Saturday, June 4, 2011

OTBR: On a Qatar Sand Dune

Latitude: 24.9029 N
Longitude: 51.5220 E

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".


  • on a Qatar sand dune ("an easy drive in a 4x4 after lowering tyre pressures")
  • in a valley next to a small town outside Calgary, on the far side of a river that could be forded ... if your car has two feet of clearance
  • in a meadow in Estonia, reached by foot after a pleasant bicycle ride
  • in Phoenix's South Mountain Park, with scenic views, fast moving bicycles on the mountain switchbacks and a large lizard sunning himself within the scoring circle
  • in blackberry brambles at the foot of a staircase leading to Washington's Bellevue College
  • outside of a several-blocks-long brick structure with no obvious markings, a garage for Washington DC Metro buses
  • northwest of Melbourne, in very green forest with moss covering all the rocks, in the Castlemaine Historic Diggings ("The ground was littered with a lot of quartz. No Gold this time!")
  • behind a fence in a sand and gravel pit in Nebraska
  • in Oregon, up a steep hillside with no paths, not even any animal trails, and covered with dense, head-high vegetation, and poison oak shoots everywhere ("No thank you!")
  • in a suburb of Phoenix, in a neighborhood of single family houses with tile roofs and adobe painted in desert pastel colors
  • in a farm field in rural Missouri in an area where suburbia is encroaching
  • in a very rural residential community in the Appalachian foothills, on a property flying a large black flag with skull and crossbones
  • on a golf driving range in a Los Angeles suburb, with small greens with flags and a few bunkers
  • in front of a 3 car attached garage in a residential area near the westerly reaches of Minnesota's Lake Minnetonka
  • at a house in Macedonia, Ohio, right about where a boat on a trailer was parked
  • in Finland, on the shore of a artificial lake, which formerly was a pond for a fish hatchery
  • along a small track on the edge of the Kororoit Creek gorge a park in the western suburbs of Melbourne
  • and somewhere in Uruguay along a concrete road but scored on a night too dark to see anything ("the smell of pine wood was fantastic")

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