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Old 04-10-2014, 01:53 AM   #166
kuhjunge OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CopaMundial View Post
Just a note to brighten your spirits.

Remember this post from Senegal 3/17:



Someone, somewhere, was watching out for you guys.
Guinea is struggling with an Ebola outbreak, the first cases of which were reported around March 19th (right around the time you would have entered).
If you went through Guinea rather than Mali -> Burkina Faso then you would be in deep trouble because you could have difficulty traveling with that stamp (in that date range) on your passport.

thanks for the cheer-up and the reminder. Yep, we follow the news as well and we are indeed very happy that we took the route through Mali and BF - at least we also got some adventurous moments there
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:15 PM   #167
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Updates??
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:56 AM   #168
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Updates??
we are working hard on the next post ...
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:39 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by kuhjunge View Post
we are working hard on the next post ...
The high quality of the posts makes them worth waiting for. What do you guys have in the green bottles depicted above? Or put another way, how do you guys relax after a difficult leg of the trip?
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:53 AM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin III View Post
The high quality of the posts makes them worth waiting for. What do you guys have in the green bottles depicted above? Or put another way, how do you guys relax after a difficult leg of the trip?
Like right now we enjoy a banana-cinamon-peanutbutter smoothie

A riding day in West-Africa ended typically with plenty (up to 2l) of still water
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Old 04-22-2014, 04:00 AM   #171
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Wink Ghana II - Kokrobite part one

Here we were in Kokrobite, Accra, Ghana looking once more for an accommodation. I heard about Big Milly's and we targeted this place. The place was fully booked for the weekend, the self-contained room for 65 GHS meant that you have your own WC and shower (SC means much more according to western hotel standards - well this was Ghana style;)). The place looked like party and we left happily.



After a short search we found a place (Asaasi Yaa) and our room had many huge windows which guaranteed a constant gentle breeze inside. From our room we were able to watch the play of the waves and listen to the thundering sound of the waves - ♪ that's the way we like it - ahaha ♪ ;)



The first fruit boutique was only a short walk away and the rest could be found in the village – still manageable by foot. The surroundings offered enough possibilities to walk our dogs in not-so-shitty places.We had about 30 kilometres to Accra if we wanted to buy stuff in a supermarket or go to the vet (girls needed to get their Rabies boost).

Sunrise at Kokrobite.

Lyra riehuu. Lyra ist am Zerschen.

And Ulpu loves this play as well.

We got some playing support from the locals.

Survivor - he belonged to the hotel and came with us almost every walk.

Marks of raging waves.

Fascinating play of waves.

Fishing boats.

Colorful fishing boat on beach.

Walking at the beach after a storm.

Beach with plenty of trash from the village.

Kokrobite beach at Big Milly's. Very busy, no chance to play here with girls!

Plenty of high level security around.

Wondering what where those little metal spaghetti on the grass - left overs from burning car tyres!
The place would have been perfect, but there was no speedy network coverage and we had many hours without electricity since their generator was broken. This did not work out for us since we needed to search a lot in the internet. Four nights later we moved 200 meters into another hotel (De Holiday Beach Hotel, though not on the beach!) which we thought off earlier it was too expensive for us.

View from Dampa hill. Several unfinished hotels and houses. The red house on the right side at the beach was our first hotel.

Skippy throwing a stick for Lyra. Survivor was with us. The blue two-floor building on the left side was our new hotel.


The new hotel offered a lot of goodies like a swimming pool at the "Obama terrace", bar, restaurant, laundry, Wifi as well as a games room with billiard, darts and a “business center”. After some discussion dogs were allowed for free, the generator worked well and we also had good network coverage and high-speed internet connection with our USB modem. The room was quite spacious, with fan(s) and A/C, fridge, couch and comfortable chairs. In short, it looked like a great place to stay.

Laundry day. We were not able to agree with hotel staff on costs for our laundry.

Skippy's beautiful back after hard labor.
Reality check:
Our room had two fans (only one was working), several lights were broken and the A/C brought some cooler air, however the unit did not manage to cool the room properly. The Wifi was occasionally working and when it worked it had a slow speed.


