Sunday October 4, 2009, 126 km (78 miles) – Total so far: 484 km (301 miles)

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go, I just need to hook them up (the panniers) before taking them off again. I ride around town in search of breakfast but end up just taking more pictures. It’s a peaceful and quiet Sunday morning, not much traffic and some church bells are even ringing. After 10 kms I am really famished and set myself down to some rice, minced pork and Thai green curry 100 meters from the Baan Warabordee, which incidentally has a great coffee machine. I bring a cup back to the room. There’s a hundred plus flat kms to do today and looking at the sky, I might have to deploy the raincoat. Just lovely.

At Wat Rong Khun, even the koi in the ponds are white, seriously.

At the first touristy stop of Wat Rong Khun 16 kms south of town the skies looked really menacing, despite this famed temple’s glitzy white everything and mirror embedded carvings, I didn’t stay too long. The air was turning cold but I must have struck the weather lottery, twice today. A strong tailwind which made 50 or so kms quite effortless, and at the same time blew away any dark clouds and rain that was a kilometer or so front of me. I couldn’t believe my luck. The roads were not too wet for the wheels to kick up any spray and were actually drying up as I rolled along. Whenever I got hungry or um leaky, a gas station was all that was needed. At one point, I veered across 3 lanes, went off road into a median of grass, and muddy water, right across the opposite lanes just to get to a 7/11, usually part of a huge Pure or Caltex station.

7/11 Coffica is so thick and sweet, I dilute it with a whole bike bottle of ice

7/11 is a good source for almost free ice. Buy some thing though, to avoid dirty looks from the staff. I actually sat down for quite a while here, a pricey hi-so coffee shop, with my budget coffica, but the shop girls here were little angels, smiling and bringing out some serviettes for this sweaty cycle tourist.

Kwan or Lake Phayao is such a chilled out place, I wish I had another day here. 20 square kms of lake in a flat fertile valley was welcome change in scenery from the previous days. Cool breezes all day long and even better at night when the never ending rows of food stalls by the lake’s promenade kick up a storm of heady aromas come dinner time and I suspect till very late at night.

As the night turned out to be quite long and lonely, so tell me something new, I even email a Thai friend who lives in Singapore and she replies saying that she has relatives in Phayao but hasn’t seen them in 15 years. Like most city folk, it is beyond their belief that someone would even want to visit their back water towns and villages, let alone ride long distances on a bicycle to get there, but as we all know it’s the ride and not so much the destination that counts. Of course if the destination’s nice that’s always a bonus.

And now, ahem just to be on the safe side, I’ve also just emailed my dear wife, Coleen, sometimes twice a day, who is in San Francisco for a wedding, fine dining and a lot of shopping. I’d really like to give her a hand with a certain 42 pound package from Wayne @ http://www.thetouringstore.com, but heck, I’m stuck in exotic Phayao, by the lakeside for now.

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