Return to Australia; Unfinished Business

We rode The Great Central Road dirt track (one of Australia’s longest) across The Great Victoria Desert in the direction of Perth. 1600 kilometers of dirt with very little in the way of services, food or water. We had five weeks of outback cycling and camping adventure, followed by a tiny van road trip from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean revisiting old haunts, and both new and old friends.

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Yellow Parachute Test

Several years ago our friend, and inventor, Ed Rios made a prototype drag parachute for tandem use. His stoker, Jane, wisely refused to participate in the test, and of course we volunteered. Stoker Claire wore and deployed the chute which, after a bit of a jerk on deployment, worked to bring our speed to reasonable levels on a descent of Mt. Lemmon just outside of Tucson, Arizona. We loved it! It would need to be bigger for touring less smooth roads, but for day rides, perfect. Ed, how about making it double as a tent fly/tarp?

Capitalism and Happiness Half a World Away

I’m republishing this video from 2009 from our In Search of Shangrila journey. Public discourse about economics, and Capitalism in particular, is distorted by a lack of depth about just what constitutes both. By removing politics, and expanding the conversation to include the people who do the real work of the World’s economic production, we expand our understanding of just how much we share.

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The Wall Street Banker creates wealth with Ones and Zeros on a computer, the vendor at this market in Kampong Chong, Cambodia, creates wealth with sweat and skill. Both seek the same thing, a better life for themselves and their families. Is one superior? Who is happier? Is the pursuit of happiness worthy of being included, and measured, in the world of economics? After traveling 43,000 plus miles around the World at 12 miles per hour on a bicycle, I think it is a worthy goal. Maybe we might just find the vendor is Kampong Chong is just as fulfilled, happy, as the Wall Street Banker. If so how would that change our economic policies?

What do you think?

Ken Steinhoff; Photographer, Story-teller, Road-warrior

Ken Steinhoff and I worked as photojournalists at the Athens Messenger in the late 1960’s. He stayed in the newspaper business, but got bumped up to a desk jockey job, I went on to other things. In retirement Ken went back to what he loves most, telling stories about people, places and history. He posts most of these at http://www.capecentralhigh.com/ We recently got together in Athens and spent a day driving around Southeast Ohio, trying to remember sites of some of our old stories, and catching up. Ken’s new van interior resembles the Volkswagen Squareback he wore out on those same roads. The only difference is it’s fitted with the latest in digital equipment instead of short wave and scanners and the best digital cameras. Oh, and there is more of the driver, and he has less hair than I remember. I’ve aged my share too. Ken has projects planned to keep him busy for the next forty-five years. I hope the road warrior has as many years as he needs. He does really good work. Check out that site.DSCF0527