10th December 2554

I'm not very good at sleeping in and so I was up early on Saturday morning.
I detected a slightly less than cordial atmosphere in the room next door, I'm somewhat sensitive to people's emotions even if I am apt to be insensitive in what I say sometimes... Probably growing up with severe criticism of any human failing I had myself doesn't help! That's my excuse.

The monks had already been out for their alms when I arrived at Wat Sri Boon.
I dismounted and had a walk around the grounds and looked at the Thai - Burmese architecture.
Back on the bicycle, I rode up the hill eastwards from the town to the begining of the mountain road.
There's a museum at the junction with scenes of local villager's lives. No pictures allowed unfortunately.
Across the road junction I rode to Wat Jom Jaeng.

I made a donation; lit a candle and incense

A phone call that everyone was up for breakfast took me back down the hill coasting on the bicycle to Sawwaddee Café where I had a large bowl of muesli and a cheese omelet.
I saw someone come off his kayak in the river upstream... It was Fernando!
He and Worawoot had been upset in a kayak together (they're both heavy) in the Mekong to the amusement of everyone else and now were in separate kayaks for a ride with a guide down the Salawin River.

Ollie, a retired English resident, arrived by 10:00 in his pickup truck to go get 91 octane petrol for the aeroplanes.
95 was available as well, but with alcohol!
Alex fed about 58 litres into the EuroFox's tanks.
The Rotax is a good engine for Thailand where 100LL is hard to find!

I went for another bicycle ride. This time I met Gill on the bridge and so I walked back with her.
Gill's always good for conversation so we ended up back at Sawwaddee for a cold lime drink.

I cancelled our part of the group flight plan to Mae Sot, filed a flight plan to Tantawan instead, and asked the airport attendant to call Chiang Mai Tower on the phone with our departure time.
We took off at 13:47 for a low pass along the river... You have to watch out for the many aerials around this town!

This leg was planned for 5,500 feet which is below the tops of some of the mountains enroute.
Top of climb was reached at 13:58 and I was watching the temperatures and the fuel flow on the way up.

Nearing Bhumipol I was finally able to contact Fantacia on 127.0 who told me to "radar monitor", they always say this, but I believe it should be 'monitor this frequency'...

Approaching Bhumipol Dam I asked Alex to descend to 3,000 feet... Consternation, there was nowhere to go! But there was, there's a golf course below the dam within easy gliding range.
"Why?", "because I want to take pictures!"

After Bhumipol, Fantacia told us to QSY to Tak Approach (really Phitsanulok), and we routed overhead Tak Airport where not a soul was to be seen.
We descended to 2,000 feet south of Tak to reduce the headwind and for a better view as we took the easy flight along the Ping towards Bangkok.

I remember driving down the Tak road to Bangkok in 2006 when the coup took place!

None of these places seem to be busy and so we had an easy time talking to Lopburi - Khok Kathiam all the way until we joined overhead the field at Tantawan.

The hotel admin girl was lighting the incense and watering the plants when I appeared.
'Yes', I could take one of the bicycles the hotel provides and go for a ride...

African Lion and Leopard with a Tiger in Thailand
Where's the girl who's fruit baskets lie on the ground?

My neighbours from the room next door were at Sawwaddee.
After her friend left we invited the woman to join us. We had an interesting conversation about touring south east Asia, and about her home: Belgium. Carolus beer from her local town Mecheley is highly respected I am told.
You meet interesting people on these trips.

If it was up to me I'd probably never leave Mae Sariang!
But we did...
The plan was to fly to Mae Sot and then back to Pattaya... But there were strong winds forecast and these were already blowing at Tantawan. Two pilots at Tantawan had decided not to meet us at Mae Sot as they were concerned at the blustery conditions.
Alex needed to be back at work on Monday even though it was a holiday here, and I was nonplussed about going to Mae Sot and so we elected to leave the others and go directly to Tantawan.

Just after levelling off, the phone rang! I felt the vibration so I answered it.
It was Chiang Mai Tower asking for our departure time and then giving me traffic information about a couple of helicopters on our route.
Radio reception is not good around these mountains so why not use the phone!

Pleasant flying weather as we head southeastwards.

There are five large areas of Thailand with military air traffic services and we were in [Dora] heading for [Oscar], but we we told to squawk 2000 and contact [Big Shell] which is marked as being Bangkok and south. All are on 127.0.

[Big Shell] monitored us and told us to contact them 40 miles to run to Takhli where they were to QSY us to the military base's frequency: 124.0.
Even as we passed Nakhon Sawan, Takhli were not responding, and we were back and forth to Big Shell wondering what to do!
They told us to contact Takhli Tower on 133.25 which we did and we got a reply, but then Takhli Tower told us to go back to Big Shell who stayed with us until we were nearing Lopburi.

I can see the hotel where I stayed a night in 2006

There was some confusion in the cockpit at Tanatawan as we joined and so the aeroplane was a bit out of trim... Blame it on being in the cockpit for over three hours!
When you are not sure, level the wings, trim the aeroplane, take a deep breath and now look at the situation.
I talked Alex through the join overhead and around the circuit.
Tantawan is a very nice grass strip of 700 metres length and we landed at 17:25 after being airborne for 3 hours 38 minutes and the next day the tanks took nearly 50 litres for an average of just over 16 litres an hour.

Tantawan is a fly-in resort but it's a little run down. There's a bit of rubbish here and there.
The rooms were 1,000 Baht a night (you'd get a good hotel room most places for that).
My showerhead was in a bucket of slimey water and so I didn't shower that night!

The food was good and since Alex likes Heineken and they didn't have any, they sent someone on a motorcycle to pick some up from the nearest 7-Eleven. In the evening we drank eight bottles of the stuff between us while the ginger cat snoozed in my lap.

I stayed up until after 23:30 to take over sixty pictures of the Lunar Eclipse.

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