Khon Kaen Bike Week!

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Blue Max, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Blue Max

    Blue Max Ol'Timer

    Prelude to the Festival - Khon Kaen.

    Well the culmination of the week-long odyssey was drawing to an end but one final event loomed on the horizon. As the speed-fever faded from the Khon Kaen road the first day of Khon Kaens Biker week had started.
    I arrived in KK and buzzed into the trusty and cheap Roma Hotel. 230 baht for a fan room, albeit on the hot side of the building. It was still good value, as long as you got in the room half-cut and late on at night. From the stay there 2 years ago it was improved somewhat.
    I’d planned on going to the first day of the festival, which was usually promotional stuff and dealers wowing with their new merchandise. But I was drained and tired. The road fatigue was pissing me off along with the bullsht of taking out the video footage using archaic equipment in the web cafes.
    Indeed it had me at snapping point a few times already but this night was the final straw. Every web cafe was unable to even process the data. I really should of expected this, but owning a mid to high end laptop means you take it for granted.
    Countless times their PCs would either shut down or just not even recognise it at all!
    Sick to the stomach h I left and decided to leave it for another time in the next city. I vowed for the umpteenth time to bring my laptop with me the next time to process the video footage on-the-fly so-to-speak. This presented its own problem, how to carry it without using the bulky Bergen. I’d carried it before using this, but it becomes a journey of masochism once your back aches for hours on end. I’d need a tank bag, and a fairly big one at that. Red Baron Bangkok was the obvious answer, but making a Bangkok run at this stage of the tour really wasn’t appealing.

    The Biker Gangs Turf.
    As if by providence I rode past a fully stocked and equipped bike shop just on the north-eastern fringes of the city. On my left was a small shop, laid out neatly and crammed with biking apparel it had sportsbikes, motocross’ and sportscruisers. Outside was a resident biker gang sat at one of those thief-proof tables and benches. Drinking the chang and shooting the shit it was obvious that they used the place as a base for operations. In addition about half wore similar leg armour to mine, albeit on the outside of their clothing along with sturdy gloves. They all rode those compact and tidy motocross bikes, well maintained and powerful. While easy for a thai to handle.
    Interestingly a stand-along female thai biker was with them. Being a tomboy she was in the gang as an equal you might say, not as one of their mistresses or the like which seems quite uncommon as far as Thailand’s biker gangs go. As I rolled up with the auxiliary fan whining they all stopped talking. They were friendly though, whether this was down to riding the CBR or not is unclear, but their leader, holding court at the doorway made himself known.
    I walked to the leader and held my breath, if this place had a tank bag my prayers were answered. They were, they had small and medium. Choosing medium I gauged it’d fit my laptop just. 2800 baht I haggled them down to in the end. It had the crucial magnets, 8 of them, which were padded to prevent scratches. The selling point on it is the ‘zoom-zoom’ capability, as the thai leader put it, of it expanding to nearly 50 liters when fully unzipped. In addition it has a waterproof cover.
    Now with this the Storm Child was converted to touring spec. The drawback is that precludes the use of a tank-mounted camera, along with being less easy to lie-down on long blasts.

    Khon Kaen Bike Week

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    I rolled into the Makro venue with two thai biker dudes I met on the way. They helped guide me in to the place with the lead rider booming on by in a mighty Vulcan! I’d never heard of these beasts before. The other rode a Harley with great bike ape-hangers on it.
    In we rode.

    I lamented leaving behind the battery housing for the helm-cam. In my busy state I’d forgotten it. Which was a shame as it would have been perfect for capturing the bike ride around Khon Kaen. Not to worry though as I still had my normal camera which could shoot video too.
    ‘You with biker club?’ Asked a thai dude in mesh half-armour.
    ‘No, independent’ I countered.
    ‘No Problem, you ride with us, we independent also.’ He pipped in a Chinese accent. I was soon to learn he was the thai Commander of the biking event. High praise indeed!
    The ride itself was well-planned yet by no means slow-ride. The grizzled tourist policeman knew his business and so did the Thai Biker Commander who ran the show, along with of course John Gooding, the farang Biker Commander.
    My Watch Ryder credentials must be moving around now, for better or worse, as first the Thai Commander commentated (to another thai) about the Hua Hin Bike Week On The Road Thailand had published recently.
    Then, soon after, Thai CBR approached us, noting my helmet cam recognised me by it along with the bike etc.

