I woke up to 30 people staring into my tent. It was funny that when I took my camera out, everybody just ran away. They’d show up again in a couple of minutes. We couldn’t stay there, and though we thought we’d cook b’fast, the scene would have been too comical for the locals.

We left at 7:15 and headed up the mountains again. It was slow going once again and after an hour, we spotted a village and a small store. I parked the bike and when I returned after taking a piss, the store was closed. I had to knock and ask them to open up again. We got some lactasoy and a few sweet things to keep us going.

The scenery was stunning yesterday, but after 10 km or so, we opened up to the big mountain ranges fully deforested and turned to farm lands. A bit of a shame really. But it was beautiful none the less. We could just see folded mountains as far as the eyes could see. The ride was slow yet again and we made our way up and hit 1800m, the highest we have gotten to in this trip.

Along the way, we went to villages, every one with kids running away when they spot us. Some brave ones would walk behind the bikes and when I stopped, they just run and hide behind bushes. We passed by a small school and the entire school emptied on the roads and followed us along the ridge. There must’ve been a 100 kids and I could see them lignin up behind me all along. I whipped out my camera and they ran away again. It’s strange, this behavior, to me.

There was a bit of a descent after the summit, but the roads were pretty bad, think dry mud and gravel with potholes and I couldn’t get any speed. A bit of speed and my bike will lose the front or the rear and I’d have to slow down immediately. The brakes got a good work out today and my arms were sore from the vibrations.

We slowly made our way up and down the mountains and decided to stop off at a pretty skanky village for a break at 3 pm. A couple of Chinese dam workers were hanging out waiting or the women to show up for their shower, this was one of the tribes where women didn’t wear any tops. I guess that passes for entertainment here.

The last 10-12 km was loose gravel and it was hard to ride. The bike would lose its front and back at the same time and I was like an acrobat trying to keep the bike steady. I pretty much rode granny gear all day today. It was hard as workout to be honest, though energy wise, it wasn’t sapping. I haven’t had any carbo since yesterday afternoon and been running on sugars all the way, bit it was ok.

At about 5 pm we spotted asphalt, must be one of the roads which would take us back to civilization. I could’ve got down and kissed the road, it was nice to not hear any sound while riding! The place was Ban Aya and we decided to pitch camp. The villagers didn’t want us camping in front of their house and we wild camped some ways up the road. I didn’t feel like cookin yet and ate my supply of sweets. Was a gorgeous sunset in the haze and a clear starry night. I think I should wild camp more.

I was more careful with clothes this time and knocked off at 9 pm or so.

Route: Samphan (somewhere near there) to Ban Aya
Distance: 61 km
Ascent: 6450 ft
Descent: 5300 ft
Time in saddle: 10:00 hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 4.17
Comments: Roads were gravel and sand all the way through. Nice route to visit remote villages. Last 10 km was on loose gravel and was like riding on marbles.

Track Notes