Muppet brigade thumbs its noses at Songkran

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by BignTall, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Hmmmm after reading the post on GT riders about avoiding riding the motorbikes over Songkran the Muppet brigade had a dilemma. I had just landed back to Thailand and was itching to ride and Luke had been off bikes for a few weeks after trading in his nancy GSXR 1000 for a manly Honda 125 Sonic that tossed him on the ground and covered him in abrasions on his knees and forearms quicker than a 17 year old Catholic school girl at her first fraternity party. So we were both a bit like sailors pulling into Pattaya on a two week furlough, itching to have a go.

    Avoiding the sage advice of the GT Rider community we muppets put our heads firmly in the sand and buggered off for a couple of days, in search of twisty tarmac and writhing mountain girls, willing to suffer the watery consequences of traveling this time of year.

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    Sunrise over Doi Sutthep

    Route: 107 to Chiang Dao- 1178 to Mae Ja then left on the fantastic 1322 to Chong, then right on a dirt road to Muang Noa and onto Doi Ang Khang and into Fang for the night. Next day 107 from Fang down to Si Dong Yen then east on 1346 is a bit twisty into the 1150 and Phrao then home on the 1001 into Chiang Mai.

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    Bikes: Luke on his XR 280 with street tires and me on a KLX 300 with Motard rims and tires. Name of the game this trip was super motard terrain.

    Length: 512 KM
    Riding time: 9 hours 18 minutes

    The 107 seems to have regressed since I was last over a few months ago. Sections that were previously paved are now back to packed dirt. While dirty is a great description for your Gal it not so pleasant on a crowded thoroughfare. Especially since my front tire on the KLX is a racing slick (no tread) meant for racing on pavement circuits and not slick dirt roads. A bit of a plod up the 107 and 1178 but at least the scenery was improving.
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    Luke going through withdrawls plodding along the 107 with no decent turns in sight.

    However once we got onto the 1322 the Gods smiled on us. This road is simply the most fun you can have on light bikes. The road is fairly recent and in fantastic condition. Not a lot of traffic up and down the road so relatively little in the way of gravel, diesel, etc. This road has more twist and turns than a bargirl telling you where she was last night. It makes the MHS loop look like a freeway plod. Now it would not be my first choice of roads on a barge like a touring Beemer however if you like flicking your bike from left to right for over 65 KM’s this is the bees knees. Luke and I played Rossi and Hayden all along it, stuffing each other into and out of corners, laughing and hollering the whole way. The best way to feel 20 years younger is to ride this road on a motard bike, forget the gal in hot pants on Loi Kroh. Even caning our bikes for all they were worth our average speed along this section was only 54 kph, its that tight.

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    A fantastic road for light bikes.

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    Luke enjoying his street tired XR

    Twas not all roses however, Luke got a wake up call he’d like to forget. Going into a left hander a tree had fallen into the oncoming lane blocking it. This caused oncoming traffic to swerve into our lane to avoid the tree mid corner. Loads of fun for people like us caning up the road. So as Luke sets up for the corner a truck appears not just two wheels, but fully in his lane. He yanks the bike inside to miss the truck only to hear the roar of the GT rider board yell a warning too late. See in the back of the pickup were songkran revelers armed with a 55 gallon drum of water and a host of bucket throwers. They were on their game as they caught Luke dead center with a bucket. The poor bugger was hard on the brakes, yanking the bike, threading it between the truck and the side of the road only to be hit with water as he squeaked by the truck. It was sensory overload so we stopped to count our blessings. It was only the third vehicle we’d seen in probably 15 km’s but it was a doozey.

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    The tree that caused Luke to age a few years.

    The road continued on with nothing but turns and tire sidewall scrubbing fun for us all the way to Chong. This is what motorbiking is about, we both had grins like the cat that ate the canary. Towards Chong we started to pass through a few villages that were joyed to have the opportunity to douse the farangs on their motorbikes for Songkran. Great vibe passing through the mountain tribe villages in their local dress celebrating. A lot more subtle than the chaos in Chiang Mai.

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    Luke saving wear on his front tire. Note the scenery in the background. Fantastic views.
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    Me realizing why I never had children

    We devised a trick to confuse the local water throwers by slowing down then wheelying pass the throwers. The kids loved it and it allowed us to pass though unsoaked the majority of the time. Trouble is our clutch plates would not be able to handle all the throwers we would pass on the trip so we had to take our fair share of dousing.

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    Enjoying the Songkran festivities.

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    The beginning of the dirt road. Can some tell me what these grass structures are? Are they hollow inside? Storage?

    We turned off the 1322 onto dirt to get to Doi Ahn Khan at Piang Luang (N19 38.642 E98 38.296) . The front racing slick I had mounted on the KLX was a joy on the twisting tarmac but was now to show the other side of her personality and become a royal pain in the ass showing little love or compassion for my well being on the dirt road. The normal street tire I had on the rear gripped relatively well. The front lived up to its “slick” name and slithered around the roads like an oiled lady in a lesbian bar show. In a straight line the bars would only shake and shimmy so it was bearable. Turns and downhills however had me sweating like a hooker in a Catholic confession as the tire refused to hold at all. Bottom line those treads on street tires are good for something, Try not to go off road riding with a road racing slick. The dirt road is mostly smooth and hardpack with a few sections of bulldust. Any decent rider on most any bike should be able to handle the dirt section in the dry. If you are tentative and on a heavy street bike a couple bull dust holes will have you sweating.

