The Colours of Corvette

Day 2

Day 2 Resslers 2National Corvette Caravan 2014

Torch Red, Lime Rock Green, Supersonic Blue, Crystal Red, Atomic Orange, Arctic White, Machine Silver, Cyber Grey, Le Mans Blue, Monterey Red, Velocity Yellow and (my personal favourite) Black Rose . . . the colours are as exotic and varied as any rainbow you can imagine. And by the time we got to Billings, Montana, there were dozens of every colour.

Day 2 Resslers garageThe highlight of the day was visiting Dave Ressler’s private Corvette museum in Bozeman, Montana. It is so secret, we were not told its location until the drivers’ meeting that morning. There was no address, no signs on the highway. We followed our leaders onto a circular driveway surrounding a lot the size of four football fields. To the side were several large buildings which house Ressler’s collection of 43 sparkling Corvettes – most of them never driven. (Ressler is the gazillionaire who owns most of the GM dealerships in Montana.) Continue reading

Corvette Caravan 2014

 

Day 1

The adventure begins.

It was a misty morning when we set off in our black-on-black 2007 C6 Corvette coupe from our home city of Trail, British Columbia (in Canada) to embark on a very long tour into the U.S. – first driving across B.C. to southern Alberta, then down into the U.S., heading south and east – all the way to Kentucky and Tennessee.

IMG_0140We first heard about this National Corvette Caravan some four years ago, shortly after purchasing our Corvette and getting involved with the Spokane Corvette Club. The Caravan happens once every five years and gathers cars from all over North America (8,000 to 10,000 of them) to converge on Bowling Green, Kentucky, birthplace of this most esteemed sports car. Bowling Green is the Mecca of Corvettes – not only home of the assembly plant but also home to the Corvette Museum. And since this is the 60th year since they started making Corvettes, the caravan is a pretty big deal. Its profile was raised earlier this year when a sink hole developed at the museum, engulfing five or six cars. Continue reading

Postcard from Austria/Italian border: beware of Route 110

Austrian Alps tram

Austria offers the most beautiful scenery. We stopped and took a tram up the mountain for a great view. Lana Rodlie photo

Austrian tram 7

Little farms dot the hillsides. Lana Rodlie photo

Austrian tram 10

A scene right out of Sound of Music. Lana Rodlie photo

Italy mountains

Route 110 may look like a regular road on the map; but don’t go there unless you are really accustomed to driving in Europe. Lana Rodlie photo

Austrian countryside 20

The scenery was breath-taking, if you could take your eyes off the road. Lana Rodlie photo

Italian mountains 4

This was likely the last car we saw as we ventured on towards Tolmezzo. Lana Rodlie photo

This really should be titled: If you’re not going to take my advice, don’t ask.

By Lana Rodlie

“You’ll want to take the road to Villach,” the Tyrolean attendant at the gas station told me when we stopped to fill up at Lienz near the Austrian-Italian border. The GPS in the Ford Fiasco we rented in Frankfurt was no help – it only spoke German.

“But what about this road down here through Tolmezzo?” I asked, pointing at Route 110 through Kotschach-Mauthen. It seemed shorter and closer to the place in the Province of Udine, where my cousins lived.

 “You’ll want to take the road to Villach,” the Tyrolean repeated. “My English no good and so no explain why. Just take road to Villach.”

Since we’d been through Villach on our last visit, we wanted to take a different route – different scenery.

“Oh, what the hell,” my husband said. “Let’s take this Route 110. The map says the road is paved. So how bad could it be?”

I should stop right here and point out that it was ME who insisted on asking for directions. And it was my husband’s decision not to follow the Tyrolean’s advice.

As we ventured onward and upward into the Italian Alps, the lack of other vehicles on the road should have been our first clue that the Tyrolean may have known what he was talking about. But the road seemed fine, at first. My husband had learned to drive on Norwegian roads and we’d driven over Trollstigen a number of times. Trollstigen is a treacherous piece of highway in Norway’s fjord district that hasn’t improved much since the Vikings. Continue reading

Land of Midnight Sun: Helgeland

Norway 2010 158

The Seven Sisters mountains are actually on an island. They rise about 1,072 meters and tower over the landscape all along the coast. Lana Rodlie photo

Norway 2010 093

Midnight sun. Lana Rodlie photo

Helgeland is that section of Northern Norway where the postcard pastures of green valleys give way to stark barren mountains of rock. These massive mountains stand frozen in time, like petrified remains of giant gods, once worshiped as harbingers of rain, fish or thunder. Millions of islands are sprinkled along the coast. As an old Norwegian saga goes – God molded the mountains out of clay and then shook his massive hands, leaving the clay bits – big, small, connected, alone, distant, close – all growing hard in the midnight sun and reshaped by millions of years of washing by the sea. At various points in time, ice glaciers carved through the granite like giant grindstones. Trees on these islands are small and spindly; branches knotted and gnarled, as if shivering from the cold wind. Low bushes sport various berries: tyttebaer (a smaller version of cranberries) and moltebaer (a kind of wild blonde raspberry). And then the mushy green moss which covers everything from walkways to roof-tops, like a warm blanket. It’s an unforgiveable landscape which accounts for the toughness of the Norwegians. I mean if they could eke out a living on these barren rocks, they could live just about anywhere. Continue reading

