Monday, October 13, 2008

Yellowstone Weekend


Howdy all,

Contrary to recent indications, the Long Road South lives on, despite the fact we are no longer travelling south, or travelling at all. It probably should be renamed something like "Greater Yellowstone Chronicles" or "101 Reasons to Come Visit Rose and Ty in Wydaho".

With snow on the ground today it feels like ski season is just around the corner and we are furiously stockpiling firewood and canning food for the long winter ahead. But it is still fall and I wanted to post some photos from a great canoe trip we just did up in Yellowstone National Park. So click on the photo above to see the shots. While you are there take a look at the other photo album I posted recently (Odds and Ends). And then come visit and help us work off some of our massive hospitality debt!

Also, my sister Juniper and her husband Bill just had a baby girl, Amara, on October 10th - congratulations to them! Maybe I can get some photos of her posted soon...


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back North

Plenty of action since the last post, so here is a little catch-up, and then the latest news.

From South America, we headed directly to Alaska to attend my sister Juniper's wedding. We had a fabulous visit, caught up with friends and family, and heard and played a bunch of music with Bill and his family and friends. We were so impressed with Juniper and Bill's calmness and hospitality in the face of a flood of family. They even rallied to take us and my folks out for a four day wilderness raft trip down the Tazlina river the week before the wedding! Anyhow, here are a few photos of our Alaska time:


From Alaska we travelled to Wisconsin where we had the great fortune to be able to help welcome to the world Rose's sister Allicia's new baby, Devan Raymond Woodhouse. He is a lovely and healthy little black-haired boy, sweet in disposition and perfect in every way. Hopefully we'll be able to get some photos of the little guy posted soon. Congratulations to Allicia and Craig!

After a great visit with Rose's family which culminated with a fabulous party at the Hendricks homestead, we headed west again to Driggs, Idaho, which is to be our new home! I interviewed for and eventually got a job with Friends of the Teton River heading up their new streamflow restoration program. I start up on August 11th and am really excited. We also found a great little place to live, complete with a view of the mountains and lots of space for guests - so start planning your trip to Driggs! We figure we have accrued a gigantic karmic hospitality debt during our travels and it is up to all of you to come visit and help us correct the imbalance!

We have been having a fabulous time rambling round the Tetons and catching up with our friends in the region, including Jerod and Sage who just got married on Sunday in one of the greatest weddings we have had the pleasure of attending - wonderful people, fabulous music, great food, and the prettiest setting imaginable - a historic homestead surrounded by waving fields of barley, with the Tetons looming in the background.

More photos soon - our love and best wishes to all,


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Homeward Bound

Howdy from Florianopolis, Brazil, where we are killing some time in advance of some epic travelling. I have really mixed emotions right now - excited to be heading back to new adventures in the USA and to catch up with family and friends, but sad to be ending the South American journey and to be leaving the ocean and waves after my surfing is just starting to click (I´ve been learning to ride a shortboard at last - a whole new adventure). Not to mention deeply depressed because I am in an internet cafe in a shopping mall with lots of fluorescent lighting.

We had a great stay here on Ihla Santa Catarina. It felt so good to have a house and a kitchen for a while, to eat a bunch of fresh fish, and to be able to spend so much time in the water. We saw the whole range of surf conditions, from nice friendly small wave days when you could paddle out without getting your hair wet, to some pretty monstrous double overhead days when we were lucky to get outside at all - much less make it back to the beach in one piece. Almost all the breaks on the island are beachbreaks and they get downright nasty when the swell gets big. We lucked out and were able to sell our bikes yesterday, and surfboards this morning, so we are travelling light with just our panniers (not the most convenient luggage, really). At least until Buenos Aires where we pick up the rest of our stuff...

Tonight we take an overnight bus to Sao Paulo, lay over for a day, then fly to Buenos Aires, pick up the rest of our stuff, and fly to Lima. After 24 hours in Lima we take a redeye to Houston, then a quick jaunt to Denver, a few lovely hours at DIA, then Alaska!

