One reality of cycle touring on the east coast of Thailand in October is rain. Lots of rain. Pinging on the tin roof, pouring out and over the downspouts, flooding the pot holes ,kind of rain. We’ve had some rain almost every day since we started our journey 20 days ago.
Outwitting the rain, or racing the rain, or chasing the rain are all terms I’ve used in the past few days as we decide whether to start riding, keep riding, stop riding or hole up for the next few hours or night.
I’m almost giddy with my “expertise” and outguessing the rain yesterday.
Eric and I had stopped for lunch at a cute little coffee/pizza place in the middle of nowhere. The sun was shining, big puffy white clouds were floating by and dark ominous start clouds were brewing in the south.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Why would we stop for expensive, tourist-priced, soggy-crust pizza and coffee in a French style, air-conditioned, foreign tourist resort when, if we rode a little further, we could have an open air, more “local” experience of chicken green curry or spicy tom yam soup in the company of flies and mosquitoes?
Actually, we were feeling guilty about our made-for-foreigners experience and, even as storm clouds were getting closer, and the wind was picking up, and the owner of the resort was offering us a very “good price” to stay at his resort because he knew a big rain was coming, we took the high moral road, the retired fixed- income reason, the gotta watch our bhats (Thai for dollars) excuse and started pedaling.
A little rain while cycling does not bother us. In fact, it washes off the sweat and road grime, so we usually “embrace” the rain. The lightening and thunder, on the other hand, is kind of scary. Giant flashes of lightening overhead reinforced by booming thunder seem really outright terrifying when we are the tallest thing pedaling along the rows of tinyThai-sized pineapple farms and shrimp ponds.
We were madly pedaling in front of the storm while the lightening and thunder were getting closer, but the temperatures were cool and the tail wind was pushing us along at a fast clip of 27 kilometers per hour. Pedaling, louder thunder, faster pedaling, closer lightening….where is some shelter?
Seeing a national park’s toilet facilities gave us an if-we-can’t-find-something-better option, but we didn’t want to succumb to the first option like we’d done for the French cafe at lunch. Our patience was rewarded as we pedaled around another bend in the deep walls of the scenic national park, and came across the park headquarters.
Bingo! Pedal, race, reach the shelter, and hop off the bikes just before the skies opened and what appeared to be the entire Gulf of Thailand rained down on the shelter’s rooftop. It lasted exactly one hour giving me a great chance to lose myself in a book and Eric to fall into a deep, saw-a-log, wake the flies and mosquitoes type of sleep.
The winds were in our favor this time.