On our ninth day we had a flooding in our room as some pipe in the (locked!) kitchen had burst. When I called the reception lady, told her to hurry (her body language was: “oh this bloody white man, what does he now want again!”) since there was water everywhere. She came, opened the room and the kitchen floor was covered with water up to the high doorstep! OK, that was that and the next two hours went with changing the room.



Room flooding.
Each of their rooms had a kitchen and the kitchen of our new room was equipped with no more then a portable electric stove, a microwave oven and a toaster. No dishes, no cutlery and the extra cost for this was 50 GHS! The fridge was moved to inside the bedroom in case the kitchen was not ordered by the customer. Now, during our moving, I asked since we had this trouble, could we get the kitchen space and they can keep the microwave and the stove! There was a huge “no-can-do” attitude in the air and the shy lady from reception asked me if I could move the fridge to the bedroom. I did not do that since I wanted to have the kitchen space. When I moved the next load of our things to the new room some of the “stronger” lady-workers already moved the fridge and locked the kitchen. We kept on mumbling about that and at some point later – we must have been complaining enough – one lady came and opened us the door :)


That was a nice gesture, but did not help much in the end, then no matter how we turn this coin around our hotel sucked. It did so most of the time and mostly in small things, where the hotel staff gave us a real hard time. It felt like “nothing” worked. The hotel water system was leaking somewhere and thus the staff decided to switch off the pump. If we wanted some water we always needed to ask “please put the pump on”.

Magnificent colors of nature.


Colorful lizard enjoying the heat of the sun.
Then there was a two-day period of “low voltage” which meant that heavy motors such as air-conditioning and pumps did not get enough current to start. The voltage went so low that even the fans stopped rotating, the TV went off, our fridge was hotter inside then it was in the room and most of the energy saving bulbs in our room did not go on.


The staff made no visible effort to look after their guests. Nobody asked whether we need a candle or a pocket light. After one of our plenty of complaints we got a bucket of water for washing. Next day, a lady came to ask for the bucket and Skippy asked whether she will fill it and bring it back. The answer was “yes” and yet the bucket vanished and we only got another bucket next day after we complained again for a few times.




The change of towels had been such that we gave our towels to be changed and the worst case was, that several hours later we got new ones and the bathroom floor towel 5 days later (staff explanation: it was not dry yet). We only asked for room cleaning once a week, because we tried to keep the room as clean as our home. The first service went ok after that it was really lousy because the hotel's two vacuum cleaners were broken and thus the ladies could only clean our carpet with a brush! Imagine that – good luck to get the beach sand out of the carpet with a brush! The lights in the shower, corridor and (1 out of 2) in the bedroom were broken and were not fixed within our entire stay (almost 4 weeks).

Suzi got a new drive chain and sprockets (14/47).


Right mirror still needed fixing.

The business center had a printer and two desktop PC's. Both PC's were broken and did not boot up. I was able to get the printer working once before it went to printer heaven. The games room offered an Xbox (without power cable) the other desktops without power cable, the billiard table was bent on two sides which made the play rather hilarious and amusing at the same time, besides the fact that the balls bounced to the tiled floor whenever they made it into a hole. The swimming pool water looked very greenish starting at Mondays before it got cleaned on Thursdays for the weekend.


Then the generator failed in the time of the low-voltage. This lead to a very hot room during the night. Next morning we had to go to the US embassy to apply our visas and girls were alone in the hotel room. The staff must have closed the windows as Hertta was missing Skippy and informing the neighborhood about her misery. The aircon was off, the fans were running on idle speed and thus the room was quite warm. When we came back we got worried about Hertta, because she felt very hot and yes, she had high temperature, however apparently not yet in the critical limit.




I think the fact that so many things did not work in the hotel and yet they demanded full price was something that gave Skippy the rest. I was also not happy about this, however I tried to tell myself “This is Africa and I am here on free will”. Well, it did not work that well and I WAS counting the days to get out of here. I am working on my mental models and try to get me to a level where I basically have no expectations whatsoever and are asked to pay for whatever a high price. That would help me to not get angry and upset and thus lower e.g. my blood-pressure ;)


IMO, the tension started to show also between us in our everyday life. It was not easy to stay “cool” and “behave” when the nerves are surfacing almost every minute...



