December 15, 2012
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The morning started out well. We were cheered going up a steep hill by a bunch a Thai farmers. How can you not love a place when people cheer you on? Thai people are all really friendly. We are constantly getting waves and thumbs up. People honk at us to yell hello or ask where we are going. Little kids are the best though. They are all super excited, waving, blowing kisses.
The plan for the day was to get back on the highway and go to Sangkhlaburi, about 50 miles away. Getting off the dirt road was nice, but the highway was very hilly. We had to take a break around noon, as the heat was becoming unbearable. We found a little rest area at an immigration checkpoint and decided it was as good a spot as any to stop. We got a couple Cokes and then hung out reading in a covered area overlooking the river.
At 3 it was time to finish the last twenty miles. Our host at the Hidden Holiday House had warned us about three big hills that we would go up and back down and back up. We had already gone up and down several large hills and we hoped we were through the major climbing. A few kilometers from our rest stop we began to climb, and around each bend the road kept going up, up, up.
The hills were brutal. Again we were stopping after every switch back to drink water and take a break. We crested each hill, then immediately lost all the elevation we gained on steep descents.
By the last hill my legs had turned to jello and I hated everything everywhere. At one point, I was really upset and Chandler started singing “misery makes memories”, I didn’t know if I could handle any more hills.
It was such sweet relief when we were finally over that last hill with no more big ones in sight, but we still had several more miles to go. We stopped at a 7-11 at a highway intersection and had our favorite snack of juice and Ovaltine cookies, then headed into Sangkhlaburi.
It was getting dark by the time we made it to town. We didn’t know where the guesthouse we planned to stay at was, so we spent a while roaming around trying to get oriented. We actually ended up on the wrong side of the lake, in a Mon village. We were able to cross back to the main town over a large handbuilt wooden bridge. Finally Chandler found the guesthouse, but just our luck, they had no rooms and we had to keep looking. I really started to lose it at this point. We had just biked 46 pretty difficult miles and I was only interested in a shower and pineapple shake.
Chandler was able to keep it together and found us a bungalow at a homestay nearby. We had a simple dinner, watched some incomprehensible Thai TV and went to sleep.