Fortitude! That’s all I can say….
Its the only thing that got us here to Thoen yesterday. The day began all lovely and smiley as we made good time on great roads. We knew there would be a mountain pass through the wilderness and our mapping tool showed us a dotted line that we could cycle through—excellent! Keeps us off the parallel multi-lane Super Highway. 😁
38c. It was hot & sunny but as long as we kept moving we created our own breeze. At the last village before the start of the un-paved road we made sure we had enough water for what appeared to be about 12-20k of wilderness ahead of us. A few adorable smiles came from some locals (as always) who were just sitting on a bench. One fellow seemed to be inquiring where we were headed (no English here), and we let him know we were from Canada and headed generally toward Bangkok. He pointed in the opposite direction, and we heard something about Super Highway but of course we couldn’t understand the rest of what he was saying. We wave 👋, smile, and carry on toward the unpaved road.
Fine, powdery, red dirt and rocks. We got this! We pedal on. Bigger rocks and single track, not a single human to be seen. Oh well, it is rural after all. We got this! A few stiff inclines and washed away trail, spiky tree branches. Okay, so maybe things get better ahead. Blazing sun feels hotter than ever and we slow to a snail pace and agree that mountain bikes are a requirement. We still got this? I dunno… Painfully slow and horribly hot, we were praying we were at the end because it was brutal and our water running low. No turning back now, we have come too far. We cross a mini-bridge made of sticks. How come we haven’t seen a single soul? We encounter a dried up river bed, kinda steep but we struggle down the embankment and up the other side. We want outta here! It’s hot, sticky, and brutal here…
Then we come to a crevice. A big one. We need a zip line to get across. There is no bridge over the River Wang. We must turn back. Probably 60 or 70% of the way there and we had to backtrack. Try not to cry.
We turned around—went back. No choice. Emerging from the wilderness, we found a kind adorable Thai man in the village who let us know the next hotel was 50 km away. Randy downed a beer, I guzzled a Pepsi, we stashed some water on our bikes and off we went. That kindly Thai man accompanied us on his bicycle all the way to the Super Highway, where we then parted ways. We arrived at our destination in the black of night, grateful for the amazing lights on our bikes that lit up the whole shoulder and made us super-visible.
We decided on a day off to regroup, rehydrate, and prepare for tomorrow. We are enjoying an air-conditioned room, loafing around in the shade of the surrounding tall bamboo.
It’s hot hot hot out there! Do people actually ride bikes in that heat?