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It’s a Good Thing I Like Thailand

Mist covers the valley with the mountains in the distance at sunrise.

Early morning view from my tent in rural Thailand

My plan was simple. Enter Thailand at the Poipet/Aranyaprathet border after a short ride and stay in Cambodia, stop in Bangkok to get some routine maintenance, repairs and some needed parts for my bicycle and then head to Mae Sot to cross over into Myanmar.

My thought was two weeks would be enough time. But as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Two weeks turned to four. One month stretched to three. I would have preferred more of my time  was spent actually sitting on my new Brooks seat pedaling but my trusty bicycle decided it was going to cause problems for me. And to make things worse if a bicycle could actually not only make plans but cleverly execute them the plan was a success.

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The Tale of the Ten Dollar Bill

The Tale of the Ten Dollar Bill
A ten dollar bill in front of a temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The traveling ten dollar bill

Find out why I have carried this ten dollar bill around the world with me for the past thirteen years. What does Madame Pele (the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire and Volcanoes), green sand and two high school virgins have to do with the story? You will have to read on to find out.

Sometimes the bill is in a suitcase or a camera bag or in my wallet. This bill is not always on me but it is always near me. I carry it with me when I travel and when I am home. Now that I have no home it is on a constant journey as I make my way around the world on my bicycle. Read More

Five Weeks in Laos

After spending two months bicycling through Vietnam it was time to crack another border and head to Laos. Although I have lived in Cambodia for the past three years I never made it to the neighboring country of Laos. I guess it was about time. And boy am I glad I did!

Although I had heard and read a lot about Laos I really did not know what to expect. Laos is a very laid back country compared to the others in Southeast Asia from what I learned. I found this was as true as it could be. From the small mountain villages to the capital city of Vientiane the contrast between Laos and Cambodia/Vietnam was enormous. Read More

What I Learned In My First 100 Days

The mountains of Northern Laos shrouded in early morning fog.My ‘Strokes to Spokes’ bicycle ride has taken me through three countries in my first one hundred days on the road. Starting in Siem Reap, Cambodia I headed south and crossed into Vietnam at Ha Tien. I made my way north through Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Ninh Binh and Hanoi. I turned back south and west to head into the mountains and over the border to Laos. The mountains of Laos were challenging to say the least but the beauty kept me moving forward through Phonsavan, Phou Khoun and south through Veng Vieng, Vientiane and Pakse and down to the 4,000 Islands.

I am about to cross the border to Cambodia to continue west through Thailand, Myanmar, India and beyond. On the road I have a lot of time to think. I have to plan my route both long and short term while gauging my hourly progress to choose a place to end the day as darkness nears. During my hours in the saddle I have thought about the many things I have learned on this trip so far. I have not yet reached an age where I am confident my knowledge is complete. My hope is that never happens as it will mean life would become boring. Nothing new, nothing exciting. Luckily this is a state that no one reaches, except maybe in their own mind. Read More

Iconic Vietnam War Images Revisited

For as long as I can remember I had a desire to visit Vietnam. That goes back to my teen years and maybe even earlier. Since that was the Vietnam-American War era I am not sure what motivated that desire. It wasn’t until 2014 when I first visited Vietnam and now on my fourth and longest visit I know my desires were well placed.

During the war there were a number of well publicized images that helped mold public opinion that surrounded the war. Many of those were taken in Saigon and while I was there I was able to visit the locations of those images almost fifty years later.

These images have been etched in my mind forever. I am not sure when I first saw them but each one brings a bone-chilling reality to what was happening a world away back in the sixties and seventies. It is hard to see these images and not have them hit a deep emotional spot inside Read More