Stay at the Wat was nice, we were in a room with a bunch of trophies and a lot of knick knacks no one seems to have touched in years. Cobwebs everywhere and swarming with mozzies too. But hey, it’s a shelter from the elements and I am thankful for that. Chris decided to pitch his tent in the small space, and stayed away from the pesky insects. I didn’t have space for my 2 person tent and decided to brave the insects. It was way after midnight when they stopped harassing me. After that it was sweet sleep.
I was up at 7, and we had to wait for the monks to finish their prayers so we could get our ID’s and leave. After the prayer, the monk gave us something to eat and invited us to share in their food after they finished. So all said, it was almost 9 when we left town. It was a cloudy morning and it was ok to have a late start I reckon.
It was 2 big hills to cross today as per Chris’s plan and we hit the first one pretty much just out of town. I wasn’t even warmed up and had to slog my way up. The legs didn’t have it today either and it was a hard morning ride. There were a couple of beautiful descents, which made up for the work.
When we got to the intersection, we figured we might as well take a break and spotting a resort nearby, made our way up. It was a fancy place complete with a pond, swimming pool, spa etc. But, we poor cyclists, just wanted the cheapest coffee and wifi. Heh. Spent a couple of hours there. Almost wanted to pitch camp too, but it was too early in the day.
We decided to go up another hill and stop at a village about 40km away. The sun came up as we started and the day got really warm. Some of the sections uphill were seriously steep and I had to work a lot at it. But the views got better and better as we headed north. This is really stunning bit of country, I’ve never heard of. Yellow, drying Corn fields, topped with lush green forests, backdropped by big mountains and blue skies. It was fantastic to look at and I did stop off a couple of times to take pictures (and rest). The last 5 km to Ban Arunothai was flattish, but the scenery just got even better. We are almost at the Myanmar border here and went thro a few army check points too.
The village was really pretty and we rode around looking for a Wat. The only game in town was up a hill. We rode up, but were refused stay due to a full moon festival. Bummer. They pointed us to a Chinese temple, which, even with Chris’s perfect Chinese, we couldn’t stay at. We evaluated options and after riding and watching the sunset over the mountains, we headed to the police station.
The cop was very welcoming and let us pitch behind the station and use the toilets and shower. A quick dinner later, am off to sleep. Tomorrow, my masochistic cycling mate has devised a route that might have me pushing the bike for half a day. But that’s tomorrow.
Tonight I sleep after passing 4000 KM on this tour!
Distance: 73 km
Ascent: 3150 ft
Descent: 2200 ft
Time in saddle: 8:00 hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 7.54
Comments: Big day in beautiful mountains.