All The Way West - RTW on a DRZ 400

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by daveg, May 17, 2010.

  1. WestSlope

    WestSlope Adventurer

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    How did I not notice this thread before! SUB...SCRIBED!!!:lurk
  2. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    <dl id="attachment_461" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Sugarcane truck drive in I-San</dd></dl>
    The end of an era is soon. I will be leaving my Thailand to check out a new country -- Laos. I don't know much about it, I haven't even opened up my Lonely Planet to Laos.


    Today's ride was pretty fatiguing. It was 330km of asfalt and a tiny bit of dirt while trying to avoid some city traffic. We probably spent more time driving slowly through the dirt and taking wrong turns (me in the lead, following GPS!) than it would have if we had driven through town.
    We've been in the I-San area of Thailand. There are sugar cane plantations everywhere with overfilled trucks dropping sugarcanes all over the road.


    My hotel room overlooks the Mekong River. The water level is low and is mostly sandbar.
  3. desert rider

    desert rider SWL

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    Dave , ive just come back from Laos yesterday after doing 12days covering 2500Km along the Ho Chi Minh Trail from north to south along the Laos/Veitnam border, 80% offroad , we had a guide , just be very carefull where you ride , keep to the trails and tracks even when going on the dirt as there are still huge amounts of uxo.
    We accidently rode into the middle of a clusterbomb dropzone (minefield) and came within 200mm of hitting one :eek1
    I never once felt unsafe , the people are very friendly.
    The police up near the veitnam border can be a little bit of a pain, but i think its a case of money talks.
    If you want any info let me know,where are you crossing over into Laos?
  4. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    I'm in Pakxe already heading to 1000 island area or maybe it was 3000.. some thousands of islands.. But yeah, good call to stay on the roads, or "roads". I plan to travel the rest of the way through Laos offroad.
  5. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    The roads just seem to keep getting better and better. Today John, Kelly, and I did a 300 km ride. I met them in Bangkok before I got the bike and for the longest time, they just figured I was pretending that I was a motorcycle traveler.


    I'm pretty lazy tonight.. so here's the summary mini-post style:
    * stung in the face by a barbed bug. ouch. face swollen looks like I got hit minus the bruising
    * second time that happened, first time on way to CM. I got hit right above the mouth and I had well.. bee stinger lips
    * Roads amazing.. views amazing.. Thailand people so incredibly nice-- always waving hello, smiling, curious
  6. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    <dl id="attachment_461" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Sugarcane truck drive in I-San</dd></dl>
    The end of an era is soon. I will be leaving my Thailand to check out a new country -- Laos. I don't know much about it, I haven't even opened up my Lonely Planet to Laos.


    Today's ride was pretty fatiguing. It was 330km of asfalt and a tiny bit of dirt while trying to avoid some city traffic. We probably spent more time driving slowly through the dirt and taking wrong turns (me in the lead, following GPS!) than it would have if we had driven through town.


    We've been in the I-San area of Thailand. There are sugar cane plantations everywhere with overfilled trucks dropping sugarcanes all over the road.


    My hotel room overlooks the Mekong River. The water level is low and is mostly sandbar.
  7. CBAT

    CBAT occasional wanderer

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    Stay safe.
  8. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Ack! I forgot about my adv thread for my last update. I usually try to update here and my blog at the same time, but now my blog is a bit ahead! I also like to post "mini updates" there that I usually don't bother advrider with them.

    Here's a mega-mini-update about Laos:
    Sorry about lots of text and only a few pictures... but the internet hasn't been so accessible lately! On to the post...


    I've never seen a sky as dark as in Laos. The amazing invisible line that creates borders never ceases to amaze me. Well, in this case, there is a river, the Mekong. As soon as you cross the border, you know that you are in a different country. Laos is a communist country by label, but I didn't really expect much of a difference. The red flag sporting the hammer and sikle is everywhere usually accompanying the Laos Flag. I haven't seen any recognizable international chains, but I haven't been to any big cities yet. So far in my few days of driving around, it seems like there aren't any.


    There are villages after villages. Cows are grazing on the side of the road next to the kids who are playing in the street. I really have to watch my speed to make sure that I can always come to a complete stop because there always seems to be something or someone in the way. Scooters outnumber 4 wheeled vehicles probably 30 to 1. Surprisingly, most of the vehicles I have seen are newish Toyota pickup trucks.


    The people here are easily as friendly and curious as the Thai. The language spoken here is Laos but it is similar enough to Thai that I just speak DaveThai (waaay worse than DaveSpan) at them and they seem to know what I mean after about the same number of attempts as it takes back in Thailand. I understand that Loas is an older and more original form of Thai.


