Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Dakar Rally 2014… A Preview

The Dakar Rally… 6 days and counting down!
Check out this preview which captures a little bit of the landscape, the vehicles and the passion.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Dakar Rally… It's almost time!

It is almost time for the 2014 Dakar Rally!
The rally starts on January 5th in Rosario, Argentina, then passes through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, finishing on January 18th in Valparaiso, Chile.
When I was motorcycling through South America I passed by some of the same cities and over some of the same terrain… although at a much slower pace. I can guarantee that the scenery will be incredible.
Check out this video of the Backroads of Bolivia.
Whether you are a fan of the motorcycles...
the quads...
the cars...
or the trucks… the Dakar Rally is the most amazing motor rally in the world.

I will try to post updates as the competitors move through the various stages, so stay tuned.

For more info check out the website for the Dakar Rally.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty may be the best new adventure film for the new year.

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), a day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.

Check out the preview (2 minutes)

Friday, December 20, 2013

15 Minutes of Fame

The local neighborhood newspaper, The Allandale Neighborhood Reporter, was dropped in my mailbox.
Inside there was an article about my trip from Texas to Tierra del Fuego. My 15 minutes of fame.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

TransAmerican Trail by Land Rover LR4s

The TranAmerican Trail is a mostly dirt route from the East coast to the West coast across America. The trail is usually traversed by adventurous spirits on motorcycles. Some friends of Jay Leno decided to travel the route with Land Rover LR4s.

Check out the video.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Traveling North Korea by Adventure Motorcycle

Vice.com shared this short documentary about a group of adventurers who traveled by motorcycle through North Korea and South Korea. Their choice of motorcycle was the Suzuki DR650. The group of five New Zealanders include Joanne Morgan, Gareth Morgan, Dave Wallace, Brendan Keogh and Tony Armstrong. 
The real journey began years ago, when they decided they wanted to ride the Baekdudaegan, a mountain range that stretches the length of North and South Korea's shared peninsula. After countless hours of negotiation and coordination with both governments, they were granted permission. It was, the Morgans believe, the first time anyone's ever traveled through both countries like that since the partitioning of Korea in 1945. 
During the entire journey they were escorted by North Korean security. Joanne and Gareth shot the entirety of their trip. 
By making the trip they hoped to demonstrate how Koreans can come together over what they have in common. To symbolize this, the group took some stones from Paektu, a holy mountain in the North, and brought them to Hallasan, a similarly sacred peak in the South. 
It's a view few foreigners have seen, and even if planning the road trip straight through the Demilitarized Zone required working within parameters set by the highly choreographed and restricted confines of North-South Korean diplomacy, this was a journey worth documenting from start to finish.

Check out the video (16:16 minutes)

Source Vice.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Basic Course on Adventure Motorcycling Riding... How To Ride Off Road

A long, but pretty decent video documenting an introductory course by RawHyde Adventure on basic adventure motorcycle riding. 

The video covers off-road riding position, balance, acceleration, clutching,  turning, breaking and picking up a dropped motorcycle. (1:40 hour)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

KTM1190 Adventure R Review

A good review of the KTM1190 Adventure R motorcycle.

 Check out the video. For more info see the KTM website.

Design 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, spark-ignition engine, 75° V arrangement, liquid-cooled
Displacement 1,195 cm³ Bore 105 mm Stroke 69 mm
Performance 110 kW (148 hp)
Starting aid Electric starter
Transmission 6-speed, claw shifted
Engine lubrication Forced oil lubrication with 3 rotor pumps
Primary gear ratio 40:76
Secondary gear ratio 17:42
Cooling system Liquid cooling system, continuous circulation of cooling liquid with water pump
Clutch PASC™ anti-hopping clutch/ hydraulically operated
Ignition system Contactless, controlled, fully electronic ignition system with digital ignition timing adjustment

Frame Tubular space frame made from chrome molybdenum steel, powder-coated
Forks WP Suspension Up Side Down Shock absorber WP Suspension monoshock
Suspension travel Front 220 mm
Suspension travel Rear 220 mm
Brake system Front 2 x Brembo radially mounted four-piston brake calipers
Brake system Rear Brembo fixed mounted two-piston brake calipers
Brake system Bosch 9ME Combined-ABS
Brake discs - diameter Front 320 mm
Brake discs - diameter Rear 267 mm
Chain 5/8 x 5/16” X‑Ring
Steering head angle 64°
Wheel base 1,580 mm
Ground clearance (unloaded) 250 mm
Seat height (unloaded) 890 mm
Total fuel tank capacity approx. 23 l
Unleaded premium fuel (95 RON)
Weight without fuel approx. 217 kg
Maximum permissible total weight 440 kg

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to make friends while traveling solo

Some people are puzzled when I tell them that I enjoy traveling solo. Don't get me wrong, I have traveled with family, friends, large groups and small groups and have had some amazing experiences along the way. However I have noticed that when I travel in a group I tend to interact primarily with the people in the group. 

