Trying to restore light - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

January 14, 2024

Trying to restore light

Pak Nam Beach to beach near Kui Buri

Dear little friends,

When the koels start up in the morning, it’s time to get up and get going. Bruce prepared our muesli and fruit, I goofed around and did all the other little chores required. It was pitch black outside. It goes from pitch black to very noticeably light out very quickly, so you just do your morning stuff and suddenly it’s light enough to leave. 

The plan for the day was to ride to Sam Roi Yod beach, we stayed there last year in a place we would not stay at again but we had a couple of new places marked on the map. Just a short ride, 15 miles or so. That sounded good.

The sun was rising as we rode along the beach, it was pleasant and cool, we were rocking along through the coconuts and such. The wind was slowly shifting to help us and I felt great. 

Heart 6 Comment 0
Heart 11 Comment 2
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 6 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
The remains of a party.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 6 Comment 0
There was this nice bike path along the ugly riprap shoreline. And we did exactly the same thing we did a year ago, merrily ride along until the road abruptly ended and we had to backtrack a short distance and make a turn. Whoops.
Heart 4 Comment 0

As we approached Sam Roi Yod, there had been some damage to the beach from windy storms, palms and other trees had had their roots exposed by erosion, many had been cut down. There were some sort of ugly mitigations put in place but it wasn’t pleasant at all. The first of our guesthouse choices was at that part of the beach and had “once attractive but now sort of desolate” written all over it. We’ve had plenty of those places and will have plenty more, no need to stop here. It also felt very isolated, there were no restaurants or beach life going on anywhere around there. Onward.

Heart 6 Comment 0
A newly painted boat that has been blessed by the monk and festooned with gold leaf squares and a super cool "Naga vs. squid" logo.
Heart 7 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 5 Comment 4
Rachael AndersonOkay Andrea, what did you do to warrant this beware sign!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Rachael AndersonJust minding my own business!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Rachael AndersonShe's looking at herself in a mirror. I approached the mirror carefully myself, being aware of how I must have looked.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Heart 8 Comment 1
Ron SuchanekI love this
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Another bike lane gets overtaken by nature.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Ron SuchanekStupid nature.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Heart 4 Comment 0
Oh, yes, I definitely want to stay in this astroturf blinding white guesthouse.
Heart 4 Comment 4
Scott AndersonWow, what a sterile-looking place!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonIf I stayed in this place for one night I'd probably come out a different person, like my brain had been scrubbed.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Ron SuchanekEgads, that's grim looking.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Mike PalmquistThis reminds me a little of the movie, Asteroid City, from Wes Anderson.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

It was very early still, too early to even check into a second choice guesthouse. So we decided to confer over iced coffees and both of us decided it might be better to continue on, this would make that last push into Prachuap Khiri Khan less arduous. Shortly after we started up again, we were waved at by two people swimming on the beach, and that was odd, but not when we saw their tandem touring bike swaddled with panniers and towing a trailer. Wow! We hadn’t seen other cycle tourists in weeks, since back in Vietnam!

Even crazier, another cycle tourist pulled up shortly after that! Three cycle tourists!! And those three were “overlanders”, people who rode from Europe across Asia, or at least as far as they could before visas and weather roadblocked some of their plans. I have so much admiration for that. We yakked for a bit and then we moved on.

Not that we know anybody's names, but by nationality left to right, Swiss, French, Yank, Swiss, Yank.
Heart 8 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanTo Janice BranhamIt's so interesting how whenever we see other cyclists with panniers we are attracted to each other like magnets. That's the way backpackers were in the '70's in Asia. There were so few that we'd always stop and exchange important information with each other. They were my '70's tribe.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

When you leave Sam Roi Yod you turn inland into a beautiful national park, just spectacular, with jagged rock formations and monkeys running around. We were just here a year ago so no need to spend a lot of time on it this year, plus the sky was hazy and not much interesting going on photo wise. There was a lady selling bananas and mangoes so we stopped and stocked up. We stopped for a photo and guess what? Yet another touring cyclist stopped! FOUR in one day! Crazy!

