Posted by: hopsuz | March 18, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 31

A last swim as we celebrate our last day.

Next, I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of the (highly efficient) female run Soul Food restaurant which has outstanding food. Frank had a soft shell crab Pad Thai and I had a lamb massaman curry.

And last the condiment selection in the Cathay Pacific lounge labeled : chili oil, chili flakes, chili vinegar, chopped chili, chili paste…..if you get the message….

And were on our way home!


Posted by: hopsuz | March 16, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 30

Bangkok is a city of 605 sq mi with a population of 8.2 million.  It is a beautiful city, growing rapidly and with epic traffic congestion.  Our final dinner on our SpiceRoads bike ride was a dinner cruise on the River.  It was truly magic. What a beautiful city at night.

You see (and hear) the Thai culture when you’re stuck in traffic for an hour to go about 8 miles and there is not one horn blowing.  You don’t ever hear people raising their voices either.   People are extremely polite and helpful.

This is when we would normally head to the beach for a week of R&R to recover from the bike trip. Because the bike ride started so late we did the beach first.  We’re spending our last two days at our very favorite hotel in the world, Somerset Sukhumvit Thonglor, which are “serviced apartments”, in other words apartments rented out as hotel rooms. (around $120/night)

It’s been a remarkable five weeks and I think we’ve learned what we needed to find out to plan for next year’s trip. (Most importantly, we learned to be here in March, when Hartford weather  seems to be at its worst!)



Posted by: hopsuz | March 15, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 29

F0A03A86-3313-4F3E-8B78-78F880E648E7D2301569-F156-4EF6-979B-B79741FC5AE8DD95D2E2-5AAF-48E7-A2ED-4EC47E3F28AD411BE68E-0F9A-486E-9997-8875A54C9A0D5E6BF98D-08A1-4F2C-9297-AE82137E317472C03F5A-81F5-4F85-BED4-3ADCBFA37D3D7000 graves of the “Commonwealth Commission” of the 100,000 who died building the Bridge over the River Kwai.  What a remarkable story.

The bike photo is how I found my bike this morning.  Seems like it should be standard practice.

Last is a photo from the Royal River Kwai Resort. We had booked a room earlier and cancelled it.  Think about this:  3-Hour Death Train ride ($1) to Kanchanaburi, tut-tut ride ($1.50 ) to the Royal River Kwai Resort ($53/night including a wonderful breakfast.). Hmmmmm.

Posted by: hopsuz | March 14, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 28

0E1D5D4C-B74A-4ED2-AEA3-F5E204BFA1F1A41041F2-91D2-4E25-BECE-496B57F749E8943CF7D0-C302-454D-9515-E69112D19B2FE5D39EF4-EFA0-4643-95F4-F3427D886738A bridge over the “small” River Kwai, not THE Bridge Over THE River Kwai.

The (small) River Kwai from last nights resort.

A very good reason to stop for a moment.

Tonight’s resort on the River Kwai after a ride in 95 degree heat.  The pool is the ultimate treat.

Tomorrow is our last day of biking before heading to Bangkok for three days then starting the journey home on Monday.  We couldn’t have asked for a better five weeks to celebrate a year of simplifying our lives.  However, I’m not certain how I’m going to adjust to not having an Omellette, chicken curry, & fried rice every morning for breakfast!


Posted by: hopsuz | March 13, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 27

1E46F6A2-045A-4584-B07F-0C841957B2DE2A0264FB-3CFC-4ABB-B0C3-499EB2244BBF47897AA2-F97B-4EDD-A259-CFB54D3ECC4CWe arrived at the summer palace of King Rama V at about 10:30, which was perfect timing to get off the bikes.  It’s a beautiful, calming, serene property. The shrubs are trimmed in the shapes of elephants, peacocks, and rabbits. Recently died King Rama IX (2016) held a series of patents concerning water management & control, which has probably led to the massive infrastructure projects designed around water control.  It seems that Thailand has more large infrastructure projects under construction, directed either to water management or transportation, than the US does, a country with about five times the population of Thailand.

Lastly, the plastic used for water bottles is less than ½ the thickness were accustomed to for greater ease of recycling. A 16 oz bottle easily collapses into a small ball fitting in the palm of our hand.

We’re heading to the River Kwai today where it’s 102 degrees.


Posted by: hopsuz | March 12, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 26

3B0663D1-CF66-4633-9368-39DD99F2942386FE45BB-295D-4373-884B-271548D662551D29805C-A846-4404-A4A3-6774FF0AD466059FC5AC-3CE1-4BCB-8391-ED655FEC90E272A828C5-D082-4223-A0E3-66131A461FCEF61BF17E-0BD4-4B96-9241-30CBDE11C0623FC3AE8D-2961-4D23-8E04-E3D2B06D325FBike paths are so appreciated!!!

Next is a look from the bike path of the floating houses and their fish farms.  Nephew David has something like a fish farm at his house along the Pemigewasett River in NH. He’s created a pond in the river where he puts fish he’s caught until he’s ready to eat them, so he too has his own fish farm!

Next are golden rice fields, ready for harvest.  Whenever I see the women weeding the fields, bent over, and weeding in 95 degree heat, it serves as a good reminder that “there but for the grace of God goes I”. So much of life (and my good luck) depends on where we were born.  I could just as easily be weeding rice in Vietnam or Thailand, etc.

Next are a couple of the huge Sugar Cane factories along the way.  There are more factories covering acres & acres in Pa Mot.  Trucks are coming from every direction delivering sugar cane and are lined up waiting for their number to be called.

Its 96 degrees. We stop biking at 10:30-11:00.   The best are sections that are being repaved and they’re laying hot asphalt!!!

Today we added fried duck beak to our menu and fried fish.  Our snacks (and dessert at lunch) of mango & pineapple are perfect.

Posted by: hopsuz | March 11, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 25

D2EAD5EC-56F6-4C9E-AD18-BA69AE6CE5E842810A34-1357-4A96-BA24-C33E115A66A3238980B6-1A3F-4AAB-B624-33BA883445D2B0AA59F4-680A-483D-A313-07ADB90AAD90Lunch on a riverboat, a view of the floating houses in the river, most of which have their owned attached fish farm, a view of the electric distribution system to those floating in the river, and the pool at tonight’s resort.

Posted by: hopsuz | March 10, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 24

C5FBAC9F-C00C-4BFE-AB0D-F2028EF1DECC4E63C578-7314-428F-8316-50E52B64A68955975D35-E819-4EA7-8B76-BCA69D80F1A1120468EC-57F0-43CD-84A7-B04BEA7135DBF00ACE89-3AC7-4E2D-9CF2-D057CD6D3ECE2333A2BF-7B54-4153-9BAE-B3D5431E8E13CC14CBC1-AB05-4679-BA8F-EA59D7D455A95B6DD02A-716E-4D55-940D-774C53E5CC786453B2C6-D0E0-4EF5-BF4B-508AE26205C0The most important part of the day is Mr Suwat stopping to buy our “snacks” for the day!!!! Fruit and sweet coconut things like sticky rice that are outrageously good, justified by a morning of biking (not nearly far enough to justify the “snacks”!

2. How the day starts.

3. Water. The first is a farmer pumping water from an canal across the road to an irrigation ditch used for getting water to crops rice, sugarcane, etc).  There are shut offs along the irrigation canal to allow the farmer to regulate the water supply.

The continuing infrastructure construction to manage water flow during the rainy season.

Several people have asked about the food. Today we stopped for lunch at a chef-owned restaurant reknowned for duck. We started with duck & green noodles, then we each ordered a second entree of duck & rice.  It was outstanding. Overall our meals are lots of rice and noodles, red, green, yellow, or panang curry, noodles/noodle soup with chicken, pork, beef, or prawns.  Woody is teaching me to eat with a soup spoon, using a fork to push the food onto the spoon…

The air is much clearer, now with a view of the mountains.


Posted by: hopsuz | March 8, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 22



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Today was a visit to Satchanalai, a UNESCO site. It was a walled in city like Chiang Mai, with a moat around it as well. For reasons not totally clear to me, Sukothai became the center,not Satchanalai.

These trips are always informative for many reasons and today was no exception:

1. If we have everything we need in a carry-on suitcase for a week in two different major international cities, 2 weeks of biking, & 2 weeks at the beach, what do we need with all that stuff in our condo?

2. We have revised our definition of “success” away from the distance we biked to biking from 8-11AM.

3.  Every time we’re in Asia and every single hotel has the A/C shut off when you remove the room key from the slot that activates the A/C to take the room key with you. AND every hotel room has a drain in the bathroom floor. These seem amazingly simple & practical development items I’ve never seen in the US.

4. Thailand has been cracking down on human trafficking, which is really good news and

5. They’ve simplified the process to get a passport so there’s a path for illegal immigrants to obtain work permits (as I understand the changes). They have large Chinese, Burmese, & Laotian communities. They have discovered many jobs filled by immigrants are not jobs Thai people want.

