Pak Nam Langsuan: There were hills - Taking my life for a ride - CycleBlaze

July 19, 2015

Pak Nam Langsuan: There were hills

West to East Coast


Even though my accommodation last night had no food and I had to resort to eating my emergency supplies, it was in hindsight, the best/only place to stop for the night. Heading into Ratchakrut in the morning, it took a fair bit of effort to even find a place to get some food. And I didn't see any signs of accommodation.

Once I did manage to get a solid breakfast into me, the right turn onto the side road over the pass was well signposted and easy to find. I was off the bike and pushing up the steep grade within the first 2 km. And it started to rain, hard, and neither the hills or the rain relented until I was about 15 km from the town of Lang Suan. Once you crest the main divide, it's still roller-coaster ups and downs and a lot of the ups were just too steep for me to ride.

At every pass you will find the Thai equivalent to Tibetan prayer flags and stupas. Some passes have perhaps 100 or more of these roadside shrines, many of them collapsed and rotting in the undergrowth, but always a few in good shape with fresh offerings to the pass gods. I ring my bell for all of them...
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Wet Jungle all the way...
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On an almost daily basis, I keep having near misses and close calls with the local traffic. Every time it's been due to just simple bad driving. Yesterday it was a driver coming the other way at full speed who decided to pass a knot of slow moving traffic on his side of the road (think 2 and 3 wheeled motorcycles and small pickup trucks loaded with palm oil fruit) on a narrow two lane bridge. I was on the extreme edge of the bridge going the other way, and a queue of two and four wheeled traffic waiting patiently to pass me on my side of the road once we got past the bridge. It happened so quickly, I didn't realise what went down until I was another 200 metres down the road. Somehow, someway me, half a dozen vehicles and several 2 and 3 wheeled motorcycles managed to squeeze through that narrow bridge crossing several abreast. There would have been only centimetres to spare between us, opposing masses of high speed metal and the unforgiving concrete walls. It would have been one heck of a mess had any of us wobbled out of line.

Today it was a rubbernecking motorcyclist. Just out of the small town of Phato someone had managed to run off the road at low speed on one of the many roller coaster twisty downhill reverse camber turns. The roadside foliage had gently embraced the 4wd ute and all you could see was a bit of the back end, the car lying on its side, most likely only lightly damaged. The driver and passengers were luckily unhurt and just standing there wondering wtf had just happened. I'm hurtling down same said roller coaster turn at speed (in the rain) just behind them when a guy on a motorcycle going the other way decides to do a u-turn in the middle of all this mayhem to have a second look. Luckily, my very vocal scream and colourful curse got him to check his speed momentarily and I whizzed past him at speed.

All day, I had my sights set for the town of Lang Suan where I know there is a hotel right in the middle of the town. But when I get there, with about an hour of sunlight left in the day, they (they = the snotty little punk desk clerk) flat out refuse to find a safe place for the bike, telling me it would have to sit out in the rain all night and take its chances. Yeah, right .... Luckily in years of travel, that's the first time my bike's been denied a safe refuge.

99 Bay Resort Pak Nam Langsuan - both bike and rider are happier here
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So it was back on the bike and head for the coastal tourist strip where I knew I could find cheaper and better accommodation right on the beach. Which I did. Both the bike and I are happy and taking a rest day at the 99 Bay Resort.

Again, I think I'm the only guest here.

90 km of steep hills and rain. 7 hrs of riding. One very tired, but happy cyclist.

Today's ride: 540 km (335 miles)
Total: 1,652 km (1,026 miles)

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