All the best,


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photos from Brazil

Buenos Aires and Beyond

After a scare with a corrupted SD card that made us fear we had lost all the photos we had taken in the last 3 months, we´ve finally got a few photos posted (data retrieval software really does work!). A few from Buenos Aires, and then some from our first week in Brazil, riding up in the mountains. Just click the image above...

All the best,


Saturday, May 17, 2008


Wonder of wonders, Rose and I just sat down and, unbeknownst to each other, began composing blogs in unison. So here is my take on recent events:

Just a quick note from Florianopolis, Brazil, an island just off the coast in the southern state of Santa Catarina. Fresh out of an all you can eat sushi buffet, we are stuffed to the gills with raw fish and rice. In fact our fish consumption has rocketed off the charts lately, as our last two suppers (before today´s sushi) consisted of tainha (which I believe are ¨mullet¨ in english). Taihna season is in full swing and you can buy them fresh for a couple of reais, good sized ones that are more than enough for Rose and I. A fine, fatty, mild, white-fleshed fish, easy to fillet - no idea how the popular Argentine haircut got named after them...

Today we rode a bus for a few hours to avoid a busy section of coastal highway - our diesel particulate consumption for the year is already way too high. But the days before that consisted of some good coastal riding along sandy dirt roads. So sandy, in fact, that we abandoned the road entirely at one point and rode on the beach for a 25 kilometer stretch as the beach was much firmer than the road. It was a pretty cool feeling to be rolling along listening to the breakers, and watching the shorebirds - avocets with their formal black and white attire, raucous oystercatchers with their carrot-like bills, skimmers, gulls, egrets... We finally saw a toucan the other week too, but that was back up in the mountians.

We spent the better part of one lovely afternoon a few days ago floating placidly on a estuarine river after the tugboat ¨powering¨our ferry broke down. Luckily, one of the pickups that happened to be on the ferry had the right tools and they got it fixed eventually. The weather has been sublime - sunny but not too hot. We are hoping to get in some more surfing now that we are in the thick of Brazilian surf territory and thus should be able to find boards to rent. So far we have only gotten one day in the water, back in Torres where we were able to convince a local restarauntuer/motorcycle gang member (Kruger) to rent us a couple of his boards and wetsuits. My wetsuit was a bit loose, as Kruger has a solid 30 kg on me - mostly around the mid-section. Anyhow, thats all for now.

All the best,


Simul-blogging Part 2 - With bonus update!

My friend Tom says that Shangri La is the Milky Lakes in the Wind River Mountains. I haven´t been to the Milkies so I can´t argue with him, but from what we´ve seen of it, the small, hilly town of Santa Marta, must be in the running. Ty and I spent yesterday there, looking at the ocean (no boards to rent or waves for that matter), playing on the rocks below the towns´ lighthouse, taunting the seagulls, eating fresh fish and papaya and feeling the kind of peace only the ocean can give you.

Okay folks, hold it right there. I wrote that a few days ago before we got to the island of Santa Catarina. I wasn´t lying, or even exagerating. Santa Marta is great. But this island is spectacular. The water is that impossibly beautiful blue green. Schools of small silver fish--maybe sardines?--surf the waves along side you. The beaches are sandy and clean. The other surfers aren´t too territorial. We are so content to be spending our last few weeks in South America here. We found a little balconied apartment to rent and are savoring the luxury of living within walking distance of two great surf breaks without having to rob a bank. We also have a spare bedroom. As of right now, only our surf boards sleep there, so if you feel like taking a spontaneous vacation to a piece Shangri La we would love to have you.

Hope to see you soon north of the equator if not down here.


