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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Doogle, Mar 3, 2017.
Doogle in front with now the correct tyre pressures
Well when you put it that way, I can see how bad that tire was flopping around. And I thought it was the high weight on the rack.
2017-03-20 Relaxing in Chiang Mai 10 miles
Today was a laundry day. Then I found a place to stay in Mandalay tomorrow night. It is a couple blocks from the bike rental shop I will use. I rode around looking for some epoxy to refurbish my camera. It's now all glued together and setting up. Stephen and I talked online about what bike I might get. There was a possibility of a used bike-someone he knows. But shipping was too expensive or bad timing. Its unfortunate because it was a 650 under 10,000 miles, and had panniers and a windshield. I returned the Honda. I asked the mechanic where I could buy some more bunji cords. He told me to take the ones they loaned me. He has plenty. That won't happen in the states.
I didn't take any pictures today. So I'll pass on some of my thoughts about Asia. I survived the traffic. It looks insane. But I like it. I've not seen any bad attitudes. Thailand has the second highest fatality rate in the world. Stephen said almost all are caused by alcohol. But I never noticed anyone drunk. I guess it could be drunks stepping into traffic. So many people wear masks to filter the air. Even when it's 104 degrees. You see a whole family on a small scooter. 4 lives on that little scooter. I wonder what happens to the 2 year old in the front when they have a flat tire. They're not Michelin tires.
To me,Vietnam was the cleanest and had a higher standard of living. Thailand was a close second. Cambodia was down a level. But that may have been the areas I went through. I've felt very safe everywhere I've been. Well, except for that one curve that had some dirt/sand on it. The temperatures here are from 98 to 103 this week. Glad I came in the winter.
2017-03-21 Flight to Mandalay, Myanmar
Had breakfast at the hotel. Then I talked with Gayle using a new app called WeChat. I thought it was just for texting. But Stephen called me yesterday using it. Then Gayle and I did a video call last night. It seems to work better than Skype.
Stephen called me again about a used bike from near Shanghai. We considered buying this bike before. But the extra cost of shipping the bike to Kunming and then hoping it would be delivered in 5 days ended that thought. He will talk to the guy again and try to negotiate something. If that doesn't work I will be buying a bike in Kunming. Of course that's another unknown. We've looked online. But their web sites don't show anything. Which bikes they have aren't displayed. And of course no prices.
The bike in Shanghai is a 2012 CF650TR and has some nice extras on it. And it's an older model of the bike Stephen will be riding. Wait and see.
I'm at the airport now. You can't check in until 2 hours before the flight. So I have an hour to kill before my 2 hour wait. The security check was different. The line starts at the sidewalk entrance to the airport. One step in the door you put your stuff on the conveyor. But after getting my boarding pass there was another security check.
The turbo prop plane is 2/3 full. My knees are sticking through the seat in front of me. But it's not a long flight. An hour and a half. Gayle said the flight times didn't add up. Leave at 4:15 and arrive at 5:10. Mandalay is on a half hour time zone.
The city is 25 miles from the airport. I took the $3 bus. Big mistake. Waited 20 minutes to cram 26 people in it. Then I was the second last to get off. An hour and a half for a 27 minute ride- per GPS.
A couple noticeable differences here. No tuk tuks so far. You can't tell men from women looking below the waist. Both wear long skirty things. Mandalay doesn't seem too clean. From the airport to town was flat and empty. Except for many stupas or temples. There are a lot of English signs.
My $31 room at theYuan Sheng Hotel is simple and clean.
2017-03-21 Yuan Sheng Hotel 1 by
Breakfast included. I'm on the 4th floor where the restaurant is. I had a $4 chicken something dinner with a $4 beer. It was a pleasant setting.
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I complained that I didn't see or taste any chicken in my meal. My 3 waiters just smiled and mumbled something. I was the only person there. But they had a man playing some musical instrument for me.
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Just bumped into the day in Cambodia, dont leave your passport with anyone, get several copies laminated along with the rest of you ID, they can ask but no cigar . One of the planes that went down out of Malaysia had Two passengers on forged passports that were traced to a bike shop in Pataya, Thailand.
I complained that I didn't see or taste any chicken in my meal.
That was funny nearly fell off my chair when I read that lol.
Good to hear you made it OK.