I have found that when I travel solo, I often find myself in situations that I would never have encountered if I was traveling with a group. And, traveling solo forces me to interact and become friends with new and interesting people. Sometimes traveling solo can be lonely, but if you learn to apply a few simple rules of the road, you will never be lacking of community. So I thought that I would share my thoughts about...

How to make friends while traveling solo.
1. Smile at everyone.

2. While waiting in line for an airplane, bus, train or just about anything, give a compliment to the person next to you. Even if you do no speak the local language you can point and give the thumbs up. If you are entering at the same time it is very likely that they will be sitting next to you during the trip. It makes travel more enjoyable if you later need to ask for a favor or advise.
3. Sit in a park and watch the world walk by. Better yet, sit next to someone that is already seated. It may seem strange at first, but as long as you are polite they will usually engage with you in conversation.

4. Share your umbrella if it is raining. Walking side by side with someone builds instant trust. Take advantage of the situation to ask them where a good coffee shop might be located where you can wait out the rain. If you're feeling really bold, invite them to join you for a coffee.
5. Buy snacks that you can share... M&Ms, Skittles, Chips, Cookies. Sharing is caring and it is the easiest way to put a smile on someone's face. Sometimes you might need to make the gesture more than once, because people will often decline your first offer, but not your second offer.

6. Share a table at a restaurant with total strangers. Ask permission first, but this is perhaps the easiest way to meet someone in an open environment. If you succeed in getting an invitation to sit with someone, you will probably end up receiving some great menu suggestions. 
7. Cook and share a meal with someone. It costs about the same to cook for two as it does for one. Have one meal that you can master and share. If you are staying at a hostel it is a great way to make instant friends.

8. Share your music. Carry a headphone splitter. Burn a CD of your favs. Carry some tunes on a flash drive that you can easily share. Music is universal.

9. Be a fan. Wear a shirt from your favorite sport team. Sooner of later someone will see your fandom and enter into a conversation with you. It is a great conversation icebreaker that can lead to other things.
10. Talk to grandmas and grandpas you meet along the way. Young people are fun, but old people have years of wisdom to share and generally know more about local culture than you might guess.

11. Wear nice shoes. Sound strange? It seems like people are always observing my shoes and making comments about them. Whether they are hiking boots, athletic shoes or dress shoes, for some strange reason people are always curious about shoes. It is another great conversation icebreaker. If you don't have nice shoes, try giving a compliment to someone else about their shoes... they'll appreciate it. Strange, but sandals and flip flops do not seem to have the same pull.
12. Do not offer travel advise unless asked. I have given up on providing unsolicited travel advice. I personally hate it when someone offers advice about a place or activity. It builds unrealistic expectations and can ruin the joy that comes from the uncertainty of adventure. Plus, nobody likes a know-it-all.

Once you have made a new friend, be generous and accept their generosity. You will be on your way to creating some long lasting memories.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers

Bandana - $2-4, Bandanas are an essential part of my gear because they can be used for so many functions. I use mine as a scarf, hat, towel, pot holder, day pack, protective cover, mosquito net, etc. They are inexpensive too.
Platypus Collapsible Water Bottle - $15, Hard water bottles are essential, but these new collapsable water bottles are pretty sweet too. They are small and light. They can hold about a liter of water and as you drink the contents the form factor collapses. 
Buff - $20-30, It seems like a lot of money to pay for a thin tubular piece of material, but I became an believer in Buffs a while back and now will not travel without one. I actually like to bring two. They have many of the same functions as a bandana plus they can be worn in many different configurations such as a scarf, hat, mask, head band, eye mask for sleeping or balaclava. They can be used to screen oneself from the sun or warm oneself from the cold.
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter - $40, Previously I would buy bottled water when I traveled. Now I bring this small and light weight water filter and a bottle. It pretty much pays for itself after one week of traveling. The quality of the water is great and the world will be a cleaner place with fewer discarded plastic water bottles.
Leatherman CS4 Utility Tool - $50, It is hard to travel with a knife if you are flying and only travel with a carry on bag. But if you can check one of these handy tools through security it is so worth it to have available. I like this model because it has a can and wine opener.