Drying laundry - Ghana style.



Maybe this is something for folks who work with electricity

Ever heard of digital AC? Well this is how it works:

- city electricity cut -> lights off

- 5 minutes later: generator on -> lights on

- 8 hours later: city electricity back -> generator off -> lights off -> lights on

- 2 minutes later: city electricity off -> lights off -> generator on -> lights on

- 10 minutes later: city electricity back -> generator off -> lights off -> lights on

- 5 minutes later: city electricity off -> lights off -> generator on -> lights on

at some point the city electricity went back on for the day -> generator off -> lights off -> lights on


Has God the answers to my problems? Maybe I should have consulted the presiding bishop?




Some of the De Holiday hotel's staff.



Beautiful colors of nature - a delight to watch.

The first 7 kilometers from Kokrobite to Accra equaled a ride to hell and were another test drive for the bike's suspension system. Plenty of potholes and some deeper and bad segments, which were under water for one entire day after a heavy rain shower. A few days later people shuffled sand and stones around in one of those deep spots. When we returned from the city they had blocked the road in order to collect money. Ignorant and stubborn as I am, I found a little hole on one side, gave good throttle and we were through without paying. Plenty of yelling behind us. I could not help myself, I just hated such kind of give-me-your-money situations, potentially I am developing an allergy by now. It might be normal here thus most likely not at all legitimate but who cares about that here anyway?


Kokrobite main-crossing - typically blocked by taxis.

Another church assembly.



Just before my birthday my package from Germany arrived. That was a super speed I must tell and I was very happy! Rudi, nochmals vielen Dank für deine Hilfe und auch für die deiner Eltern!! On top of that I did not have to pay any customs – an extra birthday present. The delivery of the package was Ghana-style. The UPS guy called me and asked when I would come to Accra to get my package. I was kindly asking in return how about delivery to my hotel? In the end we agreed to meet at the toll gate of the main street. After arrival the guy admired my bike, gave me the package and left. No signature, no ID-card required. Well, I did not care since I got what I wanted :)
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Old 04-22-2014, 04:01 AM   #172
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Wink Ghana II - Kokrobite part two

Skippy decided to start to study and become a "nutrition counselor". Happy girl, she got her study material also with that package.

Skippy on her way to become smarter :)

We went to university campus on our search for a laundry place. Nice green areas with almost no litter.

Skippy got seriously attacked by mosquitoes in our 15 minutes walk there.

Tasting local food at "Time Out" at campus (rice with veggie sauce). That was good!

We found vegan ready food at Shoprite.
We went twice to the Vegetarian Health Food Center for lunch:

Bambara Beans with Kakro and salad (we both liked that one).

Fufu with groundnut soup (I did not like it - very spicy and too starchy).

Banku (corn starch) with Okra Stew (spicy and too much starchy stuff).


OUR NEW MASTER PLAN



We really wanted to go to South Africa and we did a lot of checking with immigration officials in South Africa and Namibia about how to get the dogs into the country. In the end there was no way to avoid a quarantine of 14 days. Whether we would fly direct from Ghana to South Africa or from Ghana to Namibia, always a quarantine would apply. Since in none of the countries we would be allowed to visit our girls we feared for the worst with Hertta. The Vet would anyway make us sign a letter in which they would take no responsibility of the health of dogs during quarantine. We did put the life of our animals at priority number one and as we stated earlier “if a country does not want us, we will not go there” and thus this meant good-bye to Africa!




The question was where to go next: South America? North America? Australia?




We both felt that we wanted to go back to a western civilization. Brazil was out of question due to the upcoming world cup. Australia was on the “wrong” side and would mean high shipping costs. This left us with North America and why not start with the USA. Folks, here we come! We will be riding through the US until next spring (2015) when we want to visit Canada. Everything after that is tentative (as all plans are tentative... ).




ALL HINTS FOR GREAT ROUTES AND CHEAP ACCOMMODATION ARE WELCOME!




And this is how it looks on the map.


Wolfi's new master plan (Red - done that, been there. Yellow - planned air/sea. Black - planned riding. Dotted black - Skippy does not want to go there right now). Skippy's comment: “this is Wolfi's plan, as I look only one country ahead”.

Now we had to get visas for the US. The application process was very cumbersome compared to other visa applications we had so far. First we had to fill in an online form with huge amount of questions and then go to the bank to pay the visa application fee (anybody ever heard of credit cards???). After both things were done we could apply for the interview time (you need both codes in order to get a time slot). Bad timing or what, but we needed to wait for 4 days (weekend was coming) before it was our turn.
We made it through the Monday morning rush-hour and arrived at the embassy's first check-point “do you really have a time slot today”. Second check-point was to remove all dangerous items such as wrist watches, mobile phones etc.! Then there was a registration counter where we got a number and once it was our turn we could continue waiting in the air-conditioned waiting area.



We got to the counter and even though the system approved Skippy's digital photo, the lady did not and thus we needed to get new pictures for Skippy. Done that and returned straight to the counter. After this there was another counter and that was it – some 3 hours later and the applications were filed!


Boy cut us coconuts - those coconuts were really delicious.

Brick factory nearby the hotel.

I got my year-on-earth-counter increased and Skippy wanted to make some delicious birthday cake for me. The first efforts lead to a dead end, because we did not find many of the required ingredients and those which we found had visibly dead bugs in! So she used her magic and made a raw cake with what we had. I liked it – thanks my love (see video)!


I made me a present and we went to see Noah in the cinema nearby. It started Ghana style again as the taxi which I ordered from the guard did not show up. The next shift of guards was already on duty and now he called us again a taxi. The taxi ride to the cinema was equal to a good horror movie and any ghost ride roller coaster could use this experience to create the next generation effects!


The movie started in time and we were - thanks to our desolated taxi driver - 10 minutes late (he missed the first turn, gave us some extra sightseeing and we needed to wait for quite a while to make a U-turn on the highway). After about 25 minutes enjoying the movie in a freezing cold theatre the electricity went off and it was all dark. This was our first movie night in West-Africa and we did not get disappointed! Some minutes later the show continued

The theme of the movie fitted to us as this evening took a sad ending. We were almost at the hotel when our taxi driver did not do any attempts of breaking the car when a dog run over the busy and narrow street of the village. We only heard a muffled hit and then a loud howl of the dog. Skippy started to cry, I was all in shock and started yelling at the driver who did not get at all why I was yelling at him. A little bit later I told him to stop the car as we got out to walk the rest to our hotel.
It seemed so schizophrenic to hear the “Hallelujah” chants from the radios, to see nearly every 20 meters a sign of religious assembly and yet people show a lot of greed (we hear typically on every walk “give me your dog” and on every ride “give me your bike”) and no compassion for other creatures around them!!! Noah's struggle came into my mind whether mankind was worth it and should be allowed to continue to destruct this planet.




That accident made me really sad and I became more pissed at myself that I did not react instantly to tell the driver to stop and check on the dog to see whether something can be done. If there will be a next time, which I really hope there will not be, I will try my best to act more responsible in future!

Nice looking flower besides the road.
I started to browse a little bit through the Southern Africa travel guide which was in my “birthday” package and came to realize by reading that Southern Africa appears to be similar to West-Africa when it comes to trash, services, availability of water, electricity, internet etc. So I try to find some more positive aspects in life in order to survive our remaining days in Ghana. Lets start a few “if's” to look at the bright sides ...

  • If we would have traveled first to South America, we might have been in Chile experiencing the earthquake or the great fire and we avoided the milk poisonings in Brazil – well, ok we don't drink milk
  • If we would have traveled through Guinea, Sierre Leone we might have become infected with the Ebola virus.
It was always good to remember that we were here on our free will (still did not help that much).




Another positive thing was the non-existence of traffic rules. It made the driving itself very many times fun.



A typical dialogue while waiting at the red traffic lights when a guy approched me.
Guy: I want money.

Me: I want money too.

Guy: Give me money.

Me: Give ME money.

Guy: I need to buy food.

Me: I also need to buy food.