What we didn’t stop for last year was a beautiful temple area near the rock formations so this time we crossed the cute little bridge and Bruce wandered around and took photos and I checked in with my family back in Portland. Very unfortunately, a wind and cold and ice/snow event had hit the metro area and things were getting gnarly very quickly. There had been really good preparations and warnings for this storm and people had really taken it to heart, stocking up and staying home and off the roads.

Heart 7 Comment 0
Heart 7 Comment 1
Jen RahnWhat a setting for a temple!!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
That Buddha was spread out all over the place. Here's the head.
Heart 6 Comment 1
Jen RahnJuju would approve of the protective cover over the head.

Don't mess with Buddha's 'do!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Here's his torso and arms.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Aaand, here's his feet.
Heart 8 Comment 7
Scott AndersonSo strange. Have you ever seen a segmented Buddha before?
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonNever! I'm sure it was a Humpty Dumpty Buddha sort of thing and they couldn't put Humpty Buddha back together again. I hope no one got injured when Buddha fell. I like how they stashed the arms in the back of the building. And I especially like that they kept the feet where they were.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jen RahnThis is a great illustration of non-attachment to bodily manifestation.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Jen RahnGood point. It seems this Buddha statue took non-attachment to the extreme.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonAll the King's men couldn't put Humpty Buddha back together again because the King and all the King's Men live permanently in an enormous hotel in Germany.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Cornelia SchulzTo Bruce LellmanIn Bavaria wearing Lederhosen…I swear, I‘ve seen photos
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Cornelia SchulzYes, I've seen similar photos. He looks ridiculous.

The German government was going to kick him out saying that a head of state cannot live permanently in Germany while conducting the business of running another country. But maybe they decided he isn't running Thailand at all.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Near that temple was a fast running river and there were boats you can hire to tour the area. Sounds fun.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0

But then trees started coming down everywhere and in a matter of hours there were thousands of households with no power. Power poles were snapping, trees landing on houses, cars, and people. A real mess. My daughter’s house lost power first, then my son’s. They both have small children and the outside temps were rapidly approaching bitter. So then it was a matter of them deciding what they needed to do to keep the children warm.

It’s a little hard to focus on coconut groves and beautiful beaches while wondering what is going to happen to your family, and hard to be that far away. But I could tell from looking at my thermostat app that my house still had power so my son’s family moved there, just three miles away. My daughter’s house had a gas fireplace and the roads near her were steep, iced up, and covered in trees. They weren’t going anywhere.

I’m super grateful that my immediate neighborhood apparently never lost power, we were super lucky in that, because by day’s end 250,000 people were sitting in houses that were starting to freeze inside. An awful thing to contemplate, horrible.

There were other worrisome things going on too, there. So I hadn’t slept much as I texted people during the night, we hit a more desolate part of the road, the sun was coming out full strength, I was starting to overheat. 

Cows are so photogenic.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Ron Suchanek..or are they photosynthetic? Makes you think.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
And in the middle of nowhere a knife salesman of course!
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 8 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 2
John SolemVery tall tapioca.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo John SolemIt looks like they would build a small house for you for under $30,000. The view of the hills is nice but the surrounding area is super desolate. The beach isn't too far away however. There were a whole bunch of photos lined up along the road of young women in swim suits frolicking on the beach.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
This was squashed snake number 88.
Heart 3 Comment 4
Scott AndersonInteresting, but I think I’ll stick with counting birds.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonYou would have such a good time with birds here. There are so many!!! Especially in the south there are gorgeous birds everywhere.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltWay too little information for an ID... Not a python and not a viper, but that is the best I can do with what there is.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Bill ShaneyfeltOh I know. I just thought it was interesting that my squashed snake count hit 88 with this one that was lying in a figure 8.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

At 30 miles we pulled into the guesthouse, which was adorable. In fact it was so adorable that last year we had pulled into the exact same place, inquired as to the price, and left because it was too high. This year we were able to talk it down a bit and settled into one of the wooden chalet places, I hit the shower and cooled down, Bruce took off to walk on the very beautiful sandy beach. The only other folks there were next door, an older Western guy and his Thai wife, they were sitting on their little porch and the wife was laughing and talking with one of the guesthouse employees. 

