It was the beginning of another physically challenging day, frosty, clear, with wood smoke on the air. But that wasn’t it. The roadhouse we stayed in the night before had a mix of police and interesting locals drinking lots of beer and eating many fascinating dishes. The architecture was beautiful. The temple just before the village seemed to hang, glowing white in the thin air, from a cliff. We almost got lost, nothing new. No. It was something else.
Video of Bob Rogers and Claire Rogers riding their tandem bicycle through Tibet and SE Asia
Our risk was nothing compared to the average Laotian farmer, wandering children, firewood gathering women, who know their next footstep can mean death, or for some worse, maiming, in a poor country where everyone must contribute.
Some facts: 270 million of these bombies were dropped on a country the size of Utah. Of the more than 50,000 people killed or maimed by the bombings, 20,000 have occurred after the end of the war. An average of one person a day is killed or maimed in Laos now, nearly 40 years later.
In late 1995 we were riding our tandem, Zippy across remote Rio Grande, West Texas. We were 30 miles from any town, enjoying the warmth and sun, racing winter in New Mexico. A seventies era car passed us slowly, dented and rusted, and pulled over on the opposite shoulder a hundred yards ahead. Being alone, on our bicycle for about 11,000 since leaving our home in Washington State six months before, we naturally looked carefully at unusual cars and unusual behavior. As we neared the car, a man in his late 60’s emerged from the car and waved us down. He looked harmless, even cute, so we stopped and smiled as he approached with his antique camera, and took this picture.