Saturday, April 3, 2010

on the road

this rocky hill looks like a medieval castle!

here's a closeup of petrified wood - if we took some home, we'd be cursed!

from boulder, utah, we took the burr trail into capitol reef national park
the dirt road was empty, beautiful, and in surprisingly good shape
(especially given this forbidding sign the the start)

it began with a dozen or so miles through the "long canyon"
(red cliffs on either side of the road)

we slithered/strolled into a surprising slot canyon just off the burr trail - cool!

(this is ryan's trusty taurus, all dusted up from the trail)
exiting the long canyon, the burr trail drops off into a valley
and enters capitol reef national park

the gorgeous, snow-capped henry mountains

in sharp contrast to the stop-and-go roads in zion, the burr trail was all ours

the henry mountains once again, as seen from a scenic pass on route 12

Thursday, April 1, 2010

bryce canyon

a fresh april fool's day snow had everything looking especially frosty

including the red hoodoos in the canyon

erosion can be a rather impressive thing

see? it can build a bridge

this animal friend was calm and enjoyed eating leaves
(vastly preferable to those who leap into moving vehicles)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


zion is potentially cool, but was seriously overcrowded when we went
we enjoyed bryce and the capitol reef area much more

Monday, March 29, 2010

grand canyon

we began our great southwestern national park tour at the grand canyon,
which is quite a bit more exciting than your average hole in the ground!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

joshua tree

on a wednesday, we drive into the desert!

joshua tree national park greets us with boulders

the rocks are surprisingly grippy and pretty easy to climb and scramble upon

like clouds, they beg our imagination to assign a likeness

the joshua tree, a real desert hero

joshua pose!

cholla cactus garden, a spiny, prickly place...

the san gorgonio pass wind farm is home to hundreds of whooshing windmills...
...quite a sight to behold

Friday, March 19, 2010

where in the world is poo fly? (vol 7)

you thought he was gone, but no!
just enjoying a long cold winter in a furry ushanka.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

the aptly named

a cold february day on the great wall of china!

this is a "wild wall" portion of the greater great wall
(thankfully touristless)

"wild" because many sections of the wall in this area were in ruin...

...and in some cases, completely overgrown

it's mind-boggling how the wall clings to the terrain across intense elevation changes

further evidence of my visit!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

a different type of streetwalker

when you see something like this on the street in a foreign country...

i find it's best to do something like this!

Friday, March 5, 2010

bafflement: it's what's for dinner!

when someone like me sits down to eat alone at a restaurant in beijing, knowing not a word of mandarin, it can be comforting to see some english descriptions of dishes on the menu. however, ripe with the finest chingrish around, these translations can cause more confusion (and tears of hilarity) than clarity. enjoy the following selections from a place i visited for lunch.

poor piggy

for those in a hurry

you might be too if you were scalloped

a vegetarian dish, perhaps?



"sheep's leg greedy bullfrog (do the boiler...)"
i guess that's what the bullfrog gets for being greedy

BONUS: "jumbotron" description from an acrobats performance

"bounding vigorously - ball catching"
(what this turned out to be was a mind-blowing juggling show)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

mondulkiri, cambodia

my last major excursion in cambodia was to the eastern province of mondulkiri, a mountainous region where nights are cool, ants are many, and elephants are man's best friend.

my main goal was to travel by (elephant) foot into the forest,
which was pretty easy to do with twenty bucks.

i was only "saddled up" for half the day (i walked back alongside the elephants) because the "basket" in which we were seated was so small that my knees were tucked into my armpits for about the whole ride. not comfortable. but fun anyway.

we ended at a waterfall and swimming hole, where a group of kids were launching themselves into the water below. it would have been pretty interesting to have had access to such a playground as a kid.

after a much-needed bath, our elephant took a few minutes to scratch an itch...

this was how we moved (note the child "driver")

for five relaxing nights, i stayed in this simple little cabin -
an excellent way to wrap up my time in southeast asia

Monday, February 15, 2010

"rabbit island" (koh tonsey, cambodia)

a short boat ride form the southern coastal town of kep is "rabbit island",
where we stayed for a couple nights in bamboo bungalows.

all along the beach were small groves of trees with hammocks strung on every available limb

Saturday, February 13, 2010

bokor hill (kampot, cambodia)

back on the motorcycle again, we set out to reach the top of bokor hill. it's a very eerie place, featuring some palatial old houses, hotels, a church and a casino, all long ago abandoned and in ruin. at the top of the hill (1000m), we were among the clouds, which added to the spookiness of the place. the main access road is under construction and usually off limits to anyone but organized tour groups. however, it was luckily open for a few days because of the chinese new year; we happily took advantage!

i suspect this was a concrete water tower in its day

here is the casino building, perhaps the largest structure on bokor hill.
every part of the building is still accessible.

behind the casino is a cliff that tumbles off into the whooping, chirping, cackling mountain forest, on this day almost completely obscured by the clouds