    Like a rallying call out to all bikers the gangs were varied in age, race and style.

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    These two farang riders left straight away! They'd been to the show the previous day and were 'biked-out' and the ride-about 'wasn't their thing'. I wished them luck on their journey back to Udon Thani.

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    Some of the boys making the most of the early morning scene...

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    When it was time to go John made an announcement from the speaker pick-up, in the only way he can, and scootled on to his machine grinning like a cat that’s got the cream! And cream there was, for there were about 70 of us. Not quite an army of riders, but close to it. I lucked out arriving early and was in position 3. This made up for having no helmet camera. With the funky sirens of the police car leading us, we all set off from the Makro.

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    Traffic lights were either run on red or switched off in advance, this certainly was the red-carpet treatment, and it was like the city was saying ‘This is your day for the road bikers! Enjoy the elite treatment.’ I glanced back more than once, headlight after headlight, bike after bike was behind me, disappearing into the distance as far as the eye could see.
    I’d glanced at the route map the Thai Commander had previously and could vaguely make out it was a circular route around to the west of KK.

    We set off at a steady 90 kph. Not too slow to be grandma riding, nor too fast to upset to the cruisin’ cuthberts. Some villages we rode through looked on in awe as the thumping engines passed on by. In some they’d never seen such a spectacle I think, such were their shocked reactions!

    It was 80 kms to the nearest pitstop and garage.

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    I was here that I did my good deed for the day in helping out a fellow biker.

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    Spannering away on the foot peg, he got it fixed ok.

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    More clocks than the mothership enterprise!

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    Tourist police lead the way...

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    The Renegade Fazer, more on this character later...

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    Thai Cbrs borrowed bike from Tiger!

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    Old School biker, but mind your noggin mate!

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    Beast of a Harley!

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    Biker takeover!

    We all set off again after a 20 minute break. This time I was in the middle of the pack and was happy to buzz along with them until an overtaking vibe took like fever among those behind me. 2 sports bikes with more bikes following behind blasted past. Led by a Yamaha Fazer they meant business. My alter-ego rose up and a spirited pursuit unfolded. I overpassed all but the Fazer who, riding with a pillion passenger, certainly knew his sht. Then two big, blustering Harleys strutted their own moves on a straight. Then came the corners and they were behind again.

    The scenery was stunning, a mighty lake lay off our right shoulders and the road followed every bank and turn sharply for some time. Before long it was the ‘Renegade Fazer’, as I dubbed him due to its aggressive and rebellious style, and me. I passed him though, giving him a salute, as it didn’t do to overlord it with a ‘mere’ 400 cc bike over a much larger one.
    After a few minutes he too flexed his biking muscle and overtook again, only tolerating a mere upstart for only so long before needing to strut his stuff off to the pack :D
    It was a mystery to where we were going and behind me, we learned later, a near-miss resulted in a lady-biker dropping her bike in avoidance. She was ok though and her bike was hardly touched.
    Then we reached a small hamlet with a large school grounds. The tourist cop car still led the way and in we rode. Lining the route were scores of yellow-clad kids all greeting us as returning wanderers from afar!

    At A Distant School


    The place was no ‘galaxy high’ school with all the flash, tech and money, but they were welcoming and hospitable. Food and drink were laid on, including beer for the early boozers. I met up with ThaiCBR and we mused on the Tiger 250ccs specs.