6. Thailand is a place that would be very easy to live.

Those are my thoughts for today.

Posted by: hopsuz | March 7, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 21

Today we biked along a canal through the rice fields. We altered the trip significantly so we would bike from 8-11 & finish as the temperature climbed to 100.  Woody found some great quiet side roads for us & it all worked perfectly.  They say the smog will improve every day from now on.B98FE559-35AF-42DC-A598-063312FE3777

Posted by: hopsuz | March 6, 2018

Thailand 2018:Day 20

The Day started with us bonding with our bicycles at the Temple ½ hour earlier than planned, which meant we were finished biking our 30 miles before the serious heat of the day (96 degrees).

The second photo is our guide, Woody, & Frank in front of the Singha lions…. because who wouldn’t their pictures in front of the lions pictured on the beer you’ve been drinking all week?

Third is Frank & me in front of the Stuppa.

Fourth is our first break, after an hour of biking. Note the bike sharrow for the bike lane!

Next are the hundreds of Talapia fish farms in the Ping River along our route. You can see the very large Talapia.

And finally we stopped at an Elephant Conservation site where they rehab injured elephants or care for aging elephants.  Who wouldn’t support them by buying a basket of food & feeding the elephants?BC8582FE-496A-4304-BA88-F68F6538017DC6A03C47-87C4-495B-9698-68B4EFB012875EEFEC9B-CC2C-4B66-9781-7CB2D69CB8FAE32D0816-FDEC-43A3-ABC9-907AA44240DB5BE12ADE-7136-422A-9EB8-675BB13D47FC357C7AE4-C073-40DA-914E-D65A038697BD

Posted by: hopsuz | March 5, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 19a


We RODE in the van up to 4500 ft to the temple on top of the mountain. And yes we passed bikers on the way up.  The wood carving explains the story of how the temple came to be and the building of the road to get there.  It’s an exquisite piece of work.

We could overlook the city of Chiang Mai but the smog is so thick we couldn’t see much of the city.  At the beginning of March is when the rice farmers all burn their fields, which creates dense smog.  Burning the rice fields has been outlawed.  Oh well…

Our guide said the smog has been fairly little so far this year.

We stopped at the local Trek bike shop and bought mirrors for our bikes.

The last picture is us crossing the Ping River on our way back from lunch with our guides who ordered us a very good chicken rice thing and a very good beef noodle thing.  Our hotel is down the river on the left.

We start biking tomorrow starting from about 2 miles outside the city.


Posted by: hopsuz | March 4, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 19

Set up for dinner at the Thai Cultural Center

Our guide, Woody, helping lay out dinner.

The dance of nails (about 4” brass nails!)

And the restaurant full.


Posted by: hopsuz | March 4, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 17

97DFF1CA-6D96-40D4-9671-029AE340E267EDF11267-26B9-4AD8-BBD8-74E4FEBB67D7CF977DA1-5254-4766-AFE9-D6954BE366F24A1BFFED-C234-4A1B-B05C-EDBD326FC1C67EE380E4-13B2-4F64-8C0A-52FD52CE8110A1C4D596-3114-4F2B-AE9A-A55B22A5BA8C57BAB09A-80D7-42C7-A732-FF9CA92A956ED310A6FD-0FA8-4D57-ADD2-5CF7F48957F01.  Dinner at the 20-seat Eat is Life where we sat at the counter and watched the Chef’s passion going into creating exquisite meals.

2 & 3. An afternoon snack at Mango Tango, because who could resist a Mango smoothie from Mango Tango?

4 & 5.  The tut tut ride to meet new friends at their house, then to dinner (and I totally forgot to take pictures!). They moved here from NYC & have lived here for eight years.  They love the lifestyle and spend about ⅓ of their time traveling including exchanging their 3-bedroom house with people around the world.  What great fun!!!

6, 7, 8.  The Aruntara (NOT the Anuntara, where we first arrived, had a wonderful welcome drink and a neck massage before we discovered we were at the wrong hotel!). The Swiss concierge was very forgiving.  Its amazingly peaceful here along the Ping River…. at the Aruntara…

The last photo is a good example of STEPS in Thailand. There are steps EVERYWHERE! Including from the platform the bed sits on. (So if we get up in the middle of the night we have to remember the step down!) On any given surface that should be flat there will be steps up and steps (frequently unmarked) down for no reason. It’s hard to walk more than 10’ without a step & another and another for no reason….and that’s the way it is.

We met our SpiceRoads guide & driver today and adjusted our Trek bikes. We bicycle out of Chiang Mai on Tues for our first biking day…  We’ll be sightseeing tomorrow.

We left Hartford 3 weeks ago today.  We head back 2 weeks from this coming Tues.  We could definitely stay longer



Posted by: hopsuz | March 2, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 14

3344FBA0-5E4E-4DD0-AB2C-3C0E624945F33E07B563-437D-47DD-8EC3-745C64199486564FD387-0F96-4835-9422-491BDBF41E8DBD5BBEFA-8CC5-4474-A450-3421B74047CBA9FFEFC8-EA76-4FE8-BEFE-EC3CD0397FD3The Kantary Hills Hotel, like the Somerset in Bangkok, are apartments with a full kitchen & living room, rented out as hotel rooms. The first picture is of the pool area.

The second is the Cafe Nimman, where we ate last night (shrimp pad Thai, stir fried chicken/cashews, noodles, 4 bottles of Soda – beer was not served yesterday because of a holiday commemorating the Kings death in 2016  … $10). Finding the restaurant took all our navigational talents. We found it after we had given up & we just went one more ½ block down a side street.

Streets are numbered. Soi 13 will be street 13 off the main road.  Finding where it says “Soi 13” is a bit of a trick.  The hotel we stay at in Bangkok is on Sukhumvit 55, which means street #55 off Sukhumvit.

The third is the cafe we stopped at just inside the old city gates at Suan Dok Gate, for a cold soda after a long & very hot walk.

The fourth is the Wat Phra Singh, one of the many temples inside the old city.

Lastly is a photo of a Red Song Taos. You wave one down, tell him where you want to go (a bit of a trick itself), he decides if he wants to take you. If yes, you climb in back & he will take whatever route he wishes so that he has a chance of picking up more passengers.  The cost is 30THB/pp ($1 pp) no matter where you’re going and it’s the same for everyone.  Theyre comfortable & fun.  Giving directions to a place in the city is in relation to a Temple, so you direct the Song Taos to “Wat Kate” for instance, then the name of the cafe which is your destination.  This assumes you’re successful in making yourself understood.  :-). Maps are irrelevant.

Sunday we move to the Aruntara Riverside Boutique Hotel to meet our SpiceRoads guide & get our bikes. We’ll do some sightseeing in Chiang Mai on Monday & start biking on Tues (3/6 – 3/17) for the next eleven days.  We’ve become very relaxed so I’m not too sure how the first couple days will go.


Posted by: hopsuz | March 1, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 13

334348E6-1C1F-4221-B0B6-D7384E18EC6012FA9E34-2CB7-4912-996B-A7F411838D61FCE00A8C-7DF5-4182-AB89-539CD63C4526We are in Chiang Mai (after a very comfortable bus ride of 3.5 hours to the airport, a Thai Smile flight, and a $5 taxi ride to the hotel. We are very fortunate to connect with the brother of a friend who lives here and who has spent hours giving us clues on everything about Chiang Mai. The photos are from the former Borneo Estate, now 137 Pillars Hotel, which is stunning.


Posted by: hopsuz | February 27, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 12

F58ACBE6-D33F-4B32-AAAE-B91DA3D445F5Near the hotel we stayed at in Bangkok

Posted by: hopsuz | February 26, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 11a

05A22008-2D45-4E10-B465-47D157D0719FLa Terrasse, Hua Hin.  Thanks to Trip Advisor.  Shrimp & Cashews, Shrimp in Red Curry, Fried Shrimp Cakes, rice, 3 Singha beer, 2 soda water – $38.

Posted by: hopsuz | February 25, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 11


Dinner tonight at a “green tablecloth” restaurant 😉 on the beach. Then off to the   “The One and Only Icybean” shop, which we finally determined was the ice cream shop, which has a space for bikes out front!

Posted by: hopsuz | February 24, 2018

B1A158B6-AE3F-4DC5-8318-9CCD02BBB4B464057656-52DA-47B2-9111-EAB36B7C93E9DAB0C148-D644-49B8-8EAD-D14D32821FDEA78B2993-768D-4028-874B-0B66690D458D227D78E0-39BE-4C7C-B750-02FEF2D83AE4We skipped lunch (and we could stand to skip many more meals, too) & went to the ChaoLay Seafood Restaurant on the beach around 4:30. We had 4 appetizers & 3 beers which ended up being plenty to eat. We did the (6 large) prawn spring rolls twice they were so good, scallops (pictured) & mussels. Great food!

