Far Horizons

Wave Rock, near Hyden, Western Australia, is 110 meters long. Photos by David Bentley

An Aussie friend, David Bentley, recently completed a coast-to-coast journey solo from northeastern Australia to the far southwest in his faithful Troopy (78 Series Toyota Land Cruiser). This article is edited from his daily reports. — Randy Keck

Day 9 (May 15, 2018) — Having departed Kalgoorlie, I'm currently about halfway down the Holland Track, which runs from Coolgardie to Hyden in the southwest of Western Australia. It's another iconic 4WD track which has been...

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David’s selfie and caption: “Big rock, big hat, big chin — David Bentley at Ayers Rock.” Photos by David Bentley

An Aussie friend, David Bentley, recently completed a coast-to-coast journey solo from northeastern Australia to the far southwest in his faithful Troopy (78 Series Toyota Land Cruiser). This 3-part article is edited from his daily reports. — Randy Keck

Day 4 (May 10, 2018) — I'm now at the famous Aussie Red Centre and Northern Territory landmark of Ayers Rock, officially known as Uluru. I had a nice, easy drive on well-graded gravel road all the way from Mt. Dare to...

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Hats and caps cover the rafters in the Birdsville Hotel pub, a welcome watering hole for visitors and locals — Birdsville, Queensland. Photos by David Bentley

David Bentley, an Aussie friend who my wife, Gail, and I knew all the way back in the early 1970s when we were living in Tasmania, is a resident of Queensland and a 4WD freak. He recently completed an arduous, coast-to-coast journey solo from northeastern Australia to the far southwest in his faithful Troopy, a rather rare, long-wheelbase, diesel-engine, 78 Series Toyota Land Cruiser known as a Troop Carrier.

As David’s colorful, slang- and wit-filled reports from the road...

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Fusterlandia, an enclave of colorful mosaics created by José Fuster, is located in Jaimanitas, southwest of Havana. Photos by Randy Keck

In part one of this article, I identified the US Department of the Treasury’s “Support for the Cuban People” travel provision that continues to allow independent travel to the island by Americans, as outlined on the PDF that is downloadable at the following URL: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_fact_.... 

On each of my monthly trips to Cuba from October 2017 to April 2018, I have encountered a few American explorers...

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“People-to-People” tour group members dancing with firstgraders at the Ibero-American Cultural Center in Holguín, eastern Cuba. Photos by Randy Keck

It is my privilege to travel to the fascinating country of Cuba on a regular basis as a tour director, leading groups on educational “People-to-People” tours under a license authorized by the US government.

Along with my experience, being on the ground and behind the scenes makes it possible for me to stay current on most events affecting travel on the island. I also try to remain up to date on the US administration’s policies governing travel to Cuba by US citizens...

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Spree River sightseeing boats pass by the Berliner Dom (in background) on Museum Island in Berlin. Photos by Randy Keck

Berlin had been on my travel bucket list for more than two decades when, in May 2017, the opportunity for a 3-day visit surfaced as the final leg of a 14-day “Baltic States & Berlin” group tour offered by the New York-based tour operator smarTours (800/337-7773, www.smartours.com).

The tour cost from $2,899 per person, double occupancy, including air from New York’s JFK, four dinners and taxes. Traveling on a partially hosted basis, I was part of a group...

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The Estonian National Opera in Tallinn. Photos by Randy Keck

Tallinn, Estonia

The third leg of my April-May 2017 group tour to the Baltic States and Berlin, partially hosted by New York-based tour operator smarTours, commenced upon our departing Riga, Latvia. 

We traveled north along the Baltic coast, passing the important fishing port of Salacgri¯va. Between Riga and the Estonian border, we crossed four rivers that are sensitive, critical habitat and spawning grounds for the prized Atlantic salmon. 

Continuing...

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In Riga’s Art Nouveau district, architecture such as that of this apartment building wows visitors. Photos by Randy Keck

Riga, Latvia

(Second of three parts)

The second leg of my spring 2017 visit to the Baltic States began with a relaxing drive from Vilnius northward through the peaceful countryside of north-central Lithuania and into Latvia, a country with a population of just under two million.

I was traveling, on a partially hosted basis, as part of a group of 15 on a 2-week “Baltic States & Berlin” tour with smarTours (New York, NY; 800/337-7773, www.smartours....

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