Archive for the ‘Places to See’ Category

I know our trip is a long way off– 2.5 years is a long time to wait for something.  Everyone says the hardest part about a trip like this is deciding you will go.  I disagree.  The hardest part for me is waiting for our savings to accumulate so we can GO!  In the meantime I do enjoy practicing riding our bikes like professionals (ha!), buying liquor in bulk to “keep expenditures down” (again, ha!) and spending A LOT of time on the internet planning routes and reading accounts of other people’s travels.

One part of our journey that has nagged at me from the get-go is the route across Russia.  That country is large, massive, enormous, elephantine… whatever fancy adjective you want to use, the main idea is it is BIG.  There is no way we can cycle across that in the time we want with the money we have.  Reading Tara and Tyler’s blog at Going Slowly has definitely confirmed that.  I’ve also learned through their blog that throwing our fully loaded touring bikes on the Trans-Siberian railway is not as easy as it sounds in my head (check out this post, these guys are cycling super stars!)  Not riding the Trans-Siberian railway isn’t really an option, it’s on my “must do” list for the trip.

So I present our ideas:

  1. Break the bikes down, box them up and throw them in cargo on the train.  Get off the train at Lake Baikal, put our bikes back together and explore that sucker.  Bikes go back into cargo and we continue on to Beijing.  Bicycle Asia.
  2. Meet up with my parents somewhere in Europe, possibly Germany.  Break down the bikes, box them up and send them home with mom and dad.  Take the train across Russia, making sure to stop at Lake Baikal to do aforementioned exploring.  Continue on to Beijing.  Backpack Asia.

Both of these have many variations and options to consider.  Reading this is the first my parents will have heard of our crazy idea number 2 (you’ll both be retired!…), will they go for it?  Do we really want to break our bikes down multiple times?  Do we really want to backpack Asia? 

The only thing I know is we MUST visit this lake.  Not only is it the deepest lake on earth it is also the oldest (25 million years young) and second largest.  It contains 20% of the entire planet’s fresh (unfrozen) water.  It has a special mini-ecosystem because of its isolation and age.  It’s average depth is 2,442 ft.  Lake Michigan, my favorite lake, has an average depth of 279 ft.  Just a little bit deeper…   Here it is from outer space: 


Just some random thoughts for now.  Oh yeah, and Pat got poison ivy at the beach the other day.  Good to know: “Leaves of three, let it be.”


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Yesterday’s “Place to See” on Patrick’s “Places to See Before You Die” calendar (thanks, mom!) featured a place called Rotorua on North Island, New Zealand.  According to the calendar Rotorua is the center of a thermal field.  What is that?, I wonder.  After a little research I have found that these are areas on the Earth’s surface where cracks have opened up in the crust.  These are called “fumaroles” and they usually emit gases like carbon dioxide and sulphur and often interact with the groundwater.  How cool!  I have never seen anything like this but I imagine it would be very intriguing– when else do you get to experience the “guts” of the Earth?

I checked out Lonely Planet’s entry on Rotorua and it mentions that the city is known as Sulphur City because of the ever-present stench of rotten eggs.  Yummy!  It also said there is an active geyser there that shoots hot water 20-3o meters into the air and many bubbling mud baths.  Let’s bookmark this one for the trip!

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