PS Here´s what I wrote a few days ago about part of our ride up here:

We came down from the sierra over a week ago--a spectacular 20 km decent--and stopped over a day in the town of Torres to surf. Since then we´ve been spending our days biking north, up the coast. After a day of riding the coastal highway along side a steady stream of truck traffic, we decided to head for the backroads rumored to hug the coast, although we didn´t have much of a map. We undertstood that we needed to go north in general, and not too far west or we´d hit the highway again. East wasn´t a good option for obvious reasons.

Our first day of riding on these backroads took us through numerous beach towns, abonded by their spectral owners for the winter months--how strange those places felt. Whole towns occupied by nothing but sand and sea birds. We rode through a lush, warm landscahpe of agricultural fields and eucaplyptus groves, and then it came time to camp. After being in the idylic land of patagonian gaucho hospitality for so long I just started to assume the whole world could be a big free camp ground. When it was getting dark and we´d still had no luck finding a place to stay I went up to a house with a burly looking fence and spikes on the end of the posts and asked the owner, sitting on his front porch, if we could camp there for the night. And he said no! I´d cearly failed to read the writing on his--fence, in this case--and was shocked. No, we can´t camp on your perfectly manicured lawn? But we´re nice, good people, I thought, and we´re tired; I missed gauchos and their pampa hospitality. We ended up camping down the road in a eucalyptus grove.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


That´s right folks, we are in Brazil now and back on the bikes! After our stint in Buenos Aires, we took one final long bus ride (20 hours) up to Porto Alegre in southern Brazil. It is quite a shock to be in a country where we don´t know the language at all, and almost nobody in Brazil speaks Spanish (nor have we met any English speakers either). We have funny conversations with Brazilians where we speak Spanish and they understand the occasional word, and they reply in Portuguese and we understand even less. We don´t even know enough about the language to try and tint our Spanish with a Portuguese accent to make it more understandable. And our British Brazil guidebook has a pathetic dictionary, consisting of useless words like ¨bloke¨and ¨fish and chips¨. On the upside, it feels really exotic and we are motivated to figure some Portuguese out so we can stop pointing and grunting like idiots. On a sadder note, just now before I started writing this message, I finally took the time to look up the exchange rate and discovered it wasn´t 3 Reales to the US Dollar as we had been assuming (Argentina was 3 to 1, Peru was 3 to 1, why not Brazil?) but 1.6 to 1 - ouch! So all of a sudden things don´t seem so cheap...

Anyhow, it is fantastic to be back on the bikes and earning our kilometers. The landscape here is lush and green and (at least after today´s 800 meter climb) steep and dramatic. We are up in the mountains (Serra Gaucho) now in a town called Gramado, which is like Bariloche, Argentina only more so. More Swiss architecture, more fondue restaraunts, more ritzy shopping, more chocolate shops, more tourists. So we feel right at home and enjoyed the best ice cream sundae ever for an afternoon snack today after the long climb. This region is not the most stereotypical ¨Brazil-like¨section of Brazil (Brazil, obviously, is a huge, diverse country) - people here are still slurping mate, tracing their German ancestry, and eating huge piles of grilled meat - not such a bad life I guess. But it is dramatically different too (besides the whole Portuguese thing). A huge array of tropical fruits are available, fashions are completely different (tall, chunky boots are in this year I guess), the people are super-friendly, the motels have hourly rates, and everything is just a bit more humid, musty, and sexy (fecund?) than down south.

Speaking of humid and musty, yesterday we rode past some very impressive flooding, as this region just got hit by a huge 5-day storm (which we thankfully only caught the tail end of). Half of one town was inundated by floodwaters - some buildings up to their eaves - and people were busy in boats rescuing appliances and animals. Also on yesterday´s ride we saw two of the biggest (10+ feet tall), scariest gargoyles ever perched in front of a menacing, windowless, brick building. No idea what it housed but we didn´t stick around to investigate.

So far, though, the very best thing about Brazil is the coffee! We haven´t seen a cup of Nescafe since we crossed the border, and even the complimentary hotel coffee served in plastic cups is better than any coffee we had in Argentina - aaahhhh.

Anyhow, that is all for now. All the best,