LifeProof Mobile Phone Case - $90, Okay this is an item falls into the nice to have rather than need to have category. But if you are a media junky like me and love to travel with your iPhone this is perhaps the ultimate case. It is shockproof and waterproof and will charge your iPhone into a go anywhere device. 
Round-The-World Ticket - $3,000-10,000, Obvious

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

And here is a little how to video about deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reveal the Path - The Movie

I recently had the opportunity to watch this documentary film called Reveal the Path. The film chronicles the journey of a group of friends that travel around the world by bikepacking with mountain bikes. The adventurers do not actually ride around the world, but they ride, hop, bus, train, fly and just move. 
The group travels through locations like Scotland
and Alaska.

While the locations do provide some interesting scenery, challenging environments and unique cultural experiences, the film is not really about the destinations, but the journey that the group undertakes. Isn't that what travel is really about?

Check it out on Youtube, watch it on Netflix or download it from the website of Reveal the Path.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Contrarian Travel Tips

Do all of your travels end up being unremarkably similar? Do all of your vacations involve staying at a hotel, taking guided tours, eating with other tourists and coming back home with photos that look just like your neighbor's photos from their vacation the previous year?

Here are some of my contrarian travel tips which will hopefully add a little variety and adventure to your next trip.

1. Booking an all inclusive vacation?  Instead, wing it.  Book your flight, upon your arrival, locate a hotel or hostel near the city center and take local transportation (not taxis) to get around. Make it up as you go.

2. Taking an organized city tour?  Instead, take a walk and wander. Try to ask locals about the places, things and people you encounter.

3. Just relaxing?  Instead, schedule an activity that might push your limits. Go bicycling, horseback riding, canyoneering or just go for a walk and get lost.

4. Doing something?  Instead, relax, spend the day in bed, read a book or just meditate.

5. Packing for every possibility?  Instead, intentionally leave out some items so that you are forced to shop for those items and interact with people in local stores and markets. Trying to buy a toothbrush, sunglasses or underwear could lead to some great interactions.

6. Staying within a daily budget?  Instead, go under budget by seeking out free activities or go over budget by splurging on a once in a lifetime activity. It all evens out in the end.

7. Eating street food?  Instead, go to a supermarket, buy what the locals are buying, and ask someone how to prepare it. Or ask a local you meet if you can prepare and share a meal with them.

8. Creating an itinerary?  Instead, Learn to walk in another persons shoes. Upon arrival, ask a local to create a list of ordinary things you should do. Do not give them any of your preferences or ideas. Allow them to share their ideas. Follow their suggestions irregardless of how ridiculous, expensive, dangerous or boring the suggestions might sound. You will probably have the most epic experience ever.

9. Buying a souvenir at the local market?  Instead, bring something with you from your home town and try to sell it at the local market or on a street corner. The interactions and conversations you may have should be amazing.

10. Taking lots of pictures?  Instead of capturing memories with a camera, make real memories. Leave the camera in the hotel for a day. Wherever you go and whatever you do, try to intentionally create a mental picture of that experience and you will probably remember it for always.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Modern Indiana Jones

I recently re-watched one of my favorite adventure films of all times... Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Indiana Jones has always been associated with his trademark look and style... the fedora hat, leather jacket, khaki clothing, whip and satchel. Inside his satchel he often carried a pencil, notebook, pocket knife, revolver pistol, canteen, flashlight, handkerchief, gloves and artifacts.

And so just for fun I was wondering, what would a modern Indiana Jones carry with him?

Below is a list of items that I think he would carry or keep close.
1. Mountainsmith Tour Waistpack
2. iPhone
3. Leatherman Juice Multitool
4. Black Diamond Headlamp
5. Space Pen
6. Paracord
7. Duct Tape
8. Buff/Bandana
9. Gloves
10. Artifacts

Featured Post

Gift Guide for Outdoor People

Here's my gift guide for outdoor people. I've used and tested all of these products while hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing or ...