Day 13. Mandalay to Myingyan
It was fantastic to be back on the road again. Mandalay was starting to get far too small for us and we wanted to ride some more. It was a great day, especially towards the end when the shadows stretched past and the evening hews dimmed to expose dramatic colors.
We didn't start out till 8am this morning and we suffered for it during the hot day.
Every now and then, we'd pass by propaganda posters and billboards, heralding slogans and ideologies.
After hearing of a shortcut towards Myingyan we cycled towards the airport, which had a new dual carriage road. Unfortunately for us, by the time we got there the road had been dug up and we were presented with a detour through rough roads.
A ruby in the rough
The detour turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it allowed us to see some of the most beautiful and untouched villages surrounding Mandalay. The road wound its way through small villages, green tree lined streets and farmland. Everywhere we were greeted with smiles and laughter.
The road was tough but we made good time. The three days’ rest in Mandalay had been great and we all felt refreshed. By the middle of the day we started with the glucose and salts mix to keep our fluids and electrolytes up.
Along the way we crossed streams, rivers and makeshift foot bridges, but they didn't pose any great difficulty. The only hazard was my own stupidity when I insisted on riding over the narrow tree log bridges, while the boys stood on the sideline, laughing and eagerly awaiting me falling into the water I didn’t fall in.
Long stretches of road were at times sandy and had it not been for the dry weather we would have found crossing the mud sections difficult.
By the time we reached Myotha most of the hard road was behind us and we started to ride through more hills
Another hour later we found ourselves riding downhill on smooth bitumen. Just after sunset we found a hotel and settled for the night. We were all looking forward to a nice warm shower but unfortunately - cold water only. That luxury would need to wait till Bagan.
Although taking paths unplanned, the day turned out well and allowed us to explore places which we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Right at the end of the day, Dave had a minor problem with his bike; we pulled over on the side of the road only to attract local interest.
These are the towns we rolled through today: Mandalay, Amarapura, Myitnge, Paleik, Tada-U (near the airport), Myotha and Myingyan.