I just wanted to say a special thank you to the riders on GT Rider. I arrived in Chiang Mai six months ago, bright eyed and looking for some riding fun. My hat is tipped to the GT Rider clan as I was just another newbie rotating into northern Thailand. These poor guys in Chiang Mai I’m sure get their fair shares of people like me wandering in for advice; sage and otherwise. I stumbled across their lair at the Kafe and met up with the fearless leader David Unkovich who was nice enough to introduce me into the fold over time. Over the next six months I had some of my best times sharing rides with the likes of SuzukiLuke, Silverhawk, Pikey, BarryBBQ, Danny, Jonadda, Snail, etc. These guys were all nice enough to thrash me around the tarmac and dirt trails of northern Thailand. Some of our tales are documented in various threads on this board. A nicer bunch of guys you couldn’t ask for. This got me to thinking (uh oh I thought I gave that up years ago) why did I have such a great time socializing and riding with the “dregs of society” otherwise known as the GT-Riders? There’s a lot to be found out from the GT members and I realized it’s a lot like a relationship. Give into it and you will reap back what you sowed into it. Like most people thinking about riding motorcycles in South East Asia I stumbled across the GT rider board of David Unkovich’s creation. I read away as an outsider gleaning as much info as I could. David’s sight contains a lot of info buried in different threads. First of all do everybody a favor and search the site to see if it has been discussed before. Chances are it has as we are all bikers sharing the same issues, challenges, questions and joys. The backbone of the site is made up of ex-pats that reside in Thailand on a full time basis sharing information about their experiences traveling and riding about in SEA. It gets tiresome I’m sure for these guys to answer basic questions that have been discussed multiple times. One way interaction on the board is not a way to endear you to others. To log on, glean all the info you need for your travels, possibly stop by the Kafe and have a chat with the GT Rider clan, have a great trip, and then bugger off without sharing with the board how your trip unfolded and what you encountered is a sign of selfishness that I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling. Think about it, these guys dispense info day in and day out on this board welcoming newbies and it can’t feel good to never hear back from those that you helped out with trip info ‘n stuff. So please do us all a favor and share your trip adventures, we’d love to have the opportunity to read and learn about what you came across. The demographics of motorcyclists usually contain individualists with ideas, ways, and opinions that make us what we are. Our postings will often hint at who we are, an insight into out personalities if you will. Therefore think before you post. Typing away on the keyboard after knocking back a pint of 100 Pipers has its downsides. This country necessitates a spirit of adventure. Thailand is not that big and decent maps can be found in most major cities. I fretted quality maps a lot before coming over and what a waste of time that was. David Unk’s maps plot the wonderful Northwestern Thailand and Laos like no other out there. Do yourself a favor, spend 500 baht and buy David’s maps. It will keep you on the right path and put a smile on ole Unkovichs face. I made a few mistakes on my 6 month stay in northern Thailand. First off don’t waste time trying to find the perfect bike over here. I waffled around for waaaay to long trying to decide what bike would work best for what I needed over here. Looking for a registered and plated late model KTM 640 Adventure is easy in the states and would make a nice ride over here. Problem is you can’t be choosey since bike availability is limited compared to our home countries. Bikes over here are like 2:00 a.m. in a bar back home. You take what you can get. This is especially so if you are on a short time frame. Trust me, all of my memorable times over here came from the terrain I was in and the people I had around me. Not whether the rebound dampening of my front forks soaked up the pavement wrinkles adequately or not. You can always pick up another bike later on but get anything to get you mobile and begin your adventures. Once you pick up a bike expect to spend some money to get it up to your standards. If it was Thai owned previously chances are it has had some monkey wrenching to keep it going. Plan on extra money to be spent on quality chain, sprockets, brake pads, bearings, etc then you can ride your mount with confidence. Expect the unexpected traveling over here. Nothing is ever going to go according to plan especially traveling over here. If you have expectations of seamless perfection you will be disappointed. My stay in country was absolutely wonderful. I traveled all over northern Thailand on bikes ranging from my Honda NSR 150 SP, GSXR 400, and Honda XR 250’s. Loads of fun on all of them. Most important were the people I met. This board provided an insight into a community that opened the doors to some really great times, many laughs, and of course loads of miles of fun riding. I had trips with the likes of Silverhawk, BarryBBQ, Pikey, Suzukiluke, Danny, Snail, Jonadda, etc that really entrenched in my mind the joys of riding over here. All these people opened their lives up to me and shared their insights, laughter and ribbing that makes for great friendships. From blasting the 1148 at 200KPH with SuzukiLuke to being upside down under my XR 250 too many times with BarryBBQ, and sharing countless laughs, smiles, and many miles with Silverhawk and Pikey I really owe it to you all for making my stay a really wonderful and fulfilling experience. Silverhawk presented me with a framed photograph of our last ride together that is a treasured display reminding me of what a great bunch of guys the GT-riders are, thank you so much guys for adding memories that are too numerous to count and have me yearning for my next stay over there in a few months. Proof positive that BarryBBQ and I are not identical twins separated at birth. Barry wanted to feel the awesome HP of the NSR150 unleashed with his svelte and lithe 120 KG's aboard. When we rode together we always looked like a right pair of misfits as we had different weather patterns dictated by our differing statures. Silverhawk and the reason we are all friends with Silverhawk, his GF Thim. I shared many enjoyable miles trolling around with Silverhawk and his quiet demeaner is just an absolute facade. This guy loves to cane it through the twisties with his old man looking hardbags and windscreen on the 250 suzuki feathering his knobbies. Thank you Silverhawk for your friendship. Good stuff. The main reason we all gather together is this man, David Unk. The man is a hoot to share a bottle of whiskey with and his cell phone could be sold for millions with the numbers he has buried in it. I had more fun wathing Moto GP with David and the group than my times in Nana plaza...well maybe not quite that much fun but almost. David I still need that lady in Nan's number for my next trip, and Laos with you is my goal next time over. On his left is Bikeymikey a supernice gent I met on my last night sadly. From left-right Joe of Joes motorbikes. The best place to rent enduro 250 bikes. All that I rented from there were in top notch nick and up to farang operating standards. Which is saying a lot when you see some of the trash being pawned off as rental bikes. Next to Joe is Pikey, the nicest guy in the clan. If you cannot get along with Jeff and share a laugh you're not human. This is of course if you get him before he locks himself in the bathroom to drive the porcelin bus. i don't know a nicer bloke pissed or straight, he is a joy to be around and super fun to share long rides with. Just bring a pillow for him as he has a tender bum[8D]. Silverhawk presented Jeff with a special pillow on his anniversary for just this reason, here's hoping its working well Jeff. Rusty and his GF are next to him. I was leaving as Rusty arrived in the copuntry so I could not share any fun times with him, next time though. Once again a deep hearted thank you to all the GT riders that made my stay a wonderful elixur of fantastic times on and off the bikes. Here's to drinking at that well with you all next time I am over.