The REAL Tail of the Dragon-Northern Thailand

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Flyred, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    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
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    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

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    Then you need bike

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

    Next you need a sense of humor

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    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

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    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
    #1
  2. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    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






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    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

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    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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    #2
  3. Mowster

    Mowster Stressed Member

    Joined:
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    Brisville
    "You will get sick of turning"

    This i gotta see :lol3
    #3
  4. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    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?

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    This way! They yell ya know

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

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    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
    #4
  5. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
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    Location:
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    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.

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

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    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

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

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    Because it rains a little here

    I found out why I hate open face helmets. Raindrops hurt at 50mph
    #5
  6. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
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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

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

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    I really like the terraced farms. Some were up really steep hills
    #6
  7. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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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.
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    If you have performance anxiety, stay home

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    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
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    And you have to do it all on the wrong side of the road.:eek1

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    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.

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    Heres the back country version of Home Depot


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    Temples are everywhere. You cant swing a dead cat and not hit a temple
    #7
  8. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
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    More villages with more buckets and hoses. Again I don't mind because its at least 100f and I am roasting in my gear.



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    More blasted temples

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    Me soaked again

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    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.

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    I think the one in the blue may not be a woman:eek1

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    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









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    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
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    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
    #8
  9. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Engrish is funny

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    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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    #9
  10. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Pacific NW
    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.
    #10
  11. Merlinzen

    Merlinzen Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Mackay QLD AU
    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!
    :1drink
    #11
  12. Watercat

    Watercat . . . gravity sucks

    Joined:
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    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. :wink:

    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 . . . . . . :1drink

    Thanks for sharing ! ! !
    #12
  13. beemer boy

    beemer boy Oh no, he's gone Asian

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Chiang Mai , Thailand
    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...:rofl
    #13
  14. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Subscribed
    #14
  15. Bogfarth

    Bogfarth Fridge Magnet Safety Tester

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    :lurk
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  16. iBiker

    iBiker ADV Pirate

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    :lurk
    #16
  17. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    Mae Sariang to Mae Hong Son

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    At the waterfall I posted a bit back, the staircase is carved into the hill side. Apparently there had been a garbage pit from another time and the stair crew exposed it and left it. The Thai are a fastidious people when it comes to their own place. Not so much when it comes to public spaces

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    The Karen village of Rak Thai is kind of a Main Street USA Disney thing except for the actual poverty. Lonely Planet whines that its a human zoo with natives on display. Well guess what Pal. So is Las Vegas and Times Square NY, and downtown Portland, Oregon. These folks are trying to make a living too

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    I was the only white person, but from the looks of it, they were planning for lots of tourists to arrive soon.
    My aw crap moment came when I bought what I thought was dough balls on a stick. Actually 5 sticks with 6 balls each. The first bite was neither crunch nor chew, but instead the slimy texture of undercooked ground chicken. About a pound of chicken for 20 tbh

    I did not feel good after that.

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    The village is at the far end of this lake

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    Half way down the mountain is this Bamboo plantation and nature trail

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    The biggest bamboo had to be as big as our Alder trees back home. 8"-10" at the bases.


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    #17
  18. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
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    Charge down the mountain feeling a little queasy and find this very nice coffee place with wifi up above some rice patties

    Im a loving iced Thai coffee

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    the paddies are dry for a few more weeks

    Another water break at a pass and the Karen have crafts and food for sale. Some beautiful textiles that I have zero use for. And honey. Booze bottles full of honey. Makes you wonder where all that booze went.
    The other thing I noticed was that the women do most of the work. All the men I saw were smoking hand rolled cigs

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    Just when you thought the roads were trying to kill you, I find a herd of cattle mopping on up the road.

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    Lots of people were wearing this ball cap with the wings on them. Detroit fans?

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    They even pirated Pokey. Bastards!

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    Fires like this are everywhere.


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    At the end of the day I roll into Pai


    :freaky
    #18
  19. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    702
    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
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    That's my hotel bar and restaurant. :clap

    Pai is a little town that for some reason became a tourist mecca. I am not a crowd lover, so I got a room at the best hotel in town that sat right on the bank of the river. The place was new and outstanding. I gagged at the 1800 baht price until I did the math, Sure! Ill take it! After the dump in MHS I deserved it

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    For today, life is good[​IMG]

    These little hacks are everywhere hauling you name it

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    The kludge most used here is Bamboo and rope or wire. In the states its zip ties and duct tape

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    #19
  20. Flyred

    Flyred Who is John Galt?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Burien, WA Turbine Whine Country
    This is the bit of road that had me wondering why the Thais just didn't go around the mountains.

    The routing is backwards again but...

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    The Bridge over the river Pai

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    Fill er up

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    Then out of nowhere is this stuff. Its a coffee stand.


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    #20