Workhorses

By Jane Mountain | May 10, 2014

13,992 km so far.

Today was one of those days I think of as workhorse days. The equivalent in “normal” travel is spending the day on a stinky bus, or waiting at the airport for your flight.

For cycle tourists, the workhorse day, at least in Thailand, involves a four-lane highway with big rumbling trucks and pick-ups going by way too fast.

Lucky Breaks

Often, a workhorse route takes you from one uninspiring backwater to another. Apologies to the residents of Klaeng and Chon Buri, but I wouldn’t recommend visiting either if you don’t have to.

A wide, busy road in Chon Buri. Not our favourite.

A wide, busy road in Chon Buri. Not our favourite.

The big benefit of riding along a highway, as opposed to the country roads we were on yesterday, is the multitude of services available. We stopped twice for iced lattes today, mostly to take advantage of the amply air-conditioned coffee shops.

A grass hut-based coffee stop along the highway, near Chon Buri.

A grass hut-based coffee stop along the highway, near Chon Buri.

These breaks were badly needed, since today may have been the sweatiest day of our trip so far. Even with a little cloud cover, the air was so moist and hot that every pore became a mini-fountain, gushing and gushing and gushing.

We’re not sure what people think of us when we walk into their tidy coffee shop, all dirty and dripping sweat – but it’s probably not anything good.

Another lucky break was to find an excellent lunch spot, where they made us tasty pad see ew, which was a perfect fuel after around 80km.

Bumpy Road Blues

Our luck with the road ran out about 10 km before town.

It went from wide and smooth to a narrow potholed grimy mess and the shoulder disappeared under a bank of lumpy, deep sand. About the same time, the traffic increased ten-fold.

Thai driving leans towards the American style, with every driver believing their destination is more important than anyone else’s. Every second that can be shaved off of their drive time will make them smarter, richer, and taller.

Therefore, everyone must go faster.

A few times, we were forced off into the shoulder by big trucks, and once, some idiot passed us on the left, in the shoulder, just as a truck was squeezing us on the right. Lots of cycle tourists bitch about the driving in Cambodia, but I’ll take Cambodian drivers over Thai ones any day.

By the time we got into Chon Buri, we were frazzled and exhausted. Unfortunately, if there are many nice guesthouses and hotels, it wasn’t apparent where they were hiding.

After a long search, we finally found ourselves at the Zen Town Hotel, recommended by cyclists on another blog. It’s not the best or the cheapest place we’ve ever stayed, but I venture a guess it’s the best value in Chon Buri.

(Cyclists, if you need to find it, look at our route map for the day. It leads right here. Um, but don’t follow the winding path we took. Just go straight there!)

Soundtrack: This American Life podcast | I Love It All compilation | Liam Finn, The Nihilist  

Want to see the route map? View it on Ride With GPS.

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Hi, I’m Jane, founder and chief blogger on My Five Acres. I’ve lived in six countries and have camped, biked, trekked, kayaked, and explored in 50! At My Five Acres, our mission is to inspire you to live your most adventurous life and help you to travel more and more mindfully.

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