Breakfast here could have its own post. There are separate stations for: noodles, omellettes, breads/croissants/toast & jams, fruits, fruit juices (watermelon & fresh squeezed limes!), a whole buffet line of fried rice, quiche, CHOCOLATE WAFFLES (pictured), etc.  What could be a better start to the day than a swim & the 2-Hour breakfast!

Posted by: hopsuz | February 24, 2018

Thailand 2018:Day 10

58C35454-7B5C-4830-BAA5-89DEFABCB798C222B6DE-B859-4E52-9366-DBF41E6612F53BB719A1-361F-4E7F-BE7D-D9C2D24625FB121DEA0B-EF1A-40B7-8407-D9FD1987C564Yesterday was a transfer day from Ban Krut to the Putahracsa in Hua Hin.  This was a stop on last year’s bike trip and we thought the town deserved more time.  We took the train, which is a whole posting in itself.  The “tut tut” was a pickup truck with seats in the rear truckbed.  He pointed to the front seat for Frank. When I moved to join him the Driver’s said “1 people” so I sat in back. ($5).  A so we were wandering around the property and the restaurant, we ran into the ExecutiveChief (horrible backlit photo attached).  Our Executive Chief at Newport Harbor is Carsten so that was a great start to a conversation. karsten is from Northern Germany along the Baltic Sea, where you can see Denmark from.  He has been in Austria & Switzerland.  We returned for dinner & also met the hotel GM.  Karsten helped us order dinner and it’s was terrific. Two pictures sent are of the dramtically located restaurant. I had a red curry with duck and Frank had a cod dish.  Then an intense chocolate mousse ball to complete the meal.  Great fun! The last picture is  the view of the pool from our room.

The GM also said we should book our flight to Chiang Mai asap since Wed starts a holiday weekend.  We learned there is an air conditioned large roomy bus leaving from Hua Hin directly to the airport (BKK, not the domestic airport I would have booked from. So we booked the flight ($90/pp) and the bus ($10pp) for 28 Feb.  Travel time for the bus to the airport depends on who you ask.  3-5 hours… The flight to Chiangmai is 1.5 hours.

Frank has a spa appointment at 2. Other than that we’re at the pool with our books. 🙂


Posted by: hopsuz | February 22, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 10

7272B09C-7B5D-4D5D-9CAC-6659381396BF0547701C-F911-4FCC-9F81-684CAA98FD8648A5850C-DB07-446A-BDEC-36298799DA52CA8FFA5E-5DF7-4B9C-B5D4-5496231ADC2AWe were off to the 🚊 train station in the hotel tut tut after breakfast, to purchase our ticket for our 23 Feb departure to Hua Hin, about an hour and a half away.  We passed the Kankrut restaurant where we would have lunch again.  After a long walk and bike ride we stopped for lunch before returning the bikes and later stopped at the Cafe De Wa for an afternoon snack.

It’s been a wonderfully relaxing six days and we can easily see spending at least two weeks here.

Posted by: hopsuz | February 21, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 9

655CA580-80D1-4DAA-81EF-A2721BC21652D5BEF718-ED09-495F-9D4A-5773F2163E9B7B74C6CF-BCD4-4148-9707-30F60B07D6ADThe day started with a swim, then breakfast, then a bike ride to the end of the beach in one direction and a long way in the opposite direction. We biked about eight miles, which is not a lot unless you consider that we’re biking 🚴‍♀️ on these WWII artifacts of bikes.  It was a perfect bike ride:  flat, beautiful scenery, good pavement, and no traffic.

We stopped at a restaurant we haven’t been to, (Kankrut), sat in chairs on the beach and had a shrimp and fresh vegetable dish.  The ALWAYS answer to “spicey?” is no unless you grew up with spices that can set your hair on 🔥 fire.  I am reminded of the lady at the Indian market (Cosmos) in Hartford where I asked which of the three green chili’s I should use for Dahl.  She pointed at the long skinny ones and said “NOT FOR YOU! “, which pretty much sums up “spicey”.  And especially beware of red things in the dish.  “Not spicey” means it will just be very spicey.The food is truly outstanding.

Then a walk and another swim after lunch.

We wish today would last forever.  Perfect!

Posted by: hopsuz | February 20, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 8b

9E4F4625-101F-4419-A68E-60E1E0CB64536ADEF9D3-69D1-4926-8FE3-E858A594AF6A8EDF66C7-7FA2-41A5-B6B5-8CE43DAAA317The day started with me taking a swim in high 🌊 surf this morning.  Then breakfast 🍳 of Omelettes, Fried Rice, a 🐓 chicken thing (no idea), pineapple, coffee, and an assortment of Thai desserts with coconut.  Frank was then in the 🏊 pool doing exercises, having decided against battling the high surf, and we were off to the 🚲 bike shop.  I’m pretty certain these bikes were used in WWII, but the bike maintenance guy in the shop could take a piece of scrap metal and mold it into a bike seat stem to raise the seat so Franks knees weren’t hitting his jaw.  It took a few trips around the yard for both of us to get “comfortable” on the bikes.  3 days for two bikes $9.  We’re only looking to ride a couple of miles down the beach so we don’t need new high performance Specialized or Trek bikes.

We have yet to hear anyone here speak whose native language is English and right now given all the discord at home we’re happy 😊 not to be discussing the US.

We have, however, heard professional Asians share concerns about traveling to the US.  After the time and expense of getting to the US, they are concerned they would not be allowed in.  With tourism from other countries declining in the US, this will start to be an economic concern in places catering to tourism.


Posted by: hopsuz | February 19, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 8a

DC91DF03-9D7E-49BB-AE71-19F502217D5A9C8044A0-8BD6-42BE-85D7-296E1F5B11FD04A4EF65-7595-4357-B052-C22D645B3E22028B0911-87B1-4D59-815F-C0F8150F5C41I can’t think of a better way to start the day then a swim in the Gulf (of Thailand), breakfast of an Omelette, Pad Thai, pineapple, & coffee, then a long walk on the 🏝 beach.  It truly was a perfect 👌 morning.

We checked out the hotel bicycles, but the rear brakes don’t work.  In spite of hotel maintenance explaining to us that we just need to jam on the front brake to stop 🛑, we decided to walk down the street tomorrow to the bike rental place and see what they offer.  A bike with brakes that don’t work…..not so much… It is a great road to bike 🚲 on with shoulders on both sides, FLAT, good pavement, and little traffic so we’ll see how we fare.  We then took a LONG walk on the beach, another swim, and got ready for dinner.

We also asked to see one of the (4)  sea view villas and we booked it for Jan 2019 (fully cancellable). (Photo below of the villa & the view)

We visited the coffee shop Cafe De Wa, which has a Happy 😃 Hour from 4-7 when you get two desserts for the price of ☝️ one.  Just what we need! (Photo below)

Then we had dinner at the same place as last night.  2 large Singha, rice, sautéed vegetables, seafood in red curry, and prawns 🦐 in a tamarind sauce. $21.  The food is outstanding. (Photo of Frank & a very threatening sky)


Posted by: hopsuz | February 18, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 8

We did NOTHING today other than two swims in the 🏊‍♀️ pool and a long swim in the 🌊 ocean! We have mostly pictures to post of the property and a description of dinner:  2 20oz Singha beers, stir fried vegetables, rice, 2 sparkling waters, tempura mixed seafood, and grilled snapper = $30.E4FC6743-B820-4117-A259-C4B3ABD202C5A0AC2D94-DA82-4E25-B9BA-74E22FC9FC95C28EACFC-0C29-4716-A230-4184A8687B3089799FDD-19CB-4500-968F-BDCA22F53025B755F0F6-C862-4E2D-AFC3-312D3767C72EA69E03C3-C948-4A06-9679-BB49F8981EBC

Posted by: hopsuz | February 17, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 7

I didn’t give nearly enough space to how lovely the Thai people are when they perceive you need help.  The station manager at Prachuap Khiri Khan helping us understand that we had gotten off at the wrong station, Ban Krut was about another hour train 🚊 ride, there are no 🚕 taxis, there is a mini-bus leaving on the hour 2km away (that sounded like a way to spend the rest of the day getting here), and it will be about 7 stops on the local commuter train arriving in about ½ hour.  These were one question at a time conversations. Having given speeches in foreign countries I have learned to 1. Speak slowly 2. In short declarative statements.

Then when we boarded the train, a group of women in adjacent seats took us under their wing, read our ticket, told us it was about 7 stops, laughed heartily at us – it’s always good to be able to provide entertainment.  I have no idea why we were 🤣 funny, but we seemed to be.  When they made it clear when Ban Krut was our next station and we stood up, they motioned aggressively for us to SIT, then motioned to us to get up when we got closer, then carefully followed our exit to make certain we exited the train.  I was sorry I couldn’t comminicate that we had gotten off at the wrong station earlier to add to their entertainment.

