Four cities in four days - the Muppets boycott the tarmac

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by BignTall, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Connecting 4 cities in 4 days of off roading

    Riders: Honda Honkey, [​IMG]
    BignTall

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    Bikes: Lardy Honda XR 650, Lithe KTM 525EXC
    Route: CNX- Fang- Chiang Rai – Phayao – Chiang Mai

    Well after a few days of slothful retirement like living around Chiang Mai the road was singing to us like a cocktail singer in a jazz club to come join it. However the dirt was whispering in our ear like some floozy in a Karaoke joint, with a skirt that barely covered the bum, breasts heaving to burst out of a skimpy brassiere, and dragging her nails into the grey area where your thigh becomes your crotch… ……well you get the idea, we went with the dirt instead of bitumen. Yaaaay.

    Day one – Chiang Mai to Fang

    The day began at breakfast at a place where a lot of good (and not so good) ideas and rides originate, breakfast at Ians X-centre with the usual group of friendly faces to serve us brekkie.

    Hit the road to get off the road northeast of the Prem center and took truck dirt roads to our first stop, the thriving metropolis of Sop Gai, northwest of Mae Taeng (home of another balcony performing thriller but that’s a story for another board).

    Sop Gai's welcoming comittee about to initiate the XR with a much deserved golden shower.
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    Once we reached Sop Gai it we filled up the tanks with fuel, keep your wits about you at the fuel pump as the gent operating it was learning off his Malaysian Fuel suppliers how to raise fuel prices between bikes and his math was as dodgy as Lukes late night acquaintances. Next stop was to explore some tracks to try and meander our way to Muang Khong. Lukes posted about some fun trails we did on another ride leading out of Muang Khong is detailed in another thread, some great riding around here.

    We left Sop Gai on a truck road that we thought would parallel the river; however it headed northeast away from the river into the jungle. Some fun tracks through this section with tires spinning out of all the corners and the day beginning to get into the groove.

    Ten KM’s later we hit a bridge that crosses over the Mae Taeng river. We enquired about how to get to Muang Khong and once again we were told we missed. Yep throughout life I’ve been reminded I missed the plot, missed the hole, and now missed the turn.

    The villager at the river stated the road did not go through to anywhere out the backside of the village.
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    We did not confirm it so that means we’ll need another exploratory trip to this village to see for ourselves. We were told go back the way we came a KM and make a left and take the trail into Muang Khong.

    Dutiful gents we are we followed the kind mans words, who by the way spoke perfect English in this dinky hill tribe village. Sadly his command of our language helped us naught in gaining command of his jungle. Yep we got lost and dead ended into a river with no clear way to continue. The good side of this is it was wonderful singletrack to explore.
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    Sort of like courting a dysfunctional girl, not what you’re really looking for but a hell of great time for the time being. Nice spot to get lost so we soaked it up pretending we were scouring the jungle for trails when we were just trying to figure out which way North was at this point.
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    We backtracked again, hmmm beginning to see a lot of that already and the ride has just begun. This is why you need a gas tank that carries fuel instead of hints of fuel like the KTM. Exploring off road often requires numerous attempts up various trails to get to your destination. A limited fuel supply does not fill you with confidence when flipping coins about which trail to explore and not having any idea where it does and does not go.
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    The left we needed was more than two Kilometers from the river (not one) and once again turned into some nice singletrack.
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    If you hit this bridge you’re on the right track.
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    Just pass this bridge is a fork in the trail.
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    It’s at this fork I waited for the Honda Barge to make its presence known. I heard the burst of exhaust and knew Luke was gunning the phat pig up the trail, then like a fat girl post climax the XR let out a very uninspiring groan and passed out. Next was Luke’s comforting statement being whispered into the XR’s ear “oh for f___ks sake”, and I knew we would have a bit of quiet time for Luke and I to sort out the worlds problems. Seems the XR was learning the fine art of European whinging from the precious KTM. The XR in its post coital slump.
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    The bikes are like Thai girls so when they threw a tantrum we just did as all good gents do….we ignored ‘em. Sure enough a few minutes for them to realize “hey, it could be worse, I could be picking rice in Isaan and living on a dirt floor” bought the bikes to reality just like it does the GF’s and all was bright and cheery again with the XR regaining its composure. Like the GF’s we never found out or could understand why the XR went into a tizzy. Onward through the fog.
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    Next stop was Muang Khong for some drinks for the boys and a chance for the darker skinned Isaan Honda to attempt to chat enviously with the white skinned KTM about her lovely set of upside down forks.