P.S. you will get loads of meat in your dish in China but most likely its Dog meat lol
2017-03-22 Taung Kalat, Myanmar 199 miles
I'm staying at the Zay Yar Theingi Hotel- $25.
This morning I walked about a half mile to Mandalay Motorbike Rental and talked to Zack. At first I went past his place. It's not very big. He answered my previous email about renting a Honda CRF 250. It was $60 a day. He put some sites to visit on my phone and GPS. I went back to the hotel and got my luggage and returned. When I started loading my bags, a couple came in to rent a scooter. The girl said they were on the same plane I was on. They sat right behind me.
I rode out of the city and headed south. I want to go to Mount Popa then on to Bagan, where I would spend the night. Zach and I marked Mount Popa on my GPS. That's where I thought I want to go. There is a Monastery on top of an old volcano. I saw it on the way up the mountain.
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I passed an information booth and the man points me up a hill. It's a 7 foot sidewalk that keeps going around the mountain. I can't see anything but trees. The GPS doesn't show a road to it. I saw a path going in the right direction. Don't do it Doug. But I gotta see this place. The path gets thinner and rocky and disappears. GPS says the place we marked is 1000 feet away. I don't believe I'm going to find the monastery there. So I turned around after 4 miles off road. My GPS says low battery. I can't see where I rode up. I need the GPS to follow my tracks I made on the way up. Both my chins are bleeding from the thorns that cut through my pants. My arms have some cuts also. It was a thin over grown path. I made it back to the sidewalk road and started back. 9 miles of the sidewalk. A guy riding the other direction told me to go up another rocky rough path. I went about 4 miles. Higher and higher. I recognize some cell phone towers I'd seen from below. I'm up too high. At a clearing I looked way down the hill and see where I want to go. Miles away. And a thousand feet lower.
Back down the hill and find a place to sleep. It's getting dark. I got to the town at the base of the monastery. A monk tells me where I can get a room. It's a mile away. My plan is to ride into that town and hike up to the monastery early. Come back to the hotel for my bags and breakfast. Then go to Bagan. In Bagan I'll park the Honda and rent an electric bike to ride. Foreigners aren't allowed to ride motorcycles in the city. No wifi here tonight . So I'll try to post this tomorrow.
2017-03-23 Taung Kalat and Bagan 250 miles
The monastery in Taung Kalat,on top of an old volcano.
2017-03-22 Monastery in Taung Kalat 15 by
I got to the town about 6 am and started the 777 steps to the top. About 1/2 way up you have to take your shoes and socks off. Then you continue the best you can dodging monkey poop and pee the rest of the way. Donations are requested multiple times for sweeping the steps and just for being there. It's a great view from the top. But the architecture isn't outstanding. As I'm taking pictures, a man asked if he could take a picture of me and his sons.
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Then others wanted a picture with the tall white guy with the white chin. I'm starting to feel like a movie star. Then I said I wanted a picture of all of them.
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On the way up I went past a monkey in a narrow spot. Just after passing him, he grabbed the back of my ankle. They make me uncomfortable. So I kicked him over the cliff. Actually I just picked up my pace a little bit. There are a lot of them here.
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So I am done taking pictures and started back down. I'm near the bottom when a guy says " your shoes ". It was the guy that reminded people to take their shoes off on the way up . Glad he saw me before I got to the motorcycle. I asked if he remembered which locker my shoes were in. He correctly said "32". It was still a long walk back up to get my shoes and socks. Then I went back to the hotel and had breakfast. Then I loaded up and rode to Bagan.
These are the 2 girls working at my hotel. I asked what they had on their faces. It's a tan color. I think from the stalk of some palm tree. They said it is to make them beautiful. Some guys have it on also.
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At one time there were 13000 temples in this area. Now there are about 2200. I saw a lot of old temples before going to the Golden Palace.
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Entrance to the Golden Palace.
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The palace may be about a thousand years old. Couldn't get that figured out for sure. It's not a huge place like I was expecting.
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And some Buddhist celebration going on. Possibly a funeral.
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And the white elephants.
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When I left Bagan I went north to get closer to Mandalay. I stopped at a town for lunch and to cool off. I ate at the Golden Orange. A restaurant on an island.
