Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cosmos, Carl and Meteor Crater

During our motorcycle trip this summer, one stop in particular brought to mind one of my heroes: scientist, author, teacher and advocate for peace Carl Sagan.

Though certainly no substitute for the real thing, we offer this strange homage with a little help from the You Tube Copyright Infringement Special Effects Department.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Christmas Eve in Little India



One of the things we've come to count on as we travel is that anything could happen at any time. On Christmas Eve, we sat down at a quiet little sidewalk table, ordered our dinner, and suddenly . . . well, you'll see . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in Penang

A brief lo-fi meditation on small comforts, home-sickness and Christmas cinema.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

So Blue (Without You)



Merry Christmas from Malaysia, everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Highlights of the Cameron Highlands

A cool, misty agricultural region blanketing the west-central mountains of peninsular Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands provide the mainstay of Malay tea, as well as any number of other crops that benefit from its year-round tea-growing climate, including strawberries, watercress and flowers. It's also a place where crops you might not associate with "cool" and "misty" seem to thrive: succulents, cacti and even some citrus fruits.

We rarely opt for a guided tour, since they deprive us of the joys and challenges of finding our own (often much cheaper) way to interesting sites and since it sometimes feels akin to being cattle taken to slaughter to board a mini-bus full of other western tourists. Our time was so short in the Highlands, however, we decided to take an organized trip. And we're so glad we did!

For the first half of our visit, the weather offered a persistent drizzle and low-hanging clouds — a welcome change from the heat and humidity of our prior coastal abode, but hardly optimal for sight-seeing. Just as we were about to depart on the tour, however, the clouds lifted...



Video recorded on my first-generation iPhone with Cycorder (thanks, Jay!). Some of the artifacts in the video are known issues with pushing the iPhone beyond the limits of its flux capacitor. Still, a great new tool in our kit!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A month in New Zealand

We're catching up on our video editing and blogging, thanks to some time staying put in Pulau Pangkor, Malaysia with a good internet connection. Hurray for disjointed storytelling!

And now, from our Kiwi Immigration Department, we bring you...



"Business Time" from Flight of the Conchords used with appreciation (and hopes of avoiding litigation).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Curious monkeys

The town of Teluk Nipah is sandwiched between coastal beach and mountainous jungle. Instead of choosing one of the guesthouses along the beach - and the busy street that, after sunset, turns into a raceway for young men on mopeds - and went with a quiet chalet that butts up against the jungle.

This means that our porch is shared with the local macaques. Our porch, our roof, our clothesline . . .

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The hornbills of Pulau Pangkor

Let us introduce you to the wild hornbills of Pangkor Island, who are accustomed to a daily feeding. When the owner of the Sunset View Chalet comes out to the street at 6:45 each evening, dozens of the prehistoric-looking birds are already lined up.

Of course, the tourists are waiting, too! Half the fun is watching them fly in from the jungle and begin to congregate along the power lines on either side of the narrow street. It's mesmerizing to watch the agile birds swoop down to nab the bits of banana, bread, and coconut - which explains the fervor with which owner warns "Moto! Moto! Moto!" when it is necessary (which is often).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making prata in Singapore

This is the first video I made with my spiffy new camera - which I have on me so much more often than my video camera or my laptop. We have in mind to start posting more of these short snippets from our experiences around the globe.

A walk in the jungle

We're enjoying the beaches and island hospitality of Pulau Pangkor, an island just off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. We've been here nearly a week and have spent most of our time on the beaches and perusing the main drag.

Today, though, we followed experienced hiker, fellow traveler and machete-wielding Johann on a hike into the inland jungle of this island, a place few people travel. He warned us of the possibility of encountering vipers (thankfully, we didn't, although we did see one of the largest spiders I've ever seen), and of the high likelihood of leaving the jungle with leeches attached to us.

"Leeches?!" I thought, skeptical. We weren't planning to ford any rivers, and all the leeches back home catch you in the water. In Malaysia, on the other hand...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What we miss most

On this, the six-month mark of our journey, we reflect on the things we miss most. Game-show style!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The one I like the best.

A love letter to Eric, on the occasion of the end of our three-month motorbike adventure.



Love,
Julie

Friday, September 4, 2009

Into each life . . . (yadda, yadda, yadda)

Consider this supplemental material on rain.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Why The Beaver is Julie's Spirit Animal (and why she might actually be Canadian)

As you may recall from a previous video, Julie believes that her spirit animal is the beaver. This charming roadside attraction helps to explicate more specifically the whys of that long-standing adoration and kinship.



