Muppets dance with borders and mate with the Armco

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

  1. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    So the Chiang mai Kawasaki dealer gave me the crummy news that my dirt bike rims would be backordered. Causing me to put the much anticipated dirt bike riding on the back burner until rims are procured. So what do we do to ease our pain???? Well Luke and I had an absolute blast hooning around the tight twisty tarmac in an earlier report to Doi ahn Khan and fang that we thought a longer route of the same conditions should ease our pain a bit and not end up with hangover and wallet crushing effect if we choose the alternative of bottles of Black label in some posh karaoke club.

    Maps were poured over and Luke painstakingly tried to suss out every tight corner in northern Thailand for some tire scrubbing fun. We ended up with a five day trip of nothing but horizon tilting fun and irresponsible riding that mum would not approve of. If you are over on vacation renting a Honda Baja I believe this could be the ideal loop for the combination of great scenery and fun on the bike, with as little boring straight roads as can be put together. If you abhor corners stay away from this route!!

    I’ll break the ride report up in a couple parts as I’m too lazy to pen it all at once.

    Day 1 route: 107 from Chiang mai to 1178 up to Doi Ahn Khan then the summit to the 1340 down the 3015 into Fang. I recommend however instead of taking the 1178 to the summit skirt around and take the gorgeous 1322 instead to the summit. A much better road in fantastic conditions and filled with fun corners. Full report in this earlier thread (http://board.gt-rider.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2419)

    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. For day one we also had Chris with us on his Yamaha WR 200 until his libido caused him to want to rub up against the Armco.

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    The gruesome threesome

    For most of day one reread the above linked report for a description of the roads. There are two ways to descend from the summit of Doi Ahn Khan. I prefer the 1249 as it’s a nicer road however you then have to plod north on the 107 a few km’S into Fang. The 1340 deposits you directly into Fang which is nice and provides the steepest descent on a road in Thailand. It is comprised of loose gravel on top of pavement so watch your braking into the tight downhill hairpins.
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    After driving dirt roads with the slick last trip, lets see how the race slick does in the wet.

    Our conditions were a bit sloppy on day one with rain and drizzle descending upon us as we hit Doi Ahyn khan causing some slick conditions. How slick you say??? Let’s just say that excessive speed, poor corner entry line, knobbies and wet tarmac make for an exciting ride for our sweet smelling cohort Chris on the WR200. I rode ahead of Luke and Chris and pulled over at the Army camp near the summit of Doi Ahn Khan. Normally Luke would be sniffing up my muffler, looking to stuff me on a corner. As I was unmolested along this stretch I pulled over and the mulled the Muppets fate. Minutes passed and I knew something was amiss. I circled back only to find Chris’s bike left a dent and some paint on the Armco as he was attempting to fend off Luke in the corners, knobbies and all. Piss and vinegar do not guarantee pole position in this crew as the knobbies threw in the towel right before throwing Chris into the Armco. End result twisty wet roads 1 muppets 0. The WR200 sacrificed a few spokes, straight handlebars, a rim, and a front rotor to the Armco Gods. We wiped Chris’s tears from his face, handed him some spanners and got to work getting the bike sorted for his descent down from the summit of Doi Ahn khan. Zip tied the broken spokes and removed the offending disk that was bent with 1 inch of runout and not going through the caliper. The rim made the rotor look precision aligned instrument as it wobbled like a drunken Londoner in Pattaya during the FA cup final. No problem its only the steepest decent in Thailand…who needs brakes we muttered as we pulled the front rotor and put it in the rucksack. We gave Chris a hug and kiss as we pushed him off the summit wishing him luck on his rear brake only decent. He did fine and only garnered a few additional grey hairs. Onto Fang for the night.

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    Chris's rotor showing evidence its in need of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon after the mating with the Armco

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    As good friends we GT riders make sure to catch our friends enjoying the ride. Chris dreaming about a 2 hour massage to help his shoulder.

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    Posting this just to prove Chris owes me a pint.

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    Luke deserving a pint and desperately trying to escape the mechanical ineptness label. He's improving with age like fine wine. He can offer you a discourse in CRF top ends now just ask him.

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    Towards the summit of Doi Ahn Khan the KLX proves it can stay out of the Armco if Muppet numner 2 refrains from riding it.

