Definition of ANTICIPATION
a : a prior action that takes into account or forestalls a later actionb : the act of looking forward; especially : pleasurable expectation
Its always exciting to go for a ride adventure. I feel the best part of it is actually the planning and preparation. Our trip to Mekong next week was initiated as early as 6 months ago after much research about where is the best place to ride, given limited time. They say that the wise folks learn from experience, but the wiser folks learn from the experience of others.
One fountain of great information is Crazyguyonabike. It is a journal where thousands of adventure cyclists pen their journeys across the world and this was where I discovered the Chiang Khan to Nong Khai part of the Mekong River. Of course it helped that my ride buddy CW has done it before as well as Christoph, who will be joining us on this trip.
It means pouring over many hours of reading on the net but I get to learn so much. Once the destination is decided, then getting there is the other issue.
In Asia, we are blessed with so many budget airlines and our trip involves taking 4 different flights on Tiger, Air Asia and Jetstar starting from Singapore. With early booking, it came out to only US$260 in total. Its truly a case of the early bird catches the worm when it comes to budget air.
That settled, next is to find out where to stay. Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum are good places to start. With email and internet payments, bookings are relatively easy. However, I do like to allow some flexibility and usually book just the first and last night. We are confirmed at a beautiful boutique 5 room hotel, The Sofa Gallery. Our nights in between will be touch and go as the guesthouses along the small towns of the Mekong have not yet caught up with technology, which is not a bad thing.
Where to eat is also important and being a foodie, I love to know the great eating places of each destination. Trip Advisor once again is helpful. Then, there are other things - the must do and must see of that area. It is also good to read up about the history and culture of the area and learning some of the local language can also be very helpful.
I think I have this trip all stitched up but one never knows what lies ahead. That makes it fun! We have part one where we ride the Mekong from Nong Khai, Sang Khom, Chiang Khan and return by public transport to NK. Then, part two where we fly to the sunny island of Phuket to enjoy some cycling and sea sports. We are planning to do some night kayaking this time.
So it will be 8 of us foldies (from 5 different countries), spending 8 days together on the saddle. I can't wait! Anticipation, the best part ya?
Carly Simon's song captures the exciting wait for her lover but you get the point.