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Road Trips Best Done by Bike

Three U.S. Road Trips Best Done by Bike

Most people dread the driving aspect of a road trip, especially if you’re riding solo. But that completely changes when you’re taking the road via motorcycle. The adventure hones in on the ride itself, and the destination becomes an afterthought.

We’re reminded of this fantastic quote in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, one of our favorite books about travel and philosophy:

“In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.  On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

Here are three road trips best done by bike:

Tail of the Dragon

Some of the greatest adventures on the open road can be found in the United States. First and foremost, we must talk about the Tail of the Dragon. The name in itself is enough to offer a great deal of excitement and anticipation. This road is more than an enticing name, though. The Tail of the Dragon offers 318 curves over 11 miles of Robbinsville, North Carolina. While this road is a great sight and perfectly suited for an adventure on the back of your bike, it is not for the faint of heart. Even advanced riders should prepare themselves with reliable motorcycle gear and accessories. That being said, If you’re up for a challenge, then this is the route for you.

San Juan Mountain Skyway

Next up we head to Colorado, specifically the San Juan Mountain Skyway. One of the most interesting things about this route is that it is a loop. This is a road equipped perfectly for the biker seeking to take in beautiful scenery and simply enjoy the ride. Because of the loop shape, you can technically hop onto this route anywhere, head either direction, and end up where you started again! Of course, it wouldn’t be Colorado if you didn’t spot some of the nation’s most breathtaking mountains throughout this amazing 225 mile ride.

Highway 1

Lastly, we go back to the beach. The world-renowned Pacific Coast Highway nestled in beautiful and sunny California. The beauty of the Pacific Coast Cruise is not only in its physical scenery and views, but also in its simplicity. It is one road that stretches all the way up and down the coast and overlooks beautiful oceans from southern to northern California.  It stretches from the beautiful beaches of Malibu to the foggy hills of Big Sur to the spectacular Redwoods of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. What a phenomenal way to spend a summer day!

These road trips all provide bucket-list views that prove the adventure is in the journey itself. If you’ve been inspired to hop on the back of a bike, we’d love to hear about your adventures and tips you may have for other riders.

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Plane in Flight

The Secret to Surviving Long Flights

I’ve never known anyone who was a fan of long flights. Sure, there are people who don’t mind flying or who see it for exactly what it is: a necessary part of travel and maybe even, on a good day, the doorway to a new adventure. But even those people wouldn’t be caught exclaiming, “I just LOVE long flights. Everything about them lights me up. The crowded planes, endless sitting, and mediocre meals are just a few of my favorite things!” Even if you travel in the lap of luxury, you don’t do it for the flights. Amirite?

Tips for Surviving Long Flights

That said, there are a number of ways to make surviving long flights possible. In some cases, they may be more tolerable and even, dare I say, moderately enjoyable. Like bringing a fully stocked library of books, movies, and music, for example. Hear me when I say that entertainment is KEY, people. If you’re going to be crammed next to a couple of strangers for more than five hours at a time, the least you could do is make a solid effort to distract yourself.

Books for Surviving Long Flights

If you’re anything like me, you’ll also want to bring snacks. Because nothing says misery like being hangry, and nothing screams misery like paying $10 for in-flight snacks only to be disappointed. I think, because of the liquid limitations for flights, many people think they can’t bring food either. I’m here to tell you that you most certainly can. Better yet, you can bring as much as you want: fruit, chips, sandwiches, gummies, cookies – literally whatever you need to survive.

Choosing your seat wisely is also a strong move, if you plan far enough in advance. At the very least, aim for an aisle, where you can let your legs linger in between the drinks and meal services. From there, you can try to get an exit row, where space is sacred, or even the bulkhead so no one can lean back into your lap. Or, if you like a little risk, you can choose something in the back row, which is usually reserved for attendants who don’t always use their seats, and spread out.

Putting comfy clothes to good use

If any of these options, in your humble opinion, sounds like more effort than they might be worth, then I offer only one last refuge. Listen closely. Ready? COMFORT. It is actually the only necessity for surviving long flights. Justin and I recently shared our favorite clothes for lengthy trips with GoEuro, and the common denominator was being comfortable. (Obviously we want to look decent as well, but that ranks much lower on the list of priorities. Now you know!)

