Another great riding day in Thailand
|Travel From||–||Dansai, Thaiiland|
|Ending Location||–||PhitsanuloK, Thailand|
|Miles Driven Today||–||190 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||13962 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos, Thailand|
With tomorrow’s ride, in addition to the trip into Bangkok the following day, I will have completed about 14,300 miles, which is short of the 16,000 miles I expected to complete. Certainly, part of this, perhaps 1000 miles is due to my illness and hospitalization. And yet another part was that I learned that, once I arrive in a city, I will have little desire to put on my riding gear, and go visit local sites.
But, still, riding 14,000 miles is more than 1/2 way around the world, and I’m proud of this accomplishment. I’ve learned so much about myself on this journey, and I now know what it is about riding that I love, and what about riding that I can do without. I have an excellent feeling for what type of people I enjoy riding with, and what type are too dangerous, too arrogant, and simply care about little but themselves.
I’m fortunate that back in the Charlotte area, I ride with a great many folks who are good, decent, people, who enjoy the ride and the BMW atmosphere as much as I do. I look forward to my next ride with all of them, but I fear that with the Winter coming, and my bike expected to be in a shipping container until about the end of the year, that I’ll have to wait until 2020.
In the meantime, I’ll begin planning all of the wonderful trips that we’ll be taking in 2020, and which seminars I’ll give at the next BMW MOA rally.
A few thoughts
I really enjoy writing this blog, and I especially enjoy the feedback and comments that you all provide to me, as friends, as riding buddies, as business partners, etc. So, I try very hard to be sure to stay true to the original intent, which was to tell the story, day by day, over time.
I have to admit that I’ve found this objective or goal to be daunting at times. Daunting, not because I’ve ever lost my passion or failed to get enjoyment out of writing. Quite the contrary. In fact, I still enjoy this as much today, as I did on day one, perhaps even more. But the fact remains that maintaining a blog like this requires having an efficient way to take and render videos, and to go online, and publish a rich blog, full of pictures, videos, and other content.
The problem is, and has been through much of this trip, the world outside of the US and Europe is often crippled and unaware of how desperately behind they are in providing the simplest of Internet access capabilities.
For example, as we’ve all see when we’ve visited hotels in the US, the process of getting connected to the Internet should take about 60 seconds, maybe a little bit more in some cases, but it should be amazingly fast. Across my trip, and these last 105 days, I’ve found that this simple process can often take 2 hours, only to discover that the Internet is slow, or has very limited bandwidth. Which then causes me to spend 5 minutes saving a blog page, instead of 15 seconds to save the page.
So, over time, I’ve adjusted my strategy, trying to figure out how to get the information out, while not spending too much time trying to post videos and pictures. And so, even in Lao and Thailand, we’ve experienced issues with the Internet, which cause me to suffer with inefficiency and time delays.
For example, in the hotel in Vientiene, the Internet/WI-Fi in my room was so week, that I would connect and disconnect every few minutes. In the hotel in Vien Vieng, I had to sit in the lobby in order to be able to get any usable signal at all. And so, today’s post, like the last 3, is published with the knowledge that I wanted to tell the story, but not to agonize over the lack of videos.
That said, the video of coming into Thailand over the Freedom bridge is heart warming, and the videos of some of the rich souls in Thailand will bring a smile to your face.
So, I make today’s post, and over the next few days, I’ll try to publish the missing content, and as before, I’ll let you know when I’ve uploaded new videos and pictures.
To be honest, Christopher, Isabella and Toni are scheduled to arrive today and tomorrow, so I’ll certainly focus on them, rather than on the Blog, but I’m sure I’ll have some quiet time for the Blog.
Thanks again for listening…
We left the hotel at 8:30 AM, but the riders self-organized into two separate groups. The second group, leaving about 10 minutes after the first. Karin, Stephan, Ralf and I were the riders in the second group
Yesterday’s ride was great, and for today, we would see a seemingly endless run of curves, over great pavement, with some elevation change. Overall, the elevation change was not significant, but the road along this route seemed to go up and down, over small mountains of no more than 1000 feet of elevation, but we’d go up, then down the other side. Over and over, the route delivered these fantastic riding conditions.
Unfortunately, there were some turns that had decreasing radius, and others that had a bit of gravel, so we would all need to take care, if we wanted to stay safe.
At about 10:45 or so, we came around a turn, and met up with the lead group at a waterfall. I did not go up the trail to see the waterfall, but instead, we met and talked with a couple of Australian bikers, who were now living in Thailand, and had both taken Thai girlfriends or wives. One rider was on a Harley, while the other was on a Kawasaki Versys, which is a 1000 CC bike, configured like a Road Touring bike, much like the BMW RT, but a little bit more oriented toward the Adventure Bike category. The Versys seemed like a good choice for these roads, but the Harley must have been a handful.
We arrived at lunch at about 12:30, and as we rode in to town, and prepared to park, it seemed that something was wrong. Within a few minutes, we learned that one of our riders had miscalculated one of the turns, and was surprised to come upon some gravel. He ran wide in the turn, and slid off the road. Apparently, no one saw the accident, but other riders came upon him within 2 minutes, and helped him up, and back on the bike.
The rider was not hurt, but the bike sustained minor damage. It seems that the shift lever was damaged, but that is a minor price to pay for something that could have been much more serious.
Lunch was ordered for us, so we all received an order of Pad Thai, which was really quite good. Lunch was quick, and we were back on the bikes, hoping to finish the final 100 miles as quickly as possible.
The afternoon ride
The afternoon ride delivered more of these near-perfect roads, and it seems that just about everyone enjoyed them a great deal.
As we headed toward the hotel, we knew that Karin’s bike would need gas, and I decided to also fill up my bike. So, with about 6 miles to go before the hotel, we stopped at a gas station and filled up.
We arrived at the hotel at about 4:30. Karin, Stephan and I were likely the last 3 to arrive, and we grabbed a beer, unpacked and headed to our rooms. I stayed in the room until Dinner, finalizing plans to meet Toni tomorrow, and working through logistics for Christopher and Isabella’s arrival the following day.
The hotel is quite nice, although it is in a section of the city that is under significant construction, and accessing the hotel proved to be a bit of a problem, but Stephan made all of the right decisions, and we arrived at the front door without any difficulty at all.
Report from the road
What will tomorrow bring
Originally, we were scheduled to ride into Bangkok tomorrow, ending our epic journey. But, as fate would have it, there is some kind of a block party, on the street that our hotel is on, and as such, the street would have been blocked until at least 7:00 PM, perhaps longer. Edelweiss decided that it was too risky for us to arrive in Bangkok, hot and tired, and discover that we cannot get to the hotel. So, they cooked up an alternate scheme, where we make an intermediate stop in a city called Ayutthaya.
So, we’ll travel to the new hotel in this city, and then on the 25th, we’ll get up and make the final 50 miles into Bangkok, hopefully arriving in the hotel by about 10:00 AM or so. Once we arrive, we’ll need to get a whole lot of things done, in a short period of time.
We’ll need to fill out customs and shipping paperwork for our bikes. We’ll then need to travel to the port, where we’ll turn over our bikes, panniers, etc, to the shipper, who will build a pallet, and provide us with a shipping manifest for how the bike will get to the US.
That evening, the evening of the 25th, we’ll have a celebratory group dinner, where we’ll deal with some incidentals, and other things, commemorating the days on the road.
When I attended the MOA rally in June of this year, I also offered my services as a presenter, talking about one of my favorite topics… GPS systems. Wes Fleming, who is responsible for one of the MOA Podcasts interviewed me on July 5th, about 3 weeks after the rally, to see why I thought that the session at the rally was so well attended, and what I was talking about.
Wes has just released the podcast, for all to listen to. I realize that its a bit long, but I mean, how can you resist the chance to listen to me drone on and on in a podcast about GPS systems. Right?
I found Wes to be a really skilled interviewer, who seemed to know what question to ask next, and how to build a somewhat compelling story. So, if you’ve got a little spare time, please enjoy the podcast.