Long warps

We’re lucky that there’s still a nearby local village that has preserved it’s weaving culture by establishing a guild of traditional Thai weavers who’ve passed on the skills as well as the traditional patterns.  In the seven years we’ve been visiting this village they’ve upgraded the guild’s presence, workshop, museum and “exit thru the gift shop” area.

This year there were far more weavers at work than we’ve seen in the past.  There’s always been a long warp and weaving project on each of the more than twenty ancient looms, however this time they had 10 or more ladies working on their looms, weaving with flying shuttles, winding thread on to shuttles, threading heddles and all the aspects of the weaving process.

The upstairs museum had been renovated recently with larger, more detailed displays and best of all was a video with English subtitles explaining the history of weaving in Trang Province and this particular guild of weavers. We’ve  toured the museum several times in past visits, but this time learned on the video that before rice became ubiquitous and more profitable in this region, cotton was grown in those fields.

Also it was clearer that a woman would not just weave every-day clothing for the family, but it was traditional that all the elaborate wedding garb was custom-woven for each of their children.

Due to the recent passing of their long-reigning king, many of the loom’s really long warps and projects held all-black fabric or black and white patterns because the country is in a year-long period of mourning.  So there wasn’t much in the way of colorful cotton fabric to purchase.

 

 

So how’s the weather….

“So how about that weather…” is probably a good signal that there’s not much else to talk about in a conversation. Unless you’ve got 23-year-record snowfall in the San Juan mountains like Durango has, with the passes closed more than in recent years due to avalanche danger and heavy accumulation of snow.

Here in Thailand we aren’t experiencing the heavy snows that came late to southwest Colorado, but we can tell you one thing: our solar gain in Durango is the worst in the six years we’ve had panels on the condo roof. Those spikes in the graph above are normal solar gain days in January, and we use about 4Kw a day even when we’re traveling.  With just over 100 Kw solar for the month we’ll have our first ever (since the panel’s were installed) electrical usage charge.  Fortunately, this anomaly should be reversed in the remaining 11 months.

We also would like to bury the lead, in the fact that the Dry Season hasn’t yet come to Thailand as we’d expected.  The annual wind change over the Thailand peninsula from Easterly to Westerly traditionally happens in early December. As of this date in late January, that wind shift hasn’t happened and the rainy season persists.

It’s still plenty warm, which is one of the characteristic “snow bird” requirements – warm, cheap.  We’ll just have to add “dry” to that list in the future.  Riding, whether it’s bicycle or scooter, in the rain has become normal, just not desirable.  I’ve only missed a couple of cycling days in these two months, and 20-Baht rain slickers keep us plenty dry on the daily scooter runs for supplies and nourishment.

 

Thai Waterfalls…

Thai waterfalls are generally more of a cascading mountain stream, rather than free-falling water dropping over a cliff or off a precipitous wall. And on any given weekend you’ll see far more Thais at a waterfall rather than the beach, even though it’s probably the same distance to both recreation spots.  Unbelievable as it may sound to Westerners, this country with ready access to lakes, ponds and ocean apparently has very few who actually know how to swim, but they love the water.

Our friends seem to prefer to frolic in the fresh cascading waters in the hills rather than the open seashore. The other striking contrast between Thais and foreigners here is that Thais don’t sport swimsuits, they prefer tee-shirts and gym shorts or just going into the water in their clothes.  Not an issue, since they aren’t swimming. It’s a real contrast to see Thais and Europeans at the same beach or water attraction: Russian, French or German visitors in their bikinis (or thongs) and locals fully clothed.

This last Sunday we took a short ride to SaiRoung Waterfall about 45 km from Trang. As mentioned earlier, the Sunday riders I like to ride with take a more leisurely pace, 10-15 MPH, stopping often for food, photos and refreshments. On hot afternoons, the first three-wheel ice cream cart we see usually has a windfall business. They serve a “home-made” ice cream in several flavors scooped out of their double-walled stainless cooler.  Cones or cups of ice cream are 10 and 20 Baht depending on how many 1 inch scoops you want. Not pictured, but popular, is the ice cream sandwich – 3 scoops on “Charmin” white bread.

Rides start with the obligatory Facebook photo, so that you can show who came that day.  Similar to the US, just about all digital communication is done thru Facebook. So if I miss a photo I can be sure to find one on a Thai Facebook site, as you can see with TigerSong’s credited photos.