The same was true of the Death Train. The very attractive young couple across from us told us when to get off (missing an opportunity this time to get off at the wrong station).  Picture attached.  They spoke English fluently.  Everyone wants to know where we’re from and they guessed the UK.

Also attached is a picture of where our room is, which are the glass doors on the left. I’ll send more photos of the Beach, other pool, etc in my next Post since I know just how appreciative my New England friends are right now as they’re in the midst of a snowstorm.


Posted by: hopsuz | February 17, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 6

8B825B5B-6D57-4756-ADEC-46BA3173DE6B4C866EE6-8B99-40A3-B071-6F5EFB0809F458AC2DB1-C73F-49C1-BAEC-7156F830AF587348A9B8-777C-427B-8C41-E2B2E3E66E0DIt has become very clear to me that the hotel staff is convinced that it is highly questionable to think we can manage public transportation.  We had an 8:05 Train this AM and they were adamant we had to leave at 6:00 for the ½ hour cab ride to the train station for our 8AM train.  “It’s a very big station”.  Grand Central is a very big Station.  We had 🍳 breakfast (Bok Choi with 🍤 shrimp, glass noodles with vegetables, an omelette, and 🥓 bacon at 5:30, left for the train station at 6:00 and we were in the station at 6:30.   There are a total of nine tracks, all out the same door….

We left on time (apparently somewhat of a miracle, and headed south on the train to Prachuap Khiri Khan, the address of the Baan Grood Acadia Resort.  When we asked the tut tut driver to take is the hotel, there was considerable discussion and grim looks.  He explained in detail to me what the situation was….twice…in Thai.  We located the station master who is fluent in English and explained that we should have gotten off the train at Ban Krut, an hour south, so we bought a ticket on the local train 🚂 (seven stops instead of one more on the express train we had been on.) When we finally arrived in Ban Krut and hired the tut tut to take us the 2.4 km to the hotel ($2), he took us to the Bankrup Hotel (seriously!) by mistake instead of the Baan Grood Resort & Spa.  But we’re HERE…..for six nights.


Posted by: hopsuz | February 15, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 4

5D98E50D-48EE-4897-BB4E-4EF032F834CDFA748D94-61FB-4E1C-8F98-C4E214F3592D173D9B53-C91F-47F5-A8FC-406EA1325A7E5975574C-1857-468E-A305-5679C24B2990355637FF-A632-4D56-AE59-FF34FBD2ADC6Yesterday was a trip on the “Death Train” to the Bridge over the River Kwae and a visit to the JEATH Museum (Japanese, English, Australian, American, & Holland) – the primariy countries involved in the construction of railway).

While we pride ourselves on figuring out and always taking public transportation, the subway to taxi to ferry to taxi to trains station was too much for us so we took a cab for the 45 minutes to the Thonburi Railway Station.  ($8). This was further complicated by this NOT being the main railway station in Bangkok.  The front desk person wrote out in Thai the name of the station AND call the cab AND tell him we want a METERED cab. “Good price for you” instead of metering means you will pay about double. We left at 6:30 for a 7:50 train because traffic in Bangkok is legendary.  Train station personnel were very helpful and we purchased the 100THB ($3) tickets.

Having also learned that we cannot communicate the name & location of our hotel we also asked the desk clerk to write it out on a hotel card. There is no amount of waving hands/arms that describes your hotel to a cab driver.

Posted by: hopsuz | February 13, 2018

2018:1 photos


Posted by: hopsuz | February 13, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 1

Traveling is greatly enhanced by having the AMEX Platinum card, which gives a free Business Class companion ticket for booking an international business class ticket.  When I travelled to Beijing and to Moscow, Frank came with me on a free business class ticket, which I figure pays the annual membership fee forever.

In addition the Platinum card provides free airport club access to clubs in almost every domestic & international airport.  Access is to five different clubs in Hong Kong which, depending on the club, have showers, buffet meals, lounges, free Wifi, beverages, etc.

15 hours non-stop (EWR-HKG) is a long flight requiring serious preparation. Frank brings unread magazines & I download books I’m long overdue reading from beach trash to serious thought-provoking works.  Most seats now have a electrical connection but a converter and battery backup are worth bringing.  It’s a long trip & preparation is key.

Planning for jet lag is another key planning exercise. We start adjusting our eating schedule a couple days ahead. We find that we sleep based on when we eat.  On this trip over we just ate all the time, including (having the option of ) ordering an Angus beefbuger at 2AM (or 2PM Bangkok time).  That was a clear indication to me (being a restaurant gal) of the Executive Chef having way too much control of the on-board Cathay Pacific menu. Imagine the flight attendants making a perfect beef burger in the plane kitchen…..which they managed to do.

And after about 30 hours of travel we’re in Bangkok having had a good nights sleep and done our two very favorite vacation morning routines: swimming before breakfast & a typical Thai breakfast with so many wonderful choices. We eat & eat & eat!!!

Posted by: hopsuz | February 11, 2018

Thailand 2018



Read More…

Posted by: hopsuz | December 7, 2011

My Father, A Silent Films Pioneer

My Dad, George McAvoy, at 91 just published his third book, My Father, A Silent Films Pioneer. Dad’s father was a Special Effects Manager (in other words he blew stuff up) and he also found locations for the filming to be done. He traveled extensively and wrote regularly to my grandmother, updating her on the progress of the filming. He also left thousands of photographs behind from his time working for Fox Films from 1915-1920. Unfortunately, he may not have known how unstable dynamite is. His garage blew up when he opened the door and he died in 1920 shortly after Dad was born. This has been a very personal experience for Dad writing about a parent he never knew and learning about his experiences in the silent film industry when it was located in Ft. Lee, NJ.
The website includes an interview of Dad.
His other two books: “A Citizen Soldier Remembers” concerns his experiences in WWII and “And Then There Was One” is the history of the magnificent old resort hotels in Northern New Hampshire.

Posted by: hopsuz | October 31, 2011


When arguably the greatest visionary of our generation utters as his last words: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”, it feels like we have more to look forward to than we might have thought. In Mona Simpson’s eloquent eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, she shares these last words…. and certainly leaves us curious as to what else he saw in his future.
Frank and I have shared my mother’s last breath and Frank’s Dad’s last breath with each of them. Neither were being kept alive by artificial means and they were both ready to leave us. It’s a remarkable and loving experience and I hope we all get over our fear of death and can utter OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW. as our final words as well. As with so much else, Steve Jobs has changed my perspective on what comes next.

We crave certain foods so much that they seem addictive. Just thinking about cinnamon buns or pizza stimulates the release of the neural chemical dopamine, which can cause the brain to override the biological brakes that try to prevent overeating. According to “Why Humans Like Junk Food,” by a former Nestlé scientist named Steven A. Witherly, the brain especially loves mixtures of salt, sugar and fat and the emulsive textures of butter, mayonnaise and chocolate. Witherly has developed what he calls the food-pleasure equation, in which Pleasure = Sensation + Calories. When we eat a combination of sugar, fat and salt, he says, we get a huge synergistic bang, first in the parts of the brain that register pleasure and then in the gut, which detects and responds more favorably to the high calories in sugar and fat. It’s caveman stuff, going back to when we learned to eat big-calorie foods to survive.

What a fabulous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and it was worth re-reading. It conveys all the excitement, importance, and heroism of the moment.

Posted by: hopsuz | May 14, 2011

Biking 101- The SEAT

I never think to check the seat, even though I carefully etched a line in the seat post showing where the ideal height is. After several trips out with the seat 1-2″ lower than it should be, which is a PAINFUL experience, I finally figure it out. Then, of course, it feels way too high, but makes biking soooo much easier and more efficient. We biked 46 miles today. After 10 miles I adjusted the seat and the rest of the ride was faster and easier. It’s biking 101, but not always top of mind.

Posted by: hopsuz | April 14, 2011

News from Dad’s

What a trip to Dad’s! Mike and Mike from Whiting Trash Removal efficiently removed the commercial freezers and refrigerator with only one comment: “Glad they don’t make them like this any more”. $60+tip. Amazing. Thank you Mike and Mike!!

We had lunch and dinner with nieces and nephews and tried, but couldn’t solve all the world’s problems.
I sent Dad’s manuscript to the publisher by way of a “cloud” file sharing. The book is about his Dad, who worked for Fox films during the silent film era as location manager and special effects expert, died when Dad was born, but left thousands of photos from the silent film era. Dad has included 200 photos in the manuscript.
His other book that’s available now is: A Citizen-Soldier Remembers, 1942-1946, which can be found on Amazon (or at George McAvoy, PO Box 262, Littleton, NH 03561 or for $12.95 + $4 shipping). It’s about his WWII Army service at the Battle of the Bulge.

