Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts

VillageFarang moves to NEX-6, dumping the old S-90


I am presently going through another quiet spell with this blog.  I am still out riding the mt. bike and taking pictures, we even took a lovely day trip around Chiang Rai which included Doi Chaang and Rai Boon Rawd.  The pictures ended up going straight to Google+, instead of stopping by the blog first, however.  I am looking for new direction, or at least new motivation for the blog, but no luck so far.

You can see what I have been up to by going to my Profile Page on Google Plus.

The big news, is that my Canon S-90 was dying on me, and I was getting tired of fixing the dead pixels in my shots, so I recently went out and bought a Sony NEX-6.  The weather was not cooperative yesterday so I only took a couple of test shots around the house and I was blown away by the difference.

It is still grey and wet outside but I am keeping my fingers crossed for this afternoon.  I desperately want to get out on the bike and play with my new toy.

EDIT:
Okay, here are some test shots from my afternoon ride and one view from the house.  As you can see things are very green these days.











Just adding a new shot from the house today.


Something a little more recent.  Fishing.



Chasing Blue Skies …


It rained through the night and I awoke to one of those lazy gray days where one cannot tell time without the aid of some manmade device.  It was a colorless, featureless day, very good for doing nothing at all.  It had been far too many days since my last ride, however, and that had me chomping at the bit, restless to hit the trail but still uncommitted due to the weather.

By the time I managed to overcome my inertia, it was nearing noon and I was still undecided about which direction to take.  My initial plan was to head West but as I paused at the end of our driveway in a light mist, I could see rain in that direction.  To the East though, high above the mountains, I thought I glimpsed a touch of blue and made a quick change of course, in search of those blue skies.  By the time I was crossing the Ing River, I began to feel more confidence in my choice of direction.

The closer I got to the mountains the clearer things got.  That mist like rain which I began my ride in, was gone and the mountains beckoned, promising blue skies and clear views.  It had been some time since I last attempted the two kilometer climb to the mountain reservoir but I felt the call on this day.

Threading my way through tight village lanes, I found my way blocked by a funeral procession as I neared the mountain trailhead.  There was not an inch to spare on either side, and dressed in black as I was, I fit right in with no one offering to make a path for me.  I could see the temple up ahead, but at the processional pace, it was going to take some time to get there.  Taking a chance on a side soi, I eventually found my way to the foot of the mountain and the beginning of the torturous climb to the top.

It quickly became apparent they had done some work on the trail.  I have grown to expect the dramatic changes that one encounters on the trail.  Sometimes they are washed out, burnt out, overgrown, graveled over or excavated by tractor or backhoe.  As usual there were also some newly cleared slopes and felled trees, as the industrious locals seek to add to their meager incomes.

My biggest surprise was yet to greet me.  Heart pounding, lungs searing, panting like Cookie on a hot summer day, I stood in awe at what lay before me.  Usually I have been greeted by water which stretched from dam to forest with no vantage other than from atop the dam itself.  I had been there when the water was low but never like this.

There were massive old tree trunks scattered about and large areas were covered by a moss like growth which helped to keep one from sinking into the muck and mud.  Looking out over this odd terrain, which was usually hidden from view by several meters of water, I saw a few trails where someone or something had trod, leaving deep footprints, highlighted by the angle of the sun.

At first I venture slowly, uncertain of my footing.  Each step was an adventure as I walked my bike over the spongy floor of the lake.  From the tiny plants beneath my feet, to rocks and tree trunks which dotted the area, to the eerie feeling of walking in this giant bowl like space, my senses were overwhelmed.  I spent quite some time wandering about taking pictures and marveling at this magical place.  I really didn’t want to leave but I had spent much longer than usual and still had a long way to ride with the temperature rising and my water running low.

Reluctantly I found my way back to the dam and started home.  That is when it really struck me, how much work they had done on the trail.  Lets just say it was quick ride to the bottom.  It ended up being a 48 kilometer day and I am feeling it today but I still have a smile on my face when I look at the pictures and remember.


Crossing the river.


Clearing the forest.

An improved trail


The dry lakebed. 

Tree stump.

A dried out relic from the bottom of the lake.

A different angle.

Flying close to the ground.

Closeup of the green carpet on the lake floor.

The tiny stream which feeds the lake.

The stream coming down from the mountains.

One last parting glance as I leave.  Blue sky found.



Bike Repairs and Some Trail Shots…

So there I was, contemplating a ride after several days off, and with my wife back in school for the weekend.  While prepping the bike I noticed a ping or click emanating from somewhere.  There are only so many moving parts and joints that could be making a metal on metal sound and I quickly eliminated everything but the chain and rear gear mechanism.  With my limited experience I couldn’t tell it something was on the verge of breaking or not, so I planned a trip to Northern Bike the next day when the car would be free.  No weekend ride for me.

Peak was visiting with a friend back in his work area as I rolled the bike in.  I marveled as he had a quick listen for the sound, before proceeding to remove the back wheel and disassemble the gear set, or whatever it is called.  Nothing broken but apparently I have been over cleaning a bit and things had dried up inside where the gears fit over a ratcheting spindle of sorts.  A quick cleaning and greasing of the mechanism and it was silent running once again.  All of this without a break in the conversation.

If I were to purchase an additional tool or two, I could probably do it myself, after watching what Peak did.  As it is we need to go into town fairly often so it isn’t a big deal to stop off at Northern Bike on the way.  If either of us is too busy, it is easy to drop it off and come back later.  It is always fun to rummage around the shop to see what they have in stock, so maybe I am not quite ready to become a full time do-it-yourselfer, just yet.

While I was there I asked Peak to weigh the bike to see what I had ended up with after all the upgrades.  It was roughly 11.5 kilos or a little over 25 pounds.  Apparently from what I found in a quick search, that is not too bad for a hardtail with disc brakes.  Anyway I am very happy with the bike right now and had another great ride yesterday, after a night of rain.  It was too wet in the morning but by two in the afternoon things had dried out enough to ride without getting too messy.  It was still overcast so the temperature was good for riding as well.

I love finding new trails and new ways to connect old trails.  It creates in me a sense of adventure and discovery, which distracts me from focussing too much on the physical effort.  The camera plays a part as well, urging me to pay closer attention to my surroundings, instead of simply passing through.  The other day I managed to trade 15 km of road for roughly 18 km of dirt.  That 43 km route now has only a 5 km road section at the beginning, which is repeated at the end, and a few village lanes which are rough concrete.  Everything else is dirt or gravel of various kinds.

I had something else in mind to include in this post but perhaps this is long enough.  Besides I do have a few pictures I would like to share.  At least I already know what I want to write about in my next post.
View on a new section of trail.

View on a new section of trail.

Came across this Phaya Mengrai water control area by entering town from a different trail.

Sluice gates.


One last angle before leaving.

Taking a break on the new trail.

This was much better than riding on the road.

Riding through a rubber plantation.

Forest trail of hard packed clay.

A fork in the trail.

Reflections and shadows. 

Hilltop temple compound.


Pulling fish from his pockets.


Recent Photos of Village Life...

On the way home from town yesterday we took a detour to the top of a mountain overlooking Happy City Golf Course and the fertile plains of Chiang Rai in the Wiang Chai area.


The day before there was a small village parade.  Moo 13 was showing off their rocket and collecting contributions from the households they passed.




The day before that we had a storm which took our biggest tree, just barely missing our house.  I returned from a bike ride not long before the storm hit and had no idea what was coming.




Life is always interesting living in a Thai Village.