Uttaradit to Phitsanulok

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Day 7 of riding - Uttaradit to Phitsanulok 108kms

About 7kms to get out of Uttaradit with some hairy moments dealing with drivers on their mobile phones before some highway running about 20kms and then breaking free to get off the busy highway.

Finally there was relief when getting onto the back roads hugging the hinterland again - some outstanding views with lots of rolling hills before getting into some steep climbs at the 65km point onwards to the overnight stop on the outskirts of Phitsanulok. Not much road space when climbing today with some heavy trucks also hugging the left, so close that I could have a chat with the co-Driver as the trucks slowly ascended at the same speed as the cyclists.

Uttaradit means the "port of the north" or "northern landing", as it was formerly a trade center on the Nan River.

In the Sukhothai era several city states subject to the king were in the area of the modern province. Mueang Fang was in modern-day Mueang Uttaradit district, Mueang Thung Yang in Laplae, and Mueang Ta Chuchok in Tron district.

During the Ayutthaya kingdom, Mueang Phichai was one of the 16 main Mueang of the Thai kingdom. In the reign of King Naresuan, the ruler of Phichai rebelled, joined by the ruler of Sawankhalok. Their revolt was suppressed and the inhabitants of both cities were forced to move south to Phitsanulok.

Following the fall of the city of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, Phichai was the site of several battles against the invaders. The ruler of Phichai succeeded in driving back the Burmese and was awarded the title Phraya Phichai Dabhak - the "Lord of Pichai with a Broken Sword", as he had broken one of his swords in fierce hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.

In the reign of King Rama III Mueang Phichai controlled several Mueang of northern Siam like Nan or Phrae, and even Luang Prabang and Vientiane. At the point where the Nan river became shallow a port was established. As this town grew in importance as an important trade point, in 1887 it was made a Mueang subordinate of Phichai. 1899 the center of Phichai was moved to this new location, which was renamed to Uttaradit in 1915.

Truck Sams and crew on The Long Ride Home heading into the Isan region of Thailand