    It looked a sonic-beater but the seat was pretty uncomfortable, more so for a bigger dude. We mused on the CBR I rode and to my surprise his critical eye instantly found fault with the Storm-Child.
    ‘Your right fork seal’s blown Jim’ He chirped up nonchalantly. I tried to play it down, thinking he was joking but he was right, it would need attention sooner rather than later.
    Another thing to do I groaned inwardly. Handily though I was given the key location for a bike bike specialist in Petchaburi by TC and this would be cause for yet another adventure later!
    Lamenting the shit potholes on Highway 4 we got stuck into the food and did the gathering thing with the others.

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    All our bikes were in the shade and close together but I could see the cliques and gatherings within the gathering of the various biker gangs and factions. Eagle Riders, The White Devils, a lone scout from The Ghost Riders along with some outlaw types with bulldog and thai script on their colours. J Gooding made mention of how some of the sportsbikers were left behind on the ride before, but we still numbered over fifty which isn’t a bad number.

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    Apart from my CBR and two others, the Renegade Fazer, a dark purple triumph most of the other bikes were cruisers.

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    As we briefly palavered the conversation shifted a Harleys chrome discs next to us. A triumph rider came along to us and pointed out, in laconic Aussie/Kiwi style, that chromed brake discs are not a good thing. This had obviously riled him a bit.

    This prompted ThaiCBR to argue take up the gauntlet arguing that it would be ok over time as the chrome wore away through the breaking action. The buzz went on for a while with umms and arrs but neither argument seemed to have any edge over the other IMO so I photo’d it and thought you dudes might wonder on it.

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    The Renegade Fazer Rider

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    He might make a mean rider, but he’s all laughs off the machine, young at heart like more than a few of us. :)

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    Guardians of the bikes – Keeping the Storm Child safe amid the devilry of the cruiser bikes ;)

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    This Phantom was the main conversation piece among some. ‘The bars are too high, how does he work the clutch properly?’ said some.
    The biker who rode this was no exception either; a real trooper and eccentric to boot, all leathered up from top to bottom, mean of eye with a determined, broke-back stride. He was old, but soldiered on with the younger dudes as best he could, in the drink and on the saddle. He managed the ride to the school ok (although some eyes criticised his ridermanship). I won’t identify him but he’s on some of the pics ;)

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    These two dudes wearing the ganja hats (or in their case helmets as well) were the party animals. Like the Norsemen of old they brought some Viking attitude and behaviour later on...
    The dog motif on the left-biker; It’s a mystery what club they belong too. I suspect Chonburi but the Thai script betrays no signs for me. Anyone able to translate it?

    ‘Come, sit here’ came a gruff mid-western voice. It was the other voice of Thailand’s roads and touring routes ; Ray23! As old as fathertime and settling into the eating groove with the others. He certainly had his quirks, but then don’t we all?

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    ‘Here, have some food to go with that’ He quipped throwing food onto my plate hither and thither.
    ‘Cheers’ I thanked
    ‘Eat that’ He pointed out some somtam. ‘But don’t eat that’ he cautioned at a covert pepper/chilli within the somtam.
    After some more food lore on the idiosyncrasies of the differences between thai and isaan/lao foods the school folk were given their award.

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    My helmet goes off to the Thai organisers along with JG who entertained the kids and made a fair dinkum speech. Ray was invited to speak also, but being the folksy shyster that he is, humbly refused. I didn’t blame him, I’d of done the same thing ;)
    A donation was made too I think, but I was pacing about by this point exploring what little there was to explore on the grounds so didn’t pay much attention at this point.

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    Others too were getting wanderlust in them, two cruisers left within ten minutes of arriving. But I thought it more ‘right’ to ride out with the others.
    By now the moods and ways of the other biking gangs were becoming plainer to see. The Eagles, like their namesakes, went about and mingled a little but tended to stand back aloof from the presentation and onlooked with the rest of us.

    The White Devils tended to be exclusively Caucasian and reminded me well of the adventuring buccaneers. Boozing a-go-go and not to be trifled with for they certainly embraced their namesakes! But were by no means out of order or hostile to other bikers.

    White Devils holding council.

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    A biker chapter whose name escapes me muttered of leaving separately apart from the other riders not wanting to ride with us. Perhaps we rode too slowly for them? Who knows?

