(written by Nancy)
The major theme of today was wet, wet, wet. The rain started early with a big rainstorm just after the alarm went off at 6am this morning. We took our time getting ready and by 8 or so the heavy rain had stopped so we decided to head out in hopes that we could cover some ground. We started off with our rain jackets on but quickly took them a few kilometres down the road as it was too warm to wear them.
The ride today was through very rural areas, similar to yesterday. The scenery was quite pretty and very green, which is not surprising given the wet that we saw today. Lots of hills around us covered with rubber trees and bamboo and we had some decent climbs today that required us to use the granny gears.
We have been through many police checkpoints since coming into Thailand but none have been manned by anyone. Today we went through one that was actually manned by two buys dressed in fatigues. They did not make us stop but they were stopping some of the cars to inspect the occupants. We found out later that the checkpoints near here are actually military checkpoints and they are checking mostly for people and/or drugs from Myanmar (Burma).
We actually didn’t have too much heavy rain for a good part of the morning, just light sprinkles that kept the temperatures down. We did have to pull over once under covered stand on the side of the road (it wasn’t in use at the time) to wait while a big shower passed through. Then about 5k from a little town called Kapoe the rain started to get pretty heavy and by the time we hit the town it was really coming down. We were looking frantically for a place to pull over when Dave saw a market off on a side road and pulled in. We pulled the bikes in under a tarp and stood there for a few minutes just watching the rain pour down.
When it appeared the rain wasn’t going to slow down soon Dave went into the market in search of some food. He found a stall and ordered us some noodle soup and by the time we got over to the stall the stallholder had two piping hot bowls of noodle soup with chicken waiting for us at a table out of the rain. It was very nice soup and really hit the spot. We were so wet and the temperature was quite cool – it’s the first time I have been a bit chilled since we hit Asia!
We sat waiting for the rain to ease for over an hour and it continued to pour down. We knew we had about 15k or so to ride to the resort where we were planning to stay. So we finally bit the bullet, put our rain jackets on and started riding. We were completely soaked in no time – haven’t ridden in rain that hard in a long time! Water was running down the road in rivers so we couldn’t ride very fast and the rain made it difficult to see. The resort we were headed to was 9k off the main highway and we stopped at a little store just after we made the turn-off to pick up some supplies. I am not sure they quite appreciated our business as we dripped water over everything!
We finally made it to the Wasana Resort, near the entrance to the Laem Son National Park and close to Bang Ben Beach. This resort is a popular stopping point for cyclists as there is not much between Khura buri (where we stayed last night) and Ranong (our next destination). The resort is a group of bungalows and Bo, the Dutch owner with his Thai wife Wasana, quickly got us into a bungalow so we could get cleaned up and dried out. We have our clothes and shoes spread through the room in an attempt to get things dried out.
It has continued to rain heavily since we arrived. We had a nice talk with Bo, got some good information about the road ahead, and had a great Thai meal cooked up by Wasana. The next ride is only about 55k so we’ve decided to go for it tomorrow – hopefully we can get a window of 3 hours sometime during the day when the rain isn’t completely bucketing down!