(Filmed at The Beaver Project monument in Beaverlodge, Alberta, just before we got on the Alcan.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Video greeting from Banff

Greetings from the Yukon and the Alaskan Highway! Despite extended periods of cold and rain, we are enjoying the adventure and expect to be in Fairbanks sometime later this week . . .

In the meantime, here is a video we recorded in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. We discuss grizzly encounters, foam-green water, and a few major milestones. It includes Julie's report on how "we" are enjoying the camping more, thanks in part to Mike Biershenk's poetic advice.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Portland, the opposite of an armpit

Belatedly, here's a video we made during our magical stay in Portland. Thanks to so much local hospitality, especially Erika's unbelievable generosity with her home and her time, throwing open her doors for us for an extended stay, it was difficult to leave!



Julie adds the following (since our video cut us off right about the time we were circling back to the lovely Erika):

How many days would you impose on the hospitality of someone you just met? One day - maybe two?

We stayed not two, not three, but FIVE nights at Erika's house - thereby eschewing all notions of houseguest etiquette and any claims we have to social graces. We simply couldn't help ourselves, folks. Aside from having such a beautiful home, not to mention being Hollywood-beautiful herself - I said to Eric, "You don't see people that stunning just walking around in the general public" - Erika is my favorite new foodie friend.

She introduced me to many new delectable tastes - which is, of course, my favorite way to spend my time (when I'm not riding my motorbike). Here are a few: Stumptown Coffee, the best coffee I've sampled thus far on the planet; Iberico ham, which unfolds in your mouth long after you've eaten it; Ken's Artisan Pizza; and have I mentioned her blueberry muffins?

Here's a tip, folks: If you want your houseguests to (ever) leave, don't arouse them from slumber with wafts of sugary-blueberry loveliness and French-press coffee. They will stay forever.

(And we did.)

Thanks again to Erika, and to her equally lovely mom, Cathy, for making the introduction.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On the (itty bitty) nitty gritty

Hello from the Ocean Island Backpackers Inn in Victoria, British Columbia!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Slumber Party in the Yurt!

When we visited our friends on Vashon Island, we were treated to dinner and a show (!), followed by a peaceful overnight in a yurt they designed and built themselves. We made dinner from their well-tended garden, passed around the storytelling baton, and spent hours reading under a walnut tree while listening to the gentle clucking of the chickens.

The song performed in the video was written by Shane, who plays the mandolin (and about a bajillion other instruments - many of which he's fabricated himself). Oh - in addition to using their bicycles to commute and travel, Shane & Emily have a pedal-powered washing machine, which was quite a revelation for Eric; I've never seen him get so excited about doing a load of laundry.



For more pictures & narrative about our time in the Seattle area, visit Eric's blog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 38 trivia

4500 miles
9 hosts with homes
8 states
7 campgrounds
6 items of clothing discarded - or destroyed - by Julie
5 quarts of oil leaked
4 bike mechanics (Dan in Eagle, CO; Paul in Santa Fe, NM; Greg in Albuquerque, NM; Karl in Eureka, CA)
3 movies each (Chicago 10 for Julie, Up for Eric; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price & The Big Lebowski for both)
2 burlesque shows (one pirate-themed, one Lebowski-themed)
1 ferry ride
0 speeding tickets

cost per gallon of gas: $2.53 to $4.29

temperature range: 41 (in Santa Fe) to 111 (in the Mojave Desert)

wettest states: Arizona & New Mexico

elevation: sea level to 12,095 ft.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Updates from the San Francisco Bay Area

Hey folks. This is a long one, but it's got lots of news-y bits. If you stick around to the end of the video, you'll hear about Eric's cameo at the Pirate Burlesque show at the Redwood in L.A.



For more about pirates, produce, and our West Coast experience, visit Eric's blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 14, Leaving Santa Fe... again!



[FYI: Due to a technical glitch in the recording process, this video is pretty jerky. We hope you enjoy it anyway, and the audio we recorded in a cave at the Bandelier National Monument.]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Breakdown

Friday, June 26, 2009

a quickie

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buena Vista, CO

Dan, our host in Vail, ride leader, moto guru and all around gem

We spent part of our days 6 and 7 with Dan and his wife Sheika. Here we are at Dan's shop, Holthammer Cycles, in Eagle, Colorado, which has been getting some press.



Read more about our time with Dan and Sheika on Eric's blog, Riding the Iron Rooster.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Meet the Denver Olson's



[FYI: Video is wonky for the first few seconds.]

You too can keep up with the Olson's here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grand Island, NE

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pottyville, Iowa