The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
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I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
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India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
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May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
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March 2002 to April 2003
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The 5 years before I left
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Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs
Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
Southern Thailand Blog and Daily Journal.
Travel Writing, Travelogue
Hua Hin to
(March 13 - April 18, 2006)
||Hua Hin. Well we were suppose to start riding
today. But, I felt like I was run over by a truck. All that city
life took it out of me. So we took the day off and went on a long walk on the
||Hua Hin - Som Roi Yot National Park. We headed out hwy 4 and turned
at the first sign for Pram Buri Forest, it turns out that we had
the Forest. We did not want to turn around so we continued on to Som Roi
National Park. The roads back here are a maze. Nice scenery
and friendly people but we always seemed to be pointed in the wrong
direction. So we went around in circles a bit. Lonely Planet
guide book did not help much either, their
directions were a bit off. So by the time we got to the National Park we
were hot. We stayed at Hat Sam Phraya beach in Som Roi Yot National Park. If you are
riding through you do not have to pay the entrance fee for the National
Park. The beach was nice and had a restaurant. We had dinner
at sun down and watched monkeys swinging through the trees. We
were going to camp, the charge for camping was 250 B ($6) and a room
with a fan was 300 B ($7) so we took the room.
||Soi Rot - Ban Laem Kum. we were up bright and
early and on the road at 7:30 am. The monkeys and birds were out.
The park beach is 18 km from hwy 4 (southern entrance), we passed another area that had
bungalows and mangrove swamps, if we had more time it would have been a
nice place to hang out for the day. We rode to Prachuap Khiri Khan
and were there at 10 am a little early to stop for the day. The
day was cloudy and we had a tailwind so we decided to push on. We
road to Thap Sakat and thought we were close to Ban Krut, our
new destination for the day. We ended up turning down a paved road too soon
and ended up at the beach but not where we intended to go. Since
we are in Thailand, accommodations were not hard to find. When we
realized we were in the wrong place we turned into the first area with
bungalows we found. The sign was all in Thai. We met the
owner and his family and stayed in a very nice room for 1200 B ($31). A
bit above out budget but we had no choice, it was hot and I did not have
much left in my legs. It turned out that the family spoke English,
the daughter, Jenny, was an exchange student in Bangor, Maine. A
very cold place for a Thai girl but she really enjoyed it. The Ban Laem
Kum resort was a pleasant place to stay, we wished we could have stayed
longer. As Tim says, it was a good value.
||Ban Laem Kum - Bang Samphon Noi. (close to it). We had
breakfast and headed out thinking it would be a half day. The ride
was pleasant and the locals were friendly. For some reason the few
tourists we met were not. It perplexes me why tourists are so rude
to each other, it happens time and time again. I am sure this is opening
up a can of worms, but it perplexes me why foreign tourists will not
talk to each other, this is not everyone mind you but certainly a
majority. Yes, we are all on vacation and here to meet the locals
but in reality we are not alone we are also here with each other.
Oh well it is something that I will never figure out. 3411 we were
We decided to stop at a resort called Ko Thalu, a resort that also
had bungalows out on the island called Ko Thalu. That looked
really cool, bungalows on an island, sailing, snorkeling and three meals
a day for 2600 baht ($66) thai style bungalow and 3700 ($94) air
conditioning. We stayed on shore and had a nice room with a view
of the ocean for 1000 B ($25) a night.
The ride - In general we road south and stayed along the beach. We
went down a few dead ends and had to turn back, but that is part of bike
touring. We have a PN map of Thailand and it does not show any
roads for this area. From Ban Laem Kum we went back towards Hwy 4
and took a left on a country road towards Ang Thong. We stayed on
this dirt road for about a kilometer. Then we came to a T and
turned left onto 1029. We took 1029 to Ban Krut, when 1029 came to
a T we went left and then a quick right. We are now at the beach.
We followed the road, went over a small bridge and took a left. We
followed this road and came to an intersection and took another left.
Stayed on this road and came to an intersection with a factory to the
right. Go straight, go a couple of kilometers and then take a right over
a bridge. follow this road along. The next intersection go right at Had
Soum Seaview Hotel.. This will take you to Ban Saphan on hwy 3374. In
Ban Saphan take a left and then another left at the light. If you go to
the railroad tracks you have gone too far. This road will take you
down the coast toward Ban Saphan Noi.
|March 17 - 19
||Resort Ko Thala to Chumphon Cabanas. We had a nice relaxing couple of
days, the resort had a nice buffet breakfast and I loved the pool.
This resort also had a nice wastewater treatment system with wetlands
throughout the resort grounds. This system is the best I have seen
outside the USA.