No amount of food, space, or entertainment will do any good if you can’t relax in your small space. So get yourself a comfy pair of pants, and get on the road! Also, tell us what your must-haves are for long trips. We want to know!

 

 

 

 

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Baja Camping at Playa Saldamando

Baja Camping on the Coast: Playa Saldamando

It’s not often that we write posts about the places we call home. As travel bloggers, we’re always writing instead about the faraway places that stole our hearts or are sure to steal yours. It’s easy to forget that travel, exploration, and adventure are not limited to international flights or cross-country road trips, or that adventure doesn’t need to be extravagant to change your perspective. In fact, and especially as California residents, we’re as inclined to explore as much nearby – like Baja camping – as we are anywhere else simply because there’s so much to see.

I probably don’t need to tell you this, but I’m going to anyway: One of the best things about living in California, and San Diego in particular, is the access to all kinds of nature. Not just any nature. Like, ALL nature. This great state is widely known for its giant sequoia forests, its massive snow-capped mountains, its pristine beaches, and, yes, even its sprawling, dry desert. When nature junkies want it all within reach, California answers the call.

Blue at Playa Saldamando

While the climate is usually quite moderate, the temperature rises slightly in the summer months and the streets overflow with visiting tourists. We head fast for the van, but during these months, the nearby desert camping can be less appealing. It’s just too hot for anyone’s general enjoyment during the day. Instead, we recently planned a three-day trip down California for a little Baja camping, where the conditions are blissful and the Mexican food is even better (and cheaper).

Baja Camping

After a bit of quick research on Baja camping, we landed on Playa Saldamando, a privately owned campground just 10 minutes north of Ensenada that proved to be the perfect choice. We were able to make a reservation with the owner, George, in advance over the phone. When we arrived, despite unusual traffic into Mexico (side note: If you drive, make sure to get Mexican car insurance), we found our site roped off and awaiting our arrival.

The Hammock at the Playa

We wound up right on the bluffs overlooking the water, with enough space to accommodate our group of six, and plenty of distance from the neighboring sites to maintain privacy. In addition, each site came with a shade, a garbage can, fire pit, and a small table. Yet we had room enough to park the van, hang our hammock, set up a tent, two tables, four chairs, and play Kubb. It was pure perfection.

Bathrooms at the Playa

Though the grounds had a handful single-stall toilets only a short walk from each site, there weren’t any showers. Luckily we were wise enough to bring our Epic Wipes, which are basically full-sized, personal wet wipes, to wash with. We don’t often miss showering for a few days, but the Mexican sun and the sand require exception, and the Epic Wipes handled the job with grace. By day two, we were refreshed enough to head into Ensenada for more ice (and more beer).

Futball at Playa Saldamando

We spent the day watching other campers play on the soccer pitch, laying on the beach, and watching dolphins frolic in large pods just offshore. Mind you, I’m not kidding when I say the sun is stronger in Mexico, and protective eyewear is essential. Justin and I each have a polarized pair from Vision Direct, and they come in especially handy for trips like this because they’re sturdy and they provide just enough share to see the beautiful views more clearly.

Dolphins During Baja Camping

All in all we got good (and safe!) sun, played in the sand, and still managed to keep clean. Though maybe the best part was on the way home, when we stopped in Puerto Nuevo for fresh-caught rock lobster and one last Mexican coke. It was almost enough to make the hours-long wait at the border worthwhile. Though I’ve no doubt that we’ll return to Playa Saldamando, sunnies in hand, as soon as we can anyway.

Walking to the Playa

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Dominican Republic Travel Tips

Best Dominican Republic Travel Tips

Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is second only to Cuba in the Caribbean.  The Dominican Republic offers picturesque nature coupled with a warm and beautiful culture.  National parks and scientific reserves make up more than a quarter of the landscape where visitors can completely unplug. Still, not far are the city centers where visitors catch a future Major League Baseball player or learn to dance the merengue among the locals.

For an unforgettable trip, follow these top Dominican Republic travel tips:

Go for a Swim

Whether it’s in the Atlantic Ocean to the North or in the Caribbean Sea to the South, the Dominican Republic boasts some of the best swiming spots in the world.  Hailed as a haven for both divers and snorkelers, stunning reefs are often easily accessible from shore!  Don’t be surprised when nurse sharks and stingrays swim at your side, or when, in February and March, you may be lucky enough to catch humpback whales during their migrations.  Be sure to load up on plenty of sun screen and check out one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.

