Day 16, Sukhothai to Khamphaeng Phet

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Shortly after we left our great resort hotel this morning we rode by this elegant display honoring Thailand’s royal family.

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You know it is going to be a smoky day when it is this hazy at 8:00 a.m.!

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Here is one of the reasons for the smoke: it is sugar cane harvesting time. We saw (and were passed by) many cane trucks like this one. Sometimes they carried the full stalk like this, and sometimes the cane was chopped into smaller pieces.

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This worker is lighting the harvested cane chaff which was in rows.

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Burn baby burn!

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To add to the smoke, a lady had just lit the piles of leaves along her driveway!

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Water buffalo mamas and calves were along the roadway.

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These guys weren’t used to seeing brightly colored bicyclists on Trek bikes!

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Nature stop of the day was to look at this turtle. He/she was along the road, and we assumed was just about to cross it.

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After getting close and personal—what a beautiful animal—Woody did the right thing and carried it across the road to a nearby wetland.

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Today we saw brightly colored homes in the rural areas.

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We passed lots of these machines, called Iron Buffalos.

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They are like tractors, but are multi-purpose. This one is hauling a motorbike on a trailer. We saw one being used to pump water out of a ditch.

See puppy on Iron Donkey here.

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We were riding along hills like this….and we were happy not to be riding UP those hills! We passed by several signs for national parks.

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At one of our rest stops, these guys were putting in new tile, the old fashioned way.

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Materials were mixed in a concrete hod and applied by hand.

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Here is an empty sugar cane hauler being weighed.

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Look at those colors!

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Axel and Bruce ride under the welcome banner as we leave the Sukhothai area.

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We stopped here for a coffee break. Cafe Amazon is a chain of coffee shops in Thailand developed in association with PTT gas stations. The theme is Brazil’s Amazon forest and nature. They try to recreate that feel around their shops.And their iced coffee is delicious! Merry Christmas!

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At the adjacent gas station, you had to be careful to work around the sleeping dogs!

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Our cultural stop today was to visit a marble workshop.Here you see an industrial stone cutter like is used for tiles, granite counters, and such.

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He is turning bigger chunks into the columns you see near him.

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This man was sanding out a basin.

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They had lots of piles of waste marble!

See marble factory here.

See the rest of the story here.

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Next door was a shop with finished products. Woody explains the pairs of lions which are used by Chinese to guard homes and bring good fortune.

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You could buy this spirit house and its sculptures! Or just burn a little incense.

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One pair of guard lions sold for the equivalent of $800. Not bad for all the detail that goes into them!

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The sales room was new and had been blessed by a monk, noted here with a special message.

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Double truck with some poor cattle squished into the back. Not a good day for them…

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After 48 miles we arrived at our overnight town, Khamphaeng Phet. We passed impressive walls and moats of the Old City which dates from the early 15th C.

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Mr. Pree guards our bikes as we scramble up the wall for a view of ruins and the city.Note all the trees growing on the old wall.

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We stopped for a wonderful lunch at M and P’s Corner restaurant. Here are the friendly staff making sure we had what we needed. Great service!

In the parking lot where we parked out bikes for the night, Cynthia did enough loops to make an even 53 miles for the day . . . the same age as her birthday today!!!

What’s it like to be 53 years old here.

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Just next door is our home for the night, the Chakungrao Riverview Hotel.

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We pick up our luggage in the lobby, where the holidays are still being celebrated!

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MJ gets her key and internet connection from the friendly staff.

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Our roomy digs for the night. And there is a little balcony to hang our laundry out on, discreetly!

We walked down the street to the Tasty, where we had a combined happy hour and dinner . . .

Tom taking a survey of those who felt appropriately ‘happy’.

Lots of Myanmar beer consumed, a special batch Woodie had procured. Four bottles of wine supplied by Daniel from Spice Roads too (although the wine drinkers fell behind because there was one unopened bottle left at the end of the night!!)

One a again Woodie did a great job coordinating the events of he day including the dinner Tasty restaurant staff proviced. Happy bunch of folks!!!

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