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Archive for November 2018

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Geoawesomeness-3DR Aero-M Fixed Wing UAV

The aerial perspective offered by unmanned aerial vehicles is the perfect platform for acquiring highly detailed data for large-scale operations such as farming, construction, and today's project---beach conservation.

Accuracy is the name of the game. It's simple  with GPS, digital cameras and powerful computers. Surveys are within an accuracy down to 1 to 2 cm

These small flying machines have made mapping any area a matter of few minutes or hours, instead of the typical days or weeks it used to take.

Stitch the images together and you generate 3D models. This is Aerial Photogrammetry : Multiple overlapping photos (80 to 90% overlap) of the ground or model are taken as the UAV flies along an autonomous programmed flight path called a waypoint. To overlap photos of an object or land by 80 to 90% would be impossible to complete accurately by pilot navigation.

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Lil'ampton in the Arun District of West Sussex, England lies on the English Channel on the eastern bank of the mouth of the River Arun. The Battle of Britain saw Luftwaffe raids on Littlehampton. Hard to imagine in these tranquil bucolic settings.

I like writing about my travels, but I don’t like the paperwork. So I blog---Literature in a hurry, right?

Last month in Los Angeles, CA, I subscribed to Naturalist John Muir's comment, "With all the roads you take, make sure some of them are dirt" and explored the Santa  Monica Mountains.  This month I am adding  rocky-beach-coastal walks to the mix, as it is Sussex by Sea all week.

Climping has a dune eco system and its rocks.

It's nice to go on a digital diet and unplug with an arural,
primitive and circadian walk along the beach

Chalk and walk in Eastbourne 

Much of the coast of South-East England is Chalk.
Think White Cliffs Of Dover
or  here in Eastbourne's Beachy Head

L.A. to Goring by sea on a portion of the cycling path,
an everyday epiphany.  9.1 miles

All of  Sussex coastline are stones. I have averaged 10 miles a day this week,

The beaches are simply miles of pebbles and there is no sand above normal low tide mark. (At low tide under foot in the sea is sand.)

Rustington to Worthing 13.1 The going is good,leaving no
stone unturned 

A view of Littlehampton Harbour

Kingston On Ferring At the Karma Cafe,
no menu,you get served what you deserve-
Surf and Turf today 8.7 miles

Bognor Regis to L.A. The teachers of beaches-the ebb and flow-
breathe in, breathe out.. 9.3 miles yestreday

A Shore Thing at Kingston Gorse 6.0 miles

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Armistice Day falls each year on 11 November to mark the day in 1918 when the fighting in World War One was stopped. That is 100 years ago today. We reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country.
In The UK Today

At The Beaches of Normandy WW2 for D Day

Our great Uncle Joe McDonald we remember 

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English, why do I have to learn that-I'm never going
to live in England

An Udder Delight

The English countryside is beautiful. I am here on  a small dairy farm-God Save The Cream!

The  core formative experiences that all young people should pursue are : hard work to appreciate the benefits of labor; travel to understand deprivation and want; the power of reading;the importance of nurturing your body. What better place to do it all then on a rural farm in England.

I am reminded of The Law of The Farm, where there are no easy fixes, and where it takes 10 years to become an overnight success.

In fact, Instant gratification takes too long---Adolescence is a gift, perpetual adolescence is just plain wrong. As I came back from my annual trip to America last month, I was hard pressed to see the difference between kids ages 10, 15, 21 or 25.
Growing old is not optional, growing up is. 

The coming-of-age rituals that have defined AmeriCANS since the early pioneer days--learning the value of working with your hands, leaving home to start a family, becoming economically self-reliant–are  nowhere to be found today. "I Consume therefore I am" has nothing to do with creativity and a life worth living. You gotta produce. Material success without fulfillment equals failure.

That dirty, sweaty, achy work you get on a farm builds character- I know, I have dug ditches, cut grass, layed cables, hauled sand and bricks. This farm I am visiting makes me want to celebrate work and service and  guide others out of miliniel boredom.

Just do something!

I chose travel experience to far away places to bulid intentional scar tissue.  What is ethical about a work ethic,  if it doesn't incude that. It makes for resilency and the abilty to persevere under impossible conditions, a kind of mental bodybuilding.

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When we landed in Doha in 2017, things started to take off- We were on a different plane-Call it, business-class tickets to cool with complimentary mojo.

A masterpiece of spirited adventure can be captured in this iconic image of  the invincible Land Rover--- Day Trip  to an Archaeological Site  


The name itself , Land Rover, overtly reflects and recognizes the quintessential  zeitgeist of British indomitability.  That  basic and hardy expression of  simplicity is the key to the vehicles longevity and ours. It goes where roads and maps don't. It survives where other cars can't. 

The austere feeling- of -every -bump- or -jolt in the road,  however, was a far cry from the privileged life of excess and access Sarah, Pam and I enjoyed, glamping around the globe this year; especially in Doha, our home base that served more as an aircraft carrier where we could fly off  on a whim on "missions" to Cape Town, Dubai, the East Coast of America including Oyster Bay, Long Island , the southern half of Britain---- and our favorite place, we refer to as Headquarters, Arundel,which remains a continual source of inspiration and renewal. 

