Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Does anybody remember me?

Hello, hello?  Is this thing on?  I'm surprised this thing still works.  I haven't been around the old blogger-sphere a lot lately.  I should have posted some things from my trip to America, but somehow I never got around to it.

Let's see . . . .  Oh, my landlady (and landlord) are coming over tomorrow.  Not an unusual occurrence, but mine are visiting all the way from England.  But they are back for a visit so they are coming by the old homestead.  As you can imagine, I have been busy cleaning for the last week.  I want to give the impression that I am managing their property well.  Naaah, it actually looks pretty good.  But we do need to sort out a couple of small things.

I have a three day weekend this week.  (Normally I only get one day off a week.  Poor me.)  I also have a week off week after next.  Unfortunately that also means no pay for a week and two weekends, which means I'll be living on beans and vegetables for the next few weeks.  Oh, I do that all the time already. 

During my off week I am planning my first overnight bike trip.  I will be going from Chiang Mai to Phrao, then the next day from Phrao to Chiang Dao, and the third day from Chiang Dao back to Chiang Mai.  Altogether it will be about 200 miles.  I think I am going to be sore when I get back.  I'll have to see how it goes.  My friend wants me to do a trip with him to Chiang Rai in December, but that would be more like a 500 mile trip, so I don't know if I am up for it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Road Adventures.

I have had an adventurous week with the bike. On Monday I went biking out the Samoeng Loop. I had no intention of actually doing the loop, which is quite mountainous, but I wanted to go out it about twenty miles. I made it about thirteen miles. I was straining up a hill when SNAP!, my chain broke. That is rather unsettling when you are pressing with full might on the pedal and suddenly there is no resistance. I didn't fall off the bike, but it was a close thing. So I started pushing my bike back to town, wondering where I could find a songtaew. Fortunately a Belgian guy, Maxell, came along and helped me. He was on a really nice road bike. He had a chain breaker, a device neither of us had ever used, but we figured it out and rejoined the chain. I was quite embarrassed because my bike was dirty and the chain was greasy and got his hands filthy. His bike was immaculate. Your mom always told you never to go anywhere without clean underwear, in case you ended up in the hospital and they had to undress you. From now on I won't go anywhere without a clean, freshly lubed and wiped down chain. The chain repair wasn't perfect, but it was good enough for me to slowly make my way home. I then went and bought my own chain breaker, and made permanent repairs to my bike.

Wednesday I went for the longest ride I have ever done. I went north, up the river valley toward Phrao. I made it about halfway up there before turning back. I finished at 61 miles. Quite a ride for me, the day before my fiftieth birthday. I had a flat on the way back, a piece of glass punctured my tire. I tried patching it, but cut was too close to the seam, and it wouldn't seal. So I replaced the tube and came on home. Now I will need to buy a new spare tube before I go out again. I intend to go riding again on Friday, but I don't plan to go so far!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


While I am off work I am catching up on a number of things that have fallen by the wayside recently. One of these is my motorbike. I took it in today with a laundry list of things that needed doing. I had the oil changed, a new spark plug and air filter installed, got the speedometer/odometer cable repaired (wasn't working), and got the tail light fixed (wasn't working). They were also supposed to replace the gasket on the gas tank cap, but somehow that didn't get done. They also washed it and tightened up the brakes. It took about two and a half hours. The cost was 270 baht, the equivalent of nine dollars! Vehicle repair is one of the truly good bargains in Thailand. For a lot of things (electronics and other imported things) we pay more than we would in the States, or Europe, but some things are cheaper.

I also notice that the motorbike is running better now, and I feel safer, now that the tail light is working again.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Songkran Break

I am on break from work right now. After working an outrageous schedule the last two months we have a ten day break over the traditional Thai New Year, or Songkran. Since I am planning a trip to the States at the end of the month, I am not traveling during the break. Instead I will stay here in CM, catch up on my house and yard work, exercise and try some new recipes.

I went biking today with three other friends. Two of them are in their mid fifties, and the oldest is seventy-six. We did forty-seven miles, or seventy-six kilometers. At least I did, everyone's mileage varied a bit depending on where their house is.

It was a very nice ride. We left at 6:00 AM, so that meant getting up at 4:45. But the weather was cool, slightly overcast, and the smoke that has plagued us for the last two months was washed away by last night's rain. We didn't ride fast, the older guy has slowed down since his cancer surgery last year. Still, at 76, in an all day ride, he would ride me into the ground. Actually I didn't mind going a little slow. I haven't been riding much lately, because of work and the smoke, so I am a little out of shape. We stopped half way and took a leisurely break to eat our fruit and drink our protein shakes.

I intend to ride everyday of the break, or go to the gym for weight training, so hopefully I am feeling more fit when I go back to work.