    We got back into the city without incident, although I ended up taking a 100km detour or ‘scenic route’ back along the lake! On the way I passed some sportsbikers, the lost sportsbike detachment perhaps? They were late and had missed the assembly but at least they were going the right way. Unlike myself taking the longest way back known to man!
    The heat, as folk who live in Isaan know, was near crippling in the daylight hours and I retreated back to the hotel base near collapsing from thirst and road fatigue. After rest and copious amounts of red bull rocket fuel it was time for the night moves to began...

    The Biker Week Evening / Night Event!

    The moment some of you folks have been waiting for, the night even.
    I got to the venue just after 5 in the evening and the games had just begun.
    First it was just cyclists doing jumps off the half-pipes and whizzing about.

    I couldn’t be bothered lugging the helm and cam about so left them here to keep an eye on things at the entrance :D

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    I’d just returned to the ride-through area when this bitchin’ trials rider appeared and a ramp was put down.

    The Blue Flyer Cometh!


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    In-riding bikers were halted at the gate and it was now time for the stunt riders to show off their devil-may-care prowess at the ramp.

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    First just the ramp, then it was bikes, then two pick-ups to jump over. During one of the jumps he angled his bike slightly and buzzed on past me. It was a close-ish call and rush but that’s just part of the show, no real barriers and guts to stand and deliver! Thai biking a-go-go.
    A final jump was assembled of three pick-ups but we were interrupted by a chest of thai beauties who twittered and twinkled past like birds half-way through.

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    For a brief moment I expected them too to be put in line and there to spice up the jump but alas we were not to be indulged!

    Then it was back to the final jump! Thumbs raised off he roared.
    He hit the ramp and flew true once more...

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    Clump! Good landing.

    Blue Flyer Revealed!

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    This over, the floodgates were opened and in rode a long convoy of bikes.

    ‘Which way to the paddock’ I don’t know but aim for that camera dude over there...

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    ‘Ok man’

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    Compared to the Hua Hin Bike Week this seemed a bigger and brasher affair.
    More bikes, more babes and more panache.

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    The motocross boys arrived in force, they seemed to be a different gang to the one I’d bought my tank bag from, but in serious numbers.

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    I noticed there must be some recurring theme for a thai dressed up as an Indian, you can see him here coming in with a US Army jeep in tow, and he’d flit about on his bicycle. Seemed crazy enough for the part.

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    Note the exhaust wrap around the pipes, handy to keep your legs safe.

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    More biker gear was up for grabs here.
    Even tyres were for sale right up to 17R 190/55 (Hayabusa groove).

    The new R1 and R6 look pretty mean and cool. But I’ll stick with the Storm Child for now. :)

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    Babe Watch

    It was time to check out the babes, across at the main entrance where a few babes struck a pose as the camera said hello :D

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    Pineapple girl looked cute too

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    Biker Mistress (more on her later!)

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    Workin' class chick:

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    Pouting Beauty

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    The Blue Flyers beast mounted up and ready to roll

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    Cool control dashboard on this BMW Dakhar.

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    Chopper Groove

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    Access to the main, inner venue meant a fee of 200 baht which got you a pass and a badge. Then you passed into the inner sanctum of biking, in this case a vast plaza with things going on.

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    Foods ready...

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    So are the Bib, kinda.

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    Once inside it took a while for it to get going. Two thai women (pictured on stage later) with mics would do what I call ‘twitter chatting’ back and forth so fast they must be near telepathic to keep the pace and conversation at full pitch. This spiel ran out on the speaker system and was really shrill and withering. The jist of it was about the festival and events that took place. I made it my mission to locate these beings when I found them and gave them a ‘you’ve got some weird/amazing talent doing that’ look. They both stopped chatting and laughed before then commentating (in thai) on my amazement and interest at the rapid pace they’d set earlier. I laughed too, a very sanuk moment.

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    By about 1900 the band and singers started banging out songs and tunes.

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    Things then started bangin' on down at the boom boom pick-up: :)

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    Then at 2000 the fireworks display erupted and the Biking Commanders stepped up on stage to make an appearance.

