Sep 24, 2014

Projected Route

(Click image to enlarge.)


As I've noted before, my plans are always fluid, but this is the best guess of the route I'll be following from Lausanne to Jerusalem.  My best estimate is that I'll walk 4000 km (2500 miles).  It'll probably wind up being more than that, once I factor in all the times I get lost and have to backtrack.

When I arrive in Istanbul I'll take stock of my physical and financial health, and also the relative safety of the regions along the rest of the route. I dearly wish to celebrate Pascha in Jerusalem, but I'm willing to head home early if that seems to be the wisest choice four months from now.  If I have any sort of motto for this trip, it may well be "No Sentient Risks."

Sep 19, 2014

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

‎Also minivans, subways, buses, and ferries. No rickshaws or tuktuks, but I've covered a lot of ground in the past ten days and it's been a wonderful trip. I am extremely grateful to the Oliver tribe for hosting me in Tennessee, and to James ‎and Pennie for their hospitality in Virginia. I hope to see you all again soon! 

Dulles

I've arrived at Washington-Dulles airport. After looking at various options, my host kindly offered to take a large chunk of his day and drive me up here. It was a nice leisurely drive, although the Friday afternoon traffic away from DC may not be quite as relaxing.

It has been a wonderful ten days of travelling and seeing old friends. I'll have slightly less than a fortnight in Toronto to get my affairs in order before heading off on my next adventure!

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Cyrus McCormick

I freely admit that I'd have never heard of Cyrus McCormick  if not for my friend James. Yesterday we visited old Cyrus' farm, Walnut Grove. This is where, in 1831 at the age of 22, he demonstrated a mechanical reaper. His father had spent more than twenty years working on the idea, and when he gave up working on it, Cyrus stepped in. He built on this and the designs for a similar machine developed b y Patrick Bell of Scotland. Assisted by the family slave, Jo Anderson, Cyrus continued to refine and develop "his" reaper but didn't sell one until 1841. By 1847, they moved production to Chicago -- until then, each reaper was built by hand in the workshop we saw today.


The choice of Chicago was brilliant. As a railway hub, the vast agricultural markets in the Midwest were readily accessible. Shipping through the Great Lakes made raw materials for production cheap and also opened up the international market. In spite of several patent challenges from rival inventors, the company founded at this farm in Virginia went on to become the largest manufacturer of farming machinery in the world.

Sep 18, 2014

Two weeks and counting

I was out for an evening stroll‎ through the soft Virginia night air with my friend when it hit me. Fourteen days from now, I'll be on my way to Paris!

I'm starting to get dizzy just thinking of all the last minute errands I need to run when I get back home. I suppose it's time to start working from a check list.

Sep 15, 2014

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Sep 13, 2014

Coffee and soccer

This being Saturday, two members of the Oliver tribe have soccer
games. On the way to the afternoon game, Fr John asked if I'd like a
coffee. We wound up at Just Love Coffee Roasters in Murfreesboro TN.
They have a good selection of beans and roasts,a knowledgable barista,
a classic rock album on the stereo (Dark Side of The Moon), and two
classic video game cabinets. I haven't seen Centipede in decades!
They also occasionally have live music, as Fr. John has performed
solo acoustic sets there in the past.

The soccer game went to penalty kicks and wound up as a scoreless tie.
Fr. John's son made several really good defensive plays. He may have
been the smallest player on the field, but his speed and grit were great!

Sep 11, 2014

Murfreesboro morning check-in

It's a muggy morning here in Murfreesboro, but no worse than a typical
August morning in Toronto. I'm currently at the weekly homeschoolers'
co-op  based at St Elizabeth the New Martyr Orthodox Church, having
given a brief talk to the middle school geography class. The
multi-coloured plastic Canadian currency made quite an impression!

My hosts have been as gracious as expected, and getting to know their
five children has been a real delight.  Their oldest is a Tolkien fan,
their youngest is a conscientious altar server who's stil too short to
see over the altar, and each one of the five is remarkable and
wonderful.

Sep 10, 2014

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Sep 9, 2014

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Sep 8, 2014

Passenger 24

I've just purchased and printed my bus tickets for the long journey from Toronto to Murfreesboro, TN.  I'm undertaking this road trip to visit some old friends: Fr. John Oliver and his family, whom I met when we were students together at seminary; and James Bailey, whom I met when I was a student of his at college.  Including a four hour layover in Buffalo, it'll be about 24 hours from the time I leave my home tomorrow morning until I arrive in Murfreesboro.  My Kindle e-reader is fully charged and I'm bringing along Early Christian and Byzantine Art to keep me occupied on the journey.

Unless I find free WiFi along the way, I expect to be more or less offline until Sept 19.  I will, however, be bringing along my SPOT Gen3 GPS tracking device.  (This is what I'll use on my pilgrimage to Jerusalem to auto-update my progress through Europe, the Balkans, Turkey, and the Holy Land.)  This is not intended to help me find my way.  Rather, I'll be using it to send automated "check-in" messages to family and friends (and this blog, my Twitter account, and FB) and to generate a map showing my progress.  Starting Tuesday, my Greyhound road trip map will be online here.  (Nothing to see until Sept 9, 2014 at 09:00 EDT.)

Once I return to Canada, I'll have thirteen days to finish off my preparations and say my good-byes, and then I'm off!  Excited? You bet!  Insane?  Undoubtedly.  :-D

* * * * * * *

The title of this post is a nod to a song off the debut album by Whitehorse.  I first heard it when they performed it live in Richmond Hill at a Vinyl Cafe show.  I'd had no idea they would be the musical guests, so I was thrilled at the chance to see these great Canadian musicians sorta up-close and sorta personal.

Sep 7, 2014

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Message:Systems test! Short road trip to the US before the pilgrimage begins.

If you're reading this, then I've successfully integrated my GPS tracker with my blog, Twitter, and FB.  Once I start travelling, my location and links to a map will be included in this message.

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