Back on the road again, clocking up the kms most days around Thailand’s mountainous Uthai Thani District in the beautiful Khao Laem National Park, north-west of Bangkok. It’s sugar cane cutting season and huge cane fires are blackening the sky and making it hard to breath.
Hundreds of antiquated cane trucks block the roads as they rattle along, laden down with chopped cane destined for the refineries close to Dan Chang where I’m staying.
The sky is yellow and hazy for most of the time, making the horizon red and giving the sun a reddish tinge as it gets lower in the West. A grand sight to see.
Avoiding cane that falls regularly from the trucks is a mission in itself. Get it wrong and you’re in a roadside ditch, which happened to me earlier today. Result – one bruised and swollen elbow. Must be more vigilant from now on.
It’s time for the yearly pilgrimage when hundreds of monks are on their annual walk South. Riding past them gives me a spiritual feeling - we all go about our business without a sound accept for the patter of their bare feet, the tinkle of bells attached to small bags over their shoulder and my bike wheels churning over.
Bumping into the odd foreign rider is also quite common at this time of year. A quick hello and exchange of info is always in order, as it was with a couple of Americans on the ride today. They’d just cycled up through Burma via Malaysia heading to the north of Thailand before going home to New York in April. Keep in touch guys, really nice to meet fellow travellers on route.
A new supply of butt cream from one of The Long Ride Home sponsors, John Graham from Smooth Ass Silk, will come in handy as I continue to clock up the kms and add to the wear and tear of my long-suffering bike seat.
Uthai Thani is one of the provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, and Tak. It is in Thailand's lower northern region, somewhat off the route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It is approximately 200 kms from Bangkok.
Originally Mon and Lawa settled in the area. The first Thai settlement in the area was Muang U Thai during the Sukhothai Kingdom, but it was later abandoned when the river changed course. The Patabeut people, of Karen ethnicity, revived the settlement at its current site during the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It served as a fort protecting the boundary of the kingdom. Uthai Thani is the hometown of the father of King Rama I. Rama I renamed the city from its old nameUthai to Uthai Thani. In 1892 King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) added the area of Uthai Thani to the Monthon Nakhon Sawan, and in 1898 formed the province.
Many thanks to those that sincerely support my efforts as I continue to strike a blow for veteran PTS and Moral Injury on a global scale.
Truck Sams, On The Long Ride Home in the Uthai Thani District of Thailand .