 

One of the great pleasures of riding with the Cycling club members is they often take indirect and back roads. So the group doesn’t often contend with much traffic when wending thru hidden villages or bucolic rubber tree plantations. The pace is such that I get Thai lessons as we notice various curiosities along the way. They don’t seem to mind my repeating the same word 4 or 6 times until I get close.

 

Koh Mu (Sukorn)

Pig Island doesn’t sound to inviting, and it’s residents, primarily Muslim, don’t regard anything porcine positively, so perhaps that’s why they call the island Sukorn. But all the locals don’t recognize the name Sukorn when we tell where we’ve been, either because it’s a tourist name or it’s our pronunciation.

Almost every year the Trang Cycling Club, or some iteration of the members, makes an overnight foray to the island, and we were told that it’s recently been regarded as “Cycling Heaven.”  Normally our group is the only cyclists on the entire island. The two tourist guesthouses seem seldom frequented, but we have seen at least one tourist couple each time we take a boat across.  Those folks are whisked out of a van and on to the same long-tail boats we make the passage in, except that their boats always leave with just the “Farangs” (foreigners), leaving them with an exclusive boat ride of B500 ($15), where we pile in with the locals for B50 ($1.30 including our bicycles). As you can see we can get 10 bikes and 10 cyclists in the same long-tail boat.  Camping in these circumstances involves paying the headmaster of the school ($1 each) to allow the privilege of setting our tents up in a classroom.

This year the island elders were holding a special fund raising celebration where they planned to serve more than 500 visitors as evidenced by the tents, tables and chairs set up at the main school grounds.  They even promoted a “Bike for Charity” event with our own tent set side so smelly bikers didn’t mingle with the dressed-up locals, jerseys (for sale), and an unlimited buffet of Muslim dishes.  Of course we never know any of these details in advance as “surprise” is alway our default mode of adventure. This year our port departure was complicated with boat-loads of cyclists, not to mention pilgrims traveling to and coming off the island, making for crowded unloading and loading at low-tide cement stairs.

Unfortunately, Stanna didn’t get to go, even though she was suited up right up to departure time when she decided to stay home & dry. The rainy season, which has produced the Southern Thailand heavy flooding, produced yet one more weekend of torrential rains.  Not only did we need to start for the coast in a downpour, the forecasts, doppler radar and fellow Thais all said it’s two more days of deluge. All predictions were 100% correct. Cycling along the leeward coast on Sunday had me thinking of those days sailing in squalls where you put on your snorkel mask to see. Skies were black enough for double reefing for sure.

Go Cho, a local restauranteur, brought along his portable kitchen, plates, bowls and 30″ Wok, to provide us with the freshest of the day’s seafood.  For those that haven’t followed previous years’ overnight cycling adventures, all that kit fits into a scooter side-car (more of a third wheeled side-cart) for transport on the island(s) or off-road as the occasion requires. With a 50-meter extension cord he can plug in his 5-quart rice cooker and 2-liter electric water pot almost anywhere he can steal power.

It’s amazing how much Thais can eat.  We had a super buffet of stewed beef, stir fried vegetables and dried fish for lunch provided by the “Bike for Charity.’ Oh, and you can’t ever forget two heaping cooking-spoons of boiled rice as a base to heap everything else on top.  In just four hours Cho fired up a small earthen charcoal stove and Go Dang started grilling fresh salted squid. Calamari never tasted so good, even with a partially full stomach.

Meanwhile Cho was receiving small bags of fresh seafood from various locals whom he must know: two kinds of crab, orange and blue (for lack of a translation), jumbo shrimp and octopus.  The stormy weather yielded no fresh fish for the second course, although it did arrive after fresh fruit was served as a desert so they fired up their charcoal earthen BBQ once again and we pinched morsels off each of three whole fish as they came off the grill.

Considering this is a remote island with no regular delivery boats, the population of probably 3,000 has an amazing variety of food and supplies, all brought over one 3-wheel cart at a time from the long-tails to stock the small family operated Thai-style mini-markets.

Despite the heavy rains we still managed almost 20 miles of cycling around the island’s network of cement walkways, along the coast, thru the sidewalk villages, the rice and watermelon fields and most enchanting, the winding cement trails thru the rubber tree plantations.

We wimped out and loaded all the bikes into one pickup for the rainy ride home.

 

 

Crankset

Some noticed on the Strava notes that I’d had an aborted ride about 19.8 km from Ban Wassana, our base in Trang.