    The night was spent in the Cheers pub discussing effects of residing in Pattaya for eight years and its effects on your future relationships. Wonder why our crew is either single or in dysfunctional relationships?? Come on a ride with us to reap sage advice your mother never discussed over brekkie.

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    Coming down from the summit a small army post atop this hilltop.

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    Luke enjoying the views. One of many reasons why we all enjoy riding.

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    descending from the summit.

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    KLX cooling its front brake from the steept descent.

    The next morning Chris wobbled off down the 107 for Chiang mai while Luke and I licked our chops for the coming day’s buffet of roads. As I am writing this I realize I have not hosted Lukes photos on a hosting website to post in this report. You nobbers will just have to suffer through pics of me until I can get Lukes loaded. Luke if you have them downloaded put 'em up here. We got some great great shots of our resident handsome lad.

    Day 2 route:107 – 1314 to Tha Ton- 1089 -1234 to mae Salong, 1338-1149 into mai sae for the night.

    Ride length about 100 miles.

    Woke up late as today was a short but enjoyable day to mae Sai. The roads once we hit the 1314 were absolutely gorgeous weaving through interesting topography and providing ever-changing conditions and surfaces. Never boring. Once you make the left on the 1314 this is racetrack quality, freshly paved bitumen leading up into the surrounding hills. You are traversing along the Myanmar/Thailand border here and the GPS states you even duck across the border at times on the road. Make sure you look back over your shoulder as you head up to take in the view. Also take the time for a stop in the temple up on the hill about 1 mile north of Tha Ton after the 1314 joins the 1089 (N20 04.109 E99 21.870) Supposedly this area is one frequented by the Queen mother of Thailand.

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    View as you go up the 1314

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    Affordable housing available once you've paid for too many sick buffaloes in Isaan.

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    Temple near Tha Ton

    When the road turns from the 1089 to the left onto the 1234 onto a ridgeline heading towards mae Salolng you will be rewarded once again with freshly paved curves for a bit. Lovely to get on the main jet through here. The handlebars in one corner actually touch the Armco with the handguards on the motard. Loadsa fun. I have ridden this road on a GSXR 400 before and honestly had more fun on the lightweight motard flicking it through the turns. The motard bikes really come into their own when the road quality deteoriates as it does a few KM’s before Mae Salong. Slipping and sliding on the motard is a laugh, on bigger bikes not quite so much fun.

    Luke was enjoying the curves as usual and had his XR 280 at full song. It was singing so well that going into one particular left hander it had shall we say…just a “wee” bit too much entrance speed. A Lahu hill tribe woman was on the outside of the corner in her palm frawn stand selling forest mushrooms and roots as she has been doing for the last decade or so. Her typical tranquil afternoon of watching Honda Dreams commute up and down the hill at 20 KPH was ripped to shreds by a howling Honda XR 250. She looked up only to see Lukes 6’2” frame strangling the handlebars, eyes as big as ping pong balls, realizing this corner was not going as planned, come straight across his lane, across the opposing traffics lane and heading straight for her and her tranquil palm frawn refuge. As it was, whilst Luke was looking demented and possessed by the devil himself bouncing across the road out of control he was actually eyeing his “get out of jail free” card in the form of a slip road next to the palm hut. He managed to steer the careening XR up the road bouncing through ruts and bumps and frightening the poor Lahu woman with his hysterical laughter upon realizing he had pulled off yet another of Mr. Toads wild rides.

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    Lukes admirer emulating Lukes save of the day.

    We took a break with Lukes new friend and had a laugh as she re-enacted Lukes wild out of control style through the corner and up the slip road with wild gesticulating hand motions and cackling laughter. We did our best to foster farang/Thai relationships and desperately tried to convince her that farangs were not all prats and she just got unlucky with our meeting.

    We had her demonstrate the cocktail of joy that makes up the local hill tribe beetlnut chew. The beetlenut, a little tobacco, lime juice, and a leaf wraps up the mixture that Southeast Asian countries are determined to put Wrigleys chewing gum out of business with. I’m open minded when it comes to a lasses beauty (Luke says I just lack normal standards) but the blood red stains the beetlenut does to the gals gums and teeth just fails to ignite my loins.

