Chiang Khan to Ban Non Sa-at 82km
Ban Non Sa-at to Ban Noen Phoem 90km
Yesterday the Mekong and I parted ways. I've followed it in four countries, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. It was not intentional, until I first spotted this amazing river in Cambodia. The river enthralled me, entertained me, and educated me, and it kept drawing me back to its banks.
This morning I began cycling in Chiang Khan. This is a bit of an Asian, mainly Thai, tourist attraction. Lots of the buildings are really old, but there are great restaurants, and a lovely relaxed atmosphere ..... and so many bicycles. It seemed everyone, locals and tourists, was out cycling the river bank.
The Thai seem to be building a massive stop bank along their side if the Mekong. And on the top of it is a great, new cycle, walking path. Trouble is, it's not yet complete, so you follow it, and then you come to a river...with no bridge. Almost all the towns have their section finished, which makes for a great place to stroll or cycle. The sections between towns are still been worked on.
So 20km in to my ride and three things happened. The Mekong turned right, into Laos. It is no longer the border. I'm a little sad to be riding away from it. The surface of the road deteriorated, and I started to climb. For the next two days I was to ride corregations. I'm not talking bumpy road. I'm talking hilly. Imagine cycling across a huge sheet of correlated iron. The first hills were sort of roll overs, but as the day went on, they got bigger and bigger. At 60km I started climbing a 12km rise. It was tough, steep, and hot, and took two and a half hours to summit. Yep I was stuffed. The top speed down the other side of 69kph, only partly compensated.
I was 10km from another small resort town, where I could get showered, feed, wifi, and sleep in an air conditioned room....but I couldn't do it. The roll over hills were just too much. My thighs were jelly. I pulled into a field, put my tent up behind a bush, cooked a huge meal, and slept 12 solid hours. Even being right next to the road, with noisy trucks passing, didn't bother me.
Once I left the river, I was a little unprepared with my route. At a rest spot, I noticed that the road I was intending to follow, actually ceased to exist way out in the boonies. Ooops. And I was a little worried, that I was really close to the border, and didn't want to be turned around by efficient border patrols. So it was across country, on minor roads.....until I hit a small village on a major road, and neither featured on any of my maps. Hmmmm. Part of the adventure I suppose. At least I'm still heading west, towards Myanmar.
I've been set up...honestly. For the first time in many months, last night it was cold. I've been sleeping in a sleeping bag liner, and just lately upgraded to winter grade. But at 2am, I was still cold. I reached into my clean laundry bag, and pulled out my summer grade liner. Two liners...really warm. But there's something in the bottom of the liner. Must be a sock.....no.....I didn't put any socks in the wash. Never mind. Throw it on the floor of the tent. Will sort it in the morning. First light, and the first thing I see, is a bright pink, silky G string. What? Where did that come from? Truly Ju. It's a set up.