The back story was that with all this wet riding I’d developed a noticeable “click” in the front wheel. I originally thought it was a broken spoke, but after checking and changing out front wheels I figured it was just the hub. I took the wheel to the mechanic (father and racer son) who swapped out my brake handles. [I may have left out that story – the used Dura Ace brake handles I’d purchased on Craigslist last year didn’t last over the summer storage. I found a new Sora set for B600 ($18) including installation.]

The shop owner said I should have all the bearings serviced, since that front one was totally out of grease, and they would do the complete bike – chain, brakes, hubs, headset and crankset – for B480 ($14).  I delivered the whole bike next morning and shortly thereafter got a call from our “fixer” friend SunSern.  He helps negotiate and translate all these complex deals.  They were having difficultly getting the bearings back in the bottom bracket cassette, after using water pressure to force it open.  It was probably a sealed cassette.

Needless to say, it was impossible to get the bearings and all back into the cassette without a special press and mandrel, but not without trying 3 other mechanics in town.  The shop found a new cassette to put in and I was satisfied that I only had to pay the wholesale price of the new cassette B480 ($14).  Riding home in the rain was fast fast and a sweet ride.

Next morning at 5 AM I took a new ride to test out the bike and at 18,9 km the right-hand crankset arm slipped off.  Fortunately I had cell service and Stanna arrived 45 minutes later (after going to town to fill the empty scooter gas tank) with the scooter to shuttle me and the bike back home.  Not an especially fun trip holding a bike high enough off the ground so wheels don’t touch from a scooter rear seat.

On closer inspection, it seems that the new cassette has larger splines than the crankset arm slots so the arms were only ¼ of the way onto the axle.  The locking bolt backed off and let the arm slip freely.

 

 

SunSern, my fixer, managed to convince the bike shop to bring the “bike ambulance” to pick up the bike at Wassana, and work once again on the problem.  This was on a Friday and we’d scheduled a 2-day ride to Sukorn Island the next day, so the pressure was on to find a fix.  They found a temporary cassette and chain wheel setup 50/34 to install and I was back in business by 4 PM.

The old DuraAce crank and new (larger splined) cassette are at a machinist to see if they can be milled, seated and married together.  At this point only the brake calipers on this 25-year-old Trek 2500 haven’t been replaced, but it still rides super.

Trang Anchorage

It’s hard to compete with the clever compositions coming from the Mystery Train (McKenney’s winter Casita travels only available by interstellar subscription), however we’re becoming closer to the anchorage analogy than we’d first realized.

Rainy season (typically ending in early December) has persisted, despite reputable politicians’ insistence against any global phenomenon causation, well into January. Southern Thailand’s water and river catchment area is the mountain range about 200 kilometers north and east of Trang, and what’s not evident currently is that the Trang River was large enough to allow steam ships up to the city limits 100 years ago.  Erosion, natural delta sediment settling, and development has narrowed the river’s banks to a third of it’s historic capacity and forced the port downriver 20 km. Therefore when rains linger in the hill country the towns, settlements, roads, houses and people downstream flood. Not to mention, all this countryside was rice paddies or jungle before modern times.

Back to the anchorage metaphor; when I washed clothes last night on the back porch, it was similar to dumping wash water over the side of Paradox. That’s about a six foot exaggeration, but the feeling and sound was the same. Water hitting water, soggy wet lawn to be exact.

This morning we’ve walked around the anchorage, checking on other potential floaters and see that the original tenant housing of this Guesthouse, currently used as lower-cost student  housing — think temporary illegal immigrant farmworker housing — have about 3 inches of water on their floors.  Manager/owners have picked up floor level clothing, and other student detritus, placing it on the beds, since the students are still on holiday break and not in residence.

Of course it might be more proper to say we’re living at Lake Wassana or Wassana Peninsula since all sides of this Guesthouse complex are covered with water.  Good time for a drone photo, but Santa was prudent or waiting until they make a really ultralight version. A raft or small boat would be great for exploring the neighboring palm oil groves and rice fields.

We are still 8 vertical inches from having our feet wet while typing.  Our cycling polymath tells us that it takes a day and a half for the waters to reach Trang from Nakhon Si Thammarat, so even though the sun finally made an appearance here in the flatlands the waters can still rise. And the nursery owner one kilometer from here, also a cyclist, tells us that we’re lucky because the west-side of the river bank burst first, so most of the initial waters flooded that direction. We’re only getting 50% of water that’s possible.  And speaking of history, the day after we left Wassana 6 years ago the water came 18″ into our freshly vacated room.  They had to move all the furniture upto on the highway access road.