The ride - we
hoped that the ride would be more straight forward today. We
stayed on hwy 3374 and it turned into 3411 at the state line. we
followed 3411 until it turned into 4015 at the first major intersection
we went straight towards Ban Maha, at the second intersection we turned
left onto 4004 (I think) from here follow the signs to Pathiu and
Chumphon. Somewhere along the way the road number turns into 3210. The
best thing to do is follow the signs to Chumphon. When we reached
highway 3810 we took a right and followed the signs to Chumphon Cabanas.
We stayed at the cabanas at 1350 baht ($33). There are other
cheaper places to stay in the area.
||Chumphon Cabanas - Chumphon. A short
quick ride into Chumphon to do some interneting. It was a good thing we
stopped because it rained most of the afternoon. We stayed at the
Morackit Hotel for 390 B ($10) for a room with air conditioning and hot
shower. The town of Chumphon is a very confusing city to get
around and signs in English are nonexistent.
||Chumphon - Kraburi. Getting out of
town was difficult, the Lonely Planet map is off, at least on the street
names. We kept asking directions and was pointed towards Highway 4.
We are now in a rural area. As we were riding I spotted an
elephant (domestic) near a stream. I also saw two monkeys on a
truck and one on a motorcycle (he/she was the passenger). The
locals have also gotten very friendly, so much so, that everyone who
passed us on the road waved hello. Nice.
The ride - Hwy 4 is 9
km from town, traffic is light after the intersection. We
gradually climbed to the pass at around 140 m (500 feet) and descended
down the other side to Kraburi. We stayed at Panika Resort. They
have rooms with a fan for 300 B ($7.60) and with air conditioning for
||Kraburi - Ranong. We were up early
and out the door at 7 am because it is hot and humid here. It is
amazing how quickly the heat comes on in the morning. When we left
Panika Resort I was not sure if I paid for the room. I was told by
the staff that I paid but I still did not remember paying. We
stopped at the gas station in Ranong to get gas for our stove and
over me. First I was surprised to see her and then she asked me
how long it took to ride from Kraburi and yes I did pay for the room.
Whew! I felt better. We looked around for a room and stayed at
Casa Theresa. A nice ground floor hotel we paid 450B ($11.50) for a room
with air conditioning. Again the sky opened up and it rained hard
at around 3 pm.
The ride - the terrain is rolling with the biggest climb 15 k from
Ranong. We stopped at the waterfall for a snack. I was glad we did
because I would not have had the energy to climb. Again it was
tricky getting into Ranong, the first two right turns are now closed off
to traffic. We entered into town near the bus station.
|March 23 - 25
||Visa run to Myanmar. Yes our 60 day
tourist visa for Thailand is up. So we had to go to Myanmar to leave the
country and then return and get a 30 day tourist stamp. We had two
option and we choose the option with the least amount of boat riding.
That was go to the Andaman Club Pier take the catamaran boat out to the
Thahtay Island. Then take the boat back. It did not seem
like it would be much more expensive than going to Victoria Point.
But the prices quoted in Lonely Planet had all changed. The cost
of the boat and entrance into Myanmar is now 650 B ($16.60) We did take
sawngthaew (pick up truck) out to the pier for 20 B( $0.50) but when we
returned to the pier there were no pick up trucks to return so we had to
pay a whopping 300 B (150 B each) ($7.69) to get back.
We started out
the morning thinking it would be easy to get to Andaman Club Pier.
We got to the sawngthaew area and asked several drivers if they went to
Andaman Club pier. Finally one said yes and we jumped on board.
Well he did not know where we wanted to go and an hour later we were at
the Saphan Pla pier which goes to Victoria point. So we had to go
back to the city and try again. In the mean time Tim was more than
a little motion sick so we went back to our hotel to take a rest.
We then tried to get a taxi through our hotel and then said there was
not one. So they flagged down a motorcycle taxi, we asked how much
and the hotel lady answered 150 B ($3.85). We said thanks but no
thanks and went back near the market and got the right pickup truck to
the pier. Once at the pier it was a very easy process to get
stamped out of Thailand and then on the catamaran. We arrived at the
island and got stamped into Myanmar. Honestly I can not say I have
been to Myanmar, but I have been to an island offshore of the mainland.
We had a nice lunch where a 20% service charge was added on and then
back to Thailand. We then had no choice but to take the
outrageously expensive minivan back to town. Whew glad that is done.
