On the Road to Chiangmai
Well heck man, it ain't easy leaving the cushy--if somewhat touristy-- environs of Khao San road and the spectacular Wats of
Bangkok to head north. From time to time in Bagnkok I felt like i had been hit by MACK truck. I went over to the Presbyterian
(or episcopalian or methodist or whatever...all these protestant sects get on my nerves!) hospital a day before,
screaming to high heaven that I had malaria. But for the 4th time in the last 2 months the test came back negative, and i
went storming off on my bike, telling my legs it was all in my head. It wasn't. I DID have malaria, as I found out when
I got back to the USA weeks later; and had had it for months!!!
I didn't know this at the time and so off I took into the Thai heat. The roads north of Bangkok are heavy with traffic
but i still managed to make a short day to Ayuyatthaya and then, feeling better, a long productive country ride to Tak.
From there I wanted to swing west and ride up to Chiang Mai by a road very close to the Maynamar border; but some folks
in Tak dissuaded me from this. I normally dismiss road risk stories but these came from fellow cyclists, and so I attached
more weight to them. In any case I was not disappointed in my chosen route.
At one point i was in a settled area quite late there was this wonderful lady took me in when she saw me setting up my tent and
gear in a field not far from her house. It was a beautiful home, with lovely gardens and landscaping. The road was lined
in many places with trees that added quite a touch to the route. She made a wonderful thai dinner, sat with me for tea
for many hours, and was a very gracious host. Seeing me off the next morning with fresh pastries and more tea, I made
short work of the few remaining miles to Chiang Mai.
I should add that the roads in Thailand are usually in good
condition near the major cities and major routes. In the north, and near the borders with Myanmar and Laos, they are far
more likely to be unpaved.