Archives for posts with tag: trip

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A couple of weeks ago we posted the Offroadpeople 2011 video. This is the 2012 version of their off-road motorcycle trip from Moscow toward the Urals. It’s videos like these that make you want to grab your friends and go.

It’s also videos like this that make you say, “Huh, I didn’t know you could remove a tick with a piece of thread. Very clever.”

 

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My fiance, Natalie, has been blogging about our summer sailing adventure over at The West County Bramble. We were out on the boat for 5 months cruising around the San Juan Islands in northern Washington State.

The image above is the Doe Bay store on Orcas Island, one of our favorite spots. (The food in the Doe Bay Cafe is delicious as are the cocktails.) Read the rest of the post for more images or see the posts in full over at the The Bramble.

Link:
The West County Bramble

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OK, this one is epic. Twenty-four Russian motorcyclists ride a 14-day, 4,000 km loop through the Ural Mountains. 1,400 kms of the trip are off-road. Half the time there aren’t any roads at all. And the other half, they’re nothing but mud holes. Lots of river crossings, lots of open country. Lots of crashes, lots of teamwork. It looks like it was quite an adventure. Cue Russian folk music!

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The aftermarket Jeep parts supplier, Extreme Terrain, is giving away three separate 4 day / 3 night trips to major off-road destinations as part of a promotional contest. A single contestant will win the whole lot. He and his (or her) guest will be flown to California’s Rubicon Trail, Moab in Utah, and Ouray in Colorado. Once there, they’ll be given the use of a Jeep Wrangler with which they can explore the trails.

Read the rest of the post for additional details culled from Extreme Terrain’s press release.

Link:
Contest entry page Read the rest of this entry »

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All photos: Josh Ashcroft

We’d been planning to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on our way home from our summer sailing trip. Then in Portland we had the good fortune to run into someone that had actually been there. Amazingly, he recognized our truck from this blog and flagged us down to say hello. To make the most of the chance meeting, we got together for a coffee and swapped travel stories. He said he’d been to the dunes not two weeks before and that they were definitely worth a visit. And he bought us coffee. Thanks again, Josh!

It turns out that the Oregon Dunes are largest coastal sand dunes in North America. They stretch along 40 miles of coast, cover 5,900 acres, and crest to 500 ft. You can camp there. What’s more you can get out and explore this coastal park in your 4×4, motorcycle, or ATV. And we wanted to do just that.

A couple of days later we were in Florence, Oregon, at the northern end of the dunes. (Coos Bay marks the southern end.) We had our orange flag mounted and we were ready to hit the sand. And this is where it becomes a Reader Rides story because, despite my airing down the tires, the truck was packed to the gills and just too heavy to make it up any of the inclines without getting bogged down. Rather than get stuck a half hour before sunset with our summer’s worth of supplies, we packed it in and headed to Coos Bay for the night.

So let me tell you about Josh’s trip. It was hosted by Northwest Overland and featured training by 4×4 veteran, Bill Burke. They covered driving skills, tackling inclines, winch and Pull Pall recovery, and field repair by the looks of it. A lifted Tacoma snapped both its CV joints. But it also looks like they had a great time.

And Josh was kind enough to provide these fantastic photos, more of which, after the jump.

Links:
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area site
General map including camping, parking, trailheads, etc. (pdf)
Detailed map of riding areas and campsites (pdf)

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If you follow this blog, you’ve probably seen our good friend, Greg. He and Natalie and I trucked through the Sierras together, following in Mark Twain’s footsteps. He also joined us on the California Backcountry Discovery Trail last year. You may even have seen his nicely modified Mitsubishi Montero on this blog.

Well now Greg has started his own blog. It’s called gadmachine. Besides having a penchant for adventure, Greg’s a great writer and an excellent photographer. I think you’ll enjoy his site.

Check out his first trip post about exploring California’s Lost Coast. Here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2. Or read more of this post to see some of my favorite photos from Greg’s Lost Coast trip.

