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Post 126: Road to Chai Nat, Thailand

It’s Sunday 10th of August and I hope that the day and the early hour will beat the cities traffic, …… perhaps I’ve already forgotten that this is Bangkok. I firstly discover that on Toll Roads and Overpasses, motorcycles are not allowed. On all other roads bikes must ride on what in the UK we call the ‘Hard Shoulder’ but what here in Thailand I should simply call the ‘Suicide Lane’. I have the route planned in my head, the Thai place names committed to memory. Find Highway ‘1’ and head north. From there, I’ll slip seamlessly onto ‘32’ heading towards Ayutthaya and then Ang Thong before picking ‘311’ to my destination, ….. Chai Nat, … some 195Km north of Bangkok.

I reach Bangkok’s ‘Victory Monument’ with ease, my confidence is high, I pass through the green lights and onto the roundabout searching for exit 3, …… I find it. The traffic is dense and I soon discard the ‘Suicide Lane’ rule, …. staying alive using all five lanes will be difficult enough. Then without warning, the route I need rises onto an Overpass, … I take the low road. I’m looking for signs whilst trying to keep the path of the flyover in my vision, the compass is on the Tiger, I feel as if I am riding blind. I stop often and practice my Thai with resting taxi drivers. They look at my map as if it were a forbidden book of dark spells, they laugh at my attempts to communicate, .. they each point in a different direction, …. they each have a strong opinion as to which direction is best, … they each in a way remind me of London’s black cab drivers, … but eventually my direction is true, … the buildings become lower and the trees taller. I’m back on ‘1’ and finding that through some divine intervention each destination that I require is written on the signs in both Thai and English.

I look in my mirrors and see the skyscrapers of Bangkok vanishing behind me. I open the throttle and cruise onwards with much more noise but seemingly no more speed. I consider the size of the engine powering this large bike, …. 750cc, … 600cc? I stop for fuel and hunt for the capacity stamp on the engine casing, …. 200cc, ….. today could be a very long day.

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