    Luke applying the magic "abra kadabra" trick, the key to the XR's trademark reliability.
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    We were trying to decide which way to take to Wieng Heng. There is a lovely piece of singletrack that goes but it involves three river crossings that you cannot ride through most times even in the dry season. Now being rainy season and we thought we might need a snorkel and flippers to get the bikes across so instead played the rational card and would avoid the river and take a truck dirt road to Huai Nam Dang then a right up and through doi Chang on into Wieng heng.

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    In contrast to the fun singletrack the road from Huai Nam Dang to Wieng Heng is pretty sedate and not that exciting. It does however have a few nice spots for pictures.
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    Having ridden this road a few weeks earlier pics were not paused for. The most excitement we had was trying to scour gas for the KTM. Just an FYI, gas in Doi Chang is pricey and the slimey guy sells it in two liter Coke bottles that are short filled. When Luke pointed this fact out to the gent by holding up a two liter new bottle of Coke next to his “two” liters of gas the difference was quite visible. This being Thailand the gent ignored the logic and refused to sell two honest liters of fuel. Bastard must have known about the needy KTM. Luke could snub his nose with his proper tank on the XR but the ever needy KTM had me bend over and get screwed without even a glass of wine.

    Rocked into Wieng Heng for some vittles and tried to figure a way to get the most dirt between here and Fang. We ended up choosing the dirt road that connects Wieng heng and the 1322 with the 1178 and ArunaThai. This is about 16KM of fast dirt fireroad with loads of drifting and tire spinning to be had. We came out to where the road turns to pavement and funnily enough I felt my motard tires on this dirt road worked as good as the knobbies. From this point on Luke and I were looking for a way to jump back in the dirt and find a way to cut off a large portion of pavement and come out lower down on the 1178 near a village called Na Wai.
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    This is where off road exploring can become tiresome. Chasing down any road you see only to have it dead end and forced to backtrack, time after time causes one to eat through quite a bit of patience. Not to mention the gas and daylight that is wasted. We queried every villager we came across about ways to get from the northern edge of the 1178 near the border down to lower on the 1178 or even back on the 1322 but to no avail. Nobody said it was possible, we got more negative feedback than what Luke and I even get at the hi-so Thai dance clubs. If anybody has suggestions how to join up these roads we’re all ears.

    Sadly the exploring around and coming up short used up too much daylight and forced us to take pavement almost all the way to Arunathai.
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    If you look at the map you can see where the 1178 comes southeast from the border and hooks up with the 1340 which has you do a U-turn and head back north into Aruathai. We were able to cutoff about 10kms of pavement by just cutting straight across the dirt in this section. The ride was a bit tricky this time for routefinding as we were in farming land and kept coming across dead ends but eventually got into town where we got some drinks and gas. I began fantasizing about tonights late night company a bit early.
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    Whilst Luke wrenches on the XR. For those that have seen Robert Redfords movie the "Horse Whisperer" about a horse trainer that has insight into a troubled horses mind, Luke does his best Robert Redford impression on the XR. Sadly much like his insight into the Thai female mind Lukes draws a daunting blank.
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    Then a look at the watch confirmed it would be pavement into Fang for an attempt at corrupting the locals.
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    There is a very nice right hand corner on the way into Fang and the 107 that has a nice overlook. Luke and I stop hear often to plan the next ride we'll do, debate bike characteristic and other such worldly topics.
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    The evening had us engage in the usual time wasting game of cavorting with pretty, white skinned girls in the hopes of lurid times. Why do we bother??? Then the evening changes for the better, we acknowledge a few brain cells and let the libido dictate, and do what every man does near closing time. Grab the ugly ones.

    And so ends the first day of the trip. Highlight being the singletrack from Sop Gai to Muang Khong.

    Day two to follow.
     
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  3. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Guys, the prose just keep getting better and better - had to pick myself up after rolling around on the floor in fits. Keep it coming!!!

