A ride to the reservoir on the hill

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Roi Et,
Saturday, February 23, 2013

Its a weekend so its officially a holiday !!
It is blowing a gale from the north again today and its hard work on the bike into Phon Thong.  I blame the Chinese !  It is cold again as well and I have to make it a three shirt morning.
Our gas cylinder ran out this morning just after we gad finished breakfast luckily so we stop and order a refill as soon as we get back to Khamnadie.
Jai goes to play cards again this afternoon and with no work allowed I am at a bit of a loose end.  I get the bike out and go for a ride instead of just lazing around the house.

Leaving the house I turn right and immdeiately first left.  Proceed straight on at the next two crossroads and I am soon leaving the village on a dirt road.
0.8km from the house take the first right turn down a narrow lane and 0.5km later, in a group of trees to the left, is the village spirit house.  In most parts of the country you see spirit houses everywhere but you rarely see them around here.  There are three larger houses on the site and they are shared by several villages.  Offerings are left here occassionaly throughout the year to curry favour with the spirits.  Once a year, in June, just before the planting of the new seasons rice, there is a festival here with everyone making offerings ranging from a small bowl of rice to a whole pigs head.  People sit around and have a picnic and let off firework rockets.
Return 05km to main road and go right.  After approximately 1km the first signs of rubber trees appear on both sides of the road.
The road is slowly climbing but it is barely noticeable; perhaps if I was walking.  This part of Isaan is bereft of mountainds and even struggles to raise something that might be called a hill.  2.5km after rejoining the main road there is a frok off to the right which is a good place to stop and enjoy the view.  It is surprising how much higher than the surrounding country you are just here.  On a clear day, not like today, when the sugar cane is young or has just been cut, it is possible to see mountains all across the horizon some 40km+ away in the direction of Mukdahan.  I will return to this junction later and take the side road but now continue along the main rioad.
1km later and there are rubber trees everywhere you look.  Most of them are mature trees but recently planted trees in adjacent areas suggest that the business is doing well and expanding.  I continue riding through the trees for 1.5km, passing a water tower under construction and opposite this is an earthen charcoal oven.
A few hundred metres past the water tower the dirt road turns to concrete and drops alarmingly into a deep gulley.  This appears to be a run-off area for when the reservoir floods in the rainy season.  The reservoir is held back by an earth dam which carries the road across straight ahead.  Biking over with the reservoir to the right there is also a couple of ponds to the left far below the height of the road which must get filled through the run-off.  This is a lovely spot and in the west would no doubt be a picnic favourite with ice-cream, hot-dogs, etc on sale.  They dont really go in for that sort of thing around here though so thankfully there is not another soul in sight.
Having crossed the dam I retrace my steps passing through the rubber trees again back to the viewpoint about 2km away.  Approaching the viewpoint the country to the right of the road opens up to reveal views in the direction of Phon Thong.
Take the left turn and enjoy the views now to my right as I descend along a dusty, bumpy, road almost through a tunnel of uncut sugar cane.  Bear to the right at the weathered sign and keep descending.  Shortly on the right I pass a field of mature palm trees and am surprised to see that some of them are still producing fruit well outside of what I thought their season was.  Palm trees are still fairly uncommon around here but seem to be catching on.
I cross a small hump in the road over a dried up watercourse and am briefly back in rubber country.
A little more than 2km after leaving the viewpoint I begin to enter the village of Pak Chong through a back door.  The village lily covered reservoir is on my right behind some trees and then comes the temple.
At the small crossroads at the edge of the village turn left then shortly afterwards left again leaving the village.  100m along this road is an irrigation canal.  Built initially along an existing watercourse that flooded badly in 2012 it now carries water to the surrounding farmland.
Turn around and go back to Pak Chong turning left when arriving at the village again.  This road continues straight on to the village school but take the second right.  Continuing straight along this road would get us back to Khamnadie after about 4km but I take a detour.  After 0.5km there is a snall crossroads where I turn left.  2km along this road you reach a long white wall on the left and a very small crossroads with littlemore than dirt tracks going off to the left and right.
Take a left turn through the gap in the wall and after a few hundred metres reach the crematorium that is now used by several neighbouring villages.  Cremations used to take place in the surrounding woods until the 'oven' was constructed in 2010.
Return to the small crossroads and head straight over down the narrow dirt track until reaching a surfaced road.  A right turn here would take me back to Pak Chong but I turn left, almost straight on, back to Khamnadie, passing a couple of impressibe life-sized elephants on the way.
Arriving at the village take a eft at the crossroads passing the clearing where the Saturday evening market is held.  Continuing straight on past a snall hospital and village school on the right and the now almost empty village reservoir on the left.
As the road curves to the left take the small track to the right opposite a snall petrol station.  Go straight past the left turn, that leads out to the farm, then turn right after about another 100m.  Pass the school sports field on the right and just as the houses start on the left an old water hand pump that is now being dragged back into use.  There is s side entrance to the temple here on the right then a crossroads as you return to the village.
Turn left and 50m brings me back to the house just under 20km after leaving.

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