The remaining days in Ranong were spent working on our books, it has
taken many more hours of work than I ever imagined. Ah to be employed
||Ranong - Muslim Home Stay. We started
early to beat the heat. It is so hot that I have bought some
electrolyte powder at the pharmacy. I am amazed how much I sweat
when I ride. We also had the pleasure of meeting Guilean Ropers (I
hope that is spelled right). He is from France and a boat builder.
He came here to assist with tsunami relief and helped rebuild the
fishing fleet that was here before the tsunami.
The ride was
relatively flat with a few minor hills. The home stay is located
at the turn to Laem Son National Park. We stayed the night for 300
B each which included lunch, dinner, and breakfast. Unfortunately
lunch and dinner consisted of fish even when Tim said he didn't eat
fish. So he pretty much ate rice and soy sauce. Tim is not a picky
eater but he has never liked fish and they put it in everything. Poor
Tim everything here in this part of Thailand smells and tastes like
fish. Well what can you expect when there is a small strip of land
between the Andaman sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
||Muslim home stay to Kuraburi. We were
up early and watched the market across the street swarm with activity.
This is a predominantly Muslim area and the way people dress is very
different. The women all cover their heads with a scarf that is
usually black. They also wear sarongs or pants as well. The men
cover their heads with a white hat and have ornate shirts and wear pants
or a sarong. Muslims do not eat pork and it has vanished from the
menu. In its place is chicken and fish. We stopped for lunch
at a rotisserie chicken stand and had a spicy papaya salad and chicken
for lunch. As we were leaving we met Garry and Calvin, two British Chaps
on bikes who rode from Phuket to Ranong in two days and were on their
way back to Phuket. The had started in Ranong in the morning.
They were great fun to ride with and I would have enjoyed a nice dinner
with the two. But we decided to stop in Kuraburi and they pushed on down
the coast. They wanted to get back to Phuket tomorrow. They
were traveling light, fast and long.
We stopped at the Extra Hotel at
the north end of town, it was 500 B ($12.80) it had hot water, air
conditioning and we wheeled the bike right into the room.
For some reason, 90% of the
people I have come in contact with since we arrived in Ranong have
doubled the price for everything from going to the toilet to staying in
a bungalow. I don't understand it because this is a rural
area and quite frankly when we get away from tourist areas the locals do
not normally double the price. But here it is different. It seems that I
have to haggle for a fair price everywhere I go, and if I do not get the
price before I buy a bottle of water it then becomes open game for
double to triple the price. All I can say is buyer beware.
ride - rolling hills with a few steep ones. Tailwind in the
morning and a headwind in the afternoon.
||Kuraburi - Kau Lok (Ban Niang Beach). We had an
early start today and originally planned to ride 55 km. We arrived
in X early. From here we could take x to Phang Nga or X down to
the beach. The area we are thinking of going is where the tsunami
hit the hardest. We decided to go take a look and give the area
some of our business. Stayed at the Green Emerald Hotel for 500 B
($12.80) it was the cheapest room we could find. It was a huge room,
new, with hot water, air conditioning and cable TV. Very nice
people running it too. We found a German bakery around the corner that
had great dark bread, the best bread I have had in over a year. I
was surprised to see that prices were so very high for hotel rooms and
restaurants. Tim unfortunately left his sunglasses at a restaurant
and when we went back they said that they did not find them although we
know that was the only place they could be we never got them back.
Riding a bike without sunglasses is brutal. I could not do it. Tim
however just pedals on. We will have to pick up another pair
somewhere. The problem is how to tell if the cheap sunglasses have
UV protection. The sunglasses can say UV protection but that is
not necessarily true.
The ride - rolling hills with a tailwind in the
morning and a vicious head wind near the coast.
||Ban Niang Beach. A day at the beach. We walked
around and could still see evidence of the destructive force of the
tsunami. There were destroyed bungalows scattered around the area.
The worst ones were on the beach itself. This area had the
greatest loss of life. It is very flat here and the wave traveled
a long distance in land. This is also the beach that the King's
grandson was jet skiing when the wave hit. He had a police boat
around him to protect him. Sadly, the police could not protect him
from the wave. The police boat was washed in land almost 2
kilometers (1.25 miles) and there it sits as a reminder of the tsunami.
People are slowly putting there lives back together. We saw a
school for dive masters run by an American. He is teaching the
locals how to be dive masters. We also saw other aid groups like
4Kali.org. An organization created in memory of a young girl who lost
here life here. They are dedicated to assisting the local people
who have lost everything and educating them so they have other skills
and not relay totally on tourism.
||Ban Niang Beach - Phang Nga. Today is our 4 year
anniversary on the road. I think a time for a bit of reflection.
