May 19, 2006 - Friday
Pattaya, TH to Chantabury, TH

Observation: At home (Illinois - Central Time Zone) ads for TV shows often say "9 pm Eastern, 8 Central". Here it's something like "9 pm Bangkok, 8 Malaysia".

A shortish day - but it's the first "day on the bike" for Thailand so that makes it a good day. The tasks are to get the laundry from the cleaners, pack the bags, and reserve a room at the hotel for the other end of the trip. With the room reserved I delivered my suitcase to the desk - storage for the duration. Those items taken care of I really had no set plan on where I'd end up but I knew I wanted to head south a bit.

Heading south I took a mix of the highway, 3, and some side roads along the beach. It was a reasonable ride for the day. As the time went I started to run into some dark clouds. I was catching up to the storm and would occasionally sit along the road and wait for the storm to "move out". I put on the rain coat top but didn't bother with the pants. At one point I pulled over and parked on someones "front porch" - under their awning for a heavy rainfall to pass over. I contemplated putting on the rain pants too but figured it would be just a short stop - it was.

The day has ended in the town of Chanthaburi. Not quite on the beach but a somewhat coastal town. Tomorrow I'll head inland - northeast - to start a counter clockwise loop through the country. Gone will be the highway with the top choice for travel being second and third tier roads. The LP book does not cover rural roads so I had purchased, at home, a "Nelles Map". Unfortunately, while the Nelles Map shows many of the secondary roads it does not LABEL them. Wanting more information for these secondary roads I kept my eyes open for a bookstore / map selection and bingo - at the lunch stop today I saw a bookstore. Going inside they did have some decent maps (that I could see). I say "that I could see" as many of the maps were "wrapped" in plastic making them unavailable for preview. Fortunately a few had "open" versions and I was able to select one - good labels and "water resistant paper" to boot. I should be ready for some small roads and small towns.

The evening stop - the River Guest House. I found it easy enough by locating off of the "park / pond" in town and then by accidentally going across to the other side of the river. After I crossed the river I looked back to see the hotel back on the other bank. An easy U-Turn and back I went - but to where do I park? The hotel is RIGHT next to the road and RIGHT on the river. That left two sides but one of those is against other buildings. The fourth, remaining, side was the direction traffic was headed so I went with the flow and turned onto the street / alley / sidewalk taking me to the fourth side. Down there a local seemed to guess what I was looking for and motioned "back over to the other side - bridge". Hmmm - OK.

A pass through some of the small, curvey roads in the neighborhood and I recognized them as I was "just there". The way I had wanted to go ended up being a one-way heading in the wrong direction. I had followed the locals snaking through some alleys and I was now in the alleys again. I knew I'd pop out on the road to cross the river so I processed the alleys again and I went across the river again, doing the same u-turn to return. This time I stopped after crossing the bridge and noticed the gate / ramp between the roadway and the sidewalk. I was to move from the roadway, onto the sidewalk, and then back the bike down the sidewalk and park under the bridge. Unusual - but now that I know the process - no problem. I parked the bike alongside the other ten or so bikes there and went to the check-in desk not more than 40 eyesight feet from the bike.

So, do I want a "fan" room or an "Air-Con" room. How much is the "fan" room? 250 Baht (about 6.50 US - that's right - less than seven bucks). How much is the air-con room - 350 Baht (just over 9 bucks). Easy choice - air-con please. I was told there was no hot water for the shower though - I can deal with that as the water really isn't "cold" here - just cool. The room is spacious, bland, clean. Fine by me. I'd much rather spend time here than at the prior spot at 950 Baht per night and have small ants running about.

The place also has some U.S. based TV channels - some U.S. news. Floods in the northeast. Bush in the southern border hopper states. Possible legislation for "English" as the offical language. I've taken a shower, typed some these notes, gone over the photos. Time to head out and see about something to eat. The LP book shows a spot directly across the river - we'll check it out.

A few notes on the bike - I'm settling in with it a bit. I've adjusted or lubricated a few things. Some lube for the clutch, shift, rear brake lever / pivots. Remove, clean and glue on the left handgrip (so it stays put). Adjust down the idle speed to what it should be. The 2500 rpm speed acted as "cruise control" at town speeds. The left mirror is loose and will not hold a setting. I tried to wedge some paper in the pivot to help it stay - no dice. The suspension could use some firming up. I've not looked at it yet - perhaps in the morning.

As for it's performance - it's decent. It's a 6 speed and without having a gear indicator I'm starting to mentally pay attention to what gear I'm running in. This is doubly important as when I need to accelerate - it doesn't have the grunt of my 1100 - and I have to drop two or often three gears to get the RPM's up. 12,500 is redline and it often sits between 4,000 to 6,000 rpm for normal running. No buzz issues in the hands or wrists though. Felipe's bike responded to handlebar pushes much nicer than this thing does - this is sluggish in comparison. I'll see about checking the fuel burn rate with it next. The plastic fuel now has spare fuel - about 3 liters.

Heading out of Pattaya

I'm just about to drive under this vendors tent

A train themed resort. No idea if the rest of the resort is in the same state

I think those are guest houses on the left - and they look like train stations.

I stopped at a Honda dealership and inquired if they could make a spare set of keys. No but they pointed to the area across the street and that I should go there. I'm wandering the shops looking for a locksmith. None found. I'd better be careful with the keys.

I stopped at a mall for lunch. With a short walk about the place I went into this music and electronics store. They had good stuff - displayed nicely. Axial fans - common and noisy but the top row is cage fans - often the quieter choice and not yet common.

Coke truck! Reusable and recycleable glass bottles.

Most dogs are quite aware of vehicles in motion

Difficult to see. It had rained and the "tubes" extending out from the rooftop are directing water out into the roadway. You can just see the splash on the road surface.

Sitting under cover. The road in the picture is somewhat flooded.

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