Tuesday we were off to the VA hospital with a stop for snacks at the King Arthur Flour Cafe and Bakery in Norwich, VT…Ummmmm!

Then on to an appointment with Dr. S, who I adore. When we were preparing for our trip to Dublin and the U2 concert two years ago for Dad’s 89th and Dad was having medical issues, Dr. S reduced his medications by half. That dramatically improved Dad’s quality of life and he is MUCH better today than he was two years ago… Amazing. I accompany Dad for his appointments (at his request).

Dr. S and Dad CHATTED for much of the half hour (Dr. S was EARLY – did I mention how much I love the VA Hospital in WRJ, VT). They chatted about: living in Washington Heights, where Dad grew up and Dr. S went to Columbia Medical School, about Yankees games – the game where Mickey Mantle did a “cycle”, about Tom Mix making films on the north shore on Long Island, about Ft Lee which was the headquarters of the silent film industry and Dad’s grandfather was Mayor, about Dad’s new book, about Dr. S’s dad who is also 90, and on and on and on.. After some medical stuff, (does he have chest pains/shortness of breathe walking the mile home from the PO straight UP hill? No.) The result to Dad: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!
Off to Opthalmology and new glasses. We needed a nurse, the technician and Frank to decide on frames after I announced we have “Fashion Police” in our family. Same result in Optho: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!
Wed was my presentation to Rotary, which was really high pressure!!! Dad introduced me. Dad seemed pleased and that’s all that matters!! Photo left to right: Mary (Dad’s GF), Dad, niece Cheryl McAfee, Frank, me at Rotary.

Posted by: hopsuz | April 10, 2011

A visit to Dad’s

We have a long list for this visit: We’ll check Dad’s house to be certain everything is working, especially the garage doors into the heated garage — very important to his safety in the winter, and lighting in the house.
The manuscript for the third book he’s written is ready to go to the publisher. The other two are: A Citizen-Soldier Remembers, 1942-1946, which can be found on Amazon (or at George McAvoy, PO Box 262, Littleton, NH 03561), and And Then There Was One is out of print. Dad needs help in organizing and formatting so I’ll do that.
Next, I’ve engaged Whiting Trash Removal to remove two freezers and a refrigerator from the basement for $20 each.. I’M NOT JOKING.. It’s Littleton,NH AND they were recommended by the re-cycling center. I have no idea how they make money.
Next I’ll exchange a hard drive. I keep three backup drives and one stays at Dad’s, which I exchange every trip, so I have one located off-site. I use it to back up his computer as well.
Tuesday we take him to the VA hospital in White River Junction, VT for a check-up. It is the best functioning health system imaginable and he has a doctor who has seriously prolonged his quality of life. We all so appreciate his doctor. It’s an hour drive every six months and we all take turns.
On Wednesday I’ll be giving a presentation to the Littleton Rotary Club, at Dad’s request. That will be fun, but in spite of being in front of crowds of 500+ prominent business people, being in front of Dad is always intimidating. 🙂
In between all of the above, we’ll get together with Dad’s GF, Mary, and my nieces and nephews and grand-niece and nephew to catch up on all that’s going on with them. Polly’s Pancake Parlor isn’t open yet so we won’t have breakfast yet at our favorite spot, but there many really good restaurants in the north country. Amazingly, everyone always wants to get together and there are always plenty of laughs to go around.
We’re off shortly for the next couple of days.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 22, 2011

Choosing food at the airport

is a skill. 1. Watch for adherence to food safety. Plastic gloves should not be worn when making change then making sandwiches/salads. RUN when you see that. 2. Sushi is not an airport food. (how could it possibly be FRESH fish?) 3. Don’t touch meat, dairy, or mayo that is not being properly refrigerated. 4. Take food from the back of the refrigerator case where it’s been colder. Bananas and oranges are good. They come in their own wrapping. I usually opt for salads because I don’t eat processed meats and that’s about all a there is. I carry Kashi bars for those I’m-so-hungry-I’m-going-to-get-ugly times. I’ve had toilet-hugging food poisoning twice from airport food. That will make you more careful!

Posted by: hopsuz | December 18, 2010

How’s the Air Quality in your hotel?

Recently I stayed at a 5-star hotel. I had a severe allergic reaction when I was in the hotel, but not when I was outside.  I told the General Manager his hotel had an air quality problem. The air filters were changed and within hours my symptoms were gone.  Another good reason to only stay in hotels where the windows open and you can get fresh air!!

The large hotel chains regularly check the air quality in their hotels. Good idea!

Posted by: hopsuz | November 17, 2010

Bike basket for the new bike

The very cool black wire basket for the front of the new bike in Florida had one serious drawback. It was lightweight and cute, UNTIL I picked up the hardware to attach it to the bike. The hardware was designed to insure that I could carry a load of cement in my very cool wire basket, instead of my jacket and a spare tube. The hardware weighed as much as my new bike….. So no wire basket for the new bike. 😦

Posted by: hopsuz | October 31, 2010

Bike basket, trade-in, & wet shoes

The bike shop (Bikes Plus in Pensacola) is delivering a basket for my bike… HOW COOL IS THAT!!! They are also taking the old 12-ton Gary Fisher and giving me a trade-in value (as yet to be determined).  Imagine.  I will post a photo of the new accessory when it arrives.

Here’s a tip on drying bike shoes, for those of us who hate wet feet.  Stuff the shoes with newspapers, which serve draw out the moisture.  Replace the paper about every 15 minutes until there is much less moisture and they should be dry by the next morning.  Start with a hefty newspaper if you have big shoes!  🙂

Posted by: hopsuz | October 28, 2010

Bike ride to breakfast

Incredible headwind, then driving, pelting, stinging, in-your-face rain for last 5 miles.  Luckily you can only get so wet…Then hot breakfast AND THEN  the ride home with the tailwind to die for….AHHHHHH!!!! Rode on the wings of Pegasus. 🙂

We’re in Navarre Beach, FL and bike to breakfast in Pensacola Beach, about 38 miles roundtrip, each morning through the National Seashore.  The road runs between the dunes with the Gulf on one side and the bay on the other.  Miles of beautiful scenery of dunes, ocean, and the bay.  There’s a bike path, much of the way, but very little traffic.

BP has three staging areas along the way in the seashore.  Eight BP workers were on our stretch of Navarre Beach yesterday so there must have been a report of tar balls.

I just purchased a Trek 7100 for the beach and the rides to Pensacola Beach and back each day.  Bikes Plus, the bike shop in Pensacola, was great and even cut back the handlebars for me so my hands are shoulder width apart.

It’s great to be on vacation with the bike.

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Posted by: hopsuz | July 30, 2010

The Library Hotel

The Library Hotel at 41st & Madison, NYC.  Small nicely appointed rooms with library theme.  My room 600.003 is “Management” with books by Peter Drucker.  Heavy hors d’oeuvres in the afternoon, breakfast included.  $299.  One block from Grand Central.  Bistro Madison & Vine very good.

Worthwhile amenities.  I especially loved a cappuccino for breakfast.

A lavish European style breakfast including pastries, muffins, fresh fruit, cold and hot cereals, boiled eggs, yogurt, juices, freshly brewed coffee, tea, espresso served daily in Reading Room along with daily newspapers and magazines (value $20 per person)

Selection of coffee, tea, juices, cookies, and fruits throughout the day (value $15 per person)

Prosecco, fine wines, imported and domestic cheeses, and hors d’oeuvres each evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (value $30 per person)

Complimentary wireless high speed Internet access (value $15 per person)

Daily passes to the nearby New York Sports Club, which features a full range of cardio and strength-training equipment, aerobic cycling and body-sculpting classes and sauna (value $25 per person)

Posted by: hopsuz | July 24, 2010

NH/VT bike trip

The following are Allen Ambrose’s photo and story of the 5-day tour to the Northeast Kingdom starting directly across the street from where I grew up in Littleton, NH.  I had to work, of all things!!! Enjoy.

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This is the story of a 5-day bike tour in the Northeast Kingdom Area of Vermont

from June 18 to June 22, 2010. The Northeast Kingdom is in the

northeast corner of Vermont, and the tour included forays into the west edge

of New Hampshire. These little long-weekend tours are designed to be easy to

do, reasonably economical, and feasible for a larger group.


This year there were 10 of us, 4 couples (Martha Page & Bill Young, Nancy

Macy & Bob Painter, Jane Driscoll & Jack Hale, Beverly & Dick Hughes) and

2 singles, Frank Lord and myself. Beverly drove her car, which was useful

for those that did not want to carry their luggage on their bicycles, so there

were 9 of us riding bicycles. But not all of us used Beverly’s sag wagon. I

carried my luggage in panniers, as usual, and Martha and Bill also did that

this year as part of their preparation for the upcoming Cape Breton Tour.