    First to speak was the straight-laced Thai biker, he rambled on for a while.

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    Then it was John Gooding’s turn for the mic.

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    His speech, although some might say a little gushing, was from the heart and decent enough. ‘Rally to Khon Kaen, it’s the city with a big heart! The more the merrier. Never mind the hot weather’ and so on.
    These were brave and bold words, and indeed the city seems to have these things but for me the weather was a barrier for a lasting Isaan settlement this time around. Having said that I could see from the biking community in KK though that it is a decent city for riders. The moto boys and girls proved that.

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    More bikers were arriving...

    Born to be Wild!

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    Isan Thunder!

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    Roi-Et Riders

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    Skull Rider!

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    Sriphum Riders

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    White Devils

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    Pride and Glory!

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    Warriors!

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    Getting full now...

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    Bib on patrol (they sat down and then disappeared later!)

    The Indian dude was, by now, wobblin' around a bit on his bmx chopper thing. Here he is saying hello to some of the others, again.

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    I, being the lone rider was getting bored at doing the rounds now and with no sign of either Ray or TCBR went from table to table. I sat with the Viking-esque Danish Bikers. But, the language barrier along with bottles of vodka were being sunk like water (I had to leave early doors the next day) meant I had to gliss on out of there and do the walking man about for a while. Another table had two non-bikers on it, I spoke to one old US dude and he was quiet, I asked him if he had been in Vietnam. He had, but didn’t want to talk about it.

    The actual biker crowds now had leant either to full-throttle drunkenness before 9 or complete chillness, which was startling. On the one table was bawdy bikers with coyote babes refilling chang-engines with the yellow stuff, on the other was near silence in comparison. Being a middle-roader I really didn’t fit into either so just did the watcher thing.

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    The Thai dancers on stage moved to the rhythm.

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    Before leaving I checked out the Yamaha Stand before leaving and was glad I did for I happened on a scene not far removed from Babylon of old. Except instead of the temple women and flute girls with flowing robes were thai dancer babes, sportsbikes with bubblegum-music a-go-go!

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    I don’t know whether to call them coyotes or not but they sure got the crowd going a touch. All the while the dark mistresses of biking looked on like avatars as their hand-maidens and boys got their groove on...LOL
    I’ll let the video I shot do the talking. Forgive the sound quality, but to get the images I was up against a boom-boom speaker :D

    Hope you've made it down this far... It's a long report but hey this next bit should get you grooved up a bit. ;)



    Heh, reminds me a bit of the sugary days of yesteryear in Phuket pre-Thaksin when this groove was a nightly thing.

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    This Nordic lummox waltzed up to the girls and tried to get his groove going (probably a bet and the drink driving him ), but soon moseyed back into the crowd when the girls blanked him

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    That was it for me, it was time to leave the crowds and move onto the city’s night scene, which of course, is another story entirely

    Hope you enjoyed the report.

    Source:

    http://www.ontheroadthailand.com/Khon_K ... _Week.html
     
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  3. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Shit Hot Blue Max - thanks for the report, looked and sounds like a great party was had by all. Sorry I missed out - hopefully next year I can attend

    Cheers Ken F
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Blue Max
    Excellent contribution.
    Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
    All good stuff.
     
  5. Blue Max

    Blue Max Ol'Timer

    No probs man, now I've just got a ton of video and other pics to edit and put together for the Isaan trip as well! Gonna be a long set of days now! :)
     
  6. mussen

    mussen Ol'Timer


    Yes mate, the top says "Mai Pen Rai M.C.", the bottom text says "Thailan"

    Cheers
     
  7. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Hey Blue Max,
    Thanks a bunch for taking all that time to post a great report with pics and vids. sorry I did not get to spend time with you, especially if you the lone biker. Looking forward to your other reports. Cheers, John
     
  8. Blue Max

    Blue Max Ol'Timer

    It's cool man, hope to see you up in Chiang Mai when we hot-ride it up there :)
     

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