As I was getting ready to set out on my 2 week adventure, and while I was going through my checklist and locking up the house, I had this short conversation with myself:
Myself: What the fuck are you doing? We have a nice climate-controlled house with a luxurious bed. You have all your favorite foods nearby and your friends are here. Now you’re telling me that we are going to spend several hours a day over the next 2 weeks, alone, all bent over, sweating profusely, with a 3 inch wide seat crammed up our crotch?
Me: (meekly) Well….ah….yea….
Myself: Have you heard that every 20 minutes someone is killed on the roads in Thailand? Are you TRYING to get us killed?
Me: Well most people die in bed you know….
Myself: Yes but they die of OLD AGE you doofus – we’re going to get run over by a minivan, I know it.
Me: We’ll be wearing a helmet, and I will keep left….
Myself: Let’s just forget this nonsense…put that bike away, take off those silly pants with the padded crotch, and lets just go back to bed. We can get up at 11 and go play golf.
Me: Oh just shut up.
I forgot about this conversation as soon as I pedaled down my soi. I felt free. I could hear the road calling me. The weather was nearly ideal – high clouds to block the sun, temperature in the upper 70s, and only a gentle wind in my face. Life is good!
My route today took me northward along the banks of the Mae Ping River over lightly travelled, narrow, but smoothly paved roads. The first 30 km followed my usually training route, winding through rice paddies and small villages, never straying far from the river on my right. I know every temple and pothole along these roads. The terrain was Kansas flat and I made good time averaging around 22-23 km/hour. A little over an hour out, I made my first rest stop at my usual spot, a small crematorium set beside a lovely oxbow lake.
The rice is ready to harvest.
Finally I turned to the northeast, left the friendly river behind, and climbed up the winding road through the mountains that separate the Chiang Mai Basin from the Phrao Basin. I stopped for lunch at a small village market near the high point in the mountains. One of the nice things about Thailand is that you can get food almost anywhere. After lunch it was mostly a fast downhill into the Phrao Valley – I pulled up to the Klaidoi Resort just after 2 pm and 83 km. An easy first day.
The Klaidoi Resort is in the village of Pradoo – which is nothing more than a few scattered homes and business. My quarters are a small bungalow in a very nondescript “resort”. Thais use the term resort rather loosely. But the price was right, 600 baht or about $18. No restaurant here, but the resort owner, Noi, called up the local restaurant (they use the term restaurant loosely too) and the restaurant’s owner came and opened up just for me. I suspect she closed right after I left. The restaurant was a 5 minute walk down the very dark road. No sidewalk here to roll up. The food was good though and the beer was cold.
Tomorrow it is up and over some more mountains to the bright lights of Fang. Talk to you then.
Some photos from day 1….