May 20, 2006 - Saturday
Chantabury, TH to Nang Rong, TH

Getting dressed this morning I had a bit of a bad flashback - to the final day at the Chatanika Gold Camp in Alaska. Recall that I dropped one of the motorcycle keys through a floorboard crack on their front walkway. The nightstand at this guest house was directly over a similar floor setup - one with cracks for keys to fall into. As I was picking up the keys - the only set - the shudder came over me and I made sure to grasp them well as they went into my pocket.

On the way out of town, out on the highway, I stopped to ask a policeman on where an intersection was. He drew a nice, detailed map. The intersection will be two intersections ahead. I shall take the left where the main highway will be turning right.

Finally getting off the highway to some third class roadway - more enjoyable than the highways and the larger two lanes. Less crowded and just as nice road surface.

Getting into agriculture country. Farmed fields full of different crops.

Rolling along with the Cambodia border just to my right - over the approaching mountains.

Passing through some military/police checkpoints - permanent things. I stopped at one that was manned, two guys, to confirm directions. They were all smiles and joking about - one laughingly pointing to the other "to help this guy that doesn't speek Thai".

I went through perhaps 5 or 7 checkpoints. They were often situated near an intersection. Some were manned while others were not. At the manned stations the people were just sitting inside their hut/building.

The bike is starting to make some grinding noise - audible at slow speeds - coming from perhaps the front sprocket. The chain needs tightening - it has "loosened" and I believe the rear wheel hasn't moved up. At the town of Aranyaprathet, about 5 kilometers from the Thailand-Cambodian border, I stopped at a Honda shop to have them look into it. They thought the problem was mainly that the chain was too loose (I think it might be good to replace it). The chain has two clip style master links. I unloaded the bags and pulled the bike into the service area. Three or four of the kids did various things - from working, fetching tools, looking at the GPS. In the end they ended up removing a link to shorten the chain (the proper term would be 'bashing' and the proper tools would be hammer and a slightly modified screwdriver. Remove a master link and bash off the adjascent link.) Job done and they were happy with the work performed. I motioned to some chain cleaner / lube that I might buy and while they went over, grabbed their can, and sprayed the chain - they did not have a can to sell to me (or maybe they did not understand my question - but I did not see any product on display though other lubes were). Anyway - the problem continues - at slow speed I hear an unpleasant crunching sound from the front sprocket.

Continuing on I stopped at a T-intersection and was looking at the maps. An Englishman or Austrailian and an Asian lady were walking on the roadway in my direction. I wasn't so much as lost but just deciding which way I wanted to go. They stopped and we discussed options. I was looking to take the "smaller" road and while I ended up heading in that direction, into town, I promptly lost what road I should have been on but saw a sign for the one I had been on. It'll do - I'll keep going on 317 towards Buri Ram.

With the sunet coming in an hour or so I figured I'd better find a place to sleep. I stopped in the town of Nang Rong and pulled out the LP book. The selection for Buri Ram - about 40 minutes up the road - wasn't stellar but they had some listed. The kicker was that the town I was in was suggested as it is closer to some good ruins. I'll see about staying here. One spot was listed - no map just written directions. I was not able to find the spot and ended up driving about town for 20 minutes looking for something. Nothing jumped out so I stopped by a repair shop that had two kids sitting out. I pulled out the LP book and pointed to the phrase "I'm looking for a hotel" and one of them motioned for me to follow him. He got onto his bike and we went down the road a bit (by a place I twice passed earlier). A wave and a simle he was off and I checked in (250 Baht per night for a fan room). I went for two nights as I'll see about the noise issue tomorrow. If it's terminal I'm not too far from Pattaya to exchange the bike, if I should have it fixed, or if I should keep riding and monitor the issue.

Fuel rate on the bike:
200 KM and I had to switch to reserve
13.52 Liters (3.57 Gallons), 400 Baht (10.53 USD), 210 Kilomters (130 miles): 15.5 Kilometers per Liter (36.4 MPG)
Some higher speed running - max 145 KPH (90 MPH) on a slight downhill in a partial tuck.

3.67 Liters (0.97 Gallons), 110 Baht (2.89 USD), 76.4 Kilometers (47 miles): 20.8 Kilomters per Liter (48 MPG)
More consistent 70 to 90 KPH (45 to 55 MPH) running on country roads.

Scooting along the border with Cambodia

River Inn Guest House

External plumbing. One supply from the roof coming down. No shower curtain - the whole bathroom is "shower capable" with one floor drain.

Bikes under the bridge.
When I went to get onto the bike I noticed a bike come in from the "back side" of the parking area. It seems my way of "backing down" the sidewalk might have been wrong. I should have used the other sidewalk and driven in normally. It seems the flow is to take the road, approaching the river, pull off the left side onto the sidewalk, drive under the bridge, park, continue out in a looping U-Turn and exit the other side leaving the river.

Sidewalk and a ramp "down there"

Local street.

Out by Highway 3 - dog laying about watching cars go by.

Triple-Extra-Heavy-Duty springs for this truck. They seem to be overkill to me.

So I saw a tourist sign for a "dam". I figured - why not - and followed it. No ideal on how far up the road it is though.

Shortly the road started to do some twists as it went up a hillside.

Up at the top was a visitors station. It looked nice but was closed. This dog came happily bounding over to say hi.

Some clouds hugging the hills.

Dam Curves
MPG, 5.9 MB, 1 min 24 sec

Disney characters - I thought it an odd location

Evidence that farming country is nearby

I think the mountain ridge migh be the International border

A hole in the rock. The start of an arch?

A different angle on the hole.

Corn - a big field of it. The distance is flat land.

I think this would be called a crematory. Not big enough for a temple and I wonder if temples have smokestacks.

Bike work - chain "adjustment"

No charge - nice of them. They don't do "Internet" so they handed my card back.

Where the couple walked by to assist with directions.

While most transport is motorized these still exist.

Roadside marker. The top number is how many kilometers to the next town (I find handy)

Road number - 348

Family, in a cart, being pulled by a tractor

For a section the "why did the chicken cross the road" saying was in my mind. These things will either stand in the middle or run from one side to the other. I did see one as dead roadkill.

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