Day 34, KHAO LAK to PHUKET

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The dogs of Khao Lak! These guys were running on the beach as we walked to breakfast.

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We missed out on the group art activities, but here are some of the fun things you can make at the Apsara Resort if you have time!

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After 31 days of cycling with this group in Thailand, Tom has decided to go on the wagon! He’s joining the anti-alcohol campaign.

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Today we rode in the vans past a rough area of road work, then jumped on our cycles for a classic Woody ride.

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This woman was drying Betel nuts.

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Spread out neatly by the side of the road.

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Looks like artwork!

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Woody stopped by a cashew tree to show us how the nuts grow.

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Here is the fresh pod. It smelled—nutty! A lot of work goes into drying and processing them, so now we will appreciate the higher price when we buy them!

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Someone’s summer home located in a rubber tree plantation!

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Snack time, and today Mr. Rin found us fresh sweet coconuts.

Click above to see him become the ‘machete machine’!!!

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Delicious! And sweeter than the bigger chilled ones we had the other day.

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Our adventure road took us past more rubber plantations.

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And before we knew it, in just 38 miles, we were biking over the bridge into Phuket! It is Thailand’s largest island. Originally prosperous due to tin mining, today Phuket is known for its beaches and nightlife.

We rode together across the bridge– the last moments, of the last day, of our cross-country ride .

A welcome station greeted tourists along the bridge. We enjoyed yet another amazing lunch nearby.

With a tinge of sadness and nostalgia, we check in to the Nai Yang Beach Resort for our last two days in Thailand.

The attendant walks our bags down the leafy path to our room.

Our room . . . but not for the night! We settled in for about an hour, and realized that the air conditioner sounded like a jet engine, with no way to dampen the noise.

A team of two engineers were sent, then four technicians . . . and as they tore the whole thing apart, the room got hotter and time moved on. So we asked for a new room in order to get ready for the evening festivities!

It seems the Corona virus sweeping China and beyond is driving more folks to wear face masks! It did not stop him from serving tasty beverages, though.

Happy hour with Gregory and Leslie.

First, Rick had one martini  (getting the olives was sort of a challenge) . . .

. . . and then another with MJ! Life is good.

The focus of tonight’s dinner was to celebrate and thank our tour leaders and drivers. These wonderful guys!

Cocktail time, as managed by Woody, usually allows two drinks. Here MJ and Laurie learn of their options.

Our sweet and efficient and friendly server!

Greg points out the green flash of sunset, just above his finger!

Our host for the night, the owner of Phen’s, made sure our drinks were never empty and that the food just kept coming . . . .

Gregory and Leslie serve as Masters of Ceremony for our celebration of the staff. Here, biking guide Bird hears how much we appreciated his energy and enthusiasm, plus his constant advice: Don’t eat too much rice! — in order to save room for the delicious local dishes.

Barb presents Bird with the thank-you gift from Tom and Barb. Deep and appreciative bows!

MJ  shares a few words as she presents Bird with the appreciation from Rick and MJ.

Our driver Mr. Chin is newer to the team, and he did a great job of hauling our bikes and supplies, and herding the riders when needed. Laurie shares her thanks with him.

Barb was so happy to have excellent help when she was thrown off her e-bike. She has a soft spot in her heart for Mr. P and the whole team, who gave her wonderful care in her time of need!

Leslie tells a story of how Mr. Rin was always there, to help us, to show the way, and to feed us energizing snacks!

Mr. Rin and MJ share their fondness for each other.

Woody, our amazing leader, earned a standing ovation from the riders. Two major Thailand rides run back-to-back set some records for Woody, as well as the guests. Lots of kilometers!

Hugs all around. We so appreciate that Woody and his colleagues leave their homes and families for many days for their bike guiding professions.  Cycling is a tremendous way to see Thailand, and these guys do the best in sharing their country with visitors like us!

The entire gang! After so many days together, how can we stand being apart?! Our dinner and celebration were a fitting end to an epic ride in January, down the length of Thailand.

On our stroll back to the hotel, Laurie points out some huge shrimp!

Back to the sparkly wonderland of the Nai Yang Beach Hotel!

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