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
     
  4. dirthonk

    dirthonk Ol'Timer

    from muang khong to hai nam dang was pretty decent, as dirtydog said just follow the power lines, however the slog from haui nam dang to wiang haeng makes it probaby worth giving the rivers along the singletrack a go. the trail is longer than you think it is and theres that bastard at the pumps in doi chang to deal with.

    at about 3-5 kms after kae noi we were looking at a right to take us down to the 1178 as justin said, having poked down one and asked about 5 pickups full of passengers not one person knew of anything that went through, i stressed that we were willing to ride chicken or goat trails if we had to as often the locals assume you after the easiest ride and just point you straight down the tarmac. so with about 60people in total we figured maybe there wasnt actually a trail at all.
    could the mighty B and B msp be wrong, i certainly hope not as recent info coming in from HF suggests that trying this route from the 1178 might be the go, i mean if its on the B and B it has to be there right?

    good report BnT, the slating my graceful honda took hasnt gone unnoticed though, wait for day 3!
     
  5. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Day Two – Fang to Chiang Rai

    Awoke the next morning in the Phu Manee Hotel (decent clean place for 350 a night)to find two other degenerate riders from the GT-rider clan occupying the same hotel. Bulldust Bob and his friend…. uh oh I think it was Mark, were on an overnight trip from Chiang Mai. They were hanging out at the Ritzy for dinner and drinks and Luke and I were elsewhere so missed hooking up with them. Made the mistake of ordering the Farang breakfast instead of rice soup and got what I deserved….a poor farang breakfast.

    After breakfast Luke and I loaded up and pointed the bikes east of the 107. Directly east of Fang the paved roads turn into dirt and the fun begins to unroll. Our first destination is Wawi about 20 km’s south of the Myanmar border on the 3037 highway. Wawi sits a lot higher in elevation than Fang so the trail was on an incline almost the whole way especially once we hit the foothills. The downside to an uphill trail is the water runoff ruts almost the whole way for you to play the game of “keep your wheels out of the ruts” for 20 km’s.

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    Ironic to have a ten foot wide trail that you’re forced to have to stay on a bit of trail 6 inches most of the way. I can imagine this trail would be a right pain in the arse if it was wet with uphill ruts the whole way. Luckily it was steaming hot today so no fears.

    Scenery was at least decent.
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    Luke and I waddled into Wawi in the heat and were yearning for some air conditioning to cool our heels over some lunch. We were both hoping it was Ban Wawee (as in Wawee Coffee so we could bask in the comfort of their home branch air conditioning), sadly it was Wawi as in “mi mie” air conditioning. Best place for vittles we determined after two laps of the village was this establishment.
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    Complete with stocked cooler having Diet Coke for the diabetic and chilled coconuts to pretend we were on the beach soaking up the palm tree vistas relaxing.
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    Not only that but the sisters running the place whipped up a mean Pad Prik Geng, decent place after all.
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    Bellies were full and the cute sister was married, so time to hit the trails again. There is a trail North East out of town that turns into a wonderfully scenic traverse high up in the hills and passes Doi Chompu (1363M).
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    Not only was the scenery fantastic but the trail was a blast, dropping, weaving, and climbing all along the hill with jumps and drops to keep the wheels in the air.
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    There’s even a super steep 1 km drop that you prey you would not have to turn around and go back up. So lets hope this trail goes through. Really fun stuff. It was sooo much fun that sadly we did not stop for photos for you boys reading, sorry. Maybe it’ll be incentive you need to come ride this trail.
    Luke hanging the XR out like its a CRF250
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    The trail eventually drops down to the Kok River and parallels it for another shot of pretty scenery.
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    We headed north to fill in some missing tracks for DavidFL on his map.
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    The trail paralleling the river was really entertaining on the dirt bike and ranges from tight truck road to bits of singletrack. I decided to take a picture of Luke coming steaming over a cattle guard.
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    Seems the fat XR was feeling her frumpy self and refused to leave the ground. Absolutely nothing to do with my delayed trigger finger on the camera.

    The Cover girl KTM not having the Isaan hip disease the XR suffers from gladly lifts her skirt for the admiring gents and jealous XR.
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    Luke and I would take turns chasing each other up the river with heckles yelled at each other through the helmets. On one out of control downhill I could hear Luke laughing hysterically as the wheels were locked up and sliding out of control, loads of fun was had on this section. Occasionally the KTM would remind me it had a rear spring in it for 200 pound gorilla aussie motocrosser and not for a light and lithe (ok scrawny) me.
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    Luke was leading on one section and the wild life conservationist in him was absent on this stretch it seems. Over a jump, brake for a corner (well I braked, Luke didn’t it seems) and went screaming into the corner. Instead of finding a nice berm to lay the bike into to his surprise a horse was marking the apex of this turn for him. It was either center punch the horse or hang a right off the trail. Luke hung the right and went sailing off the turn into the bushes. I came around and started laughing my ass off seeing the horse standing their nonchalantly staring at Luke, with the XR pilot imbedded in the bushes down off the trail.
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    Adrenaline was coursing through Luke’s veins at the close call and both of us thankful he did not injure the horse. We were wondering how much we’d be liable for if he’d of stuffed the XR into the belly of the horse. I’ve seen a lot of animals on trails but this was my first horse.