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Zach told me I should go see the teak bridge at sunset before bringing the bike back. The U Bein Bridge is the oldest and longest teak bridge in the world. Built in 1850. I barely got there in time. A girl on a scooter saw me looking at my GPS with my lost look and asked if she could help me. She told me to follow her. Several miles later she pointed across a bay. It was still miles away. I thanked her and sped off.
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You'll never ever guess what happened next. I rode down a path towards the middle of the bridge so I could get a picture from on top. I reached into my empty pocket. Back on the bike to go looking for my camera. Panic. It's getting darker outside. I went back to where I took my last picture and didn't see it. Then half way back again I saw something black in the tiny ditch beside the path. My camera. Dusty but nothing broken.
I need to change my camera storage area.
I took the bike back after seeing the bridge. That was something between exciting and terrifying. Fast rush hour traffic. Everything you see in the day plus a quarter of the people driving with no lights. In front of me and at me in my lane. Sprinkle in many pedestrians wearing dark clothes. Too many needles were threaded on this 10 mile ride.
A very helpful guy.
awesome pics Doug! watch out for the flying monkeys
2017-03-24 Flying to, Kunming, China
I took a taxi to the airport. It cost $11 and took about an hour. Gas cost about $2.75 a gallon. It's about 27 miles each way. So half of the fare pays for fuel. I gave my friendly driver my remaining Myanmar money and 1 USD.
Now I have $2 till I figure how to get money in China.
I asked the driver why he was wearing a skirt. Well,that's not how I worded it. He said it is a uniform that he is required to wear. On the weekends he wears pants.
Here in Myanmar, as in all of the Asian countries so far, people have been very friendly. If you want to visit these countries,do it without fear. Unless you decide to drive or ride. I think some of the people look a little different. Leaning towards the Indian look. There are more Buddhist structures here than anywhere else I've been. I know I'm rambling on again. But I'm sitting at the airport waiting to check in.
My flight was about 2 hours. After landing and going through immigration I headed to customs. Before I got there, I saw Stephen and his wife. They were waiting for their luggage.
2017-03-24 Kunming Airport & Home Inn1 by
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Great timing. We took a taxi to the Home Inn near the city center.
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My room was $28. They couldn't accept any of my credit cards.
So Stephen loaned me some Chinese RMB until tomorrow.
About 8 pm we went to the KFC to eat. The city is very clean and there are a lot of expensive cars. This is a picture looking down the street from our hotel.
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Tomorrow we go bike shopping.
2017-03-25 Motorcycle shopping
About 8:30 the 3 of us caught a cab and rode across town to a motorcycle shop. Actually the shops we went to were more out of town. Motorcycles aren't allowed to ride in the center of the city. So the bike shops are on the outskirts of town. Kunming has a population of 6 million. Our first shopping stop had Harleys and Ducatis.
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And they didn't open until 9:30. So we got another cab to another area. Most shops are just scooters.
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I think we used cabs 5 times throughout the day. We looked at Hondas, CFMotos, Suzukis, and others. Their prices ranged from about $3400 and up. We were looking at 250-400cc bikes. As we walked to the last shop before decision time we saw a Shineray.
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It's a 250 cc with small side bags and a short windshield.
It looks good and sits comfortable. It's only $1300 with a new helmet included. It's the one I'm buying.
Once again my credit cards are not accepted. Once again Stephen and his wife put up the down payment for me. We will pick the bike up Monday about 11 am. When we got back near our hotel we went to a bank ATM machine. I have 2 debit cards. I withdrew the maximum with the first card. Then I tried the 5/3rd card. It swallowed that card. The bank said they could not retrieve it for me until Monday morning. Stephen's wife Highing ( I can't spell it, but this is the way it sounds to me), she translated everything for me. The dealers, bank tellers, and cab drivers. I'd still be in the hotel lobby without her.
This is our hotel.
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Wife name is Haiying Doogle and nice things happen to nice people we are both happy to help out.
Roll on Monday lets get riding.
Enjoying the ride report. Sign me up, I'm along vicariously
2017-03-26 This little piggy went to market
I walked to the Burger King for breakfast. Stephen accompanied me as he was walking to a storage unit where his bike was stored. On my way back I walked through the market next to the hotel.
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They have live ducks, chickens, rabbits, fish waiting to become some families pet. I probably doesn't work out that way. I didn't see any dogs. But there were a few pigs.
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I saw several places where they used a propane torch to char the legs.