    [​IMG]The front slick out of its element.

    The dirt road went on for about 15km’s then back to pavement for a couple more KM’s of dirt before leading out into more twisty pavement. The scenery on the road getting to Doi Ahn Khan the back way is the most stunning I have been on in Thailand. Running along the ridgeline with steep (for Thailand) mountain vistas the views are simply amazing. The slash and burn farming sadly kept a haze across the vistas but once it clears it should be absolutely stunning. The bikes even began running rough at the 6000 foot elevation level of Doi Ahn Khan.

    [​IMG] Villiage along the way.

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    End of the dirt road. Luke looking forward to more battles with the KLX around the tarmac twisties.

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    The KLX applauding the fantastic scenery.

    We came to a fork in the road approacjing the summit to Doi Ahn Khang. Left said to the summit and right went to Fang. We chose the way to Fang since we’d be doing this road again due to the fun and it gives us something to explore. The drop down to fang was steep with a lot of tight downhill hairpins. Silverhawk tells me if we would of made a left to the summit the other route down to Fang is the steepest road in Thailand losing all the elevation in a few KM’s. Something for next time.

    We landed into the town of Fang and secured a little hotel with separate bungalows next to a rice field thanks to a couple kids on bicycles directing us there. Luke felt secure as the bungalows had snake netting to keep the Cobras and Krate snakes at bay for us to sleep soundly.

    It was then off to vittles at Ritzy, a place David Unk reported as the place to soak in the sights of estrogen pumped Fang females. Sadly it look like the Christian right had transformed the Ritzy into a family restaurant instead of a place for sanuk. Luke and I were ready to stick pins in a David Unk voodoo doll for leading us astray so bad. An absolute fantastic sight was watching Luke trying to ask the homely young waitress if the Ritzy somehow transformed later in the evening to a venue your mother warned you about. A quick call to Unk for some redirection was needed. Luke and I had packed clean undies this trip and were smelling our best so we needed to sample some Fang goods. Unk laughed at our mistake and guided us to another club in town that was indeed adorned with every young Thai celebrating Songkan in Fang. Over 1 ½ bottles of Thailands finest rice whiskey was polished off in the course of celebrating Songkran in Fang.

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    1346 to Phrao

    A not so early rising the next day had us loaded up and plodding down the 107 to the 1346. Rains had made the roads a little slimy so we pottered along the 107 sedately. The 1346 has some very nice flowing and fun turns for the motard style bikes. Not only that it had a surprise along the road in the form of a 5 ½ foot long banded Krate snake. One of the most poisonous found in our beloved Thailand. You don’t get to see them often as they are shy and nocturnal. This poor bugger apparently keeps the field workers on their guard. The local villager told us great yarns of how the Krate bites you and you live normally for a week with no symptoms then fall over dead as a doornail. Typical Thai village myths.

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    Luke puffing out his chest displaying his comfort with the reptiles.

    Overall the section going from the 1322 over to Doi Ahn Khan then down to Fang is some of the best scenery I’ve seen in this country combined with roads in excellent shape, little traffic, and above all loads of fun twisties to give your sidewalls a workout. Not even loads of dreaded decreasing radius turns to upset you.

    What are you waiting for get on it.
     
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The Dr G rumour is these are where the female nudists take shelter during the heat of the day. Take a peak inside next time your ride past one....

    I'm really glad that you've done the Doi Ang Khan loop at last. There are several more truly excellent loops out there you can do & the info for these in the GT Riders Golden Triangle guide book, that both Gecko & Bookzone books still have copies of - some returned books sourced from the publisher I understand.
    Now for your next trip, try going up DAK via Nor Lae & going down via Sinchai & Mai Bong Nua; plus have a crack at some of the Doi Larng loops just north of Fang / south of Thaton.
    You might also want to have a crack at a Wawi loop from Fang.
    Info for these is in the book.
    By doing these as day trips / loops from Fang you don't only need the Cheers Pub / Khrua Luang as a reason to spend a night in Fang. Enjoy it whle you can - Fang has been one of my fave overnight destinations for many years & over a bottle or two I could tell you a story or two...
     
  4. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Colin- Spot on my friend. Roads up there are a joy.

    David - The dolts at the kawasaki dealer failed to inform me my dirt rims were backordered for months. So the motard rims shall be getting another workout. You've given me some good fodder there to mix a recipe of great fun up above Fang. I'll be leaving in a few days to put some more miles and days in around Fang. Maybe a rendevous at the Cheers Pub, eh?
     
  5. Joko

    Joko Ol'Timer

    what a great report and fantastic pix to boot.
    Thank you[:D]

    joko-agoin'-soon
     
  6. dirthonk

    dirthonk Ol'Timer

    riding on ahead of justin in the dirt section i had identified this slippery little downhill section as a potential whoopsy from justin with his slick on the front, the dust was inches thick and the road was badly rutted underneath, i felt sure i would see blood splilt, in preparation for this i parked my bike in the bushes and took position with the camera. seconds passed and then minutes, i then heard the burble of justin klx, my heart raced at the thought of the photo i was about to get... however it wasnt to be as captain fantastic sailed down the hill with the bow of his klx kicking up an almighty wave of dust before it, it was a spectacular moment much like a cruise liner parting the ocean before it.

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    as justin has already mentioned the views in this area are stunning and a large majority of the time we were riding along the tops of ridgelines

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