Recumbent trike devotee and long-time Trike Asylum reader and contributor Steven Telck is back at doing what he does so well … overland trike touring! This fellow is a world adventurer who is not afraid to get out there in new lands on his ICE trike, exploring exciting regions, and meeting new friends along the way. If you wish to read up a little about Steven prior to reading this post and commencing following his latest adventure, click HERE to visit his Trike Asylum page, which will give you lots of insight about what this guy does for fun.
In addition to triking the world now and then, he also climbs the world when he has a mind to. How’s this for HIGH adventure and living on the thin vertical edge? …
In other words, this fellow knows few bounds, and is ready for the next challenge! So, now he has challenged himself to join forces with some other cyclists and do some more pedaling of his planet, which will be periodically delivered to Trike Asylum readers right here in the way of posts.
To begin this latest Telckian adventure, I will simply post information (text/photos) that Steven sends to folks on his “followers” list, in other words, to people who are really interested in knowing where he is, when he is there, and what he is doing in the process. If you would enjoy receiving these updates directly to your own email, in the event that I am remiss in timely representation on this website (which sometimes happens because I’m out pedaling myself), you may send him off an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and he will gladly add your email to the growing list of followers. So, here is Steven’s latest, right from his mouth and camera, with no more comment from the Trike Hobo guy:
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(December 3, 2017)
This is the first of many emails I will be sending of my trike tour through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and then back to Bangkok in Thailand. If there is anyone in this group email who does not wish to receive an email and a picture or two from me every few days please let me know and I will remove your email address from the group mail. If there are some people who might like to be added to the group please let me know and I will do it.
I have been in Thailand now for 10 days at a small bicycle hostel waiting for my friend Roger to arrive.
We have traveled up from Bangkok on a bus with my trike and his bike to Mukdahan a small town on the Mekong River in east Thailand. We are staying at a small cottage called the Bo Tree Cottage which is right on the edge of the Mekong river. If one was a sleepwalker it is possible to walk 100 feet and be drowned in the Mekong River.
The Bo or Bodhi tree is a religious figure in Buddhism. The tree should never be cut down because of its religious significance. In fact in this small town there is a tree right in the middle of where a road was built and they moved the road around the tree rather than cut it down making one lane so narrow only bicycles and motorcycles could use it.
Tomorrow morning we push off on our tour. We need to ride about 6 miles north along the Mekong River and then cross the Friendship Bridge into Laos. Just after crossing the bridge we all need to stop and obtain visas for Laos. If everything goes right we will only be in Laos for 4 days yet we have planed 6 days to cover unexpected delays.
Navigation while in Laos should be dirt simple. We will be on Highway 9 East through the entire country and into Vietnam. Our plan for our first stop is 50 miles from the border or 80 km. Lucky for three people on the tour we will be riding in countries where they drive on the right hand side of the road. Only one rider will be on the wrong side for three countries and that’s the man from England.
We are now in Laos. For what ever reason we were not allowed to ride across the Friendship Bridge into Laos even though there was a raised walking platform which would have kept us out of the truck traffic. Laos visa at the border was fairly painless and I got off cheapest as compared to my fellow travellers.
We can not find any accomodations at the two towns in which we planned to stop! Therefore we might be camping the second and third day of the trip which was not expected. If we can’t find a guest house then it will be a temple most likely..
Gave an aggressive dog a possible heart attack as he would not stop charging me so I gave him two seconds of 140 decibels from the air horn.
(Editor’s Note: Steven is the tall guy on the left, with a recumbent tricycle.)
(December 4, 2017)
It is the end of day to we have traveled 96 km so far. 96 km is only 60 miles but we had a bad first day. Getting across the border into Laos took more time than expected and one of the riders was not feeling well.
All the Lao people we have met so far I’ve been very friendly. I imagine Thailand might be like present day Laos 50 years ago before the Thai economy started to grow.
Not sure who is attracting more attention, me on the trike or Richard on his Brompton. The children seem attracted to the trike, where adults to the ability to fold up the Brompton and damn near put it in your pocket.
I was told that the food in Laos would be disappointing and that is an understatement. Compared to Thailand the food is down right primative in style and taste. In most all towns restaurants are closed until evenings making getting even a bowl of noodle soup impossible during the day.
We were traveling along today when suddenly without notice the paved road turned into hard scrable and dust for nearly 8 km. There was no sign of any construction being done on any part of the road nor did it look to having been worked on for many years. The dust was terrible and I was beginning to believe the road might be unpaved for the next 200 km to the Vietnam border. During this stretch every time I bit down on my teeth to prevent having them rattled out of my jaw I could feel the grit between my teeth. Just as suddenly the pavement was back. When ever a new layer of pavement is put down the old one is not removed, the new one just goes over the old. This makes for some really steep and quick drops on the edge of many roads. One section of road had an edge which must have been 10 inches high. I am sure if I had dropped my right wheel off of the edge I would have flipped the trike. If a standard car dropped a wheel off this location it would be high centered on the frame. It is a shame I didn’t get a picture. We meet a Vietnames women and her daughter who were running a small comvience store in Laos. Her husband is Latioan and they choose to run their store in Laos as they claim it is easier than doing so in Vietnam. Must have something to do with communism and the government. I included a pic of her daughter.
So we are peddaling down the road when out of the blue a rather large Vietnamese pot belly pig runs out of the trees and straight up the bank towards Richard. I was sure he was going run into Richard, but at the last second just before colliding he peeled of back into the ditch and then into the trees.
Tonight we are staying at the most expensive room so far at $18 for double beds with a great AC and large clean room. The down side is the WiFi is terrible so I have given up even trying to use it. Funny thing is the cheapest room we have stayed in had blazing fast WiFi.
Saw someone in a Stetson hat and begun to wonder how they are made. Looked it up:
Have nearly worn out my right arm waving at children. They all run out to wave and yell “Sabidee” which is hello. Some yell ” hello good bye” as they wave at us until we are out of sight. Latioan dogs seem to be as laid back as the people. So far nothing more than half hearted barking.
There are water buffaloes every where as there were once in Thailand. Thailand has mechanized with small tractors whereas the Laoitions are still using a lot of buffalo to work their fields. There is an abundance of one cylinder Japanes and Chinese diesel engines being used for small farm trucks and transport. You can hear one coming half a mile away. They have a distinct chunk a chunk sound. As they are single cylinder engines they have huge flywheel a to smooth out there power, yet they vibrate enough to shake off parts now and then. I have heard of them being run on all grades of oils.
Goats are we to found every where in Laos. I have not seen as many goats since Saudi Arabia. I have never seen a pot belly pig in Thailand but they are everywhere in Laos running wild across the roads up and down the ditches and through people’s yards.
The difference between Vietnam and Laos at the border is like night and day. In Laos it is very difficult to find any restaurant open after 7 p.m. or even find a decent dish of fried rice. When one rides across the border into Vietnam it is like riding another planet. And Laos many of the people look like they would not have $2 to put in their pocket yet they seem extremely happy. I don’t have that sense about Vietnam, it is like everyone is on the make. The minute we arrived in Vietnam we were hit by beggars yet I never saw one in Laos.
With this email I have I have included a link to my Google Drive folder called Asian tour. Everyone who receives this email should have access to that folder from time to time I will move files out of that folder into another folder and just include new files in the old folder so you’re not always looking at the same pictures or videos. Please let me know if the link does not work for you I have tested it here in Vietnam at the border and it seems to be working when I send it to my friend in the same room. This Google drive folder is mashup of short videos and pictures. There are pictures of Thai and Laotian people both in the country and within cities. There are short videos of children running out to the edge of the street to wave at us and shout sabidee, sabidee or say hello goodbye hello goodbye. At first Hellogoodbye seem silly but considering how fast we are traveling past the children most of the time it makes perfectly since the minute they see us they say hello then goodbye and we are gone.
Google Drive link with current photos can be viewed HERE.
My right arm hurts at the shoulder from lifting it constantly all day long waving at the children and yelling back hello and goodbye but it’s hard to resist because they are so enthusiastic. There are pictures of houses up on stilts some of them it appears to be 15 to 20 feet high. I don’t think they are expecting that much water at any given time but many of the country people like to have room under their houses to park their cars and farm equipment to keep them out of the rain. One constantly sees houses in various stages of being complete I was told most people here do not borrow money to build a house. When they have some money they put down a foundation, when they have some more they put up the pillars, when they have a little more they put a floor up and then a roof, and when they have enough they put in the walls and begin to finish it, yet out in the countryside right next to a house that looks like it may have been built 200 years ago and is falling apart will be a brand new modern concrete house with air conditioning and one wonders who is putting up these houses out in the middle of nowhere and for what purpose.
The hotel in which we are staying here at the Vietnamese border is very nice the rooms have about 12 ft ceilings and our double room is large enough to play badminton in with a little room left over. The AC works great and best yet the Wi-Fi is blazingly fast which is why I could load all the videos and pictures up to Google Drive. The hotel could be a small Palace considering the size and the way it’s appointed and when we first checked in I figured it was going to be expensive, but we were tired and it was getting late 18th out delay at the border. When we got the price in Vietnamese Dong it was 600000. When I ran it through the currency converter I found out that that was $26 for two nights.
Please forgive any errors or faults you find with my emails. I am using Google voice to text for writing these emails on my cell phone and it sometimes does the sillest things when choosing what to convert to text and I sometimes do not catch them in my proof reading. Hope everyone enjoys my mental ramblings. As always if you wish to opt out please let me know.
Kickin’ Back playing my Native American flute at the front of the hotel early in the morning before a really noisy wedding party cranked up into high gear …