We are more optimistic and experienced boaters, not to mention good at treading water for 26 hours.  This is not to say Stanna doesn’t have a plan to abandon ship to the larger recently built (one meter higher) cruise ship across the driveway. Not much change in the water’s edge “marker” stick I placed before starting this blog. However water continues creeping up and we may still have to pull anchor.

Escort Service

This “hand cyclist,” shown posing with the countless crew that shadow and surround him, has completed riding thru 65 of the 74 Thai provinces (states) in an effort to honor the late King for his work on environmental awareness. Local cycle clubs have been “ushering” him thru their regions – when they can keep up. Trang’s cycling community met him 65 km north of town where the Sikao town club accompanied him down from Krabi. A rescue crew with their lights and sirens often times leads the cyclists thru towns and along the highways.

The following day we escorted him a further 60 km south, where another club provided rest stops, food and escort duties. At this temple (Wat) the chief monk insisted we pose with him in front of their newest meditation building.

Wats are everywhere in Thailand and are regular resting spots, if not places of interest, as this one was with it’s jeweled boat (once a parade float) ensconced in a fish pond surrounding the entire boat.


No one asked about this fellow’s legs, but it seems like it was polio that rendered them useless.  He designed and engineered his tricycle such that he was totally self-contained with his wheel chair wheels serving as the rear tricycle wheels and the wheelchair’s “chair” stowed tightly behind his tricycle seat. If you imagine a bicycle rear triangle turned upside
down and articulating hand grips where the
pedals mount, you could see how he “pedals.”  It’s a 21-speed bike with one brake on left crank, and 7 speed mountain bike shifter on right crank.  He manually changes the triple gear chain wheels with a gloved finger.  On the flats he could easily out-pace the lead escort riders and even the rescue truck, at about 30 mph. In two days we rode with him for 125 km or 250 km for the Trang Cycling Club.

 

Future Fare

At dinner, as the early evening light faded on our outside table last night, we were thinking how this anchorage with a porch doesn’t require many of the things that past winter’s coves have required. We don’t need to consider an anchor watch during squalls, we don’t have to raise the dinghy each night, no need to check the batteries to see if we need to run the engine to charge, making or collecting water, worry about dragging, or hope we can get a signal for packet email.

Like cruising, we’ll be in this spot for 90 days, we have to motor to town each day for provisions, each time we go to town we see something new and interesting, the foods are diverse and delicious, we exchange money at the local bank, look forward to email and news from friends and home, hanging out we learn about the people and community, even pick up a little of the language and customs, and best of all consider how lucky we are to be able to experience different cultures: some familiar, like the Tesco Shopping Center or the urban traffic, while others are more foreign, such as the neighborhood outdoor markets, family one-pot restaurants and cycling thru empty roads of rural rubber plantations.

Traveling, anchoring (such as it is), helps us better appreciate our culture, rule of law, privileged affluence compared to many in the world, and especially our home in Durango. It’s easy to think “they” could do things better, like palletize loads of sacks and boxes rather than hump each load on their backs from truck to truck or truck to loading dock, choose a better government (no, wait, we can all do better at that). Or not litter, or not drive on the wrong side of the road, or use a backhoe rather than 15 guys in a ditch, or…. or…. But sometimes we need to remember that the slower, harder and maybe idiotic way might actually make sense, providing more jobs like loaders, street sweepers and narcissistic faux-megalomaniac leaders.

We’ve come to enjoy some of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) that our winter travels require. Hand washing your clothes daily, going shopping for food each day (no stove and tiny refrigerator), sweeping the leaves from the porches, sampling various Thai dishes, missing the news-cycles, visiting the banana lady, or buying a 20-liter water jug every few days. This slower, seemingly less “productive” pace, gives pause for more interactions and thought. Like “how many summers do we have left?”, or how long is four years, really?

Time goes real fast and is easy to forget. Having reached 70, that thought has brought on more concern for our twilight time table. It’s hit me harder than Stanna, since my folks never reached 80. And considering just how fast the last 10, 15 or even 20 years have gone, how should these next “summers” be spent? Some may remember that almost 10 years ago we were floating in our own aquarium diving for dollars.

In case you’re hoping for a revelation, “get your hopes up,” as cousin John taught us. There is currently no plan, not an inkling. Hope you’ll help figure this out with us. Not to mention hoping someone else figures out their plan and lets us in on it, too.