    We headed North for about 7 KM’s up the river getting the tracks for DavidFL then turned around and headed south. Once again the trail was a ball and the fun meter was pegged, so once again no pictures. The day’s heat would wilt Hades and Lukes method of combining whiskey with soda water to keep hydrated the prior evening was not bearing fruit. Poor ole Luke was about to turn into Puking Luke if we could not get him some water soon. He was battling dehydration and feeling feint and dizzy, nothing out of the ordinary, only this time it was not the end of an evening out and no pretty karaoke gal to shuttle him home. Took pity of my wilting flower of a partner ans shoved my Camelback tube in his mouth and told him to suck. Hmmmm that didn’t sound quite right, but you get the picture. Stumbled into small village down the road and we passed out in the shade nursing ourselves with water and Sponser. Got our legs back underneath us then headed to our overnight destination of Chiang Rai about 25kms away as the crow flies.
    Luke feeling refreshed after the water and break and comments how light the XR feels almost as good as the CRF he owns once he's fresh.
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    Rolled into Chiang Rai and stayed at our 2nd favorite hotel. The Sport Inn. Right across the street from the infamous Red Rose hotel and its theme rooms. The Sport Inn at 350 baht is cheap, safe, clean, and has HBO.

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    Strolled into town to check on the GT rider groupies and got to hear all the sordid details about the famed Transmoto Sport tours that had come in the night before us on a bender and proceeded to soil our honeys. Bastards. I’m sure Happy Feet was chuckling up his sleeve at leaving the town in ruin for our arrival. The evening fades into fuzziness and all I remember is drinking with a Thai cop outside a massage parlor and the look of horror on the face of the concierge as I strolled back to the hotel with one of Burmas finest. No doubt though Luke would make me look good as he was lubed to the gills, still out, and lord knows what would drag him home.

    End of day 2. Lukes posting about day 3 on another thread.
     
  6. siinthai

    siinthai Ol'Timer

    I think most of us poor bastards at home are about to give up and just watch for your next post.
    You guys are really doing the game proud...F%@k&ng A !
    I'm writing my resignation letter and moving for good!!
    Keep it wound up and let the good times roll.
    Good on you boys !
     
  7. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Don't know what version of the B&B map you have but on my map (bought quite a few years ago) there is no road drawn.

    The Pranok Withaya map for Mae Hongson shows two roads - one just before Kae Noi linking with the 1178 well south of the junction to the 1340) and one a few km after Kae Noi (linking up again with the 1178 about 10-15 km further on along the road).

    However, my other map (the green 7017 series) does not show this road. By the way, this map shows at least 4 Kae Noi villages (Muser Dam, Muser Deang, Chn and one without any addition). There may be a track from Kae Noi to Ban Nam Mae Huang which is located a few km east of Kae Noi. From this village the 7017 map shows a road which links to Ban Muang Na. In case you want to have a look at this 7017 map just let me know.

     
  8. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Simon - I fly out of Thailand for four months and I well know the drudgery of not slinging your leg over the bike and putting some miles and new experiences under the belt. Figure try to make some other buggers day as he sits home and not on the bike...hell in a few months I'll be that bugger.

    Hand that resignation in, word is they need new male dancers in Chiang Mai's "Boystown" and some of the leather outfits you have to wear you may be able to use on your motorbike as well :D .

    Auke wrpte
    Thanks for the map image Auke. This sounds and looks like the road we got feedback from more than 30 villagers regarding and they said it did not go past Muang Na. However we did not confirm it as we went looking foer other trails.

    This sounds like what we were looking for:

    When you say just before Kae Noi are you talking east or west side of it?

    Thanks Auke.
     
  9. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Well, not sure if I would want to rely on the PW map as the roads according to this map are far too nice. The road is shown on the map south-west of Kae Noi - or just before Kae Noi when you come from Wiang Haeng/Piang Luang.
     
  10. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    HF - You my friend may be the only GT rider not sleeping in class. Well Rhodie got the other picture we snuck in of the Yamaha on the kawasaki trip in another thread.

    Sometimes we test our threads with some surprises to see if everyone is awake. Lot of sleeping going on over here it seems. haha.

