Story of a Ride gone bad...it happens, but why this trip?

Discussion in 'Cambodia Road Trip Reports' started by MuddyMick, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    Gentlemen, the disaster:

    I was hired to guide a charity ride in the Cardamoms, there were 9 other riders, 4 coming with me on rental bikes from Phnom Penh, 5 coming over from Thailand, we were to meet up in Pailin. I took them shopping for their bits and bobs, (we had picked up the bikes the day before, I met them at the airport). Route 5, the most direct way was full of check points, police, military and royal guard, as one of the hire bikes had no indicators or mirrors, and they had not ridden on Cambodian Motorways before, also to avoid being stopped and having to pay bribes to the cops, I opted to go via Siem Reap and stop there, to leave early the next morning to Pailin and join the others. We were to witness a demolition arranged by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, for whom we were doing the ride. W managed to get hold of them and I told the Thai group why we went via Siem Reap, and that we'd see them the next day. None of them thought to buy a local sim card and give me a call to establish contact. I admit to not telling them to do this either.

    One of the rental bikes began to loose oil when hot, each water/rest stop, we were adding coolant and oil to it, a second rental had a rear wheel out of true, and was eating petrol, both of these were solvable once in Pailin, true up the wheel, 3 usd, clean carb and jets, 1 hour job and a bottle of Redex and all is well. We had to stop once to repair a clutch cable, we were surrounded by locals, I tried to keep them back and the lads said I was over-reacting, I told them that if they did not mind the bikes, and let me help the rider with the repair, things would go missing. The next stop was to replace a clutch cable, I helped, and let them mind the bikes, which they did not do. On the next stop, a hammock, bungee chord, water bottle and a shirt were missing. Strange hey?

    We found a dirt road that was relatively good, 70 kph easy, so we took that instead of the main road to Pailin, less dangerous as well. As there is much road construction happening in the area, the signs had been removed. I had the khmere guard ask locals for the right road, we missed on turning and had to backtrack 20 km, but finally we hit Pailin.

    Only to get a text from the Thai group that they had moved to the base camp of the Cardamoms, Osom. We got the GPS out and set off for Osom. I ended up having a head on collision with two army men on a scooter. I was out of it for about ten minutes before I could sit up. The scooter was destroyed, the driver hit my headlamp, the passenger hit my body armour, in the sternum. The usual circus played it's way out, my bike was impounded until a settlement could be made over the scooter, they did not care about the men.

    I arranged for us all to overnight at the medical centre, in our hammocks. At this time, we could not contact the others, as they still had not thought to get a local sim in Osom. In the morning, I sent them on ahead with the guard to meet the others and explain my predicament. In the mid day, I received a call telling me that one hire bike had packed it in, one rider was ill, they found the roads too "hairy" and were leaving the done for bike with the guard to walk out of the jungle to a main dirt road and camp with it until it was recovered, they were heading back to Phnom Penh and quitting the ride.

    I offered to return to Phnom Penh, swap bikes and meet them further along the way the following day. This would have been possible as there was one rider in the group that had done the Cardamoms twice before, I was sure they would be okay until I could reach them. There was no reply
    except to tell me they were angry with me.

    One hire bike owner is also blaming me for his bike packing it in because I recommended an ex pat mechanic. There was no way he, I, or anyone could foresee that an oil problem would develop after 5 hours of doing 70 to 80 kph. The rider stopped using the bike in order to avoid siezing the engine.

    I finally managed to get sms contact with the Thai group, filled them in on the situation. Of course I got the blame for "ruining the trip". They told me they were leaving the trip and heading back to Thailand.

    I spent the same day getting things sorted with the police, military police, army, with the help of CMAC and the UN Human Rights people, a settlement was reached. I then had to ride to Battambang to sign all the paperwork. I contacted the group, told them they could still do the tour, by meeting up in a town nearby, ride on while I rode to PP to swap bikes over and could rejoin them the next day. They blamed me for all that went wrong, while I maintain that had they simply remained in Pailin, as arranged, this could have been avoided.

    The guard was paid to stay with the bike, the guards bike was more than capable, all they needed to do was take it slow and easy. 2 of the 3 were novice dirt riders, one well experienced, the road to Osom is a novice ride.

    What a balls up.

    There was no reason to quit the trip, yes, one lad fell ill, but the rest could have adapted to the situation and carried on.

    I have had to apologize to the Cambodian Mine Action Center as they had spent money to send a team to do a demolition special for us to see and film, this was a wasted effort as the group from Thailand had decided to push on. I am operating under the assumption that they had forgotten the planned demolition in Pailin. Had just one of them bought a local sim card, and called me, this could have went differently.

    My deepest and sincerest apologies to all involved, lack of communication, and failure to respect arranged meeting points, and mechanical failure of one bike, plus my collision were all contributing factors. It took me a day to get the bike out of impound, and would have taken one more long day to reach the group again.

    Planning must have flexibility planned into it. If there is no flexibility, the rigid plan falls apart.

    The trip did not have to be cancelled at all. Just modified.

    Mick

    :cry:
     
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  3. LaudJohn

    LaudJohn Ol'Timer

    Sounds like you had fun .... not!

    I thought that this trip had disaster written all over it, especially whe a GS 1150 was invited along.

    The Cardamons is not the ride for novice dirt riders.

    I personally think it was good that you never got onto the track proper.

    Experience like yours/ours in Cambodia can never be taught (how to ignore cops, watch the gear, never stop after an accident - except when you cannot ride etc), it is learned from years of experience.

    Too often, not just with riding but with life in general, guys come over to Cambodia from Thailand thinking they know it all .. but Cambodia is very different.