This was the biggest tour yet, in terms of number of participants, but it was

no problem. Everyone was punctual and flexible, the 2 characteristics that

are probably most important for touring in a group. We were all good

friends before the tour, so we were very comfortable with each other. As

always, the social aspect of the tours is very important, one of the best parts.


Getting there was very easy this year. Our start and end point was in Littleton,

New Hampshire, a 31/2 hour drive straight up I-91 from Hartford. And

Littleton is where Frank’s father-in-law lives, so Frank is very familiar with

the area and was able to get permission for us to park our cars for the 5 days

in a local motel parking lot. The drive was fairly spectacular after we

crossed from Massachusetts into Vermont. A sunny day, beautiful hills vistas

to the mountains, forests, and frequent views of lakes and rivers, with the 2

sides of the interstate highway separated so that it felt like a high speed 2

lane road, sort of a high speed parkway the whole way.


This tour had a unique start. There is a place in a small village south of

Littleton called Polly’s Pancake Parlor where Frank & Suzanne like to go to

for breakfast when they are there visiting Suzanne’s father. They serve gluten-

free pancakes, which made it a obvious choice for someone like me that

has not had pancakes in over 10 years.

So we all assembled at Polly’s at 11:00 AM that morning. It is a beautiful

place on a small farm in the lush green New England hills. The pancakes

with the real maple syrup were great, but amazingly only about 4 of the 10

of us had pancakes. The others had waffles, eggs, or sandwiches.

Page 2, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010


I always expect the weather thing to catch up with us, but it never does

(knock on wood). The weather was great again on this trip. Friday & Saturday

were sunny and temperatures in the 80’s. Monday & Tuesday were

sunny with temperatures in the 70’s. Sunday it was cloudy, with occasional

showers, but it did not cause much of a problem at all. Scenery always

looks best in the sunshine, and as you will see from the photos, we had

plenty of it.


There are no large towns in the Northeast Kingdom. Our overnights were all

in towns of less than 1000 population. There is some farming, but there is a

lot more forest than farms. The biggest industry seems to be lumbering. The

people everywhere were very friendly and outgoing, probably because of

the rural character of the area.

It is not a big tourist area, probably because there are no big attractions.

Maybe it is busier in July & August. The mountains are not big enough for

skiing, so they do what they can to attract snowmobilers, hikers, and bicyclists.

Amazingly, we never saw any other bicycle tourists on this tour at all,

though it is great bicycling. It was a quiet, low-key place. What we did see,

interestingly, was a lot of motorcycles, hundreds of them, big motorcycles,

some with 3 wheels or trailers.

One result of the back woods aspect that confounded us was the lack of cell

phone reception. We had better cell phone reception in the Czech Republic

than in the Northeast Kingdom. We could use the internet and get text messages,

but could not make phone calls or send email. It was pretty traumatic

for our cell phone junkies.

The towns were not particularly quaint, although they had some historic

buildings, and there were vacant storefronts on the main streets. There were

no great galleries and gift shops to explore.


The lack of tourists meant that there are no deluxe accommodations or restaurants.

We stayed in modest motels 3 of the 4 nights, and had our dinners

at local pubs or small cafes. The motels were comfortable and clean, and all

had air conditioning. But they were very simple and plain. As usual, Frank

was in charge of finding a dinner place, but that seemed to mostly be a matter

of finding the one place in town where you could get wine and beer with

the food.

Our dinners the first 3 nights averaged $24/person, including the wine and

tip, and our rooms the first 3 nights averaged about $80 for a double room.

The 4th night was better, as I will explain later.

We did not try to do picnics for lunches, because we needed the restroom

access that eating at the country stores provided. The country stores in rural

Vermont have small deli-cafés in them with public restrooms. The 2 country

Page 3, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

stores that were closed made things a little more difficult, but we ended up

finding country stores for lunch each day anyway. 3 of the 4 country stores

had outdoor eating areas, which we much preferred.

The motels where we stayed the first 3 nights did not serve breakfast, but

each of the towns had a good diner-type café for breakfast, so that was not a



This trip certainly reinforced the idea that the bicycling in this country is as

good as in Europe. The wonderful towns and cities in Europe are great, but

the bicycling here in New England is unbeatable. Very little traffic most of

the time, and where there was more traffic there were good, paved shoulders.

One result of taking quiet country roads was that many of them had

cracked and broken pavement, which made going slow, but it is not as

though we were in a hurry.

Everyone seemed to hold up very well, or at least did not complain very

much if they didn’t. Everyone bicycled the whole way except Jane, who

rode with Beverly the last day. There were some climbs, though nothing

more than 400 ft. or so. There was only one climb that was steep enough to

cause some people to walk, a short climb on the 4th day as we were approaching

East Burke. The other climbs were never more than a 6-7% grade.


This tour had fewer glitches than any of my tours. I guess we are getting better

at it. The maps are better for touring in the US than in Europe, and with

the great Google Maps available now, getting lost or making a wrong turn is

no longer a problem.

• Martha needed to stop at a bike shop in Littleton to pick up a water bottle

(it was right on our way out of town).

• I had my handlebar bag bracket break the morning of Day 3, which meant

that I could not use my map case and had to ride without being able to

see my maps. Trauma!

• Jack & Dick each had a flat tire. But everyone was carrying spare tubes

and Beverly had a floor pump in her car, so again no problem.

• Martha lost a drop-out bolt on her luggage rack, but they are so common

that almost any of us could have given her one of our spare bolts.

• Several places that should have been open were closed, including 2 wellknown

country stores and a wildlife visitor’s center (closed on a Sunday

afternoon in June!). We had been counting on those places for lunch and

restrooms, but had to make do without them.

• A stretch of gravel road on Day 4 turned out to be longer and rougher

than expected, although it was only about 4 miles and was the only gravel

on the entire tour.

Page 4, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010


The motel in Littleton had a good shady place to park our cars, the woman at

the motel was great and let us use a restroom in the motel to change clothes,

and we got to meet and talk to Frank’s father-in-law, George. We started bicycling

north out of Littleton about 1:30 PM, right on schedule. It was

mostly sunny and about 85°. The first half of the 23 mile ride this day was

not the greatest, with busy roads, minimal shoulders, a couple of testy

climbs, and quite a bit of traffic. But after we crossed the Connecticut River

and got off the main road, it turned into beautiful biking on a very quiet road

north along the river.

The motel that night was a newish 2-story motel with elevator on a busy

highway that went through the center of town. We had a very unremarkable

dinner that night at a family restaurant about a mile down the main street

from the motel, but the wine was adequate and the company/conversation

was great. The dinners and the conversation always seem particularly good

after a day of bicycling.

Though the little towns did not offer much for dinner, they did have a key

benefit. They each had a good ice cream place, for our desert. The ice

cream on the walk back to the motel is the perfect transition from dinner to

the bed. We all turned in early each night.


The motel in Lancaster served a continental breakfast, but that never works

very well if you can’t eat wheat, and a few of us wanted more. So 5 of us

went to a truck stop a little over a mile outside the town to have omelets. It

was a very good little diner, but hard to find and somewhat farther than the

1/4 mile we had been told. Dick & Beverly were smart and rode there on

their bicycles (Beverly got her bike out of the car for the ride), but I thought I

could do it on foot and ended up making the group a little late in starting

that morning. We got on our bicycles about 8:40 AM that morning.

Although we were going from one New Hampshire town to another New

Hampshire town, we bicycled in Vermont, north along the west side of the

Connecticut River. It was a very special bicycling day. Sunny and 85°

again. Very little climbing. A tail wind the entire day. Beautiful views

across the river valley to the White Mountains. Pedaling along the banks of

the river in places. Almost no traffic, maybe 1 or 2 cars per mile. It really

doesn’t get much better for a bicycle tour.

The morning rest stop was on a shady green at Guildhall, a quaint historic

town on the river. The well-known popular country store there we had been

counting on for restrooms was closed, and looked like it might be closed

permanently. It was to be the first of several puzzling closures we would

encounter on the tour. It was, however, a pleasant rest stop anyway.

Lunch was on picnic tables outside a country store further down the road.

Like most of the country stores, this one had a small café with sandwiches

and a public restroom. The break in the afternoon was at another one of the

Page 5, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

covered bridges on the Connecticut River. We got into Colebrook about

2:45 PM that afternoon, having gone 38 miles. It was the longest distance of

any day on the tour, but didn’t seem like it because it was so easy. We had

a tail wind, and there was very little climbing that day, with no climb more

than 100 ft. and the highest point on the ride only about 300 ft. higher than

the lowest.

There was an optional ride available for each day for anyone that wanted to

do some more bicycling, and on Saturday the ride was on up the Connecticut

River another 9 miles, which would have been very pleasant. But even

though the day had not been bad, the temperatures in the mid-80’s with high

humidity had taken something out of us and the thought of going another 18

miles did not seem worth it.

The motel in Colebrook was actually part of a country club there. It was

dated and very plain, but clean and comfortable. It was about 6 blocks from

the e downtown area. Dinner that night was in a bar, and the atmosphere

and food were marginal at best. Fortunately, good company can do a lot to

make up for shortcomings in food quality, and the after-dinner ice cream


On the other hand it is hard to complain too much about food in a town

with a great little French bakery. A couple from Montreal had moved there

and opened the bakery, and we had seen a recent article about it in the New

York Times. French bakeries are one of Frank’s favorite things, so he was in

heaven, but the rest of us bought our share of goodies there too.


They were predicting rain for later in the day, so we decided to load up and

check out before breakfast, and then eat breakfast at a nice little café in the

town center on our way out of town. The mileage this day was 31 miles,

and could not be shortened more than a couple of miles if it rained. We got

started bicycling at 9:15 AM.

The first half of the ride was going south back down the Connecticut River

on the east side of the river (we had come up the west side). The road was

busier on the east side, but there was a good, smooth shoulder and we made

good time. We felt a few sprinkles, but nothing much. In the late morning

we turned west, leaving the river to bike into the heart of the Northeast

Kingdom area.

At the turn, we passed the same country store where we had lunch the previous

day. We decided to stock up on picnic stuff there at the store and

have a picnic at the Nulhegan Visitors Center about 8 miles down the road

where we were fairly certain there would be a good picnic area. While we

were getting the food and using the restroom, it started to rain heavier, so we

stayed there in the covered outdoor eating area until it stopped. We felt fortunate

that it had started raining before we had started out. It seemed clear

that there would be scattered light showers most of the day.

Page 6, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

After waiting 15 minutes or so, the rain stopped, and we decided to start bicycling.

We got about a mile, passing through an area where it looked like it

had not rained at all, when the rain started again, and it started raining steadily.

I was out front and stopped at a grove of trees to get out of the rain, but

the others were too far back and had to get out their rain gear. We all gathered

under the trees, and stayed dry until the rain tapered off about 10 minutes

later. We started out again, and got to the Nuhegan Visitors Center all

right, but as we got there it started raining again. The Visitors Center was

closed, which seemed strange for a tourist facility on a Sunday in late June,

but there was a large covered front entrance porch where we could escape

the rain and eat our picnic lunch.

After lunch and after the rain had stopped, we started out again. There were

a few sprinkles later, but we never had to stop for the rain again that day. I

never did put on my rain gear, and the others only had theirs on for a half

hour or so. We felt pretty fortunate that there was so little rain and that of

the 3 times we encountered it we were in a good covered place on 2 of


I was kind of hoping we would see a moose that day or sometime on the

tour, but we didn’t. They are supposed to be fairly common up there in the

Northeast Kingdom.

We decided to shorten the ride by 2 miles because of the rain threat, and arrived

in Island Pond about 1:30 PM. We did get a thunderstorm that afternoon

a couple of hours after we arrived, and it cooled things down. Then

the sun came out, and we could see that the weather was going to be great

for the rest of the tour.

The motel in Island Pond was basic, like the others, but had some big advantages.

It was right on the shore of the lake, with a green lawn and chairs,

and it was right in the center of the town, so there would not be any long

walks to get places. They had a good garage for our bicycles.

To top it off, there was a place right next door that sold the Sunday New

York Times. So we lounged around that afternoon out on the shore of the

lake or on the chairs under the covered walkway during the rain and read

our newspapers. Frank made a brief effort to swim in the lake, but when he

got his feet wet he decided it was too cold for swimming.

Dinner that night was again so-so for food quality, but being able to eat outdoors

was very nice. The first 2 days, with the great weather we had to eat

inside, but on the rainy day we got to eat outside. After dinner there was ice

cream of course, eaten while looking out over the lake at the beautiful cloud

formations created from the bright west sun. Very nice. But still no cell

phone service.


Another early start this morning. We seem to have a bunch of early risers in

the group. Martha and Bill especially. Everyone on their own for breakfast.

The place a block down the street turns out to be very good, the best so far.

Page 7, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

Strange décor though, sort of a back woods cabin design. Best coffee I have

had for any café breakfast in a long time—the guy is grinding it fresh for each

pot of coffee he makes. We checked out and got on our bicycles at 9:30


This was a perfect day for bicycling. Temperature in the 70’s, low humidity,

and lots of sunshine. There was some headwind now, as we were heading

south, but the winds were never very strong on this tour.

Shortly after leaving Island Pond, we had to ride on a gravel road. I had

known about it, but it only appeared to be a couple of miles, it would be

very difficult to avoid, and I thought there would be a good chance it would

be hard packed and smooth because it was a main road. The first mile or so

was smooth, but then we ran into a road grader that was regrading the road

and loosening the surface. That made it rough and slow going for the following

3.5 miles, with the dirt/gravel continuing longer than the maps had


Then we had to cope with a long climb. Not steep, but long and steady.

But then we were treated to a long downhill ending with wonderful views

out over Lake Willoughby with dramatic views to Willoughby Notch where

Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor rise steeply out of the sides of the lake. We stopped

briefly at a beach at the end of the lake to use the restroom facilities, and

then went on to what we thought would be a good country store for lunch.

Alas, this one was closed too, seemingly permanently even though they still

have a big website, and so we pressed on.

The road went on for about 5 miles along the shore of Lake Willoughby, easily

the most spectacular 5 miles of this tour. Waterfalls on the rock walls on

one side of the road and the lake with the mountain on the other side. And

when we got down to the other end of the lake, we encountered another

country store with food, restroom facilities, and a great outdoor place to eat

right on the lakeshore.

After lunch we had to climb some to get out of the lake basin, and then had

a long, level ride before a last big climb to end the day. This one was the

steepest climb of the tour, about 9% for 150 ft. or so. Short & steep. Not a

real killer, but enough to have several people walk it. Then it was a couple

of miles of pleasant downhill into East Burke.

Our overnight in East Burke was an Inn, not a motel. The Village Inn had 6

rooms, just the number we needed, so we were the only ones there that

night. It was very nice, a big cut above the motels we had stayed in. The

rooms were large, with a lot of character, and some with private balconies.

And there was a large, beautiful vegetable garden out in back and beyond

that a stream with fire pit sitting area.

I did the optional ride this day, but no one else wanted to join me. I rode

about 5 miles up the river and back. It was not as great as I had hoped, with

few places where you could see the river and a moderate amount of traffic.

While I was out bicycling, Frank was swimming. He found a swimming

hole in the river that went through East Burke.

Page 8, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

And as if the great inn was not enough, there was a gourmet restaurant right

next door. So we had a great meal for our last dinner of the tour. I guess

some might argue that I saved the expensive meal for the traditional “let’s

treat the tour leader to dinner” night. Bob Painter declared it to be the best

pizza he had ever tasted and then tipped it into his lap. This night we did

not have to find an ice cream place. The deserts at the restaurant were way

too good for that.


Bill and Martha said something about needing to get back to Hartford, and

the nice woman at the Inn was convinced to provide breakfast early and we

got an extra-early start. It was a wonderful breakfast.

The day started out with a long downhill along a river and by a covered

bridge. But then the climbing started. This was by far the most strenuous

day of the trip, with a couple of major climbs and one moderate climb. Jane

decided to forego the climbing and rode with Beverly for the day, but the

climbing was not steep and everyone seemed to handle it fine. With the

climbing came some great views, some beautiful roads, and a nice ride

along the shore of a lake.

There was another well-located country store for lunch and restrooms, and

we later had a rest stop at a park visitors center with views overlooking the

Connecticut River. We got to Littleton at about 1:00 PM and I was back in

Hartford by 4:00 PM.


• The great weather. Lots of sunshine.

• The great wildflowers everywhere. Martha especially like the Lupine that

were in full bloom everywhere.

• We didn’t see moose, but we did see many beautiful birds and butterflies.

• Riding along the Connecticut River on quiet country roads.

• The ride along Lake Willoughby.

• The wonderful Village Inn and gourmet dinner in East Burke.

• The frequent views of the mountains all along the tour.

• The very friendly people everywhere.

• The French bakery in Colebrook.

Posted by: hopsuz | June 26, 2010


There are two critical actions for us all to take:

1.  Create a crisis plan

2.  Practice or take a test run of the plan in order to be assured it will work.

This will include thoughts from experienced crisis managers and co-authors of Board Leadership of the Company in Crisis.  Our experience includes have been CEO of two companies in crisis, chairman of the board of two companies in crisis, on the board of several companies, and outside counsel to many companies in crisis so there is much to share during our current environment of crisis.

