Riding down Krabi: Uncertainty takes getting used to, but an umbrella helps - Taking my life for a ride - CycleBlaze

July 6, 2015

Riding down Krabi: Uncertainty takes getting used to, but an umbrella helps

Out of Trang

I worked for years as a consultant in strategic planning. I used to tell my clients that they had to plan for and deal with uncertainty. Easy thing to say to clients in a corporate workshop; it's completely different living it out on the road and experiencing it first hand. I don't know what to expect ahead of me for the day: where and what I will eat? What the road will be like? Where will I stay the night? Who will I meet and what we will talk about? Touring, especially in this environment, is all about uncertainty and how you will deal with it when encountered.

I deal with it by buying a 50 baht umbrella in Trang. It deals with dog attacks, the heat of mid day, and the near certainty of unexpected downpours.

The owner of the Sri Trang Hotel tells me it is 130 km to Krabi. He says it in such a casual offhand manner, you know he speaks from a lifetime of experience. So 130 km it is. That's just outside of my extended reach, so once again I'll be looking for another Love Motel somewhere after the 75 km mark. There's nothing much in the guide books or on google maps, so it will be interesting to see what unfolds.

It's hills and headwinds, high humidity and heat for most of the day. I'm starting to consume bottles of soft drink at the local food stalls and convenience shops. I can't remember the last time I had a soda, it has to be at least 40 year or more; but they go down so well. That and ice coffee, ice tea, ice water - it's a matter of fluids in and fluids out and a conscious effort at rehydrating at the end of the day.

A mobile motorcycle satay stand.I got in a pace line with one of these heading down the hiway on the way into town. I was drafting a mobile satay stand, doing 20+ kmph. He slowed a bit when he started texting on the phone. So I took the lead and left him in my dust. My finest hour... The only thing I've managed to pass to date.
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At 88 km as the sky darkens and the tropical storm commences, I pull into a Love Motel. I'm fairly certain I could have done the full 130 km, but with the storm it's far safer to be off the road. Traffic has again magically doubled now we are within striking distance of a major city and I've lost my bike lane to a major road construction project.

My Love Motel is along side a small creek/culvert and the frog/bird/night critter chorus is so loud that night each time I open the door it's like being in the middle of a heavy industrial zone. The high decibel chorus and the hard rain continue through the night. The insects stop at first light, but the rain continues.

Into Krabi

I try to wait out the rain in the morning, but give up after 90 minutes and head out during a lull in proceedings. It takes me most of the day to ride the 40 km into town as I try to take refuge every time the skies unload. I get absolutely soaked and partially dried off at least 4 times during the ride. The umbrella is used, frequently - I'm going to have to figure some way of permanently attaching it to my bike in the deployed position. At one point I share a bus shelter with a motor scooter rider. She is so wet I wonder why she bothered to stop. She's probably thinking the same of me. For the both of us it's an ugly/dirth ride with lots of roadside construction, heavy rain and road spray from heavy traffic passing way to close for comfort. If this keeps up I'll have to buy a mask and snorkel and paddle, not peddle, my way up the coast.

Breakfast at the local market, small town on the way into Krabi.
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When I take a break at the edge of town I find I have an email from a French cyclist I met in Singapore and who I leapfrogged through Malaysia. I kept expecting to hear from Mathieu much earlier, as we were both entering Thailand around the same time. I was coming in on the ferry and he was doing the land crossing. Turns out he never made it out of the border town Satun... and he was lucky to make it that far. He had an attack of appendicitis in Malaysia, rode 115 km across the border (hills, even), rode into Satun and up to the hospital Emergency department on a fully loaded touring bike. That will be one he can tell the grand kids. He seems to have survived the operation and hospital stay and will be a month or so recovering on Ko Samui. It will probably be a while before he catches up with me. But he rides much faster, so I need the head start.

Ants got into my snack food last night, but I only found out after consuming a muffin this morning - more protein for the ride. I also find out they have taken refuge in my computer. As I write this, every now and then one emerges and wanders across the screen.

Notice on the wall of the mixed dorm room...
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I settle into my hotel room at the Baan Nisirine Hotel, dry out and have a look round the city. It's time to try Thai massage and island resorts, me thinks.

Krabi street scenes...

WTF? Some things you just document and their meaning is never understood. Plaited heads, Krabi street corner.
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Surly Disc LHT. There is a strong cycling culture in Thailand, but I've yet to meet a single touring cyclist on this ride.
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Bling! Red, gold and orange are the colours you will find in the religious supplies shop.
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Krabi morning market - lotta fresh fish/shellfish
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Krabi morning market - lotta food to go
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Krabi morning market - lotta sit down food stalls, too.
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Now this is a traffic light.
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