Link: gadmachine

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Photo: Natalie Menacho

These are photos of some of my favorite moments, so far, from our trip around the San Juan and Gulf Islands this summer. Click any photo for a larger view. I hope you enjoy them. Read the rest of this entry »

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A couple of weeks ago we boarded Seattle’s historic steamer, Virginia V, at Lake Union and sailed to Bainbridge Island.

The Virginia V is quite an experience. You really get the feeling of traveling in another time. And she’s so quiet. Gliding through the ship canal she barely made a sound.

She was built in 1921 and became a part of what was then known as the “Mosquito Fleet,” a group of hundreds of small vessels that plied Puget Sound in the era before state-run public transit. All the vessels were privately owned, initially unregulated, and often competed for business on the same routes, with the first ship to the dock getting the lion’s share of the fares.

The Virginia V is powered by a 400-hp, double-expansion, three-cylinder steam engine, built in 1898. The 115-year-old engine has a maximum RPM of 200, although it mostly spins at about 80 or 90 RPM. She used to be oil-fired but today burns diesel to develop steam.

Our route took us down the Washington Ship Canal and through the Chittenden Locks. Lake Union is at a higher elevation than Puget Sound, hence the need for the locks.

Locking through is a neat experience. The huge, steel doors of the lock were open at one end as we came into the locks, then shut behind us. The water was then drained out of the lock as the ship dropped about 25 feet down. The doors at the other end of the lock were opened, and out we went, into the Sound.

The Virginia V doesn’t sail very often—she is crewed solely by volunteers. If she has a trip scheduled, and you happen to be in Seattle, make of day of it. It’s a very unique and enjoyable experience.

Link: Virginia V Public Schedule

Read further for a gallery of photos from our day aboard, as well as a quick video.
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About a month ago, we bought a mid-sized sailboat, an Aloha 32 named Carmana and sailed her down from Friday Harbor to Seattle for our first shake-down cruise. We’ve been moored here for the last couple of weeks, hanging out in Ballard (Seattle’s version of Brooklyn), and getting to know the local marine suppliers as we address mechanical, safety, and comfort issues before we head out again: a new chart plotter, battery charger, a new pump for the head, some stuff to keep the holding tank from smelling (Go Noflex Digester! That stuff works.) new fenders, stern anchor… You get the idea.

Despite all of the little projects, we’re really happy with the boat. She’s roomy for a 32-footer, sails well, and gets admiring looks up and down the dock. And she makes a good home for Natalie and I.

That’s the quick low down on the boat. We’ll be up here exploring all summer and give you the low down on the places we visit. Also, if you’d like to read and see pictures of our trip in more detail, Natalie’s blogging about it over at her site, The West County Bramble. Check it out!

OK, here’s the low down. For in-depth low down, we’ve been using the Waggoner Cruising Guide. Not only does it cover everything about every harbor we’ll ever visit, it’s a primer on Northwest cruising. I wished I’d bought it before I even bought the boat as it would have informed some of my choices.

Here’s our take on things though. Every town has been cuter, cooler, and more scenic than the last.
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We’re up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia. Monday, after months of planning, we left the Bay Area, our truck loaded with supplies for our months-long sailing trip, en route to meet a boat we’d never seen, except for its online profile.

After several trips up north and still no boat, we found an an Aloha 32, a well-regarded, Mark Ellis-designed, cruising boat named Carmana, on Vancouver Island. In mid-May we decided to make an offer.

Shortly thereafter we hired a surveyor to assess the boat. We waited a bit anxiously for the day of the survey. When that day came, however, the surveyor pronounced her a well-found little ship. All systems were go.

The Saturday before we left we had a little grilled pizza bon voyage party with friends. When I dropped off ice for the party, though, and tried to repark the truck… nothing. The starter, that had been acting up, had decided to pack it in. We were meant to leave in two days and it was Memorial Day weekend. Read the rest of this entry »