Tomorrow is the day I leave on my grand tour of most of Thailand… the trip I’ve been twittering about for a while.
I’ll be gone for two weeks, during which time I’ll be “helping” the organizers of the Road To Mandalay Endurance Rally 2015. I put “helping” in quotes because for much of the trip I have no idea what they’ll ask me to do, but whatever it is, I hope it will be helpful.
I’ll be joining the rally in Trang, at the end of their Day 7, soon after the competitors cross the border from Malaysia into Thailand, and continuing until Day 19, when they cross into Burma near Mae Sot.
I’m planning regular updates to Twitterings, but it’s hard to predict just how much free time I’ll have and what there will be to twitter about.
One thing’s for sure, there’ll be a lot driving. In those days between Trang and Mae Sot there’s about 3800kms of roads. For me to get to the rally and then back from the Burmese border I’ll have another 1800kms to drive, so that’s something like 5600kms in total, which makes a nice round average of 400kms a day.
Some days I think there will be nothing to write about because it’s been an all-driving day, whereas others, I think the ever-changing scenery during an all-driving day will be the story.
There’s actually a couple of rest days in the itinerary, but I’ll miss one of those. After leaving Khao Lak, which as the crow flies is not too far from here, but over the mountains on the west coast, the competitors travel to Chumphon, which is north of me. They get a night there before heading up to Kanchanuburi (of Bridge over the River Kwai fame) via the Special Test I’ve arranged at the Majestic Creek Country Club.
I want to make sure that is well organized, with no last minute dramas, so I’ll leave Khao Lak, bypass Chumphon and head straight to the club for a couple of days and nights. That will take me up my least-favorite highway, the AH2… the expressway that’s been laid on a recently-plowed field!
For some reason, Ms. Chuckles, my GPS lady who joins me on all long journeys, seems to think the AH of AH2 – which I believe stands for “Asian Highway” – is a word, and she insists on calling it the “AhhhTwo.” It’s a pity it’s not also District road 2, then she could call it the “AhhhTwoDeeTwo.”
Anyways, after leaving Kanchanaburi there’s another of my Special Tests in an area known as Garden Hills. I see from the Road Book, the organizers have named this one “Paul’s Chicken Run.” I’ve no idea why. I didn’t see any chickens. Given the nature of the road, hidden inside dense jungle, I think “Paul’s Maze” might have been more appropriate. I hope we don’t lose anyone!
I will finally get one rest day (I hope) in Chiang Mai, so I have a few trips around the city I’d like to do while I’m there. After that, there will be two very challenging days as the rally heads into the mountains to Mae Hong Son for one night and then down to Mae Sot for one more. For those two days all of the roads will be like the one on the right.
Sweaters and maybe even long underwear will be packed for this part of the trip. If Wikitravel says the nights can be “downright cold” I can be sure that to me they will be “downright blardy freezing.”
But, whatever the trip has in store, I’m sure that along the way there will be no shortage of photo opportunities, plus the cars in the rally will provide some good shots. The oldest was built in 1907, and my info so far is that it’s still running. Amazing!
Wish me luck!