It is amazing to think that we have lived without a car or a phone for
four years. I do not miss the car while we are abroad. The
only time it was a hassle not to have one was the short time we spent in
the States. Public transportation is nonexistent there.
Other than that we can easily live without one. It is also nice
not having a phone most of the time. It never rings and interrupts what
we are doing. The few times I really miss the phone is when I need to make a business call and when I
miss my family.
The ride - Hilly near the coast and flatter inland. The
signs said that it was 85 k to Phang Nga but it was only 58 k. Sometimes
the signs are not accurate. We had a head wind in the morning and
a tailwind in the afternoon.
||Phang Nga. We stayed a day in Phang Nga and
did a boat tour through mangrove swamps, limestone caves, and the famous
James Bond Island. We also visited a Muslim fishing village that
is entirely built on stilts. Very interesting place. It was
a hot day but pleasant scenery the entire way. When we arrived in
the Muslim village it was still very hot. I was amazed to see
women covered from head to toe in clothes. The only thing exposed
was their feet. I personally would find this amount of clothes
very uncomfortable. It explains why no one was walking around.
The cost of the tour was $600 baht ($15.38) each for the full day tour
and for an extra 250 B ($6.4) you can stay in the Muslim village.
Bring bug repellant I heard the mosquitoes are bad.
||Phang Nga - Krabi
The ride - The signs to
Krabi were scarce so we had to pick our way through town and ask people
along the way. We took highway 415 towards Krabi, traffic has
picked up. We intersected Highway 4 at Thap Put and took it all
the way to Krabi. We had a head wind for the first 30 km and it
was hilly as well. It was slow going and by the time we arrived in
Krabi we were pretty spent. It was a hot day. We stayed at the Tea
Tree House for $350 ($8.97). The air conditioner did not work right and
neither did the shower. We bought our book on Malaysia here. We
could not find a used one we had to buy it new for 1095 B ($28) ouch!
There are no bootleg copies of books here.
||Krabi. It was election day and
everything was closed. We tried to get our laundry done and that
was impossible as well. All in all we could not get out of Krabi
||Krabi - Ko Lanta. We could have taken
a ferry to Ko Lanta for 200 B ($5.13). We decided to ride instead.
We decided we were going to Ko Lanta for a working vacation. Tim
calls it our spring break. I work on the books and finish our taxes and
get to go to the beach afterwards. Not a bad deal at all.
The ride. We
had to ride back to Highway 4, about 3 km. It was then 50 km to
4026 to Ko Lanta. Then another 27 km to the first ferry boat. Then
another 10 km or so to the second ferry boat. It was 86 B ($2.20)
each for the ferry. Another hot day on the bike.
|April 4 -12
||Ko Lanta. We stayed at Golden Bay
Cottages for $550 B ($14.10) a night. We had hot water, air
conditioning, and cable TV well kinda. We had two channels in
English. We looked at places on Hat Khlong Dan beach and Hat Phra Ae
(Long Beach) beach. We chose Golden Bay on Hat Khlong Dan beach.
The beach has nice sand and not very big waves, a great beach for kids.
This beach was hit by the tsunami in December 2006. Damage from
the wave can be seen at the northern end of the beach. Because of
the shape of the beach and the direction of the wave the rest of the
beach was spared. As always taxes take more time to file that I
like. However, on April 11 I filed our taxes over the internet using turbo tax. It
is nice that I can do this from over here. However, I had to file our
Indiana state taxes through the mail. Ah well they will come around
sooner or later. It was a relief to file taxes but I was not done
yet. I had to check back in 24 to 48 hours to see if my taxes were
excepted. Sounds easy enough. Then a huge wrench was thrown
into the works. After I filed taxes, I hibernated the computer the
same way as usual. When we got back to our room, the computer
would not come back on, no lights, no sound, nothing on the screen. Sony Vaio laptops are known to turn off
and not come back on. We have experienced this before in China.
When it happen the first time, we looked on the internet then and found Joe Kablan of AQS Computer
Services. He was kind enough to recommend a field repair to us.
We had to unplug the CMOS battery which is located under the keyboard.
We unplugged the CMOS battery while the battery was off and then applied
AC power. We tried this same procedure this time but it did not
If it comes back on we let the computer boot up, fix the date and whala
the computer is working again. This time we followed the same
procedures but nothing happen. No light nothing. Ok don't panic.
I felt like I had not finished my taxes. We knew that we still had
all our data but we did not know what to do next. We wrote Joe and he
gave us the toll free number for Sony. There was no additional
field repair. We decided to wait until the next day to try again.
Again we unplugged the CMOS battery and then applied AC power.
Nothing. We started to think about buying another computer.