He started to look a bit puzzled, the lights went to green and off I went :)



The hotel issues were in fact not our biggest worries. Hertta stayed hot and we measured her temperature - it was over 40C which meant she had fever and it did not come down. She also stopped drinking and eating, and started to have troubles with walking and standing.



The manager informed us two days before Easter, that the hotel management increased the room rates some days ago. The new room rate was 110 GHS instead of 85 GHS - that was an increase of 29%! The reason were the high water and electricity costs (of course, nothing to do with the fact that things did not work i.e. constant water leakage and the large amount of lousy staff. I would have loved to offer my business coaching services here!). When we checked in we agreed on a rate of 85 GHS for our stay, informed that we will stay 4 weeks (+/-) and paid always one week ahead.




The shy receptionist told me blank to my face that the room rates have not increased! They are still 36 USD, it is only the exchange rate which has changed! WTF - HELLOOOOOO - anybody at home??? During the negotiations I could not hold myself anymore back and had to give my negative feelings some air, so I went outside the reception and made my loudest ur-yell I could do (it was that loud that other workers came to look what happened). It really helped (try it out yourself!). My old boss and several work colleagues remember for sure :)


When we went to the vet that day, he diagnosed Hertta with tick bite fever (similar to Malaria for humans with death most certain). Hertta got 1000ml of IV sugar/salt liquid as well as three shots, and antibiotics for 14 days. Her temperature was back to normal in the evening. We were relieved and Hertta started to wave her tail again. MEGA SMILE :)


We did two rounds of negotiations with the manager and 100 GHS was the hotel's last offer which we kindly refused and informed that we will leave the next day. Next morning at 6:30, the night guard was still on duty and I paid him for our last three nights - 85 GHS per night, we left the hotel as we had to go to the vet again to check on Hertta. We used the coolness of the early morning and the low traffic to ride to Accra before we came back to Weija to settle in our third hotel in Accra area.


Full moon in Ghana.
Enjoy two more travelogues made by Skippy - number 14 and number 15.




Links related to the travelogues:
The Surprising Health Benefits Of Going Barefoot
Why walking barefoot is good for your health
Learn the skill of barefoot movement
FREE web application for tracking your nutrition and health data


~ Wolfi
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:03 PM   #173
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Well seeing as you are coming to the US now, I hope you are scheduling your Canada/Alaska portion during June/July/August period. Snow and other really nasty weather could really put a damper on the Dempster otherwise.

If you are crossing Washington state Hwy 20 from Mt Vernon to Omak is a must ride road in the summer months. Absolutely beautiful.

You should have no problems at all taking your dogs between the US and Canada, my sister does it all the time.

Also no problems finding Vegan stores in the Seattle and Portland areas. Eastern side of the state where I'm from, not so much but you can get by.
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:44 PM   #174
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:50 PM   #175
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Thumb First things first

First North America - it's quite big, has plenty of great roads and things to see

Vegan shops - that's what we hope for ... actually we miss organic fruits and veggies, so lets see what is the reality in cities and then in the deep country side
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:56 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by kuhjunge View Post
First North America - it's quite big, has plenty of great roads and things to see

Vegan shops - that's what we hope for ... actually we miss organic fruits and veggies, so lets see what is the reality in cities and then in the deep country side
Expect good vegan-organic choices in urban-subburban areas, but in the rural areas you may be out of luck.

As a tourist, finding the right places could be difficult, even in urban areas.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:04 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by kuhjunge View Post
First North America - it's quite big, has plenty of great roads and things to see

Vegan shops - that's what we hope for ... actually we miss organic fruits and veggies, so lets see what is the reality in cities and then in the deep country side
This will help: http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:44 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by kuhjunge View Post
First North America - it's quite big, has plenty of great roads and things to see

Vegan shops - that's what we hope for ... actually we miss organic fruits and veggies, so lets see what is the reality in cities and then in the deep country side
I travel a lot and it is getting easier and easier to find good organic fruits and veggies. I do not shop at them, but Wal-Mart is the biggest organic produce seller in the world and there is one everywhere.
In my fourteen years of veganism it has changed so much. I can find stuff almost anywhere.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:41 AM   #179
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Wicked Happy Anniversary - 365 days on the road! / Onnittelut - 365 päivää tien päällä!