Our cute bungalow.
Heart 8 Comment 0

Bruce was gone a long time. I washed my clothes and hung them here and there. Still gone. I could see toward the beach, in a little kitchen/cafe area (no longer used, they didn’t serve food anymore) that some dogs and a cat were running around. 

Heart 6 Comment 0

Suddenly, Bruce was back at the porch. 

“Do you have my shoes?”

He had taken his Keen sandals off at the kitchen area and walked on the beach and now they were gone. Nope, I didn’t have his shoes. The neighbors had disappeared into their bungalow. He went back to look some more.

He didn’t return for a long time so I finally locked up the bungalow and went down and he had one sandal in his hand, which had been chewed by one of dogs. No sign of the other one.

This was a bad situation because, while I carry a pair of super light sandals for days off, he had no other footwear. We were 30 miles from a town to buy more shoes or even a pair of flip-flops. The areas near the beach were full of scraggly dead grasses and plants and plastic junk and barbed wire fencing. There was no way he could walk there barefoot to look. I started following dog tracks in the sand hoping to find the other shoe, but it was not looking good at all, the shoe was a grayish brown, the exact same color as the sand and the dead grass.

You don't want to be hunting for your shoes in this while barefoot.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Or on this either.
Heart 4 Comment 0

Finally I walked back to the neighbors’ bungalow. I described the situation and all three of them, the foreign guy, his Thai wife, and the Thai employee, dropped everything immediately and started helping us look. That was a really gratifying moment.

We spread out, I walked down the beach, Bruce walked up the beach, and later I turned out and Bruce was making a “Hurray” gesture. The other guy had slipped through the barbed wire fence, walked several yards away to where one of the puppies had gone, and found the other shoe, a little worse for wear but mostly fine. It was a miracle.

I got the story later that while I had been in the shower, Bruce and that guy had been having a long conversation, he was originally from Finland, had been in Thailand off and on for over 50 years, and so on and so forth. So he already had met Bruce and wanted to help him, and he did. The other thing that happened was that while on the beach he met a very weird foreigner and had some strange interaction with him. Oh, AND then he spotted on the road two more cycle tourists. SIX, SIX in one day. We’re on the touring superhighway now, apparently.

The Thai employee was super embarrassed that the dogs had done that and did some yelling and shooing at them. The Thai wife laughed and was happy that her man had saved the day. And Bruce and I were absolutely thrilled and grateful that he had two working shoes. We’re not done with this trip yet, we need shoes.

Meanwhile, it was the middle of the night in Portland. Trees snapping, landing on houses, people helping other people, giving advice, giving rides, giving them blankets and telling them where the clean sheets were, hoping for the best. My grandson was sleeping in a warm house, his twin cousins were asleep nestled with their parents. The electric company employees were working in the dark, trying to restore light. 

We can’t do this life without helping others and being helped by others. It just doesn’t work otherwise. The thaw will come, the road continues, there’s lots to look forward to. But I had another night ahead where I worried and texted with family and neighbors, it’s just what I do.

Heart 8 Comment 0

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 886 miles (1,426 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 16
Comment on this entry Comment 10
Scott AndersonThanks for the update on the situation in Portland, Andrea. I’ve been reading the news too, and hoping your homes and family weren’t affected.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Rachael AndersonWow! What a jam packed day! I’m glad you found Bruce’s sandals.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Janice BranhamOn days like this I always think, well, could be worse. Your story is a meditation on dealing.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Victa Calvo"We can’t do this life without helping others and being helped by others."

Think I'll get that tatooed on my forearm...
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Andrea BrownTo Victa CalvoTattooing it in our daily practice will also work.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonMy house lost power twice but only briefly. I feel very lucky. However, if power had gone out for days and my pipes froze and burst, I had turned off my main water line from the street and water damage would have been minimal.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Lisa LeslieI have recently experienced that the finding of lost things can almost making the losing worth it...ALMOST! It does seem universally true that the stories of finding-that-whuch-was-lost tend to be rich and memorable.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Bruce LellmanTo Lisa LeslieSo, very true. It's hard to think this way while looking for that lost item however.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Ron SuchanekArgh, losing the shoes, or a single shoe would have been a disaster.

We lucked out down here in the valley- we had ice but no real issues. Glad Judah and fam were able to crash at the Mango.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago