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Old 04-10-2011, 04:43 PM   #751
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Originally Posted by simon thomas View Post
Hi guys, I'll read through the info you've just posted in a bit, we've got some really bad internet at the moment and it keeps crashing. We've just found out we're the cover story for the June 2011 issue of RoadRUNNER. Mum will be pleased.

I'll try to log on in a bit...

I look forward to reading it.
"I am learning, as I make my way through my first continent, that it is remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them."

~ Ted Simon, Jupiter's Travels ~
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:08 AM   #752
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Hi, Just arrived at 'Bikers Corner' ( where we're going to stay for a few days. Phill's got some great internet here so hopefully I'll get the next part of the RR up tonight.

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:29 AM   #753
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Looks like you found the perfect place to hang out for a bit. Looking forward to your Nepal story and pics.

Thanks for sharing your adventure.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:01 PM   #754
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Will see what I can do Simon re LP. Give me some time. Cheers
Life is too damn short !
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:28 PM   #755
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:10 AM   #756
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Location: 10 years on the road and still going..back in USA!
Oddometer: 150 the RR post? you can see from one of Simons earlier posts...we arrived in Chaing Mai OK. just in time for the celebration of Songkran (New Year) - this is where water is thrown at anything and everything that moves! so we were warned not to ride! here in Chaing Mai the festivities take on a real fervour! and last 5 full days. it is sheer and utter madness in a very good way!

our task whilst we were here was to upload new RR for Nepal! well as you can see thats not happend!

we got a little side-lined by attacking people with super power water guns! and of course being attacked in turn with then usually buckets of water full of iced-water. a shock but nice in a perverse way on a hot day!

Simon is working on his bike today....but we promise Nepal and photos will be up before the night (our night!) is over. :-)

thanks for being so patient guys!
happy Thai New Year. the year here is 2554!
Lisa T
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:40 AM   #757
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Originally Posted by lisa thomas View Post

we got a little side-lined by attacking people with super power water guns! and of course being attacked in turn with then usually buckets of water full of iced-water. a shock but nice in a perverse way on a hot day!
Glad you taking part and having fun in the festivities. Hmmm, buckets of iced cold water ...... 5 days of country wide wet t-shirt competitions is more than any warm blooded man could handle. LUCKY SIMON !!!!

Look forward to the next installment and a few "wet" pics

Have fun
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:48 PM   #758
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Simon, I Pm'd you. I will be in Chiang Mai on may 8. I hope to meet you guys.

Thanks for the magnificent photos!
U-kaan Dooeet!!
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:51 PM   #759
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Looking forward to the Nepal report. Dont see many reports from there and its always been a place I'd like to visit.

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:51 PM   #760
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Thumb The 4 shot collage on the 9th

Loved the 4 shots you posted up on the 9th. REALLY wets my appetite for Nepal and the the Cashmere region. As usual, FANTASTIC stuff. Thanks so much for posting! Sometimes I daydream about how easy going life would be on the road, but it just occurred to me tonight that you two seem REALLY BUSY!! I don't know where you find the energy to keep us all at bay with your ride reports, stories and such. You have great patience and dedication to your mission. Keep the wheels down and rollin'!
Thumbs Up!!
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:03 AM   #761
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Sucks with the NG response, while what they put in their mag is up to them, in my mind content produced by someone with a passion and a dream of doing something like this is a lot more enticing than content from a "professional" who in the end is doing it for a paycheck.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” -T. S. Eliot

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Old 04-23-2011, 04:56 AM   #762
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Riding into the Himalayas

OK, we've been working our asses off and internet connection allowing this should be a 'photo fest'.

So, if your sitting comfortably lets ride on and into Nepal...Not afraid of heights are you?


The relief we were feeling was tangible as we played dodgems for the last time with the insanity of the Indian roads en-route to the Sunali border. IN a matter of hours we would be in Nepal. Sunali was what we’d expected, a typical border town – dusty, dirty, jam packed full of people milling about with packages. Diesel trucks belched acrid black smoke into our faces as we eased our way behind them, both us hemmed in by cars, mopeds, pedestrians and cows. There was no way past.. It was a shambolic milay. The road had become a car park of tired vehicles now being beaten to death by heavy footed drivers. The usual cacophony of honking horns drowning out conversation, the smell of 100 year old cooking oil from the plethora of tiny street cafes occasionally cutting through the diesel choked air. Inside our riding suits we are soaked in filthy perspiration and the exposed skin beneath our visors is already soot black.

Several urgent yells caught our attention and identified that we’ve just driven a 100 metres past the Indian customs building; it was easily done, the small office being hidden amongst the indistinguishable clutter of the street and other shops. Off the bikes and walking over it was still hard to discern this small room housed any kind of officialdom.

However, once in it was fairly well organized and the paperwork was dealt with quickly.
Getting back on the bikes we quite literally had to fight our way through the parked trucks and up to the border gates. The Nepali side proved to be a stark and wonderful contrast. Within 30 m ins we’ve been led office to office, passports tamped, customs arranged and carnets cleared.
We were in Nepal our 69th country.

we reached the town of Butwal (which everyone appears to dub ‘but-wipe’…as it is rather), and after going round and round trying to find a decent hotel/guesthouse that wasn’t going to cost the earth we found one away from the bus station and with a car park. Not as cheap as we’d hoped but secure and off the main road. Hotel Sind. 16 miles from the border. GPS: N27 41. 969 E83 27.834

Luckily on stopping here we had the chance to speak to a few of the other guests –mainly local businessmen and heard the news that we would have to get on the road really early as the Maoist national party have a bandh (general strike) starting at 8:00am tomorrow and the roads will be blockaded. These are not the type of blockades that you can ride through and get away with not adhering to just because you are a tourist – these guys – we were told – mean business.


In the warm soft light of a new day we bounced over the pot-holed tar of Butwal and the bikes were feeling strong, we were soon climbing steadily and easily, our new route lifting us quickly into the mountains. Our dark visors diffused the pinky hues of the slowly rising sun that we were now riding into. This was going to be spectacular. Skirting the edge of our first long valley a think brown smoke hung in the air. The result of small unchecked bush fires burning on the steep banks of the opposite hillside.

As the heat of the day increased the wisps’ of mist-like smoke still filled the air, giving a warm glow to the landscape. The road was lumpy at some points but surprisingly good and better than we’d expected. We later hear that this road had been a dirt road up until 6 years prior. Now that would have been great!

The truck drivers surprise us with their courteous driving. We were waved by, by some, whilst others shocked us by actually pulling over to let us go past! Wow! After India this was a shock. BTW – a point to note in most countries, if they signal it’s OK for you to go by….don’t take their word for it! Do your usual checks before overtaking!

The road continued to sweep through the mountains, following the Seti river which has dug impressive canyons into the valley floor. Riding today was a joy…a pleasure – something that we had missed during our time in India. A bit of geology: In this area, within 30 km, the elevation rises from 1,000 m to over 7,500 m. Apparently In no other place on earth do mountains rise so quickly. We were in every sense of the word gloriously ‘over-whelmed’!!!!

We had the opportunity to meet a small group of motor bikers stopped on one of the many corners of the mountain road, and were given advice as to where to stay. A place that also had parking off the road, good food and clean rooms.

Ahh, to be able to camp would be bliss. Maybe we will be able to at some point during our time in Pokhara...
We arrived in Pokhara in good time and found Sacred Valley guesthouse. It was full. They recommend another guesthouse a little further down the road but a little more costly. We will have to move asap.

We knew the views from Pokhara were meant to be simply stunning but with the smoky haze everywhere from many bush fires raging due to the heat wave it was impossible to see anything much.

Heading up the mountain to the town of Pakhara


We woke in anticipation that we would see the mountains….but nope they were still in hiding. We had heard that it’s quite possible to stay here for the whole month of April and not see them at all. God that would 'suck'!

Showered and with a local map of Pokhara in hand, we wandered slowly down to Sacred Valley, whom we'd been told were as famous for their breakfast as anything else. OMG...breakfast delight, bloody fantastic. For once these guys deserved their reputation!

...For what seemed like an age, we had our first proper cooked English breakfast, muffins, perfectly cooked fried eggs, real sausages and crisp bacon, plus a decent cup of coffee. We just have to stay here! Our stomachs demand it. They have some rooms for later in the week and so we booked. ?

You would not believe the differences between two countries who are neighbors. Nepal is much more serene, its people more gentle, than that of India. There is way less noise in general and the horns are not used every single second of every single day! You still have the cows on the road but there is less rubbish and so far none of the acrid smelling roadside fires burning trash and human bodily waste. We realize we are in a very touristy area but its great to be able to relax and take our first deep breath of fresh air after what feels like an age

The tourist area of Pokhara is called Lakeside.

Settled in at the Sacred Vally Guest House

08 to 14-2010

A pretty chilled day bit by mid-day the familiar hum of a big GS had caught our attention as we were leaving a small café. “I recognize that GS” I shouted to Lisa and I lept out waiving my arms to catch the riders attention. Margus lifted his helmet slowly as Karriina beamed a warm hello smile. These two adventurers Estonian have already been on the road for a few years. We first contacted oneanother via and more recently via

The familiar noise of a loaded 1100GS gets our attention as Margus and Kariina roll up.

The now mandatory photo for

A close up of Margus's very heavy 1100GS

Lisa and Kariina swap travel stories and compare notes on long term travelling with husbands, I'm totally guessing that last part but I'm pretty sure Margus and I came up in conversation a couple of times

ADV's most famous Estonians.

...hello and goodbye, my last photo as Margus and Kariina head out and onto India.

Back at at small temporary guest house I gently ribbed Margus about the amount of gear he’s managed to load onto his trusty 1100.

We’d both known that we were all in the area but hadn’t really expected to meet, this was fantastic, a chance to catch up, swap stories and advice and chill with a few cold beers with friends.…so that’s exactly what we did.

================================================== =

Happy New Year…2067!