    Still some surprises left in the day 3 thread for those waking up.
     
  11. siinthai

    siinthai Ol'Timer

    B+T...didn't realise this was a pop quiz....will respond to your follies next time
    On a good note Nackers and I hit the trails of Phang Nga yesterday. Took the motard offroad through the jungle and Rubber plantations- what a blast-can handle most of the dirt fine....that clay when wet is a bit of excitement though! Got stuck up a mountain following a bulldozer trail that led to nowhere....lactic acid poisoning set in and weren't sure I'd get off the hill.
    Great day out but so unfit its embarrasing...will post a quick day report in the next day or so.
     
  12. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Day Four

    Not many photos of this leg so a short summary of day four.

    Woke up on the fourth after a night out in Phayao with the Transmotosport tour group. It was a rather mellow night out for some of us with some perving at Big and Balls at the lake front restaurant and the BM club providing some more sights and sounds to enjoy. It was Luke that put the most efforts into damaging the liver as I strolled home before 1:00am with Happy Feet. Back at the hotel I was awoken by strange moans and groans, having Happy Feet and Luke in adjoining rooms this is normally nothing out of the ordinary. However once moans were joined with drunken mumbling and banging about I began to think Luke may have been reading up on some of Rhodies perverted websites. I opened my hotel door and Luke in all his glory was sprawled out on the floor in the hotel corridor with his head propped up on the room door, erm, a wee bit inebriated, mumbling some dribble he learnt in his uni philosophy class, and incapable of turning his hotel door knob. Such technological innovations sometimes confuse the simpletons in life’s journeys

    Luke the morning after his hallway dancing session
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    We loaded back up the bikes for the last leg of our ride. Today we would ride off road from Ngao (just south of Phayao) back to Chiang Mai.

    A crash the day before ended up leaving the bike more bent than Lukes personality. Luke’s handlebars were pointing West when the bike was traveling North. So we broke out the micrometers and began fine tuning chassis adjustments to right the bike. In other words slammed the wheel into a concrete barrier multiple times to straighten the bars in the triple clamps.
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    We then trudged down the highway towards Ngao.
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    10 KM’s before the town of Ngao, after a village named Huai Un, we turned west on some asphalt. We were going to try an alternative beginning to the track. After 6KM’s of winding new asphalt the road turned into dirt and the fun began. We stopped in a small village to refuel,
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    and laugh with the locals.
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    Once again friendly villagers always add to the experience one enjoys when getting off the beaten path.
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    The trail was easy truck dirt roads nestled in hills of about 1000 meters. The trails were scenic and the ridings easy as there were no ruts of any kind.
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    The most techinical it got was having to duck for the tree.
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    and asking directions from the locals
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    Prior to the ride Luke and I thought this section of trail would be dry, rocky and dusty amongst chaparral shrubbery. Turns out we were wrong (what else is new), the first 2/3 of the trail were winding through the scenic hills almost 1000 meters high, cool and pleasant.
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    Even stopped by a little stream for a breather.
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    The last 1/3 is high speed graded road through new teak plantations. An FYI. The west end of this track is really high speed Baja type trails with the bike pegged in 5th and 6th gear, back end drifting out of the corners, tires sliding. Fun stuff. However be mindful of other traffic on the west end of this track as you will share the trail with trucks getting to various villages and it won’t be the highlight of your ride getting imbedded into a truck grill as you’re hanging it sideways out of a corner pretending you’re a speedway rider.

    We selfishly did not stop during this section since we enjoyed it too much for pics. The trail petered out into the the villiage of Nong Nao on the 1035 where we stopped for a bite of lunch and marked the end of our ride as it was tarmac back into Chiang Mai.

    Overall an easy section of dirt road going about 58 KM's from the turnoff of Highway 1 near Ngao to the 1035 by Nong Nao. If its dry and you're a confident rider it could be done on a larger Africa Twin type bike.
     
  13. dirthonk

    dirthonk Ol'Timer

    just a note that this trail can be accessed from many different ways as the track we entered on was not on the gps.definite area for exploration though as many many trails heading off from our main trail. scenery good aswell. only downside was having to ride back to chiang mai on the road.
    auke any way to get from the 1035 back to chiang mai area off-road??
     
  14. mussen

    mussen Ol'Timer

    Watch the livestock guys, this is what happened to me the last time I came across some

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  15. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    Love it and sent the link to many friends...

    Chris
     

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