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There was a stand where they made what looked like huge pancakes. While frying it they flipped it over like an omelet. Then they cut it into bite size pieces.
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And this process with rice. A motor driven worm compresses the wet rice. As it comes out, the man cuts a piece off and places it in a small hand press.
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It looks like a rice tortilla. Then the woman puts it on the grill for a while.
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When I returned to the hotel Hiaying was in the lobby. We got a cab and went to get a SIM card for my phone. Then we went shopping. I wanted another sweater. Since meeting Stephen my routing changed somewhat. We plan to ride at some very high elevations. Some of the sweaters I looked at were $150-200. Hey, I'm in China. I can buy that at Walmart at home for $15.
In another store I bought the largest they had. It's still tight. This Chinese food is blimping me up.
Tomorrow we get the new Shineray and ride west towards Dali. We've had rain off and on since getting to Kunming. So I don't know if that will work into snow as our elevation goes up. And I hope the little Chinese carbureted engine doesn't have too much trouble breathing.
Sorry I missed you. I was in Chiang Mai when you were and I am still here now
Are you coming to China?
2017-03-27 Dali,China 225 miles
This morning I went to the bank to retrieve my debit card. It took 20 minutes. They don't know why it was taken. I tried to use it again at their machine. Lost it again. They return it again. My other debt card is just rejected. The manager tells me to try at another bank. I tried several others. Finally, one bank manager told me I need to go to a provincial bank since I'm using a foreign card. I went back to the hotel and told Stephen. He wants to ride. He said he had enough money for both of us. We will work the money issue out in the next couple days. Stephen is ready to ride.
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We go to the bike shop. He paid for the balance of the motorcycle. And we begin our trip. Me on my new bike.
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Traffic is pretty typical Asian. But after getting through town, we come to the toll section. Motorcycles aren't allowed on the expressway. Stephen tells me to follow him. So we ride through the narrow space at the end of the gate. "If the police are there, keep going unless they get right in front of you." I can't wait to see how this ends. No problem. I didn't stop to take any pictures. It's quite chilly. But at least it isn't raining. Till mile 101. We stopped to rest my little unbroken in motor. We put on our wet gear and watched a bit of lightening and thunder. Then we rode another 125 miles to Dali. At 334 kilometers my speedometer and odometer retired. I thought I retired early.
The 250 Shineray feels like a 150cc bike. I'm sure some of it is the altitude and being new. I checked my GPS for altitude occasionally. We were up to 8000 feet for a while. Here in Dali it's about 6000 feet.
We got rooms very close to the ancient city gate. I can't read the name of the hotel. But it is nice enough for $12.
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Then we walked through the old city. It's busy considering that it's 8pm Monday night and raining.2017-03-27 Dali,China 16 by
It didn't have the old feeling to it.
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It was a long walk straight through the town with all the shops selling whatever tourist would buy. We stopped in one section to eat. There were probably 50 vendors to choose from. I walked past all of them twice before choosing. It was a good stop.
Then it was time for me to go back to my cool unheated room. I need a shower but the water temperature is below my threshold.
2017-03-28 Shaxi and Lijuang 190 miles
When I walked out this morning I could see the mountains that were hidden in the rain clouds last night.
We went past 4 or 5 police as we snuck through the toll gate this morning. They didn't look at us. Looks like a good day. The air started out chilly, but it was sunny. A few sites we saw along the way.
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We missed our exit for Shaxi. So we went another 20 minutes or so to the next exit. Then we rode back roads instead of expressway. They were very rough for the first half hour.
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But we saw how the rural people lived.
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And I got a picture of one of their workhorse vehicles. These machines are as common as the VW bugs were in the 60's.
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Shaxi was another old town that is trying to bring in tourism. It was interesting. But I wouldn't recommend it as a destination.
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Then we rode to a good size city. Lijuang. We got rooms at Dian Jun Wang Hotel-$60.
I went across the street to the closed bank and tried the ATM. Wells Fargo debit gave me money. My other ATM card got eaten again. I'll try to get it back at 9am when they open.
Later we walked through the old town. It started just behind our hotel. It was big and busy. Very popular. We saw it in the daylight and after dark.
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The exhaust placement relative to the (windshield) is particularly delightful, I would imagine.
Maybe that's the intake and air filter.
They sound like steam engines. Putta Putta Putta