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Old 04-21-2013, 03:25 AM   #1
Flyred OP
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The REAL Tail of the Dragon-Northern Thailand

Okay. For all you North Carolinians, nothing personal, 318 turns sounds fun but its the 11 miles that just doesn't impress me. Say it out loud. Eleven miles. I drive farther than that to get my mail.

Instead, try the Mae Hong Son (MHS) Loop and the Golden Triangle Loop in Northern Thailand







There is a sign at Coffee Morning in MHS that says 1864 curves, but I believe that is just one section of road.





You will get sick of turning. You will wish there was a straight more than 100 feet long. You will ask why the heck didn't the Thais just go around these mountains instead of over them. Seriously. I thought all these thing.
Then when you arrive at what ever town you stay for the night, a great hour long massage will set you back about 150 Baht (about $5).

Interested yet?

Getting here is easy. Fly into Chiang Mai (CM), Thailand. I came through Bangkok but am not a crowds and big city kind of guy so didn't stay. Also big rental bike are hard to find in Bangkok.
There are lots of places to rent bikes here in CM. I got mine from Mr. Mechanic because he offers big (by Thai standards) bikes. I got a Kawasaki Versys 650 which I named Bd Luk (Thai for Ball Crusher) because the seat slopes forward and you always end up against the tank. The other common bike in the ER6n. Very common also are CRF250s, KLX250s and every style of scooter imaginable. But who flies 7000 miles to ride a flippin scooter,
I only saw one bigger bike than mine and that was a Ducati Multistrada, which I think is over kill for these roads

First you will need these maps



Then you need bike




You better like coffee. I thought Seattle was thick with Coffee stands, but Thailand has them beat

Next you need a sense of humor




See that garden hose? That's your TP. The septic or whatever they use here cant handle paper, so give a good hosing and drip dry or use the little roll of TP to dry off and deposit the paper in the trash can,
Actually, after eating a bunch of hot chilis, this is the best cure

Be willing to consume adult beverages too



You can just buy a 700ml bottle of Scotch and some ice. That felt to me like an old TV Western. Barkeep! Whisky and fresh horses for my men!

So away we go
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:39 AM   #2
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Day one Happy Songkran Day

Pure dumb luck. I arrive in Thailand on April 13 which is Songkran -New Years Day. Every place in the country is a running water fight and drunken party. when I flew in I was given 2 little zip lock dry bags. whats this for?

If you melt when you get wet (Oz joke) avoid the entire week








Some TukTuks were put to use as drive by shooters

It was weird to see 100s of people carrying Super Soakers or buckets and no one was safe. Even the cops




That's me soaked completely. I gave as good as I got
Its over 100f out so a little water felt great

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Old 04-21-2013, 03:42 AM   #3
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"You will get sick of turning"

This i gotta see
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:53 AM   #4
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Day two Headed SouthWest (NO)

First off. I had to reroute because the water fight had completely filled the street and the favorite target was motorcycles so I turned early and ended up slightly lost. I went SSE when I needed to go SSW. With the smoky skies I couldn't see the position of the sun to at least get a rough idea where I was headed. The funniest part was asking folks in small villages how to get somewhere when it was likely they had never even left this place before


How do I get to Hot?



This way! They yell ya know




No! That way! Your second cousin Ang lives there.



No! you stupid turtle brain! That way!
Of course they spoke no English so I was guessing on the translations.

Me: Can I have my map back??

Them: Sure. And then they all dumped buckets of water on me
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:08 AM   #5
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Hot and the hill country

Hot is a fly over city. But a major water fight had the main road swamped. I almost dumped the bike trying to accelerate on wet pavement to avoid a firehose. They got me and hit the bike hard enough to knock the mirror stalk loose.



This resting Buddha is huge and can be seen from miles away



The Thais are crazy about tubing. They build picnic platforms in the river. I think the majority of the people of Hot were here for the party



While I was standing here, lightning and thunder started almost overhead and everybody started grabbing there stuff to split NOW



Because it rains a little here

I found out why I hate open face helmets. Raindrops hurt at 50mph
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:28 AM   #6
Flyred OP
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I was soaked and shivering and worried about finding a place to stay on a major holiday as I rode West. The road climbs up into the mountains and the tires on Bd Luk were not dealing well with the water. At a pass there were guys working loading farm stuff (Im not a farmer, I don't know what that crap was. Bags) and I used my 2nd Thai word. Bahn Pak? Guest house. They pointed further down the road, and then God love him. One of the guys hopped on his scooter and waved to follow him. We drove maybe 500 mts and pulled into another farm. A short discussion ensued and the new guy says 200 Baht ($6) . I ride down a steep and rutted dirt road and find a log cabin stuffed in the woods.
Dry clothes and 10 hours of sleep followed.