    For the first couple of days, I was in Central Loas. Here there are mountains that seem to spring out of nowhere. They go straight up into the sky to a point.


    Other highlights:
    <dl id="attachment_467" class="wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 310px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Giant Laos Cave</dd></dl>
    * Super big cave where I met a swiss woman and her brother. The swiss woman works for a bomb disposal unit for the swiss army who is contracted to rid Laos of the ordinance that the USA dropped here during the Vietnam war. Fortunately, I resisted the urge to ask her if she had a swiss army knife or had seen The Hurt Locker.
    * There are really only a couple of paved roads in the entire country. I haven't been here long but it doesn't take much to find offroad tracks.
    * Everyone here is extremely friendly and always smiles or waves at me on the bike. It makes riding here a true pleasure.
    Today: 306mi a new record!
  9. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Thanks!! I'm trying to stay safe but it is rough with the CRAZY ass drivers over there. Central American drivers are much more predictable than SE Asians!
  10. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

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    Dave we need sweet jungle riding photos of Laos asap! How is the bike doing? Looks like smaller and lighter is definitely better on the trails you've been going. Central America must seem developed now...
  11. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    I picked up a contract doing some web site work, so any time I have online I have to work! Reality has set in a little bit on this trip. I'm going to try to get a RR update soon enough.
  12. GLantern

    GLantern A Nut Behind The Bars

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    Subscribed you are an inspiration I just bought a DRZ last week.:lurk
  13. Groomez

    Groomez Been here awhile

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    I sure am eyeing a DRZ400 right now. I have no idea why Suzuki advertisers don't pay attention to stuff like this. :evil
  14. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Mixing work and play is good, especially if that keeps you on the road longer!
  15. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Plus, most of it is motorcycle related! I worked on http://www.riderscorner.net . Phil, a KTM/DRZ/others bike rider runs this hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's a wealth of knowledge and the place has great food.
  16. bigdamo

    bigdamo Been here awhile

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    This is great are you going into China?
  17. Ranger159

    Ranger159 That'll Do DONKEY!

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    Cool thread, great reading.....:clap
  18. jackpiner57

    jackpiner57 Moto-Racks.com Super Supporter

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    Subscribed to this one! Would love to see some more pics when you get the chance.:thumb
  19. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Well, it happened again. After a nice flurry of activity my blog was silent for a couple of months. I'm planning on doing a few entries to share a couple of the stories along the way through Laos and Cambodia. To skip way ahead to today, I'm back in Bangkok for the 4th time preparing my bike to ship to the next leg: Amsterdam to Magadan.


    Magadan??? What?? Yeah, well, after meeting a few people I've since realized that it is unreasonable to ship to Mongolia then drive to Europe now because even though the weather is starting to warm up, the river levels are too high to do the fun routes. I'm going to stop being a contrarian and head the direction that everyone else does: Europe -> Asia.



    Hopefully I'll be able to meet up with other riders along the way so I can take more adventurous routes than if I were traveling solo going the other way. I guess I'll not complete an "Around the world" trip, but hell, that is just a flag planting exercise anyway.


    You pay attention in your geography class? If yes, continue.. if no, skip the next paragraph.


    My planned route is to ship to Amsterdam then visit Germany, Luxembourg, back to Germany, Switzerland, northern Italy, the south of France, Spain. Then from Spain, take the ferry to England and tour the UK. Take the chunnel (CHUNNEL!!!!!) to France then head through Germany to Poland. Depending on time, head from Poland to either Ukraine if I'm short on time or south towards Turkey around the Med Sea area. In either Bulgaria or Turkey, do a major bike maintenance and sort visas. Then head to Georgia and study russian for a couple of weeks in Tbilisi if I can find a class. Get through or around the Caspian sea to either Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan. Eventually end up in Uzbekistan (Qalaysiz!) to Tajikistan then back up to Kyrgyzstan. Head BACK into Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan!!!!!!) then to Mongolia for middle of July. From Mongolia head to Magadan via the "Old summer road". Finish up in August or whenever it is too cold to ride by shipping back to Vladivostok then to the USA.


    Now that wasn't too bad, was it?


    Where have I been while not updating my blog? Check out my new updated route pic. You'll also find this on my pannier of my moto.
    <dl id="attachment_474" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Here's the updated route for my little DRZ 400 motorcycle traveling around the world. But not really around this time. Just traveling the world.</dd></dl>
  20. Creation

    Creation Been here awhile

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    What did you think of Seattle? Like it?