(written by Nancy)
We escaped the karaoke curse last night, thankfully. We only heard a little bit but it wasn’t very loud and I don’t think it went on very long – must have been a slow night at the bar. We had cereal and instant coffee in our ‘lovely’ room for breakfast, continuing the ‘blur your eyes’ practice so that you don’t see too much around the room that would make it hard to eat food. Well, okay maybe it wasn’t that bad but it certainly required some lack of focus.
We were on the road by about 7:30 and knew we didn’t have too far to go today. We were headed to a little town called Wang Chin that was about halfway to the next big stop, Lampang. We were looking forward to today’s ride as we a route planned that took us on to some very small roads. And, best of all, I knew that other cyclists had gone this way so had some comfort that the roads did exist and would get us through to our destination.
It turned out to be a very pretty ride through lots of farmland. We had a relatively cool start, with a bit of light fog to keep the temperature down. We saw lots and lots of citrus trees today – they appear to be something like a mandarin. Most were still pretty green but Dave picked one that was getting orange and while it seemed ripe inside it was pretty tart! Nice though, pretty juicy.
We had a bit of up and down today, first bit of climbing in some time. We both dropped to our granny gear a couple of times so got a bit of a workout even though the mileage was not too long. We got into town before noon and were pretty hungry as there wasn’t much in the way of food along the way today – that’s the downside of being on the smaller backroads. We stopped at the 7-11 to get something to drink and Dave wandered over to a market across the road to see if there was any food available. He came back with a bag of fried bananas – okay for a snack but wouldn’t really do for lunch.
Right next to the 7-11 there was a stall that appeared to be serving food so I walked over to see what they had and when the woman working said ‘pad thai’ that was good enough for us so we wheeled the bikes over and had a seat. Shortly we had two very delicious plates of pad thai that really hit the spot.
Now we just had to find a place to stay. We had stopped briefly on the way into town and a young girl on a scooter stopped to see if we needed help. Her English was okay and when we asked about places to stay she told us that the one hotel was just back over the bridge and that there was a guesthouse a bit further out of town. That was consistent with what we had read in other journals. She seemed to say the guesthouse was better, so after we ate we got some more water at 7-11 and headed out to the guesthouse.
Well, the guesthouse is …. passable for a night but perhaps we should have checked out the hotel. I looked at three rooms here – the first two were not places you would want to sleep (both actually had squat toilets), the third is a bungalow which is much better than the other rooms so we took it. The set up for some of the rooms is your typical Thai pay-by-the-hour highway no-tell-motel, with a carport to drive your car in and a curtain to pull across to hide your car. No curtain to pull across on our bungalow though… At least it is very quiet so far. We seem to be the only guests, other than seeing one of the curtains drawn for about an hour this afternoon. We looked the other way when first a scooter, then a car pulled out when the curtain was opened.
Dave decided it would be good to try to get the bikes cleaned up a bit so we spent the afternoon scrubbing and cleaning the bikes and listening to NPR programs on the computer. There is no food around here so Dave took a quick bike ride back into town to get some fruit and yoghurt for dinner.
Tomorrow we are off to the big city of Lampang – looking forward to a nice place to stay. We’ve read about at least one above average guesthouse in Lampang, right in old-town where there are a number of noted Northern Thai featured restaurants to eat at as well.
For other cyclists, here are the route details for today:
-Head toward Den Chai on Hwy. 101 for about 13k. Turn left at the 13k mark onto road no. 1177 – the turn is at the top of small rise where a police box is on the right side of the road.
-Continue on road no. 1177 for about 13k, until you reach road no. 4010 on the left. There is a road sign for a Thai town that is 12k on right at the turn. Turn left here.
-Follow 4010 for about 11k until you reach a road going off to the right – it is at the bottom of the 2nd steep hill you go over. Rd 4010 starts to go left here – turn right here onto an unnumbered road and ride for about 6k or so and you will hit road no. 1125. A couple k’s of this road were not sealed. They had a good surface but may be messy in the wet.
-Turn left on 1125 and it will take you right Wang Chin. The town sits off to the left. The one motel is just before the bridge and the left turn into town. The Viraporn guesthouse is a further 1.5k or so up 1125.