I woke from a deep sleep abruptly as Lisa yelled “it’s clear, it’s clear”. I was up faster than a ferret up a drain pipe. Scrambling to pull my trousers up around my waist as I throw on a t-shirt at the same. We race each other up the two sets of stairs to the roof top of the hotel, to be rewarded with the most incredible view.

As if finally appearing from the behind a curtain and there in all it’s glory, the Annapurna Mountain Range, raking the horizon. The incisor like teeth of the tallest peaks piercing a clear cobalt sky. We stood transfixed. I can best describe our first sighting and its impact as humbling. she comes...

Our incredible morning view from the roof of our guest house

...humbled in the presence of the Himalayas

A close of of the Eastern ridge of Machapuchare Mountain

It's safe to say that Nepal has already made a huge impression on us!

We didn’t even speak much, words seemed superfluous and descriptive would fall short. We both knew how excited we each were. Lisa’s face was beaming. It reflected my own. Finally I blurted…”holy fuck”, which right then seemed horribly inappropriate and appropriate at the same time.

After being mesmerized for a full 30 minutes we shook ourselves free of the Annapurna spell we’d been under and ran back to the room to grab walking shoes and cameras.

Twenty minutes later and we were buying tickets to be rowed across the lake and to the steps that would lead us up to the World Peace Stupha. We’d bumped into Vincent and Karin from France and had agreed to split the cost of the boat. Lisa had begun talking to Vincent when she saw hi sorting through a pile of books that he was carrying in his rucksack!

The crossing was calm and serene as the water was like a mirror. However, Lisa didn’t like the boat at all – she’s really not good with small boats! – As she says they wobble too much and she always thinks she’s going to end up in the water……

Row boats lined up waiting to carry passengers to the foots of the stairs on the opposite bank of the lake

Machupachari perched in the background

On the other side we started the climb. A long meandering path of stone steps which wove its way through dense foliage until finally delivering us at the Stupha. The climb had taken us an hour. Our fitness levels are appalling…it’s been ages since we did anything other than ride! Stopping to catch our breaths on the way up we had been given rewarding views of Machhupuchhari – Fishtail mountain standing at 6997m

With the large white painted Stupha to our left and the Himalayas in front we were again caught by there spell, but then so was everyone else.

The view up on the stairs of Pokharas most famous Stupha.

Devotees pray on the Stupha

The gently ever smiling face of a Budha as seen across Nepal

The view down from the stupha

A wide elegant set of stone steps lead from the Stupha base up to the large gold recessed statue of Buddha. A serene face and hands in the lotus position. In that instant I knew exactly why we were travelling. India had given us plenty of opportunities to doubt we still had the energy or desire to continue; that doubt had instantly finished. The uncertainty that had threatened to tarnish our trip, wiped clean in an instant.

Nepali’s took of their shoes and with their hands held together each made a prayer before ascending the steps to begin their clockwise walk around the stuphas first level. We followed suit.

To the north, south, east and west of the stupha a statue had been inset, each a small shrine with small candles that seemed impossible to stay alight in spite of the strong breeze. I pointed my heavy camera and lens out towards the Annapurna Himalayas and started shooting as many pictures as I could, all the while Buddhist prayer/mantras could be heard, played from big speakers at the base of the steps.

On the spur of the moment after showing Vincent a few tips on how to use his new camera properly Simon was giving photo lessons to another French girl…..mmm…maybe this could catch on.

The awesome view across to the small village of Sarangkot, perched high in the sky

Posing for a photo with the Himalayas as a back drop, not a bad day?!?!?!

The day was getting hotter and so after a brief stop at one of the many small huts serving cold drinks, we were soon headed back down the mountainside to where we’d arranged to be picked up by boat.

Back at the Sacred Valley Hotel the afternoon drifted by in easy conversation with Vincent and Karin and Kim (the German biker on the KTM) who’d dropped by to say hello.

By the time I’d pulled the photos of the camera it was dark and outside.

We rounded off our day with a meal with Vincent and Karin at the Chinese restaurant just 400 metres up the road.

That first view this morning has made my year!

================================================== =

Hope you enjoyed the first installment of our Nepal section, as always comments and questions welcome and expected. Would you believe that no one of those photos comes anywhere close to doing those mountains views justice. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 04-23-2011, 07:31 AM   #763
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Just found this very cool, thread!

Just found this very cool, thread!

-They're staying with us now ( ,a very interesting couple with a great sense of humor.

Simon came dirt riding with us in the mountains around Chiang Mai on his water buffalo (we were on DRZ400 & a KlX250) and had a great time, whilst Lisa stayed at the hotel and worked.
Story of our ride here

Simon says he would like more of this arrangement.
Upcoming Chiang Mai to the Tibet border tour details just finished ---
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:48 AM   #764
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just awesome and glad you got a fun ride in Simon!
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:05 AM   #765
simon thomas OP
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Originally Posted by soph9 View Post
just awesome and glad you got a fun ride in Simon!
...hey, hey, lets be clear he never got a fun ride 'IN' simon. sorry couldn't resist, you have to love the English language

Actually it was a great ride, no panniers, no bags a little gas and some great dirt.

I'll post lots more Nepal RR soon. In the next few days. Great to have good internet access at the moment.

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