Laos UniTour 2006 Photos

I’m starting a new thread since I think there are going to be quite a few people posting their photos from the trip. First, let me say that Jason Williams of Grasshopper Anventures was a perfect tour leader. I can’t wait for the next Asian UniTour. And Ken Looi did so much in organizing this great trip. THANKS so much.

I created a gallery of about 180 of my photos and 7 videos here: http://nhoover.smugmug.com/gallery/1181224.

The videos are originally .mov but the site only accepts .mpg so I’ve converted them. But my favorite one, Rat on a stick, was shot vertically and my converter can’t handle unusual aspect ratios (480x640). Anyone have an easy way to go from mov->mpg for this size at 30fps (or probably simpler to rotate a .mpg file)? I tried a couple of packages that didn’t work. Email/PM me if you have a solution. Thanks.

Here is the Tour Website - there are photos and daily writeups in the Tour Blog section (and more to come). You can still donate to Oxfam for the tour until Feb 24.

A little on the riding: this tour was shorter than previous tours (12 instead of 19 days) and had fewer riding days (only 6 instead of more like 14). But the riding itself was quite challenging:

Day 4: Ride 60km/400m climbing (50km on dirt)
Day 6: Ride 78km/1800m climbing
Day 7: Ride 95km/1000m climbing
Day 8: Ride 58km/300m climbing
Day 10: Ride 107km/300m climbing
Day 11: Ride 97km/200m climbing
Total: 495km/4000m climbing
Ave: 82.5km/667m climbing

Quite a few of the riders hit new personal bests for distance or climbing, and certainly for effort. While long rides without much climbing are hard for me and not my favorite, I think this itinerary was about right. Certainly it was hard enough to make the trip very memorable, and it was possible for a number of us to ride every bit of it.

We also had more riders than any other tour (except UAM '99). You might think that with 19 unicyclists plus 6 staff, the tour might be unwieldy and full of personality conflicts. But there was none of that. Jason handled everything and everyone just got along great.

Enjoy,
Nathan

Amazing.
the photos were fantastic.
Cathy

you take beautiful photos!!!

Some’n tells me I really missed out!

great great great! i’m jealous :slight_smile:

-corbin

Wow! Great pics, and and awesome opportunity for all youse uniers.

Ken can mannage a smile after a compound fracture? Impressive!

Great photos and another fun tour to follow from a distance.
Happy belated Birhtday, Beau! I guess I will have to return the Rat-On-A-Stick I got you since your Mom already gave you one.

Scott

Elephants and tigers, dream like pools to swim in, WOW. THanks for the pics, looks like a wonderful life experiance, and to share it with Beau, Fantastic. Keep up the great riding!

Thanks for the comments everyone. I did manage to fix the Rat-on-a-stick video. You can see it properly now: http://nhoover.smugmug.com/gallery/1181224/11/55644315

I wore my Forerunner GPS on all the rides and here are links to all the charts etc if you’re interested:

Day 4 MotionBased
Day 6 MotionBased
Day 7 MotionBased
Day 8 MotionBased
Day 10 MotionBased
Day 11 MotionBased

Here’s a sample chart from day 6. You can also export the data directly into GoogleEarth from motionbased (or use these convenient links):

Day 4 GoogleEarch
Day 6 GoogleEarth
Day 7 GoogleEarth
Day 8 Google Earth
Day 10 GoogleEarth
Day 11 GoogleEarth

—Nathan

PS Speaking of Rat-on-a-stick, I did see (but not photograph damn it) an even more interesting variety. This is where you take a rat, stick it on a stick and cook to taste. No skinning, cleaning etc. You’re left with a crispy whole rat. As I rode past a very happy guy just about to eat one for his breakfast, I noticed a strong smell of burned rat fur. I’ll never forget the look of pure joy on his face. I figure it was the combination of seeing us ride by with the anticipation of digging into a great breakfast.

Thanks for the GE tinks, that is a cool way to view the route.

The Rat video worked for me with RealPlayer, only after right-clicking and saving from the link as per the instructions on screen.
That looked like rat jerky on a stick. It was probably better when they first cooked it, … a week or so prior to selling it to you.

I like the alt text caption that pops up when you hover over the pig photo in the gallery. It says “Nathan Hoover A pig on the road”. That’s not a very nice thing to say about Nathan. :slight_smile:

All very nice photos and looks like a wonderful trip, except for Ken’s accident. I’m going to have to get myself to the point where I can comfortably manage long rides day after day so I can do a uni tour. I really really don’t like getting the numb butt saddle soreness. Riding stops being fun at that point for me.

Looks like an awsome ride
Wish i could have joined everyone

Fantastic photos Nathan! I really enjoyed looking at them…almost felt like I was there.

The joy of being able to complete this tour as a family came through. You are a very lucky threesome!

Simply Mouthwatering! Fantastic photos and captions… I was just going to glance at them for now, but I had to look at them all! You are all animals!

Later,

Jess

I was wondering who would get the best Monk photo. I thought I had the best one, but I think Nathan wins the Monk Photography Award for this effort:

I’ll echo that! The tour was an amazing experience and it was very well organized and supported. I’m definitely going to sign up for upcoming unitours organized by Jason and Ken.

Yes, everyone got along great! With the large number of people, from 8 different countries (including Jason, I guess, 9 countries if you include the entire support crew), one would think that there would have been conflicts. However, the tour was very well organized with paid professional staff, and I think that led to it being conflict free as all the riders could focus on it being a unique cultural experience and holiday (vacation for us americans) and not expect anything from volunteers.

Definitely! I was one of the few ahead of Ken and waited at the first rest stop of that day for over an hour wondering why nobody was showing up.

Hearing from the others and seeing this photo of Nathan’s <http://nhoover.smugmug.com/gallery/1181224/8/55505911&gt;, it was very clear that Ken handled the situation very well. Had he not been a doctor and not handled the situation correctly, he could have been in much worse shape (loosing lots of blood and being far from a hospital). The incident certainly made the rest of us on the tour think about the possibilities of what could happen to us in the middle of an inpoverished country. I was riding a schlumpf and I was going incredibly fast on it for the downhills. I wish I had a brake on it to slow me down! I was going way too fast on the downhills and if I had lost control and fell, I probably would have been in a very serious medical condition. Luckily that never happened.

Based on comments from both Jason and Ken, it sounds very likely that there will be more great “Grasshopper Adventures” in the future for unicyclists. If you are looking for a cultural experience with unicyclists from all over the world, I’d recommend joining these tours.

Haha… The monks were quite amusing for me. Even after the unitour, we saw monks in the typical tourist areas acting just like regular tourists. On one of the boats Seth and I went on, there were seats labeled “reserverd for monks” which I found quite funny.

I just got home today from the trip, but I will upload my photos to the gallery once I sort through them all.

Welcome back Gilby. I’m about to fly home in about 3hrs (woohoo!).

The funniest monk experience for me were the “Monks-with-cellphones” wandering around Bangkoks Pantip Plaza. Unfortunately I was too stunned to take a photo. I think there were Monks-with-ipods too.

Thanks for this thread, and for sharing such great documentation of your adventure. I’m sure I’m not the only one silently whining to self “I wanna go on a tour! I wanna go on a tour!”

Two questions:

  1. What’s with the FBI guy in the background of the monk photo? :slight_smile:

  2. Nathan: what software are you using to export your Forerunner stuff into Google Earth. I need to get all over that!

TB

I would be curious to see what music they were listening to.

I’m always thrilled to look at each and every one of your photos, Nathan. The water looked really, really nice. The videos were cool and reminded me of bike touring when I was just a little older than Beau is now.

Thank you!