|Golden Triangle, Northern Thailand|
Traveling in North America has provided us with unbelievable experiences. It has also created a perception of distance and conditions that might not be reasonable. Most of our traveling in Asia has been much shorter distances than at home. Hour long flights and couple hundred kilometres on the bike has come to be the norm here.
We have seen some amazing vistas over jungled mountain ranges and smelled tea plantations slated into the hillsides. Skipped through villages that appeared on the crest of berm in a river valley. Potholes, mud, dust and brand new bitumen all in a single ride.
These all became our new perception of what is a perfect road. I searched and searched all over North America for the perfect smooth twisty tarmac. Google Maps the night before a 800 kilometre ride North, South, East and West. Looking for a great route through a National Park or mountain range. Connecting a long Interstate with an exit that would lead me into the hills. This is what I searched for and found time and time again wandering around the States and Canada. I ate a lot of highway doing this over the last five years. What dawned on us after riding through Northern Thailand was that I have been missing out on enjoying the not so perfect. I have come to accept mother nature will not always agree with my wants, but I also need to accept that potholes, mud and dust also offer a different experience.
The variations in a 350 kilometre ride from The Imperial Golden Triangle Resort in Northern Chiang Rai turned out to be incredible. We followed the Mekong River all through the border villages of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. The end of the day saw us all caked in mud and dust. Road work along the river provided loose gravel and flying debris. Passing lorries and pickups with the group was fun and a test of ability. As we worked our way back up into the mountains we again had to shift riding patterns. Back to back to back hairpins that rose and fell in and out of valleys and hillsides where littered with potholes and leaves. Never a full line through a turn. Getting upright in the middle of a lean became a stomach lurching process for Laura on almost every corner. The potholes then let up and we found clean road with a nice groove into turn after turn that seemed to go on and on.
Acceptance of what is put in front of us each and every day. That is what we are slowly learning. Enjoy the process and look for the gifts because they are there if you adjust your perception.
|Tea Planation Laos Border|