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The Cassier Highway

Google Street View are now just about everywhere (which probably includes your gastrointestinal tract), which once again allows me to do a re-run of one of the Pacific Northwest wilderness roads I drove back in 1999 (last year, via Street … Continue reading

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Where the Streets Have No Name

During the autumn and winter of 1987/88 I was living in Calgary, in western Canada. I was 23 years old and hopelessly in love with a girl who didn’t love me. In the subzero temperatures of a Canadian winter, this … Continue reading

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Arctic memories

During various moves over the years a lot of the Alaska trip photos have been lost, particularly shots I took on the Dalton Highway. So, I was delighted to discover recently that Google Street View now do the Dalton Highway. … Continue reading

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The Yukon Queen…

… is of course the name I gave to the No.1 car, after we made a record-breaking drive up to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska. That was in 1999 and since then the book I’ve written about the 2CV Alaska … Continue reading

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Cook’s Overseas Timetable – the end of a legend

In a previous post I talked about the Thomas Cook travel company, and in particular Cook’s famous timetables, the European Timetable and the Overseas Timetable (here). Sadly, the Overseas Timetable was published for the last time at the end of … Continue reading

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Thomas Cook – troubles and famous timetables

Thomas Cook, one of Europe’s biggest tour operators, is in financial difficulty. Cooks invented the package holiday and have been in business for more than 150 years. Cooks are blaming political unrest and natural disasters in key holiday destinations as … Continue reading

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Everyone has an Aeroflot story

Andre and I got off the train at Beijing Central Station, which had one of the biggest waiting rooms in the world, capable of holding 4,000 people. We’d been travelling for three weeks by rail across Europe, Russia, Siberia and … Continue reading

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The Great Railway Bazaar

“He’s got a knife!” cried Andre. Alec had indeed pulled a knife on us, but he was way too drunk to use it. The train lurched across some points. The door to the concertina coupling between the carriages slid open. … Continue reading

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Mr Mouse’s 50th Birthday

When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are Tinny and distorted, the song blared from an array of speakers strung above the street. I covered my ears. A big blue bear stopped in front of me. … Continue reading

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Dance in the Old Fashioned Way

London. A freezing winter’s afternoon. A back street in Soho. Below the bell push a small card said: ‘Young French Model’. The door was opened by an old lady who looked like everyone’s favourite granny. She wore an overcoat and … Continue reading

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Filthy Lucre

The videos we were packing had names like ‘Red Hot Mama’, ‘Two Nuns and a Donkey’, ‘Lactating Lesbians’, ‘Anal Annie’. It was hot, fast sex passing through our hands at a hot, fast pace. In fact, things moved so quickly … Continue reading

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Hookers and Hustlers in Marrakesh

Hussein hissed in my ear: “I can get you anything, girls, drugs, alcohol, camels.” Camels?! I turned away from Hussein, trying to hide my rising laughter. We were in a shop in the Marrakesh medina, where Andre was persuaded to … Continue reading

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Calgary, 12 years later

I took the wheel for the last few hundred miles of the highway to Calgary, which were across a flat, featureless landscape. I felt apprehensive. So did the weather. Huge billowing blue/black clouds hung from the sky. We switched on … Continue reading

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Four Dollar Gallon of Wine

“I’ll take it! I’ll take it!” Andre shouted in excitement. Then he carefully counted out $250,000 and pushed the pile of money across the rickety kitchen table. I picked up the crisp notes and checked that they came to the … Continue reading

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Down and out in Paris and Rotterdam

Andre and I were backpacking in the south of France. After a couple of weeks we found ourselves in Saint-Tropez and had a meal in a restaurant on the beach. It looked like an inexpensive place and we ordered the … Continue reading

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The Commissar of Calgary

“How’d you get a visa, huh, you commie fag?! It’s disgusting, they, they shouldn’t allow people like you into the country, spreading your lies and filth… Jesus, I, why, grandfather Cook laid down his life in World War Two, Billy … Continue reading

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The northernmost truck stop in the world

Located in the foothills of the Brooks Mountain Range, Coldfoot is 250 miles north of Fairbanks and is the half way point of the drive to Prudhoe Bay, on the shores of Arctic Ocean. Originally named Slate Creek, the settlement … Continue reading

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Dying Poets in the Desert

The Mojave Desert is a place of extremes. In the summer the temperature can rise above 130 Fahrenheit (54° C). In the winter it can drop below freezing. The landscape is both beautiful and terrifying, a surrealistic painting of tortured … Continue reading

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Ersatz Bond

The girl watched the comings and goings on the platform. The poetry of departure. I smiled at her as the Ost-West Express began to leave Berlin Zoo station. It was a brisk November day. I asked the girl if she … Continue reading

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Jamie the Love Doll

Delta Junction is the official end of the Alaska Highway, and we rolled into this small Alaskan town on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th August, having clocked-up 1437 miles (2335km) from Dawson Creek, where the highway starts. At the Visitor … Continue reading

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Hitchhiking and the Polish Princess

I think the last time I stuck my thumb out on the side of a road I must have been about 22 years old. A friend and I were hiking in the far north of Scotland, the stretch of coast … Continue reading

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Out of work, broke and seven thousand miles from home

I opened my eyes and could see snow heaped up on the front lawn. Ice sparkled on the window as a wintery sun tried to drag the temperature above freezing. My clothes lay scattered across the floor in perfect chaos. … Continue reading

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Romania under Ceausescu

The Hungarian border guards said we were mad to go to Romania: “It is atrocious country”. Mind you, at that time relations between Hungary and Romania were bad. This was due to the persecution of Hungarians living in Transylvania. Eighteen … Continue reading

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Luck be a lady tonight

On that Sunday morning in Winnipeg it was 14 degrees below freezing and a keen wind seemed determined to make it even colder. Lesley was somewhat annoyed when Tamy and her photographer showed-up. However, when I explained that the publicity … Continue reading

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Drug smugglers on the ferry from Tangier

Abdulrahim had once been a famous boxer in North Africa. However, with advancing years and too many lost fights he’d given up the ring for the bottle. Andre and I encountered Abdulrahim on the ferry from Tangier to Algeciras, in … Continue reading

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