The past several months have been a slow time for our web
site but a busy time for us. During this period, I finished writing our book,
Cindie edited for weeks, constructed the interior of the book, arranged the printing,
and began our marketing effort. If this book production were not
enough we also performed all the tedious tasks of replacing equipment, packing,
and planning a major bicycle tour of Asia. Now that all this is done
we are more than ready to get back to the thing we love to do best; travel
on our bikes and meet the people of the world.
After 27 hours of airports and flying we finally arrived
half way around the world (relative to North America) in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was unreal to land here and have my wristwatch read 12 noon and the
actual local time be 12 midnight. I think that 12 out of 24 time zones is as
far as you can go. This is by far the furthest distance from home I have ever been.
I actually consider the "furthest" I had been from home
to be the time we were riding on a rough dirt road in a very remote part of
Bolivia and my back went out. I was reduced to laying motionless in my
sleeping bag while Cindie made our camp near a small village graveyard. All I remember
is hearing curious indigenous children, from the nearby village, appearing
from nowhere and welcoming Cindie. I overheard them asking where our
llamas were. I could not even turn to see them because I was in so
much pain. That was the furthest I had been from my way of life.
Bangkok has an international airport so my home country is just a
credit card away. Looking at the maps of Thailand,
Cambodia, Vietnam, and China I see a real adventure is in our near future.
These maps show endless faint squiggly lines indicating remote dirt
roads with numerous villages (we can not pronounce). I think it is
inevitable this Asian leg of our around the world tour will reveal a
location that will beat my
record for being the furthest from home by any standards. Southeast
Asia here we come!
My first impression of Asia is that I cannot understand
anything going on around me. It is true, at least in Bangkok, that
most of the road/subway signs are in the Thai language and English.
This alone would be fine if we were solely interested in seeing the sights
but it makes it difficult to fulfill my main objective of meeting the
people. The Thai language uses different letters and numbers than
English and the everyday people we have encountered out side the airport or
hotel do not speak English. We have a Thai / English dictionary and
have first learned the words for "please" and "thank you". This is the
minimum amount of respect that a traveler should extent to locals wherever
they are. We are working on learning more key phrases and it is clear
from the Thai people we interact with that our effort is greatly
We are fortunate to be starting the Asian leg of our bicycle tour
with two new sets of
and two brand new touring bicycles. Please keep checking the Equipment section of our site
for updates on how these new additions to our gear are working out. I
am also working on several new web pages that describe our new bikes and
provide purchase information.
Our book is now available from Amazon.com's web site in the next couple weeks and will be included in
Adventure Cycling's Spring/Summer catalog this February. To those of
you that have ordered our book from outside the United States, all books
were shipped by November 12, 2004, please allow 4- 6 weeks for delivery. For
those of you who have already received our book, please send us a review.
I have no idea how often we will encounter internet access
in this part of the world but the next letter I will send will be about or
ride through Thailand. Please check our new Asia web site. (http://www.downtheroad.org/Asia/)
often for frequent updates.