Some questionable TV choices and a pink milk smoothie: cycling from Sukothai to Li

Cycling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: part four

Wednesday 2nd December
Miles: 43

 

The landscape hinted at becoming more interesting today. 
  
Tomorrow we should be hitting our first hills. I’m feeling pretty excited about it. 

Today was easy-going. We left by 7.30 and had arrived by 11.30. We could have done another hour or two, but had already booked our hotel. 

Riding through the market at Thung Saliam.   

We spent a lot longer than we should have watching the only English-speaking channel on our TV, a Texan Christian channel. Here’s a picture of our favourite programme “End Time”, which advertises a 14 DVD set – a must-have for those that want to be in the know about the upcoming apocalypse. 

  
The presenter was so crazy, I simply could not tear myself away.

Thursday 3rd December

Miles: 40

  

We spent the early morning slowly ascending, and enjoying the views of rice paddies and the odd wonky hill.

   
 
We headed higher, and at around 10.30 started our first proper, full-body-sweat-inducing, “why do we do this again?” incline. 

  
I can tell it was long because we said “I think we must be nearly at the top now” about four times. 

Then we really did get to the top, and it was time to go down. Wheeee! All discomfort is immediately forgotten, and suddenly I am quite sure that I was having a great time all the way up the hill. 

  
We headed swiftly down into the valley…

  
… And pulled up to our hotel before midday. We met a Dutch couple who were cycling the opposite way to us. They told us that the hills we would be facing tomorrow were not too bad. Eric said the same for the hill we had just done. I said: “Er… actually it was quite hard.” Honestly Eric, stop showing off!! 

Dinner at the hotel restaurant that evening. Eric enjoys a pink milk smoothie (even after drinking it we were still not too sure what it was).

  

Friday 4th December

Miles: 32 

  
Some views as we set off in the early morning.

   
 
On our map the hill we had to climb looked rather intimidating. Here it is. 

  
Wiggly lines usually do not bode well.

But it turned out to be the right kind of incline. As the Dutch guy we spoke to had told us, it was at a 3-4% gradient – just perfect. We slowly made our way up the winding path.

  
The road was generally tree-lined, but every now and again we saw some moody, overcast views of rolling hills. 

   
   
The temperature was cool and pleasant. As we have traveled north the weather has grown steadily colder, which makes inclines a lot easier. 

On the way up look what we saw – an imperial scorpion! Eric’s foot is here for size comparison (he’s size 9 1/2 if that helps).  

After 1 hour and 40 minutes we reached the top, which was marked by a temple. We went to take a look.

     

   
The view from the temple.

  

Then we sailed down…

  
… and up and down, and up and down. But mostly down. 

We stopped for a Magnum on the way. Ice cream never tastes better than after a big hill. 

  
We found the hotel that was recommended by the Dutch couple. As we relaxed inside the rain began and got heavier and heavier. We made a trip out to buy a dinner of meat buns, rice, green and red curry, and mangoes for dessert. Then we sat on our hotel bed, eating and watching Eric’s latest YouTube find: Fist of The North Star (a so-bad-it’s-almost-good 1980s Japanese kung-fu cartoon). Just the kind of rubbish we crave after another day cycling. Like a pink milk smoothie for the soul. 

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