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    Farang displaying his view of the beetlenut culinary ratings

    A quick lunch in mae Salong then it was up to the 1338. The road leading down the road from mae Salong is lovely twisty turny pavement in good condition. Or so I was thinking flicking it back and forth. In Thailand I’m getting used to losing the front or rear tire on diesel in the corners. On one particular corner however I hit the brakes and had the front tire lock up and slide on some fuel. The pucker factor went up as I passed the turn in point of the corner with the front tire on fire. I let off the brakes and heeled the thing over. The mind is an amazing piece of machinery. My brain fails to comprehend the Issan ladies magical comment of “I miss you” translates to “I need money” however when brakes are skidding on fuel, blowing through an apex and bending a bike into a corner 3 feet late I can instantly recognize a bad situation will be escalating rather shortly into a worse one. On the racetrack you simply pick up the bike and run wide off the track, then wobble and tankslap your way back onto the track. The street sadly offers me no such luxuries and instead gives me the middle finger with an Armco barrier. About as inviting as a bargirl with a herpes sore. I leant the bike over with the peg dragging and almost made it, however the tire slipped on the grass next to the Armco and the ride was over, my bike shoved into the Armco just like Luke into a certain gal in Nan. Luckily slow enough (like our caring Luke with his Nan gal) only to damage the ego and a few scrapes on bike and rider. Twisty fun road with fuel 1, muppet number two, 0.

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    Me jealous of the fact the KLX is getting into more tight things than its owner.

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    Hillside farms

    Once the Muppet patrol gathered itself up from yet another Armco barrier we were on our way up the 1338 to 1149 that parallels the Mynamar border. The 1149 is a delightful narrow country lane winding its way through the jungle and along the border. When coming off the 1338 and turning right onto the 1149 there is a police checkpoint. The coppers manning this station tried to convey that the 1149 road was not recommended and turned into a dirt trail. Utter poppycock, it twists and winds its way along the border and is paved all the way. Don’t believe the soldiers, my guess is they just try to limit traffic along the border if possible. The views once you rise out of the jungle and begin to descend towards Mai Sai are the best I have seen in Thailand so far. Simply gorgous steep hillsides spackled with exposed limestone and views into the valleys below. If that’s not enough the last 10 miles of pavement into mai Sai are stunningly sculpted and writhe its way down the mountain in a perfect coat of jet black smooth asphalt. Another romp on the main jets and this time we managed to keep everyone out of the Armco barriers. The road drops you right into the town of mai Sai.

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    No karaokes out here, fantastic views.

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    The relaxing 1149 along the Myanmar border.

    My camera packed it in as we came into some of the most scenic terrain above Mai Sai. Hopefully Luke can caress this thread with his images to give you peeps some insight.

    This route is a great way to hit the border for a visa run instead of droning up highway 1 to the border. Luke and I relegated ourselves to discovering the hidden gems of mai Sai nightlife that mother would frown upon, however Uncle Ned that did tours in Vietnam would give a thumbs up. We stayed at the Mai Sai guest house which other GT riders recommended and is located west from the border crossing point along to the end of the road paralleling the river.

    Days 3-5 to follow in another report but for now I’m off for another ride.
     
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  3. evertonian

    evertonian Member

    Looks like once again we must pay respect to the Bike God for looking after the more adventurous of us and providing Luke with an escape route around rather than through the mushroon stall. the pennance, of course, is having to do a bit of armco petting.
    looking forward to the rest of the report.
     
  4. dirthonk

    dirthonk Ol'Timer

    as if you didnt have enough pictures of us muppets to clog up your computers here are a load more from the fang-mae sai leg of the trip....

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    even justin's mammoth frame couldnt stop the fully laden KLX from a dive into the dirt

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    gt-riders helping each other out and managing to look cool in the process....

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    justin will be giving masterclasses on cornering techinques following the races at hang dong on sunday, looking at the way he clips this apex who's interested???

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    at the border outpost with 2 very bored soldiers

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    move to the outside, slam down 2 gears, turn in, hit apex, open throttle, oh shit buffalo, swerve violently to the other side of the road...

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    the second best scenery in northern thailand........

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    second only to this beauty found on the 1234 to mae salong section

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  5. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Hhmmm. Sometimes things are better without photo proof.

    Evertonian - You've spoken to soon as the second half needs to be penned and the Gods were not as charitable there :) .
     

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