The Voyage: Roz Savage
Pulling for the Planet: Eric Larsen
01 Aug 2006

On July 1, 2006 Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen became the first people in the world to travel to the North Pole in summer. Traditionally, Arctic Ocean expeditions are launched during the coldest time of year while the ice is still thick and stable. In summer, freeze-thaw conditions, shifting ice floes, slush and melt water pools have deterred polar explorers from attempting a summer North Pole Expedition. Until now. How did they do it?

They pulled and paddled specially modified canoes across nearly 1,000 miles of shifting sea ice and open ocean. It took them 2 months.

As well as being in it for the adventure, they teamed up with Greenpeace to draw attention to the impact of global warming on the Arctic. See their fact-filled website for more info and some fantastic photos.

And how did I get to hear about them? We both use XJournal for our blogs, and we are both concerned about the environment. Eric called me up today to compare notes on extreme expeditions, and we hope to meet up sometime soon.

I'd like to pick his brains about the Arctic, as I have ambitions in that direction. But I'd better get there soon, because it's disappearing fast and I'd rather trek there than row there.

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01 Aug 2006, San Francisco, California

Trip 1: my iTrip, the snazziest little gizmo for playing music from your iPod in your car. It converts the music into an FM radio signal that the car's stereo system can pick up. It made all the difference to my drive up Highway 101. The only bit of bad news? It's illegal in the UK. Transmitting a radio signal, even if it's only the six inches from your iPod to your car stereo, turns you into a pirate radio station.

Trip 2: a hiking trip in the Wunderlich County Park just a few miles down the road from Robert's Nook. This is my new fitness regime - a brisk 5 mile walk/jog/run every day, climbing 1,650 feet and down again, through redwoods, eucalyptus, oaks and fir trees - shady and fragrant. Who could resist a path called Bear Gulch Trail? It makes exercise almost enjoyable.

Redwoods along the Bear Gulch Trail

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Johnny Cash: Heartrending
31 Jul 2006

A beautiful, heartrending song with a video to match. His voice sounds worldly-wise and world-weary, the voice of a man who has lived long and lived hard. Highly recommended.

Click here for the song and video.

Click here for more about Johnny Cash

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Highway 101: Here I Go Again On My Own
31 Jul 2006, San Francisco, California

The last time I drove up Highway 101 was in 1994, in a Mustang convertible with the roof down, my boyfriend (later my husband, now my ex) at the wheel, Depeche Mode on the stereo, the setting sun glaring through the haze over the mountains. We were on a 3-month break from work, and had just arrived in the US at the start of our trip around the world. We were full of excitement and nerves and wonderment at what the future might bring. Yesterday I drove up the same highway, alone, in a Mini Cooper. The circumstances may have been different, but the emotions were almost the same.

I was on the last leg of my journey from San Diego to San Francisco. I'd stopped off in Redondo Beach, LA, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria to see various people - friends, strangers, potential business partners. Everyone I saw had helpful words to offer for my Pacific row - and ideas for more people I ought to meet. It's that exciting stage of planning an expedition, when everything seems possible. Like in '94, I had that feeling of unlimited opportunity and potential. The future lies before me like a new diary, waiting to be filled with exciting news.

I am now esconced in 'Robert's Nook' - a small cottage in the woods in (appropriately named) Woodside, about 25 miles south of the centre of San Francisco. I will be based here for the next 6 or 7 weeks. This is the longest I have stayed in any one place since I left my rented cottage in Emsworth eleven months ago to go row the Atlantic. Already it feels like home.

In Orcutt with Jill and Les - Les was manager of Guns 'n' Roses in a past life, now involved in the Historical Diving Society

Robert's Nook

P.S. I have just watched the video again, and I realised I don't look as excited as I claim to be. I actually AM excited, but am having to concentrate very hard on a) driving a stickshift car on the wrong side of the road, while b) filming myself, and ideally c) not crashing. To look excited as well would have been one multitask too many.

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