Subtle Christmas

In case you’re wondering how our xmas holiday was in this primarily Buddhist (and minority Muslim) country, it was subtle at best.  Not only did it come 14 hours earlier, when most readers were still working or shopping, it’s presence was not much varied from a normal day. Being a Sunday changed the pattern somewhat, but the bank was still open for exchanging money, some kids were at school for exams, the markets were flooded with routine shopping, and folks basically went about their daily weekend lives.

We’d hoped our favorite Panang Curry restaurant would be “business as usual” on Christmas Eve but, alas, they posted a sign, “Closed until Tuesday.” Odd, but we found a second-best choice for a xmas meal, the “Happy Steakhouse” whose beef we’ve only sampled once (or twice as my father used to say, “first and last time”). The YinDee restaurant has a 20-page menu with all manner of Thai and New Zealand dishes. Folks probably wondered why the Farangs were dressed up in their best outfits at mid-day  but the non-steak food is delicious, prepared and served with pride. Splurging on a $3 dish with fancy trimmings seems special for this occasion.

Sunday, when the West was sleeping and Santa was cruising, we took our morning bike ride (Stanna), did yoga  (tg) and prepared for the Sunday ride (tg) with the Trang Cycling Club.  Last Sunday’s ride was cancelled due to an all-day rain, so this one was more of a formality, to meet up with all the riders from last year’s rides, and insure invites to this year’s outings. January 7th is evidently at the next weekend ride to our favorite outlying island, Sukhorn.

Of the thirty-some riders that showed up, a few chose to take me to see the newest bike path thru the forest near the Botanical Gardens. Fortunately I’ve remembered each of their first names and it’s fun to hear them laugh at my Thai “baby talk.”

Normally Sunday is an all-day adventure ranging 100-plus kilometers, but this turned out to be more nature study than long distance.

The cadence on the newest red paver trail was so slow it was possible to video while riding.  [WordPress limits uploads so the video will be shown back home on request.] Several times we stopped to see plants like the insect-eating pods on vines or the giant prickly and supple ferns stocks they make Rattan chairs from.  All this played out like Charades, my guides using pigeon English, hand signs and me guessing words.

One remarkable thing about cycling with Thais is that there seem to be no barriers that they won’t broach when it comes to checking things out.  They’ll often chat up anyone to learn about what’s happening along the way or, as on this Sunday, go behind the fencing into a construction site to see first-hand the work zone.

 

Seems the last Governor of Trang Province, who we cycled with many times last year, wanted to leave a memory for Trang cyclists.  The Bike the Andaman park is about 30 days from completion and we got a first hand preview up close and personal.  Under the arch they are still fabricating a limestone cave, many of which are famous in the area.

The cycling community has grown significantly since we first came 6 years ago.  Saturday I rode 90 km with a group from a town outside Trang (think Bayfield – pop: 1800) and they fielded over 20 really good riders.  By the way, we’re on the Andaman Peninsula about 80 km (48 miles) wide and the pass, once an impenetrable jungle, separated the two provinces.

Last year we posted photos of the Andaman roadside park on the pass with it’s elephant sculptures  and historic road building plaques.

 

 

Cognitive Overload

It’s certainly different waking up to chirping birds and colorful butterflies, not to mention the 74° morning temps. Everything is still very green and verdant as the rainy season is hanging on.  Birds and butterfly continue thru the day, geckos and crickets fill the night air with sounds when it’s dark.

Fortunately we’ve only missed one day of cycling due to the rain, and I’ll admit it was welcome because my ass wasn’t yet ready for an all-day ride. [Two days missed as of this morning] But I’m getting in the mileage, just not like the dry season.

Our unit this year is one the right with the red sarong on the chair.  We already posted our back door photo with the before and after flood waters.

One thing we’d like to note: The only time we get chop sticks in Thailand is when we order Baa-Me-Nam, a yellow noodle soup with several versions of pork balls and meat slices. It’s surprisingly hearty and filling. Cost is $1.05 with Chinese tea.

 

 

At least once a week we eat at this Thai couple’s food cart for lunch and order their very popular BaaMeNam.  They are part of the Trang Cycling community and often go on the overnight cycling trips to the islands with us. Mr. Wat is a competitive mountain bike racer at well over 100 kilos.  We only speak in laughs and show each other photos on our mobile devices.

 

Thai people often eat soup for breakfast or they can get Khoa-Man-Guy, a steamed white rice with several slices of boiled chicken on top.  For breakfast we prefer the yogurt and German Muesli we purchase by the kilo at the supermarket.