Life beside a Norwegian sea: Kristiansund

Sunday, Aug. 31, 2013

IMG_2597We are sitting in Dan’s brother’s boat, somewhere off the coast of Kristiansund, a city of about 15,000 roughly half-way up the Norwegian coast in the district of Møre og Romsdal. We are not far from town – in a bay just outside the oil industrial park. Dan and Ove are fishing, pulling in mackerel so fast, they can hardly get their lines back in the water. We were hoping for Sei, my favourite, but there aren’t any here. They would be below the mackerel, I’m told. Sei is known as bluefish or Boston bluefish in North America but the North Atlantic stuff doesn’t get exported there. At least, I’ve never seen it; and I’ve been looking for it for 35 years. Continue reading

Highlights of Hong Kong

By Lana Rodlie

DSCF2308

The city and Victoria Harbour. Photo by Lana Rodlie

Hong Kong is a great stop-over if traveling to China, Southeast Asia, or Down Under. You can get direct flights from Vancouver, B.C. (13 hours in the air) or from likely anywhere on the west coast. We chose Hong Kong (over Beijing, Toyko) last year while on our way to Taiwan.

Of course, googling will find you all sorts of hotels. We hadn’t been to Hong Kong before so depended a lot on Trip Advisor and other such sites. We couldn’t decide whether to stay on the Hong Kong side of the harbour or in Kowloon. There are advantages to both but we chose the Hong Kong side for this, our first trip; and have since made the decision to choose Kowloon next time we go there. Continue reading

Finding China in a Taipei market

 

Asia-bound? Try Taiwan. It’s off the beaten path (from North America) and provides a unique mix of ancient China, cosmopolitan cities, Polynesian influences, and a hint of Japan.

Different from, say, Beijing, where hutongs (old residential alleyway neighborhoods) are being replaced with high-rise apartment buildings; Taiwan is preserving its past and building an ultra-modern state right around it. You’ll see colorful temples dwarfed by residential and commercial towers.

The street markets provide everyday shopping but there is no shortage of big name houses: Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and more.

DSCF3680

Entrance to the Huaxi Street Market (Snake Alley). Photo by Lana Rodlie

The Huaxi Street Night Market, otherwise known as Snake Alley, is in the Wanhua District, the oldest district in Taipei. The entrance is a welcome traditional Chinese gate with red lanterns leading to a roofed mall. The two-block long market is a great place to see local culture. This is where you can try snake or turtle blood, snake penis or deer penis wine (I believe this is the only place in the world that sells it – such a shame!)

DSCF3703

Heading into the Snake Market. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3702

People browse through the snake cages (live snakes). But the sales are actually quite private as they would not let us photograph anyone drinking blood. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3701

They didn’t like us photographing the snakes, either. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3699

Turtles. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3698

Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3697

Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3694

Had to try and sneak a photo of the snakes. We found Taipei people a little camera shy. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3693

Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3691

Look for the Chinese character that looks like a snake – that indicates a shop that sells them. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3689

Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3688

Of course, you should have some veggies with your protein. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3686

Inside Snake Alley. Lana Rodlie photo

DSCF3149

Lana Rodlie photo

Continue reading

Walking through the past in Bergen, Norway

The Gateway to the Norwegian Fjords is a beautiful blend of the medieval and modern

By Lana Rodle

Bergen harbour 2

Bryggen, as seen from the harbour. Photo by Lana Rodlie

First published in the May/June 1993 issue of Cruise Travel magazine; photos in the original article were supplied by Jan Strømme. Photos here were taken by Lana Rodlie in summer 2010.

One of the reasons we North Americans love to travel to Europe is not just to experience the differences in culture and architecture, but to also experience, firsthand, a way of life from the past. With nearly a thousand years of history, Bergen, Norway, is a perfect city to take a walk through time.

Called the Fjord Capital, Bergen is one of the largest cruise ports in Scandinavia with more than 150 cruise visits per year. Continue reading

The Bottom at the Top of the World: diving in Norway

by Lana Rodlie

First published in Viking magazine in August 1993 with current updates.

Photography (in the original article) by Nils Aukan

Atlantic Highway has a weird curve to counteract North Sea storms – photo by Lana Rodlie

There they are – the seals, hundreds of them, basking in the sun, lounging on the rocks, playing with one another. But the perfect view is just out of reach – unless the photographer shifts into a precarious position. Nils Aukan straddles the boat`s railing, trailing his bare foot in the cool water, and leans out, taking picture after idyllic picture.

Suddenly Aukan realizes he`s not the seals`only afternoon visitor; and instantaneously, brings his leg bck in the boat as killer whales speed like torpedoes toward the seals – and him. Aukan pauses just long enough to count nine whales before surrendering the area.

“They came out of nowhere and went for the seals,” he says. Ì don`t believe the whales would have gone for me, but in that terrific speed, I am not sure they would see the difference between a seal and a diver.”

Continue reading