Speak Spanish

Spanish is by far the universal language of the island.  Even if your Spanish skills are fairly elementary, an effort to speak to locals in their native tongue will truly go a long way.  This simple act will usually encourage Dominicans to show their kind and hospitable nature to visitors.  Often, Dominicans will also jump at the chance to practice their English, and conversations can turn into an entertaining mix between the two languages (also known as Spanglish).  Even in the most rural areas, an attempt at speaking Spanish will often get you what you need, giving Dominicans a chance to show how they got their reputation for being incredibly accommodating.

Catch a Baseball Game

Baseball is sometimes touted as the Dominican Republic’s second religion.  Boasting the second-most current Major League Baseball players, the Dominican Republic is home to winter leagues that run from October to January each year.   While the winter leagues are primarily used to develop future Major League pros, many will participate to improve their skills during the MLB offseason.  Taking in a local game gives a glimpse into this diverse culture, where fans occasionally bring their own musical instruments and team flags to the ballpark, creating an incredible spectacle.

Learn to Dance Merengue

Dominican Republic Travel Tips

The Merengue is a beautiful and very quick dance performed to music with a tempo of between 110 to 160 beats per minute.  Folklore has it that the dance originated when enslaved laborers working in sugar beet fields were chained together at their ankles and had to walk in a manner that required them to drag one leg.  There is a wide variety of ways to learn merengue, from one-day courses to 8-week intensive programs, that will leave travelers with a wonderful skill to show off to their friends back home.

From the sands of pristine beaches to the dirt of the infield, the Dominican Republic offers a wonderful destination in the Caribbean for both adventurous and luxury travelers alike.

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Perth Travel Tips 1

Top 3 Perth Travel Tips

Australia’s sunniest city, Perth, is now one of the most visited destinations in the country. This vibrant capital of Western Australia boasts awe-inspiring gardens and parks, museums and galleries, and a whole lot of tourist attractions.

Traveling to this modern city is one great way to spend your holiday with your family or friends. There are tons of things to do in Perth, from catching an Australian Football match to seeing the quokkas on the car-free Rottnest Island. Perth is a dream destination for travellers from all across the globe. With its perfect weather, you can definitely enjoy a sunny day at a glorious beach or simply loosen up by witnessing the true beauty of its breathtaking landscapes with one of their wonderful cappuccinos.

Perth is also one of the most livable cities in Australia. In case you are thinking of moving to another place to plant roots, Perth is an ideal option. When you are looking for land for sale in Perth, you can do your own thorough research online or ask a trustworthy realtor for their advice. They’ll provide ideas about the lifestyle and all the things you need to know about this diverse city.

Perth Travel Tips 2

Here are some essential Perth travel tips to consider:

Accommodation

The first thing that you have to take into consideration when traveling to Perth is, of course, your accommodation.  There is an assortment of desirable neighbourhoods to stay in, from history-packed Fremantle to culturally rich Northbridge. Although Perth is one of the most expensive cities in Australia, you can still find hotels or hostels that meet your budget if you plan far enough in advance or have some luck with a last-minute booking. With many visitors on business travel, prices mid-week can be highest, meaning those coming during weekends can sometimes catch a price break.

Transportation

The best way to explore the entire city of Perth is through its safe and convenient public transportation operated by Transperth. Tourist attractions within Perth, Freemantle, and the picturesque beach at Cottesloe are linked by bus, train, and ferry. Outside of those major areas, your best bet is usually an Uber or taxi. Perth also offers a free bus service around the central business district, which can help you save. Always remember that before using public transport, you’ll want to plan your journey ahead so you know where exactly to go and where to get off to avoid any hassle on your way.

Food and Wine

The multiculturalism of Perth is best explored through its vibrant food scene. There are a great number of restaurants here that offer a variety of cuisines, including local specialties like chilli mussels and western rock lobster. The Swan Valley, located in the hills outside of Perth, offers a wonderful opportunity for wine tasting or visiting some up-and-coming microbreweries in the area.  You can eat out and enjoy a sensational al fresco dining experience or take advantage of the wonderfully fresh produce and cook your own meals to save some cash. Either way, you will most certainly enjoy the delectable dishes and great-tasting wine of Perth.

Perth Travel Tips 3

Each of these useful tips will give you an idea of the most important things that you need to know when visiting Perth.

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