Of note: I was asleep and was woken at 11pm. The next bedroom over was the farmers daughter visiting from Chiang Mai and her girl friend. Those 2 stayed up chattering and laughing until 3am. Then I heard it...fuck me, fuck me, fuck me. Quiet at first but slightly louder now. I knew it wasn't the 2 cute girls, I could still hear them talking next door. Maybe the farmers wife? Hmmmm. She spoke no English. Maybe this is the only words she knew? Or was it the strange farmer? fuck me fuck meeeee. fuck meeee!
Im freaking out. Im up and standing by my dead bolted bedroom door with my Leatherman tool knife out. Heart pounding. FUCK MEEEEE. Then something runs down the hallway and its quiet.
Nobody knows where I am. My phone doesn't work. I didn't send an Im OK message with my SPOT. Back to bed and slept with one eye open the rest of the night.
The next morning and Im up at dawn and the sun is shining






Everything is on fire around the country. The air is smoky and there is ash on my bike every time I stop



I really like the terraced farms. Some were up really steep hills

Flyred screwed with this post 04-26-2013 at 12:42 PM
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:02 AM   #7
Flyred OP
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Finally I roll into Mae Sarieng. This was supposed to be camp 1 but the downpour stopped that.
So a breakfast on the terrace over looking a dried out river. The monsoons are coming in a few weeks, and that will change the looks Im sure.




If you have performance anxiety, stay home





Right after I took this picture, two drunk guys on a Honda Cub stopped. The one guy kept pointing at my jacket pocket, and I kept smiling and saying I don't understand. Finally I grabbed the guy by both shoulders and gave him a friendly shaking, and started laughing. He cracked up to, showing off the most nasty set of teeth I have ever seen. They tottered off and I headed on my way




And you have to do it all on the wrong side of the road.



Soon after this, I ran another gauntlet of water buckets and hoses. Not bad as I had my wallet in a dry bag (No, I didn't) and my camera was safe too. I passed a couple 7 year old girls standing with buckets, a hose, and a 55 gal drum to re-load from. No problem girls. Give my a bath. Damned if the one girls throws a gallon of red kool aid right into my face, And I am wearning my only white T shirt. I turn and race back and the kid hauls ass. So I take her hose and wash off the red (raspberry). She comes back and asks if Im hot? No. Im red you rotten little...and shoot the hose into her face.



Heres the back country version of Home Depot




Temples are everywhere. You cant swing a dead cat and not hit a temple

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Old 04-21-2013, 05:31 AM   #8
Flyred OP
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Mae Hong Son

More villages with more buckets and hoses. Again I don't mind because its at least 100f and I am roasting in my gear.





More blasted temples





Me soaked again



I check into a guest house, 300 baht, change and walk down the street and get a fantastic Thai massage, 150 baht, and when I get back my bike is missing and has been replaced by a parade

My bike has been pushed under that tree across the street.

Minor heart attack.







I think the one in the blue may not be a woman






So what do you get for $7 a night? Well it aint the Ritz but it was entertaining. The shower was a kludged together mix of PVC pipe, tape, wire, and nails (none being bigger than a 6d











But it all worked well except that curtain rod would fall for almost no reason.

Oh! You want a private bath? Let me build you a wall


Cutting off a section of the window, but hey, that's why there is AC.

Again, after dark...fuck meeee, fuck meee. OK. WTF? Turns out there is a lizard in SE Asia that comes out after dark and that is what the little bugger has for a mating call-fitting, isn't it?
I would hear this call every place I went for the entire ride.

The next morning Im up at dawn and ready to take my cigar for a walk and damned if the front door of the hotel is locked with me safely inside and no one there until 8am

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Old 04-21-2013, 06:42 AM   #9
Flyred OP
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Up into Karen land

Engrish is funny








Climbing up the mountain where this waterfall is, are the steepest switchbacks I have ever seen. Going up was fun except lots of rubber has been laaid down and that made for some wheel spin. Coming down though, you would start the turn and be looking at a 10-15' vertical drop before you finished the turn. It felt like I was driving off a cliff


This is the road to Rak Thai on the Myanmar border

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Old 04-21-2013, 07:07 AM   #10
Mcgee
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Great pic's. Love the people of Thailand, except when they are throwing water bombs at you, lol. Looking forward to more of the RR. Thank you.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:17 AM   #11
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I'm enjoying this thread so far

I lived through 8 Songkrans - most of the time I was riding one of those little Honda Dreams. Yes they're under powered, but they're immensely practical, run on very little fuel, and you just can't kill them.

I rode from Nakon Ratchasima to Chiang Mai and back, mostly in the rain. Some beautiful country sides.


Sad to say I wasn't in picture taking mode back then, so I'll be looking forward to more pics!
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:13 AM   #12
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Ahhhh . . . . . Thailand

Thanks for the memories Flyred ! ! !

Did four Song-Krans there; Some things about Thailand I don't miss; But more things I miss than not.

Did a rental ride in the Mae Hong Son back country in the early 90's.

Of course, pre-digital; One of these days I'll dredge the old pix out of the dungeon and scan them . . . . . .

Thanks for sharing ! ! !
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:23 AM   #13
beemer boy
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You are right...I have ridden the Dragon, and I am going to have to give the nod to the MHS loop. Although the turns on the Dragon are banked a bit better...
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #14
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:25 AM   #15
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