Day 12: Monday 16th January : Thoen to Ban Huai Thaen.  60km. 640m climbing.

We woke early to the sounds of geese – but not right in our little cabin.  David had slept for 10 hours – very unlike him and turns he has inevitably got my cold, just as I have shaken off my symptoms. However we packed up, had coffee with Uwe and Nok and cycled the first 10km or so with them to the bottom of the climb……..yes our first proper climb of the trip and we were a bit anxious about how we would do.

Our wonderful hosts

We needn’t have worried.  Much of the climb was around 3% to 6% interspersed with flatter contouring as we wound through the hills.  The occasional steeper sections did not last long. The wooded scenery was fantastic surrounded by amazing vegetation.  Slow and steady we climbed around 500m and it felt like a relief to be testing ourselves a bit. Even better there was a village just the other side of the summit  with a little coffee stall selling good coffee.

After resting our legs and feeling the caffeine boost we zoomed off down the hill.

Good coffee but starting to feel rough!

Unfortunately soon after David got a puncture on his back wheel and again we had great difficulty getting his tyre on and off (Schwalbe marathon tyres – we have had them on our touring bikes for years but there must be something about 20 inch wheel size that is very tight). Eventually we found a technique requiring 3 tyre levers and 4 hands to get the tyre off and the enormous tyre lever we had brought a few days ago to lever the tyre back on again.  Only to find the tyre went straight back down again – the valve was leaking.  Aahhh.  It was much quicker to get the second tube done but the whole shenanigans had taken some time and it was now much hotter.

We should have known better and stopped for lunch then but after the long break with coffee followed by punctures we were anxious to get some km under our belts.  I can hear our son Anthony’s mantra ringing in my ears – you have to fuel properly. We had climbed 500m on a few snacks then set off again with empty stomachs.  When we really started to feel hungry there suddenly wasn’t a shop, cafe or restaurant to be found.  Surely not, this is Thailand with a noodle shop or street food vendor round every corner. Eventually with the help of googlemaps we ventured dubiously down a tiny road where hey presto, there was a little restaurant (by the way, googlemaps is often wrong!). The chatty guy there, who had effectively set up a restaurant in his front garden, cooked us up an enormous bowl of noodle soup. He spoke good english and was thrilled to have 2 foreign tourists eating at his place and he posed for photos with us as his sister took lop sided pictures. 

By now David was really suffering though and there was no need for us to continue. Again with gogglemaps we located a hotel a couple of kms away and rang and ascertained they had a room.  Good thing we did ring as if we had just passed we would have continued on as the place looked deserted……because it was.  However, the women with a few words of english heard the dogs barking and was expecting us and showed us our room.

More views of the climb – the best bit of the day

It was an amazing place – large very well kept gardens. a small swimming pool and what looked like a huge main house.  It seemed as if a few building were added round the side of the grounds as hotel rooms.  There was a little bar area but no signs of life other than ourselves and the lady with the dogs.  However, David was able to collapse and recover, which was the main thing.

We managed to ascertain with gestures that there was no chance of dinner there so I ventured out to look for some provisions so we could cook up ourselves on a veranda area by our room. I was trying to get back to the main road, where I thought it most likely to find a food shop.  However, as a swung round a corner, there was a village stall selling a few vegetables, fruit and unidentified meat and dried fish.  I opted for safety and got vegetables and eggs and a packet of sauce from the tiny little store next to it. The people clustered round the stall looked at me as if I was a Martian who had just dropped in (I guess I did look a bit odd…a strange white woman on a trike).  The young girl in the shop looked thrilled that I went in a brought something from her and she practiced her ‘thank you’ in English.

David had recovered slightly by the time I got back and made tea and cooked up a simple meal. We do end up in bizarre places!!

10 thoughts on “Day 12: Monday 16th January : Thoen to Ban Huai Thaen.  60km. 640m climbing.

  1. Hope you both are back to full strength before too long and well done with the hills. Sounds like you are in a good place to recuperate, and hope you have had a relaxing time.

  2. Hope David is OK. What has happened. Is this his old injury, or something new?
    Great that you are both writing, or at least I assume you are.

      1. Thought it had gone but it is persisting. Feels crazy to have a cold in a hot country like Thailand. A little better this morning – thank goodness it is only 26km today.

  3. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like a trip full of adventure. Cheers to both of you and Keep the updates coming.

    1. Thanks Tina. So pleased you are enjoying the blog. Happy birthday for tomorrow. Hope you have a fulfilling and peaceful day – we will be thinking of you. Much love. D & B

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