May 24, 2006 - Wednesday
Buri Ram, TH to Nakhon Phanom, TH

Getting out of Buri Ram I had two towns in mind for the days end. I ended up making it to the farther town - Nakon Phanom. It is right on the river and has a nice riverfront area.

Leaving Buri Ram, on the "bypass" on the north side of town, I came across two separate scooters being pushed. I stopped for each and pointed to the red fuel can and then to their bike - neither motioned that they needed fuel. I'm not sure about the first bike but the second had a flat tire. A handy fact with a lightweight bike - they're easy to push - and the land (so far) has been flat.

In the trek between the two points I wanted to take a direct, non-highway (if possible) route. This would put me on some third-class roads. I ended up taking some that were probably not on the map that I had - but I just kept pointing the GPS icon in the correct direction. Eventually I popped out on a second class road - a two lane highway. Having enough of the smaller roads I kept to marked roads for the rest of the day.

On some of the small (un-marked) roads I came across several groups of cattle being guided down the road. Some of the "road apples" can be HUGE. When one of the cattle decided to "take a leak" it left a wobbling line on the road for an eye popping distance. Gallons?

Arriving at a village the road came to a T intersection. No marking on which way I should take. I took the left turn as it was more in my direction than the other - and both roadways looked "about" the same "class". Popping out of this village a guy was walking on the road and gave me a hand wave - not a "hitchhiking thumbs" motion but a bit of a "move over" wave. I stopped to see if he was motioning to me and he pointed to the back seat. I can give a ride. I moved the backpack to my back and he held the spare fuel can. He had a fishing net in his arms. Not more than a mile or two up the road he wanted to stop - the creek / river was there and I noticed other people about (fishing?). As I re-packed the bike he asked for money - Baht. Starting at "200 Baht" working down to 100 and 70. I kept saying no and shaking my head no.

I was happy to part ways with him. I didn't mind giving the lift but I didn't care to be asked for cash. Next time I see the "motioning over" wave - I'll move over and keep moving.

Back out on the roads I came across a police checkpoint. At a four-way intersection three of the paths were being checked. I was waved through but, due to a fuel stop, would end up passing back through the intersection. Leaving the fuel stop I contemplated "going around" by finding a local road to bypass that intersection. In the end I figured it wouldn't be an issue so I went towards the police. I was flagged over at this passage. Stopping the bike and pulling off the sunglasses the officer asked in Thai for something. I said "I don't understand" and he came back "papers". I started to dig and before I could get to the papers a different officer came up to wave me through - no papers check for me.

Getting re-situated with the bike they noticed the "stuff" on the handlebars - camera, gps, map. I did the typical "pictures" motion while pointing to the camera. I give a "wiggly hand" motion (not sure how effective it is) when pointing to the GPS screen. More of the officers at this stop were coming over (there were 5 or 6 at this side of the intersection. They were having a fun time with this traveler "diversion". Pulling out a website card I gave it to one of the officers. I say "Internet, eMail" while pointing to the web and e-mail addresses on the card. Often a positive acknowledgment comes about - and this was the case.

I pulled the camera off of its mount and motioned - in a asking method - if I may take a photo of them. They resoundingly declined - so I put the camera back (their brown colored uniforms look nice and proper). Sitting on the bike getting ready to move out one officer started to point at the map that was sitting on the instrument cluster - how does it stay there when I'm moving perhaps. At that I put the map where I had been carrying it - tucked partway down the front of my pants. He got a good chuckle at that. Sunglasses on, motor started, a few waves and I was moving again.

Roads - Cattle & 20 minutes compresses (sped up) into 5 minutes
MPG, 21.4 MB, 5 min 28 sec

This is a new construction house.  Gone is the lower / entrance "storefront".

Cattle in the roadway. Some "leak" path to go with the road apples.

Home made power line and pole. Head to the hardware store and buy a spool of wire - string as desired.

Cell tower.

The "motorbike lane" often "ends" abruptly at bridges.

The motorbike lane is often smoother / nicer than the main roadway.

These trees are NICE shade trees.

The lane here is officially marked for two wheeled vehicles.

A new roadway - bridges are wide enough for the bike lane.

I was running with this white pickup for a bit. The kid was sitting in the back for all of it. On the new, divided four-lane road we started to wick it up a bit. 154 KPH is the new measure on the GPS for max speed. At a stop light the kid was thumbs up and the driver even leaned over, rolled down the side window and with a big smile was two thumbs up.
154 kph = 96 mph.

I found out that the dark colored (on the outside) butterflies are bright yellow colored (on the inside). Smacked me right in the glasses.

The bus stop I pulled over at.

Ahhh - Internet access....

Riverfront @ Nakhon Phenom, TH. Menam Khong (Mekong) river. Thakhek, Laos on the other bank.

There are power lines crossing the river. The tower on each side is HUGE.

Follow the ladder and walkways on up.

Note the water level - tomorrow much of the "beach" will be gone.

Some great clouds

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