Not all hills are created equal. And what’s with those dogs?
We plotted a map today and the elevation chart looked flat-ish with a few bumps. Well, those bumps were mountains and the grades were mostly around 15-17% with crazy switchbacks. Unfit for any type of cycling really, never mind pushing fully loaded touring bikes up them in +30c temperatures. Ironically, it appears that there must have been a sale on “8% grade” signs because every single sign said 8%. We can attest to the fact they were much, much steeper.
We pushed those bikes. Hard. Darn near killed us. Heart rates pounding in the heat….often just 20ft at a time, sometimes 10. We’d have to stand still, squeezing those brakes hard just to prevent rolling backwards. It was hard to really enjoy the surrounding jungle-ish scenery which was actually quite spectacular. At one point we heard loud rustling in the dense brush and the only wildlife we can think of is wild boars, which are apparently plentiful here. Khun Tan National Park. Beautiful, but not recommended to cycle through it! Demoralizing. However….there were birds chirping all the way!
When the mountain passes ended and we were depleted and worn , we hoped for some easier riding. Not so. There’s only one road out, and there were dogs. Not pet dogs. We’re talking feral dogs in packs of five or six. Ratty looking mangy things who come out of the ditches to bare teeth at us, bark nastily and threaten to give us heart attacks. (Which makes me grateful we got rabies shots before coming here). Every homestead for about 20kms seemed to have multiple unrestrained unfriendly dogs waiting to take a piece of us. All said, we probably had about 30-40 dogs come at us overall. Relentless.
Ok, so it wasn’t all bad today. The last 5km was ok (despite the “road” being more like dusty dirty single-track). There were fresh green rice paddies to be seen. We rolled into a resort around 5pm and it was stunning! Gorgeous! Pool, restaurant, tropical plants & trees, waterfall ponds, and it felt like paradise. We are at a place called Lampang River Lodge. Highly recommend it! Most expensive place so far at $47. (Thinking it would be $300+ a night in Canada). Too bad we are so exhausted….we flopped into bed around 8pm.