It's hard to believe we've been already one year on the road and yet we've been ONLY one year on the road. We've traveled through 27 countries in Europe and Africa. We have seen and experienced a lot and realized how much more there is still to experience in the places where we have been. We've been riding in hot, dry, snowy, rainy and stormy weather, experienced smooth asphalt and gravel roads and tracks where one better go by donkey. All five of us have more and more grown together as one family. We have learned to know better what we want and what we don't want. For example, Wolfi wants to have more adventure riding, whereas Skippy wants to see CLEAN and beautiful nature with solitude, and regretted to come to Africa. We are both in full adventure mood and could not imagine right now to be working all year with only six weeks of vacation (sorry folks)!


Right now we are both excited to see what the next year and North America will bring...






Es ist kaum zu glauben, wir sind jetzt schon ein Jahr unterwegs und doch sind wir erst ein Jahr unterwegs. Wir sind durch 27 Länder in Europa und Afrika gereist. Wir haben einiges erlebt und stellten fest wieviel wir noch nicht gesehen haben. Unser Reisewetter war mal heiss, trocken, verschneit, verregnet und stürmig. Die Strassen waren alles mögliche vom besten Asphalt über verfurchte Sandwege bis hin zu Pfaden auf denen man besser mit einem Esel weiterkommt. Wir sind mehr und mehr als Familie zusammen gewachsen und haben uns selbst besser kennengelernt. So will zum Beispiel Wolfi mehr Abenteuer erleben und Skippy möchte gerne SAUBERE wunderschöne Natur und Einsamkeit erleben und bereut es dass sie nach Afrika kam. Mit Volldampf voraus wollen wir ins nächste Abenteuer und können es uns zur Zeit überhaupt nicht vorstellen einer regulären Arbeit mit "nur" sechs Wochen Urlaub nachzugehen (Liebe Leser - Entschuldigung ;) )

An diesem Tage sind wir beide sehr gespannt was uns das nächste Jahr und Nord-Amerika bringt...


Vaikea uskoa, että olemme olleet tien päällä nyt tasan vuoden ja erityisesti kyseessä olevan VAIN yksi vuosi! Olemme matkanneet 27 maan läpi Euroopassa ja Afrikassa. Olemme nähneet ja kokeneet paljon, ja ymmärtäneet kuinka paljon olisi vielä koettavaa käymissämme paikoissa. Olemme ajaneet kuumassa, kuivassa, lumisessa, sateisessa ja myrskyisessä säässä, kokeneet kaikkea tasaisen asfaltin ja sorateiden väliltä ja myös teitä, joille on paras mennä vain aasilla (tai eläinystävällisesti kävellen ;)). Me kaikki viisi olemme kasvaneet enemmän ja enemmän yhdessä perheenä. Olemme oppineet tietämään paremmin mitä haluamme ja mitä emme halua. Esimerkiksi Wolfi haluaa enemmän seikkailuajoa, kun taas Skippy haluaa nähdä PUHDASTA, kaunista ja rauhallista luontoa, ja katuu Afrikkaan tulemista. Olemme molemmat täysin seikkailu tuulella ja emme pysty enään kuvittelemaankaan "normaalia" työvuotta vain 6 viikon lomalla!


Juuri nyt innoissamme odotamme mitä seuraava vuosi ja Pohjois-Amerikka tuovat tullessaan...









At the inner yard of our hotel in Accra.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:12 AM   #180
WhicheverAnyWayCan
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kuhjunge, depending on your definition of 'organic'. If it is naturally grown with the minimum/zero of chemically fertilizes, there are pretty good # organic farmers found in the rural and I am more than willing to bet they will be VERY happy to put up with you two (and your dogs) for a night or two!! I am most certain that google can help you find a forum or member database of organic farmers here in the USA. Also, usually each city has a Farmer Market where farmers of that county will come to sell their produces on specific day of the week.. usually 2 times a week (one on weekday and on Saturday).

Here are couple I found but google will come up with many result.. depending on your preference?? Local Harvest & WWOOF of USA
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