jprichter jprichter

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Jake Richter  Movement | Nature | Meditation| Food | Motorcycles

That's all for now, folks. I am deeply grateful for the experiences had and the memories made while in Vietnam.

We rented scooters from Hoi An and on the way back from Hai Van Pass, we stopped to explore the Marble Mountains. We nearly left before even getting off our scooters. A woman chased us down and insisted that we park with her and continued insisting even after we'd try to be as clear as possible that we were not interested. We find parking and as we're walking up to the ticket booth past a line of vendors selling water and various marble trinkets, vendors are shouting at us, "You buy water!"
The people at the foot of the mountains had clearly not spent much time up in the mountains. The caves, pagodas and scenery were serene and blissful. We imagined what it must've been like to be a monk, meditating for hours in those caves.

Farm land and animals blend in with life. They are everywhere: from water buffalo grazing and milling about near the waterfalls in a national park to pigs along a river within the city borders. Chickens crossed the road. I don't know why.
If you've never heard the sound of a water buffalo, find a clip on YouTube.

Every day on the road was breathtakingly gorgeous. I could not capture the beauty of Northern Vietnam's mountains with my camera. As a motorcyclist, I can't imagine better twisties. Imagine tail of the dragon, only going on for hundreds of miles and with more elevation changes. And that's just the paved roads. We also drove on dirt roads, gravel roads, clay, single track, paved and unpaved paths through rice patties, and alleys through random villages. We dodged other traffic, water buffalo, cows, chickens and dogs taking naps in the middle of the street. We passed scooters, cars, buses, even semis up narrow mountain passes, with ankle height "guardrails" next to cliffs that dropped nearly vertically. We needed to keep our eyes on the road at all times, but how can you, surrounded by so much natural beauty?

City life in Vietnam is an example of emergent order from chaos. Lanes, traffic lights, road signs, even the roads and sidewalks themselves are mere suggestions on where and how to walk and drive. The main thing is to go with the flow.
Food is everywhere and we ate a ton on this trip. Bun Cha is my new favorite Vietnamese food. The best place we had it was in a tiny alley leading up to one of the many marketplaces scattered around Hanoi.

Selling is a no holds barred, full contact sport and the price is negotiable. Before the transaction is settled, you're in battle, but once it's complete, everyone hugs and laughs. The Vietnamese were very hospitable and friendly. They'd pull out chairs and tables from nowhere, move over to give you a seat and have whatever you wanted made to order in record time, from bahn mi to tailored suits.

The idea of traveling around Vietnam on dirt bikes was hatched in the mind of @natemking. His planning and research made this trip, start to finish, stress-free. His balance of decisiveness and go with the flow attitude make him the ideal travel partner. His love of food made sure we feasted on a plethora of local dishes. Also, he's funny as hell. More than once he had me laughing so hard I nearly rode off the side of a mountain.
If you've hung out with @brianrobertradke more than once, you've probably heard him say, "You should probably just do it." Well, he practices what he preaches and that's the kind of person you want on an adventure. He's the guy who pushed our guide to take us on roads even he'd never been on before.
This is the first in a series of posts about a trip to Vietnam I had the pleasure of sharing with these gentlemen. Without them, it would not have happened and they made it an experience of a lifetime.

Woke up at 5am on Sunday to hike 4.2 miles and 4,000 vertical feet up Mt Washington with some friends.
#mtwashington #mountaineering #getoutside #greatoutdoors #nature @coleyallyn @deemaabd

Window's Wintery Welcome

#tbt #winter #wintersolstice

Started climbing Wittenberg Mountain on a cool dry morning. On our way to the summit, Mother Nature decided to make good on that threat of snow. By the time we got back to our vehicles, there were 4-6" of snow.
The cozy cottage we stayed in for the night had a magical fireplace and fantastic views. Good glug, cool company and terrific times.
#mtwittenberg #catskills #catskillmountains #mountaineering

I woke up like dis.

Stranger things happening in a cabin in the woods.
Not pictured: @csarkisgraham and @thacksteadi

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