It was now time to leave Ko Lanta. I was a bit sad because we
never did do a snorkeling trip here. Ah well the weather has changed and
the rainy season has started. It is now raining every afternoon.
We knew that tomorrow was the Thai Songkran holiday but we decided to go
||Ko Lanta - Trang. Songkran is the
celebration of the Lunar New Year. Budda images are bathed.
Thais sprinkle water everywhere and water is thrown about in large
quantities. We knew we would be targets on the bike but we thought
hey this will be fun. The first bucket of water landed on Tim at
10 am and it continued until we arrived in Trang where it was a full out
water war. It was quite fun but tiring to run the many gallants.
The road blocks got bigger and bigger. They would stop us and smear talc
powder on us. We had baby powder of various colors all over us by
the end of the day.
We stayed at the Ko Teng Hostel in Trang for 380 B
( $9.40) it had air conditioning but no hot water. Plenty of other
places in town.
The ride. We took the two ferries back to the mainland to cost
was only 50 B ($1.28) each. We took 4206 back 27 k to
highway 4. Then we took hwy 4046 rather then Hwy 4 to Trang.
|April 14 - 15
||Trang. We were up and ready to leave
Trang early and decided to stay other day. I was mentally tired.
We have been on a mental roller coaster with the computer. In the
evening Tim decided to pull out the computer. He the battery in
but no AC power. He said I am just going to try it. And
Boom! the lights came on. We stared at the computer in
disbelief and relief at the same time. Wow, I can check my taxes.
We went down to the internet cafe and yes my taxes were accepted.
Whew, what a relief. We stayed another day to get our house so to
speak in order.
||Trang - Satun. While waiting at the
light on the way out of town we saw a cycle tourist ride by. We
saw him again at another intersection, we were going the same way but
came to the same intersection from different directions. We were
close to catching up to the rider when I suddenly felt my rear tire go
soft. We pulled over to fix our tire. We noticed that the other
bike tourist had a flat too. That is when we met Claus from
Germany. We decided to ride together at least until La Ngu.
We we arrived in La Ngu and decided to ride to the next town a short 20
k away. That way we could be closer to the land border crossing.
It turns out that there was no hotel past La Ngu. We had to ride
to Satun to find a place to stay. It was a long day in the saddle.
SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to 9-15-06
December 16- January 16, 2005
Cambodia and Angkor Wat
Poipet to Tien Bien, Cambodia
Best Place to see Pictures
Cambodia Thumbnail Pictures
(January 16 - February 17 , 2005)
Tinh Bien to Cau Ganh, Vietnam
Tim's Emailed Newsletters
Best Place to see Pictures
South Vietnam Thumbnails
May 22 - June 27, 2005
Guizhou and Hunan,
Zhangjiajie National Park China
Best Place to see Pictures
Pictures of Guizhou, China.
(July 16 - Sept. 3, 2005)
Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, China.
Beijing to Xian, Shaanxi, China
Best Place to see Pictures
Thumbnail pictures from Inner
Full size Picture
Beijing to Jining, Inner Mongolia.
Grasslands of Jining, to Wuchuan (near) Hohhot
to Bautou, Inner Mongolia, China
Bautou to Yulin, Shanxi, China with Photos from Genghis Khan's Mausoleum.
- Yulin to
Yanan, Shaanxi, China
Chairman Mao's Headquarters and Residence in Yanan, China.
- Yanan to
Xian, Shaanxi, China.
Terracotta Warriors #1
Terracotta Warriors #2.
(Sept. 4 - Oct. 29, 2005)
Chengdu, to Zongdian, China
Best Place to see Pictures
Sichuan Thumbnail Photos
Full size Picture
- Giant Panda
Breeding Center #1
- Red Panda
in Chengdu, Sichuan, China #2
Chengdu to Kangding.
Sichuan, located in Southwestern China.
Mugecuo Lake near Kangding, Sichuan, China.
Xinduqiao to Tibetan Home Stay.
Home Stay to 4718 meter (15,475 feet)
Litang, Sichuan, China.
Litang Lamasary Tibetan Buddhist Monk Monastery
to Sumdo, Tibet
- Sumdo to
Xiangcheng to Derong, Tibet.
Sichuan Province to Tibetan Shangri-La, (Zongdian)
(Oct. 30 - Dec. 24, 2005)
Zongdian to Mohan, China
Best Place to see Pictures
Yunnan thumbnail photos
(July - Sept. 15, 2006)
Malaysia #3 and Singapore.
Taiping, Malaysia to
Best Place to see Pictures
Malaysia #3 and Singapore
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground