A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Parallelin' the Pech

An explanatory note first to all who may be just tuning in, or have not been so curious as to read all 56 previous entries... I am currently back in hot, dusty & safe FOB Salerno, and am still posting photos and ramblings from events two months ago. So sit back, enjoy, and (inshallah) I'll get this journal caught up sometime.

Your thoughts, prayers and comments have been warmly received, and I appreciate everyone who's taken the time to write and let me know what you think. I apologize for my inability to shed any light on the current operation in the south of the country, as I often learn its progress in mostly the same ways that you all can - through internet and TV coverage. Again, these photos pick up where I left off, on a convoy along the Pech River road with some engineers who let me hitch a ride.

The frequent stops along a route-clearing convoy were fine with me, as it gave me a chance to step out of the humvee and soak in more new surroundings. Most likely these boys are trying out their latest learned swears on the soldiers.

Nothing quite lifts your spirits as much as seeing the children at play when driving through their villages. It really is amazing how alike children are the world over when something exciting is happening in the neighborhood. We're like the ice cream truck here...if the ice cream truck had to be wary of mines and ambushes instead of just kids on bicycles.

These are a few of my favorites. I really did enjoy this particular journey along the river road, because of how seemingly peaceful and beautiful it seemed while conflict raged within a couple of miles.

Alas, the combination of a moving, bouncing humvee and a slow shutter resulted in little clarity in some of my attempts. But there were beautiful children and interesting sights in every town, and they would come running from the river, through the alleys, from everywhere to see the convoy roll through. Rock stars in a strange muddy world...

Getting up close & personal with the river I'd heard so much about. The route got pretty dicey in some places, but was nothing compared to what awaited me deeper into the valleys.

Up a slight rocky incline here and there did have its rewards...

Namely, amazing views of the river valley. It amazed me, and others I spoke with in various conversations across these travels, that such a lush region could be so poor, and such a seemingly serene setting could be so rife with hostility. Of course the latter has a great deal to do with the former.

Next up: Changing course again, and how to get across that river?


Anonymous Janet G said...

Capt Dan,

Put up a comment earlier today and then decided after some thought to come and write down all the names of places you have mentioned and actually locate a map and see where everything is. When the news shows Afghanistan, it show Kandahar and a red country - oops, that's outdated!! So thought to become informed for the next installment. Was amazed to find your next installment already there!! I had forgotten earlier that this was not in real time for I got so caught up in the incredible terrain and the idea of you hitching rides and going off on a side trip looking for IEDs that I forgot it was catch up on the past!! Still you and your pals can never get TOO many prayers and good wishes and my thoughts are with you wherever you are, though they will step up some when they actually let you, how did you phrase it, out to play again or words to that effect!! Your pictures as always are wonderful, forget the focus and the children ARE beautiful, the valley so breathtaking and the rocky upper lands as I called them a moonscape, or what I imagine the mountains of the moon to be like!! Thank-you for the pictures and the travelog w/humor. Now to the map!! Blessings...

June 25, 2006 at 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Agnieszka O. said...

Well, I think that they were going to built a bridge...
I have some pictures from over a year ago of the same river. Guys got stuck crossing :-)

June 25, 2006 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Karl Maxwell Sanker said...

"We're like the ice cream truck here...if the ice cream truck had to be wary of mines and ambushes instead of just kids on bicycles." CLASSIC, DEUCE.

June 29, 2006 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

karl maxwell sanker... isn't he the mayor of Bryn Mawr and Ardmore??

June 29, 2006 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't know any of you, but I have a question. I recently lost one of my friends in the Pech River Valley on June 16th, 2006. I was wondering if any of you guys knew him? His name was 1st Lt. Forrest Ewens. He was Army, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). Just curious if you knew him or had any information about him that you could share with me. Thanks,

Ian Hinton

July 7, 2006 at 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I am currently on the pech river road my unit has been out here for about a year. Lt Ewens was a good friend of mine also he was our pl for awhile before the inccident

December 24, 2006 at 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a brigade of combat advisors and worked with LT Ewens on missions out of his vehicle patrol base on the Pech. He was the best out there and always did it right. A friend of mine recently sent a picture of his grave at Arlington - he is missed.

October 25, 2007 at 11:40 AM  
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