zen and the art of jeep maintenance

Scott recently purchased an old Jeep and we finally had a long weekend free to test it out on the road. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that we ran into a few issues. Did you know that old Jeeps can run on gas OR propane? And that there is a tiny switch that changes what fuel is it running on? And if you have it set to propane and you fill up the gas tank, you’re going to find that car sputtering and stalling and dying on you repeatedly? I didn’t know these things. Scott didn’t seem to wise up to this until we were stalled out in the middle of a bridge, for the twentieth time, after our other friend John already had enough and bailed.

Scott flipped the switch, I rolled my eyes and laughed, and we were off to Sai Yok…hours and hours later than we had intended, but on our way all the same.


We were somewhere between the town of Kanchanaburi and our remote homestay somewhere in Sai Yok when the Jeep started to smoke. We pulled over and spent at least an hour on the side of the road, both of us kind of/sort of pretending we knew what we needed to do (we actually did – engine coolant – but there was nothing nearby nor open. Also – no cabs!) Luckily, a nice Thai guy gathered up his buddies and tried to help, and when we couldn’t get the car started, he gave us a ride in his own vehicle to our very out of the way hotel. Every time I start getting down about interactions with locals, something like this happens and makes me want to dole out several (inappropriate) bear hugs.

Also, I don’t have most of the photos I took on this trip, due to losing my case of camera cards in the jungle a few weeks later. If you take photos for a living or photos just so you don’t forget…you’ll understand how heartbreaking that is. A lot of the following are products of my iPhone or Scott’s film camera.

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View from our room.

river5070-11aFields of varied crops…and a few elephants.

5070-07aIMG_0125IMG_0126IMG_0141-2Processed with VSCOcam with e4 preset5070-16aAfter spending the morning at some waterfalls, we borrowed some crumbling old bikes from the homestay and made the 30-40k trek back to the car. Added some engine coolant and she started right up. That day was somewhat of a bust, but I did get to catch the sunset over the river.

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HERE IS A PHOTO OF ME RIDING IN A MOTORCYCLE SIDECAR!5070-21a5070-23aScott and I took almost the same exact photo: black and white, his film camera / color, my phone
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We were able to explore both the Sai Yok Noi waterfall and even all the Erawan waterfalls after we fixed the car. I was daydreaming about floating in those azure pools the whole way home, as the air conditioning was a major casualty in the breakdown. Despite a temperamental vehicle, there’s just something about roadtrips. Being able to stop where you want, when you want…windows down and belting out your favorite songs at the top of your lungs…most definitely one of my favorite ways to pass the time. I’m not sure if we’ll try a distance journey with the Jeep again. I think we should…I believe in second chances, don’t you?

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