Posted by: hopsuz | May 31, 2010

More Quebec photos

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Posted by: hopsuz | May 30, 2010


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The trip from May 23 – 30, 2010 in Quebec was 275 miles and we biked from L’Islet to Trois Pistoles and back to the inn in L’islet.  Averaged 42 miles/day on biking days (+20 miles on arrival day).  The Observations follow, then the trip description itself.  Trip was just the two of us and we carried all of our luggage in panniers on the bike.


1.     People are very hardworking.  The area is mostly farming and every property is well maintained and attractive.  People are very anxious for us to have a good experience and many people wanted to practice their French on us…or they will call to someone who can speak English.

2.     The scenery was spectacular. (see attached photos) Sunsets are famous.  It was always stunning.

3.     The wind:  Crosswinds are worse then headwinds.  They made it extremely hard to control the bike.  The winds controlled our strategy on Thurs & Friday.  Biked with the wind.

4.     There is an extraordinary level of bike support.  The bike maps detail whether the roadway designated is a.  gravel  b. asphalt c. a main road with a should for biking or d. a main road without a shoulder.. and WHEN the shoulder can be expected to be constructed.  Rte 132 heading north out of Kamouraska is a “main road” but we only had 4 cars pass us in 10 miles…. A bike route in our minds…

The route verte is a string of bike routes to take ( and is reliable.  Gravel not so good for road bike but manageable.

There are “certified gites or auberges” which are required to have locked sheds for the bikes.

Shoulders are marked

Signs are everywhere for bikes/cars to share the road.

5.     Flat is only “flat” if you’re in a car.  The condition and makeup of road surface, slight incline, wind,  amount of traffice, and how much weight you’re carrying on the bike all make a material difference.

6.     The time of year makes a difference.  It is pre-season so there is very little traffic.  While many locations are not open the lack of traffic and lack of reservations needed more than offsets the locations not yet open.  Summer would not have worked for this trip.

7.     Daylight.  Sunset was around 9PM and sunrise around 4AM.  We also had a full moon so it never really got dark.

8.     Best of all:  internet access only once, no TV, no newspaper, incoming cell worked so no need to check messages, no email, no shopping.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 hour drive from Littleton to L’Islet.

Auberge des Glacis.  $360 (dinner, breakfast, room, 13% tax + drinks)

Rode 20 miles after check-in.

Quennelles and pork for dinner.  Local beers.

Sun night the dining room was full since it was a 3-day (Canadian) holiday.

Breakfast incl. homemade crepes and fresh croissants, yogurt & fresh fruit.

Sun sets at 8:30PM, sunrise at 4:00 AM

Monday May 24, 2010

44 miles to Kamouraska.

Stone dust bike path (Le  Route Verte ) which circumvents La Poucataire

Long stretch of farmlands and marsh on Rte 132 on the way to Kamouraska

Lunch at Roadside snackbar (casse – crouet) $10

Le Grande Voile – $169  room, tax, breakfast.

Room on a bluff overlooking the Saint Lawrence.  Great view from balcony.

Dinner at Pizza Mag.  Pizzas with feta, pesto and good salads.  $65

Grand sunset from the balcony in the room.

Breakfast of Omellettes or eggs.

Tuesday May 25, 2010

33 to Riviere du Loup

Kamouraska .. for first 10 miles on Rte.  132 to St. Andre 4 cars passed us.  Perfect.

Started to rain as we were packing bicycles.  Stopped as we started biking.

Lunch Notre Dame du Portage – Auberge du Portage.  We were cold and it was starting to rain when we arrived.  It poured during lunch.  Bicycles on the porch out of the rain.  Sat in glass enclosed porch for lunch watching it rain and debating if we should stay overnight.  It stopped raining as we finished lunch and we continued on.

Very helpful Information Center in Riviere du Loup… booked room at hotel from there and learned about seafood restaurant at the ferry pier 1.25mi from the hotel.

Rode through historic Riviere du Loup.

Auberge de la Point  $143 plus breakfast $20.

Dinner at seafood restaurant.  $70.  Great view.  Started to rain during dinner and we hitched a ride back to the hotel with another guest.

Only rained when we were eating.  Last rain of the trip.

Coastline reminiscent of Maine.

Breakfast of poached eggs and ham/cheese omellette.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

40 miles to Trios Pistoles

Strong and increasing wind entire 40 miles.  About 30 mph by the time we reach Trois Pistoles.

Route 20 ended after Cacouna so Rte 132 had truck traffic and all car traffic and wind…

There was road maintenance but 132 has wide shoulders.

We diverted to Le Route Verte before L’isle Verte which brought us into L’isle Verte and lunch at Café Cazin.  Soup, salmon & chicken for lunch.  $25.

Explored L’sle Verte and the ferry.  Decided not to take the ferry to L’isle Verte.

After L’isle Verte rejoined Le Route Verte all the way to Trois Pistoles.  Interesting bike path of various surfaces:  1.Starting paved road with NO traffic, farmland, no sign of life, constant climb and increasing headwind, 2. dirt/stone path, except it was paved on very steep sections.  Crossed a river on a suspension bridge next to hydro-electric plant.  Lot of climbing, constant headwind, signs alerting to steep uphills and downhills.  3.  Downhill along the river on a paved road.  Temp dropped from about 70 to 50 in about 10 feet.

Le Gite 1000 Souvenirs (it really was cut in spite of the name).  Room w shower and sink.  Two hall bathrooms.  No one else there so we didn’t have to share. $70 incl tax

Dinner La Belle Excuse, down the street.  Our landlady was dining when we arrived and she didn’t recognize us… I took that to be a good thing since we look somewhat bedraggled upon arrival.  $75

Breakfast:  Fried eggs, potato, bacon, toast, fruit.

Thursday May 27, 2010

55 miles to Kamouraska.  Le Grande Voile $132 all on Rte 132 (Le Route Verte had added 13 miles to the trip).  Tailwind.  Uphill speed 20 mph.  Felt like Lance.

Stopped for coffee at snack bar in Riviere du Loop at the ferry.

Stopped for picnic at Notre Dame du Portage along the water with cheese, Kashi bars, nuts and dried fruit.

All restaurants in Kamouraska closed except one.  Bought smoked salmon & scallops, bread, wine, cheeses, chocolate to eat on our balcony and watch the sunset.

Breakfast French toast and omellettes.

Friday May 28, 2010

42 miles to Saint Pacome.

Auberge Comme du Premier Jour, which seemed to be an old rectory.  $252 (incl room, breakfast, & dinner & tax) + tip

18 miles to Saint Pacome, including Route Verte along the water.

After checking in we headed to Saint Pascal into the headwind, but without panniers.  Stopped at health food store in Saint Pascal, then headed back with the tailwind.

Dinner: 5 course meal.  Outstanding.


41 miles to Auberge du Glaciers $334 (room, tax, dinner, breakfast, tip)

Route 230 to La Poucatiere.  Coffee in La Poucatiere and a stop at a school, which seemed to be a former seminary.  On to Rte 132 with a stop at Mamie’s for sandwiches and great French fries.  We passed on the poutine (French fries with cheese and gravy…. Not enough miles in all of Quebec to work that off!!)

On to L’Islet, then on to Auberge du Glaciers for dinner and overnight before heading back to Littleton in the AM.

Sunday  – left for Littleton after breakfast.

Posted by: hopsuz | March 9, 2018

Thailand 2018: Day 23

C6E67578-7312-4EEE-9E4C-2338073D2EEE1E62B887-3FC4-466C-878C-D1BF443B6A756D868B60-24AF-4074-A46D-BEB26C354C66C5F71CB9-9F49-469D-A91B-00193339A0467E4EDABD-B1A9-40B0-87CD-DEEA4C1DF36A34E36E9B-0239-4C27-9EDF-D14B6F7DBDC5There’s not a lot to say when you come upon this enormous Buddha.  It is stunning (first and last photos)

Second was the sign for the bike path that we were on for 4 hours today.  We so appreciate the King of Thailand being a biker!

Next is a picture of one of Thailands many large infrastructure projects.  The River Yom fills the channel during the rainy season. It’s hard to imagine the magnitude of water it takes to fill this spillway and how dangerous it is.  Thailand has some of the biggest infrastructure projects we’ve seen anywhere underway including a new centralized train station in Bang Sue.  There are 69million people in Thailand, the economy is strong, and there is a continuous stream of needed infrastructure improvements.

Next was our visit to the local Teak factory where they use scraps from the large factories to make custom furniture for Thailand people.  It is beautiful.  Frank’s Dad, Big Mort, would have loved seeing the craftsmanship that went into these pieces.

It was cloudy so we were able to bike longer (12:30) today. And lastly the “Tourist Police” asked if we were willing to be interviewed by local college students so we talked to them for about 15 minutes about our experiences in Thailand.  Then they tried to teach us some Thai words.


Fun day!!!

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