The hotels we stayed at we literally "inhabited"  as they  provided a level of service  matched only by our accustomed standards of excellence onboard Crystal and Cunard.  So, we did a bit of gentrified sailing--- crossing the Atlantic onboard the world's last oceanliner, Queen Mary2 on our  NY to SOTON  voyage. Margaret, Pam's good friend, got voluntold she was joining us and added immense value to the novelty.

We needed a city center for our urban life in our host country of Qatar. The Shangra-La  hotel was our first stop in Doha and it was luxurious but not in a"blingy"way.  The Ritz Carlton and The Mondrain  were impressive day trips but  a bit over the top.   We finally  settled into  a quotidian lifestyle of restaurants--Quick Bites and Cuchina along with  gym access at The Marriott Marquis, in West Bay. The doorman, Goodluck (yes that's  his name) greeted us each day. Grant, The head Chef cooked for us. Osama  ran the health and fitness club and pool area. Amenities alone were not enough. We surround ourselves with new and interesting people with everyday epiphanies and  occasional serendipity.

We made the daily 15 minute commute where we lived at  The Pearl, an artifical island of  over 32 kilometres but we worked it out mid rental agreement,  that it would have cost us $12 a day cheaper if we checked in at The Marriott Residences. The  food, would be included too. 

This was one of those "hashtag first-world problems"--living at The Pearl a beautiful residence but more like a movie set- Lights, Camera Doha! 

We leave  this "Earth on Mars"  happy accidental city, that could be imagined anywhere  but  was created  here in the bare desert.  

We leave  in two days. I'm reminded of that Arnold Schwarzenegger line in the movie Terminator "I'll be back".

Here is a trip report with links to videos, photos and impressions of  our last 365 days:

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When the going was good...
...and you could leave no stone unturned

If you smell something burning, it is my future as a travel writer  going up in smoke-  the future of Voyage Journaling  just ain't what it used to be. Sure, shock and awe omnivore revelations that everything is edible somewhere. Dogs, cats and rats come to mind. I certainly visited enough inhospitable  and  exotic locations, also known as "Human Petri Dishes"(Think GERMS)  from Angkor Wat (What?), The  Philippines to India and Dakar; but they're all STUNTS compared to the elevated sense of otherworldliness---a Travel By Proxy---  given  by Melville, Hemingway, Conrad, Kipling and  of course,  Basho's nomadic pursuits, which I emulate(d) in my own Scandinavian  version of Narrow Road to The Interior, where I had The One Taste ecstatic experience---the  definition of Norway's ecstasy is that I was not doing my ordinary everyday routine....essentially stepping into an alternative reality of waterfalls,misty  fjords and VIKINGS---GeirangerfjordStavinger, even sailing into urban

Oslo,  had a mini- epiphany:"I'm past the point of no return. I'll just concern myself with the best way of moving forward."...knowing there is no absolute grid we live in where things occur independent of our own thinking about it. At the beginning of the day, it's all about possibility, at the end of the day, results.

Carma Cafe-No Menus 

You Get Served What You Deserve

@Sea,I practice(d) my own private religion where the bulk of my soul and spirit has been invested-Call it introspective, narcissistic but certainly NEURO. Nevertheless, Travel bring power and Love back into the quotidian life. 

On land, the ANTS come-automatic Nervous Thoughts... In Los Angry Cars and TODAY at a local Garage, the  subject matter  is just too pedestrian, just a round-trip ticket and  a convenient 24 hours away from "civilization".The napsterization of cutting out the middleman, the tivoization time shifting of on-demand entertainment, the CNN Effect -of a 24 hour news cycle---still I believe in the USER FRIENDLY universe- Chance favors the connected mind. I am not looking forward to a power grid electronic pulse meltdown- it would have the same effect as a brain stroke on my thought process.

 I like writing about my travels, but I don’t like the paperwork. So I blog It's digital narcissism.  Literature in a hurry, right?

The THIRD world's analog eyes don’t see our digital world. But does it matter. Internet or InterNOT? Traveling in places with out "switch" in rural poverty are not voyages of discovery, but rituals of reassurance- I won the lottery! It may be karaoke capitalism but I can still belt out a few notes from Bruce Springsteen hit song, "I was born in the USA"

I do not believe in the church of Hello and BUY, the shared superstition of in-your-face consumerism and the treadmill of consumption that says you MUST purchase freedom in a two week vacation. 

If that makes me a heretic, than don't leave out healthy hedonism. Yet “The more you know, the less you need” is an Australian Aboriginal Proverb some spray paint-solvents-sniffing-dude from Darwin ACTUALLY had that  T-Shirt Slogan on! Shucks, with that kind of thinking, you don't need drugs-you ARE drugs.

Although I write  about these places like a news story, In fact, I am less surprised than I  care to admit when I see "faraway" up close. There is nothing more American than visiting a place and then bitching about it in that UGLY way.
How inappropriate to call this place Planet Earth
 because it is surely all ocean

My touch and go, hit it and quit it ports of call, are  actually more spiritual and mental moments than physical events. The  conclusion: No Noose is good news. The sailing life comes down to three things -- everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention. Furthermore, there are ONLY 3 types of people-those alive, those dead, and those at sea. In fact, the cure for  ANYTHING is SALT-Tears, Sweat and The Sea.The place that I would most like to go? Nowhere-which like the sea, offers a respite from movement and distraction. It is stillness.
Arundel, U.K. And I thought...English – Who needs that? 
I'm never going to England!

Some day I will look back at  posting  to Facebook and Blogger, feel uncomfortable and change the subject. Like drunk dialing friends, blogging  often leaves  me in a vegetative stupor--a  mouse potato in suspended animation-because social media  is somewhere else — the click and mortar-in the cloud, in the ether, worlds apart from the bricks and mortar-RL Real Life.

For sure, but, more than that, the obligation to come back with something new, to report back on landscape, people, cultures, languages, foods, we'd never heard of—is getting harder each time.

 I inhale a whiff of the post mortem...shucks, Alexander the Great was said to have wept when he realized he had no more worlds to conquer. The world is flat.April  is the start of Spring, but as I look out into the cool waters of the English channel, there's no way I am going swimming today  It's 4 seasons in 1day. You don't get climate here, you get weather, and you there's no such thing as  bad weather just bad clothing.

Brighton Beach

A lot of places claim to be unique. 

This one really is. Reminds me of Coney Island,USA  and New York New York---but Brighton Beach is nothing like its sandy counterpart.

Here, you crunch along the seaside instead of walking on it—it’s pebbles all the way.

1+1= Infinity

The hardest arithmetic I've had to master is the one which enables me to count my blessings. It requires a long apprenticeship (Think Gladwell's 10,000 Hours of practice rule or 10 years).

 Cruising around the world, provides a legitimate short cut for taking things with gratitude instead of for granted. Despite the spectacular sceneries and itineraries:The universe is in our head,and not out there separate from us. In actuality, a world of our own making. We are co-creators of our world, and we can effect that world and the world of others, even at a distance. Read MORE
VENICE,CA-Any man over the age of 26 riding a bike should consider
himself a failure--unless of course he is me.It's Failing Better!
Failing Cheaper And Failing Often.

That bike in the window  today reminds me....

As long as I am riding a bike, I know I am the luckiest guy in the world. Don.'t buy upgrades, ride up grades!  

The Metal Cowboys-Fooled By Randomness 

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. It is anarchy without malice It gets you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive.It is not so much a way of getting somewhere as it is a backdrop for randomness; it makes every trip an unorganized tour Read MORE or just CONTINUE reading below

Today In Venice Beach-
The Epicenter of Narcissism 

A Bike And A Prayer 

The bicycle was the GR8est incident of the nineteenth century; the most influential piece of product design ever and the most civilized conveyance around. It is not brain surgery, it is rocket science---the advantages of modern self-powered traffic are obvious, and ignored. Screw BP (British Polluters), This is my Carbon Offset

I am my own engine, converting calories into gas, my bike gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon...and no parking problems.

Why waste your life in friction (cars) when it could be turned into momentum. (Bikes).

Burning Carbohydrates instead of Hydrocarbons today. 

As long as I am riding a bike, I know I am the luckiest guy in the world. Don.'t buy upgrades, ride up grades! SUVLUV is so stone age, so pre September 11th. 

One seldom exchanges anything but "the finger" or names of insurance companies with another driver. The Car inhibits human connection. 

There is an excuse, however, to be made for driving 4x4's. It can be summed up in three words: "This is America." Make it big. The love of bigness, whether we are talking houses, breasts, meals or vehicles, the 'magic' of thinking big is as American as apple pie. 

The Metal Cowboys-Fooled By Randomness 

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. It is anarchy without malice It gets you there and more.... And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive.It is not so much a way of getting somewhere as it is a backdrop for randomness; it makes every trip an unorganized tour. 

Life is too random to be left up to chance.Work to Eat. Eat to Live. Live to Bike. Bike to Work! 

When I ride a bike, I no longer despise the human race. I still must use the rules of the road, of biking, of Einstein's gravity. 

But I am mentally far away from "civilization". The world is breaking someone else's heart: Somebody stuck on the 405 Freeway in Los Angry Cars (L.A.). Land or trying to find a frickin parking spot for 20 minutes.

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. - John F. Kennedy.
Northern Europe is Bike Friendly too
Forget about the Suicidal winters and the reputation for the safest cars on earth. SAAB and Volvo can take a back seat. Stockholm has bike paths everywhere. It's easy to get around the islands that make up the city.

cOPENhagen-Everbody Rides

Amsterdam- Cyclists are everywhere--and you are more
 likely to get hit by one than a car as everybody has a bicyc

Estonia What Am I On? I'm on my bike!

Warnemünde, Germany-the little bike that could
 A LITTLE NostalGIA--- ON THIS DAY- In Year's Past

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