Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2010

The Coolest People Aren’t Selfish

I’ll be the first to admit it – when it comes to typical Americans, I’m pretty jaded. As a general whole, our culture in the US is very self-centered and “me first,” as can be seen from the way we view work to our politics. Having spent about half my life in the developing world, I’m always saddened by this back home because it’s amazing how people with (what we perceive as) very little are so much more willing to share. One of the things I love about traveling is meeting people who let you intersect with their lives for just a brief moment, bringing you into their bubble in a way that many of us wouldn’t normally do to strangers. Something about the romance of being on the road seems to open people up to things outside themselves and as you get to encounter some of the coolest people (or, perhaps it’s just that this willingness to engage with a stranger is what makes them the coolest people and I just randomly bump into them while traveling). I’ve met many great people on this trip, f

The Living Dead Scooter

Something didn’t feel quite right – after the top end rebuild in Whitehorse and a careful break-in on the Alaska Highway, I expected Red to be ready to tear up the roads through Canada and the US. Instead I found myself still sticking to around 40MPH due to a slight vibration and a perceived lack of smoothness in the engine. I wanted a professional to take a look before sliding around the deserts and mountains of the US and stopped by Fritz Scooter & Motorcycle Repair in Seattle for a health check. The result wasn’t good. Within a few minutes Jake realized Red was a dead scooter riding: the crankshaft is shot. The piston is burned to shreds, bearings are loose, seals are leaking, and the crankshaft is bent. This is definitely the reason for the original failure and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t spotted in Whitehorse, though it’s understandable since they don’t work on these every day. So, nearly 12,000 miles into this journey, I’m stuck again waiting for parts from Chicago (whi

The New ContourGPS Camera

In the last year, I’ve filmed hundreds of hours of video all over the world with my ContourHD 720p bulletcam. I consider it one of the most important pieces of electronics that I carry around and never travel without it. Two other devices I usually carry with me are my Locosys BGT31 GPS datalogger (which allows me to track and log my GPS position every second) and my SPOT GPS messenger (which allows me to upload and share my position every ten minutes). I’ve usually done well on merging my GPS and photo data (though I abandoned that on this trip due to convenience), but one thing I’ve always struggled with is the ability to merge GPS data and video. Earlier in the year I wrote some tools to do GPS integration with Adobe Premiere but the resulting processing overhead of my hack was so high as to render it unusable. Instead I found myself referring to the GPS track outside the video to place positional comments within the video, rather than the map overlay I envisioned. As such, I was e

Gear Review: Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sacks

In the past couple months on the road I think I’ve spent more time riding my scooter through rain than I have in the dry – this is clearly reflected in the fact that as time has gone by I’ve invested more and more money in things to keep my stuff dry, since wet gear sucks. One of my favorite purchases for this trip is the pair of Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sacks I picked up just before leaving, in 13L and 20L sizes. They cost me around $20 each and are one of the best pieces of gear I’ve purchased in years – extremely durable, effective, and simple to use.

Stranded in Whitehorse

If you follow along on Facebook or Twitter , you know that Red broke down around a hundred miles south of Whitehorse, the capitol of the Yukon Territories last Sunday – after nearly 10,000 miles of travel in seven weeks, quite the success.  When I left Fairbanks, I knew there were problems with my trans belt slipping (for a few thousand miles) but the plan was to baby it back to the real world where I could get replacements.  Unfortunately for me, I did a bit too good of a job cleaning out the carbs and engine in Fairbanks and Red was running incredibly well on the ride back down the Alaska Highway. After weeks of cold, clouds, and rain, I finally started the day last Sunday in warm, dry sunlight.  I was well along the Alaska Highway, had a great destination in mind for the night (the Yukon Motel & RV Park at Teslin, where I stayed on the way up, and got to pick up some parts and good food in Whitehorse. One of the important things I picked up in Whitehorse was a pack of 1A fuses