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Long day on highway 11 to Rain Forest Resort (132/9466 ks)

(Written by Dave)

We found dinner last night at the street market not too far from the hotel.  We had some good pad thai and then supplemented that with a roti – with egg for Nancy and filled with banana for me.  We  walked over to 7-11 to get some things for breakfast and on the way back I stopped to take a picture of one of the stalls selling fried grasshoppers or some type of bug.  There was a fellow buying some and he offered me a taste – not too bad, a bit like crunchy fibrous potato crisps.  Nancy politely declined.

We did not see the Ride for Hope tour folks last night at all – it looked like they must have gone out to dinner somewhere and then had an early night.  We did see a few of them this morning moving about as we were getting ready to leave.  They seemed a bit nervous about the day’s ride – rightly so as I think it will be a hard one, basically our last two days done in one day – with some big climbs.

We got up early and had breakfast in the room so we could get an early start as we knew we would have a long day.  We were on the road by 6:45, it was not too hot but there was no cloud cover which meant it was going to be a hot day.  We were headed south most of the day – not a direction we have headed much in this trip and the sun was in our face for the morning.  We only had one climb all day, followed by a nice downhill to make up for the climbing.

We rode Hwy 11 until mid-day – a bit boring but traffic was very light and we had a wide shoulder.  It was good to get some fast steady ks in on the highway given the distance we had to go cover.  We planned to take a cut-off from highway 11 to get us over to highway 12 without having to go into Phitsanulok.  We stopped to take a picture of a wat alongside the road and I checked Google maps to see how close we were to the turn-off.  Funnily enough, we were stopped right at the turn-off.

At the turn-off, we stopped for some fried bananas as a snack before we took off down the road.  They were quite tasty – we got a mix of banana chips and bananas, both freshly fried and still warm.  The lady ‘chef’ was quite funny and all of the folks at the nearby stalls were calling out to her as I took her picture.  Today, she was the “rock star” for having farang at her stand and taking her picture.

We made a couple of turns and then came to the road that Google maps indicated was the next turn.  Hmm, it was a dirt road… we decided to go down it just a bit to see how it was.  It wound its way through the rice fields, fairly pleasant though Nancy was quite worried that we would have another repeat of the muddy ride we had a few weeks ago – I think I might have heard that a few times, actually.  We had to stop multiple times to check the map and eventually worked our way to a more established road, made our way through a military checkpoint and finally out to highway 12.  [Editor’s note – a more risk-adverse person (that being me) might think that taking a dirt road that winds its way through rice paddies at the 80k mark in the hot sun when you know you have at least 40k left to ride and you are not really sure where you are at is perhaps not an appropriate course of action.  That is especially true when you know there is a very clear unambiguous route that will get you to the same road up ahead.  But, I guess it is just me that thinks that way, because off into the rice paddies we went.  Fortunately we came out okay this time, which unfortunately means Dave will try it again.]

Once we out on highway 12, we turned left and rode on to Wang Thong where we found a roadside stall and had chicken rice for lunch.  It was quite tasty as per normal.  We did not go into Wang Thong proper because the turn to town was on the other side of the road and we only needed lunch and water.  The later proved a point of minor stress because my map showed a town/junction before the resort and Nancy’s did not.  She was sure that we would not find water – we were not out but it was hot and we wanted to have overnight water purchased before the resort.  Before the town we stopped for iced coffees at one of the many resorts on this part of highway 12.  There were a couple girls there taking “model shoot” photos – of course we had to get them into our photo as well.

We eventually reached the junction and indeed there was a 7-11.  Nancy hates it when I am right but this case me being right got us some water so all was forgiven [Editor’s note – well, not really].  They only had small bottles at this 7-11 due to issues with distribution caused by the floods.  Water is water, no mater the shape of bottle, we now have plenty of water for tonight and starting out tomorrow.

It was 10k from 7-11 to the resort – in this section of road, we passed several “tires to garbage bins” operations.  They were also making lounge chairs, hammocks and deck chairs.  It is pretty amazing all the different ways that they have figured out to use old tires.  They have figured out how to use their discards here pretty well.  We also passed a few fruit stalls selling bananas so we stopped and picked some up for tomorrow.  Nancy made the banana purchase and got involved inspecting and eating another fruit that is in season now.  In addition to bananas, we ended up with a bag Noi-na (we think).  Neither of us have seen or tasted this fruit before,  It is not too bad.  We are not sure if it will keep or if we should eat it all right away.  We think that the stall woman made some comments about opening in 1-3 days but everything was in Thai – we are not really sure what she said.  (Later at resort we learned that the fruit is indeed Noi-na – or custard apple).

The resort is very nice – a little over our budget but very nice all the same.  They have little cabins set in the rain forest, some with river views, some with forest views.  We picked the later knowing that we were only going to get a few hours of daylight – it was almost 3PM but the time we arrived here.  We are both pretty tired after a long day riding.  But we DO have enough water, they have cold beer at the restaurant and we’ve ordered two of our favourites for dinner (green curry rice and chicken basil rice).   The resort has an interesting recycled art structure as well – a giant jelly fish made out of recycled drink bottles.

Tomorrow we plan on riding to Lom Sak – it is about 85k.  We’ve read various reports that make the route sound hard to very hard.  The owner of the resort says that from this side the hills stair-step climb so it won’t be one long grind but I don’t think she’s done it on a bike.  We plan on an early start, even though brekkie here is not served until 7:30.  We’ll be first in the queue in the morning – shouldn’t be an issue as there are only a few other folks here – due to floods in Bangkok keeping folks away, according to the owner.

Wish us luck for the ride tomorrow…

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6 responses to “Long day on highway 11 to Rain Forest Resort (132/9466 ks)

  1. I have eaten custard apple as a kid mostly. I like it, A custard apple is ripe when you gently squeeze it and it gives slightly under your hand. Much the same as an avocado.

  2. good luck….stay safe!

  3. The photos of the food are sooo good that I can smell the many flavors! I love the photo of the baby in the hammock… No fooling her, she knows to smile for the camera instead of settling in for a nap! Love the recycled tire things too. Happy trails!

  4. This may be an odd question but how are your cycling shorts holding up in the heat and humidity? I remember when Mark lived in Singapore he had to buy new suits on a regular basis.

    • Good question Chris – And the answer may surprise you. We’ve both been wearing and washing the same pair of shorts for at least the last 2 months. That’s one pair, the entire time. We are doing this particularly in SE Asia because we can rarely find washing machines/laundries and we end up washing everything in the sink at the end of a day. So far, they seem to be holding up OK – though they will be done before the trip is over for sure. I have copied Steve on this email. Steve is the fellow whom we met in Queensland on his cycle around Oz. I gave Steve a hard time over only having one pair of shorts when we met him. We were using 4 at that time. We would only wash once or twice a week back then, when we found laundries. So, you see Steve, you may have been onto something with one pair of shorts! Congrats also Steve, if we are reading your blog correctly, you’ve just finished your circumnavigation: http://syclingsteveroundoz.tumblr.com/

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