16 Dec Pushing onwards to Khao Yai National Park and up the hills
Around 03:00 we are awoken to the rain hitting our tents, so we quickly pull out our rain fly and cover the tents before everything gets wet. For the next few hours we all pretty much toss and turn before finally getting up and out of the tents. We are up and ready to roll before 06:30 and we wait around while Randy gathers and packs his gear. This just happens to be his first time setting up his camping gear, so he has yet to find his routine. No worries, we are pretty confident that after a few more nights and days of touring he will have a system. Once Randy is set, we roll our bikes across the street and sit down for breakfast, fried eggs over freshly steamed rice and a couple cups of coffee! Surprisingly eggs and rice taste pretty good, but I doubt it is something we would eat once we are back home.
For the next few hours we are cycling down fairly quiet, but sometimes dusty roads until we enter our next national park. Khao Yai National Park is billed as Thailand’s biggest and best park and we are charged 400 BAHT per person to enter. This is the most costly park for tourist to enter. From the check point/entrance we had 37 km to our campground. It is 13:00, so we have about 5 hours of daylight to cycle the 37 km and under normal cycling conditions this would be a breeze. However, the road leading through the park is very hilly, almost mountain like and for Jessica and Randy it proves to be a real butt kicker. So much so, Randy wants to know where the next post office is so he can mail back some of his gear and Jessica is ready to investigate a flight back home. I am confident that once they reach the campground and rest; they will rethink things and will be high fiving each other for a great ride and a huge achievement.
Anyway, somewhere during this ride we start seeing huge piles of elephant dung and signs warning of wild elephants and we ask each other if anyone knows what to do should we see elephants. Then again, what are the chances of really seeing wild elephants anyway? To our surprise a herd of them stop traffic as they make their way down the road before entering the jungle again. Sadly for us, it is nearly nightfall and we still have a ways to cycle before arriving to the campground.
The sun is down and we arrive at a checkpoint. “How far to campground?” Ron asked. The ranger replies, “3km.” He was close, but it was more like 5km. Finally we arrive, check in with the ranger, and we are told, “you can camp anywhere.” The campground is full with what appears to be school age children, but we finally find a small spot and setup camp, eat, and pass out.