On rainy days I can always spend more time studying Thai.  Right now I’m trying to catch up to last year, remembering the 44 consonants and practicing the 24 vowels (which are diagrammatic marks before, above and below the consonants). I’ve never gotten very far into the vowels as that involves tones (low, high, neutral, rising and falling).  I can just barely read a word (a short word), because they don’t put any spaces between words – sosentencesrunwithoutbreak (the articles and prepositions are implied). The New York Times called it cognitive overload in a recent article on learning a second language, because native speakers speak at 250 WPM and non-natives struggle at 100-150 WPM.

ดูเหมือนว่าฝนกำลังจะตก  – “It looks like it’s going to rain” is an example. Then you need to parse the sentence when they speak/write, “looks like think rain ing will fall”. The experts say the best way to learn to speak Thai is to read it first.  See Dick Run is yet to happen.

7° 38′ 31.82″ N

map-to-equatorTrang’s latitude is just about equal to the southern-most tip of Panama and far closer to the equatorial latitude than the North Island of New Zealand.  Singapore, about 500+ miles to our south, is almost on the Equator. So in “cruising terms” this is the most tropical we’ve spent our snowbird winters. And of course we’re warm, plenty warm: 88° as I type with a high of 91° today.

Thailand, being a geological delta, is prone to flooding and this year was no exception.  The first Spring we tried to leave Trang, our train had to turn back due to flooding, and this year the trains couldn’t get south once again due to flooding.  Lucky for us we’d made flight reservations.  Our favorite home here in Trang had water up 20″ inside the buildings just after we left the first year.  Since then they’ve dug two large retention ponds which may have kept the waters from reaching our doorsteps this year.

flood-composite

We keep four bikes here, left with friends, and every year we have to retrieve them and figure out what may or may not have gone bad in our absence.  This year was no img_6730exception, flat or punctured tires is normal, but this year the Trek road bike with the most miles seems to have five broken spokes due to rusting. Plus, once we got the spare wheels on it seems that the “used” Craigslist shifters I brought last years didn’t want to downshift. By mid-week and lots of trips to various bike shops (pictured is a father and son shop), I’ve got a new set of Shimano Sora shifters installed for $79 (less than I paid for the used ones last year).  I’m aware Sora is inferior to Dura-Ace (which they don’t make in 9 speed anymore) but they work really well and are superior to what I had.

img_6733Not having ridden more than a spin bike for the last eight months (okay, two couple-hour Mtn bike rides), it has been a challenge getting back on the roads.  Fortunately the Fahsong guys I ride with early in the morning don’t speak much English so I can’t make any excuses.  And they don’t worry about “drops” so you’d best keep up.

My latest tech toy gives me a fun readout and lets me know why I can be “guilt-free” by 8 AM.  Seeing that Calorie count makes it hard to avoid the ice cream, but I need to shed the kilos I gained eating trail food, first.  Hope this looks healthy enough.

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Time to Head South

img_6686Durango has only had one small snow storm this winter, but the cold temps have come as expected.  A couple mornings going to the gym the temps were in the low teens.  Purgatory, our local ski area, opened before Thanksgiving to skiing and mountain biking.  The former was marginal and the latter was very cold.  There’s almost no snow in town and streets are dry.  We’ve managed a few hikes in the low 30’s but it’s cold on the hands.

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One of our final preparations for leaving was a unexpected iatrogenic boiler/hot water/furnace repair that took a day to restore hot water and five days to get the hydronic heat flowing again. No photos of us sitting at the kitchen counter in parkas unfortunately. This buck was not inhibited by our repairs in the boiler room under the condo, in fact the town is full of these guys hanging out for winter.

img_6707In the spirit of promoting lightweight travel here’s a series of photos for my snowbird adventure in Thailand.  21 pounds plus the clothes on my back. 8 of those pounds are bike components, such as saddle, 2 sets of pedals, pump, tools, lights and spares, packed into the Revelate seat pack.

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We’ve got bikes and helmets left with friends in Thailand so lately there has not been a bike box to transport.

Electronics is the next burden to bare, but the only problem with that weight is forgetting something that you might need. Taking a look at the past year’s photo sure helps remembering. iPad, iPhone and MacBook aren’t shown.

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And everyone is always curious about clothing for 3 or 4 months.  Traveling to warmer climes makes those choice much easier, the only difference being a lot of bike-specific wear. The third column is all for cycling, the rest is simple.

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