The road here was like a zinc washing board, one continuous wavey surface covered with reddish gravel. Someone told me that this is caused by the foundation of the road, using treetrunks laid crossways. Most of the Thai roads are similar with the exception of the new American-built strategic highway I described from an earlier trip. At a speed of some 60 km/hr, driving is pleasant, while at lower speeds everything rattles. Going that fast, however, it is easy to skid, and numerous narrow bridges make things hazardous. Fortunately, this road was fairly straight without bridges and sharp corners.
If a road runs parallel with a railroad, it is customary to economize and to use a single bridge for both to cross. The train has the advantage, while cars have to suffer from the poor track. Nails stick out centimeters above loose planks and boards, while gaps between them are measured in decimeters.
At Sapan Dam, or "Black Bridge", I watched intently how my front tire passed precariously between two protruding nails. Deep down I clearly saw a small river with two alluring beaches along its banks.
It was by now so hot that I took off all my clothes and only wore swimming trunks. I smeared the newly acquired "suntanlotion" onto my back without realizing at first that it was rather evil smelling and fishy, so it was good my passengers had gotten off in time.
At one of the small villages along the ribbleroad I got out for a quick iced coffee, and here I also hid away the bundle of dollars which I had smuggled along from Bangkok. I had been told how easy it would be to have a free trip from profits made by money exchange, which prospect had induced me to take along all of US$ 40 all I could afford at the time.