NOTES FROM THE ROAD



Getting Comfortable in Big Dunes…


Finding the Swingset…


10 February 2019: We dove deeper into the bigger dunes today in search of the “Swingset” working on more challenging climbs and picking lines through the seemingly unending sand sea. It took us a bit of time to reach our goal, but we made it, and everyone had a chance to practice their core navigation skills with some fun driving mixed in …



Day Two in the Dunes…


Getting Hardcore…


9 February 2019: Pushing some limits in dune driving skills and seeing what the Jeeps are capable of on Oldsmobile Hill, then moving on to some of the finer points of navigation, line selection and recovery with Barlow Adventures …



Rediscovering the Dunes…


Back at Glamis the dunes are calling…


8 February 2019: Felt good to be back in the familiar sand dunes of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area at Glamis for the Barlow Adventures Intermediate Dunes Driving and Navigation training. It was colder than usual and had rained recently so the sand was nice and firm and the whole dune field was beautiful to look at — as always …



En Route to Yuma…


On the road headed south…


7 February 2019: Did the drive from Sedona to Yuma in the evening and caught the sunset at about the halfway point on a lonely two-lane road with a few majestic saguaros standing guard …



Back in Red Rock Country…


Arrived in Sedona…


6 February 2019: Back to the other side of the world in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona for the start of a few weeks rambling around the southwest of the United States. Coming out to participate in some trainings and workshops in various locations, and hoping to get a little fun exploration in too …



Heading Home…


Leaving Iran for now…


27 January 2019: Left Iran early this morning, saying goodbye to new friends and hoping to be able to return again soon to go a bit further in the exploration of the many Silk Road routes that criss-crossed this country. Learned a lot and excited by the opportunities this journey revealed …



A Last Day in Tehran…


North Tehran neighborhoods…


26 January 2019: Spent some time in the North Tehran neighborhoods today, getting a slightly different perspective on the city and doing some last minute shopping before departure tomorrow …



The Long Drive Back to Tehran…


900km of highway driving today…


25 January 2019: A long drive day from Shiraz to Tehran today. Roughly 900km of straight highway driving to make it back to the capital was quite exhausting, but it was worth it to have spent as much time as possible on location during the journey …



Shiraz Sunset…


900km of highway driving today…


24 January 2019: Climbed up the hillside near Quaran Gate on the northern edge of the city to catch the sunset after spending a busy day around Shiraz …



The Beauty of Shiraz..


Getting to know another side of the city …


23 January 2019: Spent some time discovering the beauty of this southern city tucked neatly between the mountains that protect it and enjoyed some warmer weather …



Persepolis..


The ruins of an ancient civilization …


22 January 2019: Wandering around the ruins of Persopolis, the ancient Zorastarian city of Persian kings and the nearby necropolis where the tombs are carved into the face of a cliff along what was was once a main “highway” of the silk road caravans…



Enroute to Shiraz..


Heading south to the city of poets …


21 January 2019: We turned southward today making a few stops on the deserts edge as we wound our way towards Shiraz. The drive was a long one, but it was well worth taking the time to stop and explore some of the ruins along the route …



The old city of Yazd…


A desert town …


20 January 2019: Spent the day exploring around Yazd in the historical old city with its twisting alleys topped by the iconic wind towers that define the skyline in the ancient district and was briefly the center of attention as a class of school girls stopped to say hello …



On the edge of the Desert…


Yazd is the gateway to both deserts …


19 January 2019: A long drive from Isfahan to Yazd today took us closer to the deserts and followed the traces of the old caravans, passing several ruined and rebuilt caravanserais along the way. The caravanserais were built as stations at roughly the distance a camel caravan could cover in a day. There were two types, urban caravanserais, inside the cities and then the desert caravanserais which were outside city gates and gave travelers a place to stay without opening the cities to strangers …



Exploring a Fire Temple…


Zorastarian Fire Temple ruins in Isfahan…


18 January 2019: On top of a hill on the outskirts of Isfahan are the ruins of a Zorastarian Fire Temple. Though it looks impossible to reach it, the climb is actually do-able, and very rewarding …



Around Isfahan…


Music under the bridge…


17 January 2019: In the city of Isfahan, once known for its beautiful river, the river bed is dry and the iconic bridges serve as meeting points for the locals who get together under the shelter of its arches for impromptu jam sessions, singing traditional popular music and even dancing …



The Hills of Abyaneh…


A stop in the mountains…


16 January 2019: We left Kashan today enroute to Isfahan with a brief stop in a small village called Abyaneh nestled into the rugged mountains on the deserts edge. The landscapes were beautiful in that special “desert meets mountains” kind of way …



Kashan Caravanserai Workshops…


The heritage of Kashani carpet making…


15 January 2019: In a 400-year-old caravanserai turned workshop, natural fibers are dyed the natural way to replicate ancient carpet colors continuing a family tradition. Many residents here are still involved in the production and sale of fine hand-woven Persian carpets and we were fortunate to get some insights into the process …



Hills around Nooshabad…


Herders on the edge of town…


14 January 2019: A brief stop in Nooshabad today where we encountered some shepherds driving their herd of sheep back from the mountains towards days end. The terrain is rugged with high mountains just behind the foothills …



Around Tehran…


Getting around the capital…


13 January 2019: Spent a little time exploring the capital before setting out for our longer journey. Traffic here is heavy all the time and driving-style is similar to Cairo …



Heading to Iran…


En route to Iran…


11 January 2019: Starting a series of flights to Tehran today, with the first segment from New York to Istanbul. Excited about this new opportunity for Silk Road exploration …


PREVIOUS NOTES FROM THE ROAD >


THIS MONTH:

Headed back to the deserts of the southwest for some more fun in the sun and sand…

Advanced sand dune training with Barlow Adventures at the Imperial Sand Dunes in southern California. This three day driving and navigation program focuses on moving safely and effectively through large dunefields. Skills-building exercises are intended to improve pace, line choice and vehicle control, as well as developing precision map and compass navigation technique…



COMING UP SOON:

Learning more about what goes on under the hood via a hands-on “Engine Building Basics” workshop with Pistons and Pixie Dust in San Antonio. During this three day intensive class we will completely tear down an engine, learn about the internal components and how an engine works, and then reassemble the engine ourselves…


Trail Leader training with Barlow Adventures at Table Mesa. This three day series is designed to strengthen skills for leading 4WD excursions, focusing on the many facets necessary to successfully lead a trip, with hands-on practice in group logistics and common challenges. The program starts with a refresher on driving techniques, reading trails and analyzing obstacles, and anticipating how a vehicle is going to react in different circumstances. Day Two is all about recovery, with practice in winching, hi-lift and straps in various scenarios. The final day brings it all together with expedition scenarios and techniques in detail…


Back to Paris to visit friends and familiar places…


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