountain High Pizza Pie – real Italian style from the owner who hailed from Pittsburgh.

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After a long day we returned to our rustic inn, the Talkeetna Roadhouse , for a good night’s sleep. TotalAdventure stayed up a few hours editing the incredible aviation footage for the video featured on the Mt.Denali post below.

The next morning, Thursday the 15th, our group split in to two. The bravest of us, including TotalAdventure went Ziplining with Denali Zipline Tour.

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The rest went on a jetboat adventure with  Mahay’s Jet Boat Adventures. The rivers run fast and cold, fed by Mt.Denali’s glaciers. Interesting fact – the snow that falls today on Mt. McKinley will flow into the  river 1500 years from now. The boat stops at a remote dock for a wilderness hike, observing old trapper and miner cabins. The guides are armed with shotguns in case of bear attacks – which thankfully have not happened.

 

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After lunch we were treated to a tour of the Denali Brewing Company by founder Sassan Mossanen. Denali Brewing products accompanied many of our meals on the trip. Alaskans drink almost the entire production  – so unfortunately none is yet exported to the Lower 48.

 

Afterwards we returned to Anchorage on the Denali Star , resting for the night at the very comfortable Copper Whale Inn.

Early the next morning, Friday, September 16th at 6:45 Am we boarded the Coastal Classic Train for the 5 hour journey to Seward . It was a short walk from the depot to the town docks, where we boarded a Kenai Fjords Tour Boat for an incredible North Pacific Adventure- see below.

Screenshot at Oct 12 13-36-10

 

At the end of the day, chilled to the bone, we checked into our toasty warm cabins at the  Seward Windsong Lodge.  That night , we feasted at the hotel’s restaurant – the Resurrection Roadhouse  – on local seafood delicacies of halibut and cod – fresh, not frozen.

Our final day on the Alaska Railroad Adventure was on the Glacier Discovery Train. Our group rode to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop to kayak across an icy lake to the Spencer Glacier. We were guided by Ascending Path  ( See Below). The Alaska Railroad is one of the last railroads in the world to use whistle stops. The railroad serves remote areas that don;t warrant a station. Rather, a passenger tells a conductor at what milepost he wants to stop and notifies the engineer with a whistle. When getting back on the train, days or weeks later – the passenger stands by the tracks and flags down the passing train.

Our final night was at the Alyeska Resort – Alaska’s ‘s most luxurious hotel, with beautiful ski slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The season goes from mid November to almost May, with snow measured in feet,not inches. Our final dinner- at 10 PM – reached by cable car – was at the mountain top restaurant Seven Glaciers – amazing Alaskan seafood, Kobe beef  – best of all Spencer Glacier ice in our whiskey glasses.

TotalAdventure has journeyed on many of the world’s railroads, as you can see throughout our blog .The Alaska Railroad is amongst the best run  – and certainly one of the more luxurious trains one can take for a daytrip. Other US train lines do not even begin to compare. Now that winter is approaching the line scales back for one weekly trip – The Aurora Winter Train !

Please scroll below, for all the Alaska Adventures !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Saturday September 17th we rode the Alaska Railroad to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. Our expert guides from Ascending Path met us for the short trip to a lake where we donned head gear and kayaked two miles across a frigid ice filled lake.

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The 28 degree water is deadly cold. No matter how good a swimmer you may be you do not want to flip over without a drysuit.

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The ice is 10,000 years old and showing its’ age.

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In the Blue Room.

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TotalAdventure in the Blue Room.

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Late summer calving into the lake.

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Autumn colors with ice.

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All geared up and ready to go.

 

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On Friday , September 16 we boarded the 6:45 Coastal Classic Train at the Anchorage train station. The three hour jouney follows the coastline south of Anchorage, with occasional sightings of Beluga whales out the window ! The train then traverses the mountains of Chugach National Forest before arriving at Seward. At Seward it was a short walk to the dock.

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We boarded the Coastal Explorer , a sturdy sightseeing craft operated by Kenai Fjords Tours. For the next six hours we explored the northernmost points of the Pacific Ocean, at 60 Degrees North.

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Looks like Hawaii, but with snow. Last winter’s snow still on upper slopes with new snow starting soon.

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American Bald Eagle in Seward Harbor.

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Otter playing and hunting for fish.

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Seals relaxing on a warm ( for them ) 40 degree day.

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Blue ice from Glacier to Ocean.

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Incredible Oceanic Geology.

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Glacial Closeup.

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Fishing village near Seward.