    It all sounds like the trip was a bit ad hoc from the start to the finish.

    As I mentoned to you in a PM, I will probablly buy a DRZ400E to do this trip .. there is a reason I do not like hire bikes.

    Still it was all a learning experience for everyone from what I can gather.

    cheers

    LaudJohn
     
  4. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the supporting words, however, I think the others involved are still pretty angry with me, I still maintain that they should have waited in Pailin, we had enough experienced riders in the group to cover the novices. It did not have to turn out the way it did.

    This certainly is not the way to start the new riding season.

    Thanks to Fox Racing, their gear saved my life.

    Mick
     
  5. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    EVERYONE lost money on this, to come so far and well equipped, only to give up at the first sign of trouble, instead of working the problem, find an adaptation that works and carry on. THAT is the adventurer's spirit. THAT is ADVENTURE!
     
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Wow, too bad the trip fell apart. I wanted to join but it seemed a bit too hard core for a dirt novice like me. I know most of the guys coming from Thailand (Bard, Frank, Johnny, and friend of Franks from Oz and not sure who is #5?)

    They were so pumped up for this trip and I'm sure they're bummed it didn't work out. I look forward to hearing their side of things.

    As I understand it you never met up with them?

    I didn't know you were coming from PP with 4 guys on rental bikes. I don't trust rentals bikes in Thailand and imagine most rentals in Cambodia are probably just as unreliable if not more so...

    It never would have occurred to me to buy a Cambo SIM card. I would have assumed I could roam in Cambo with the Thai SIM card same as I can in just about any other country. Not trying to assign blame but seems an important item to mention for future rides.

    Sorry to hear about your wreck and very relieved to hear you're ok and have survived to ride another day!

    So, it seems that since you were stuck dealing with the mechanical and health problems of the riders who came with you from Phnom Penh that there was no way for you to rendezvous with the group from Thailand? Or are you saying that you could have caught up with them if they'd been willing to wait an extra day (or two?)....

    I understand the need for flexibility, but at the same time I'd have been pretty leery too if I'd heard that my guide had suffered a serious crash, bike impounded for unknown period of time, red tape, etc. etc.

    None of them had ever ridden in Cambodia before and I believe they were really depending on you to guide them. A lot of bad luck. Guess you got stuck between a rock and a hard place...

    Live and learn!

    Ride On,

    Tony
     
  7. harrythefinn

    harrythefinn Ol'Timer

    I had not heard about "Muddy Mick" prior to this "tour" so I made it to Cambodia a few days early to check things out.

    I decided to stay in the Pailin hotel booked by the tour guide, but could not find it in Pailin, and no one knew about it. The Hotel 99 booked by the tour guide was a flea bitten local GH behind the trash of the market at the border crossing closest to Pailin. This hotel was suppossedly used by CMAC staff?? I have slept on rocks,in trees,swamps and refused to stay there. This was the hotel where the BBQ was organised to be, what BS. Mick had you ever stayed there?

    The next day after talking to the other riders arriving from Thailand we booked a nice GH in Pailin (cheaper than Hotel 99). We contacted Mick and arranged to meet his group on their way into Pailin the next morning. They agreed to leave at 0630 to be in Pailin early. Having riden the Pailin road atleast a dozen times (once on a scooter) and as recently a 2 days before this trip I knew the road conditions were easy. We proceeded as far as the usual Cardomoms route turn off and waited. After waiting the group leader in agreement with all the Thai riders decided to continue riding the easy section towards Prumoi. It must be said that one of the Thai group had his mate with Micks group and was in text and voice contact when in signal range.

    It was assumed that the tour guide could find us at our next stop, where of course we waited again.

    Also it was assumed that the tour guide would know local road conditions, assumed that the tour guide would not get lost between Siem Riep and Pailin.

    It was also assumed that the tour guide would have a map in his GPS.

    It was also assumed the tour guide had good knowledge of the intended route and knew the easy bypass roads to enable the local group to easily catch the Thai group, ie. via the main road to Pursat and then easy road to Prumoi as used by riders coming direct from PP and avoiding one day of challenging mud,gullies,ruts,rivers etc that actually took the Thai group 2 days. Stopping in Prumoi and 3 of Thai group riding to Pursat to meet the the local group (less the tour guide) to ask them to come and continue with the tour. The group was so dishartened by their experience with their guide they had given up. It must be said I had time here to ride to Phanom Phen and replace a complete rear caliper on the XR, arriving back in Pursat the same night . I personally talked to one of the experienced riders and he gave me his views.

    The next day I rode to rejoin the group and spent the night in Prumoi ,the Thai group spent 2 nights in Prumoi, ample time for anyone to catch up and rejoin. The decision was then made to continue as the local group did not want to join.

    From Prumoi to Koh Kong the group made it through and is still enjoying "their" tour.

    I have been riding in Cambodia for the last 10 years and have never had anything stolen off the bike, never had a security guard with any tour and I think see plenty of adventure and never given up easy.

    And maybe the tour guide could have told some one his Cambodian telephone number. Sorry but there are 2 sides to a coin.
    I will comment NO more.
     
  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Bravo Harry,

    Sounds like you saved the day for the guys coming from Thailand! :mrgreen:

    Dunno if it's fair to blame EVERYTHING on the guide; the truth/responsibility probably lies somewhere in the middle...

    Very happy to hear that the group from Thailand was able to press on and can't wait to hear about their adventure!

    Happy Trails!

    Tony
     
  9. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    My local number was known by most of the group as I had sent it often enough. The guard was kindly supplied by a sponsor due to the increased military presence in the area. He was helpful, and useful. I had also informed two members that i had my pc die on me, and could not load maps.

    The hotel was not a fleabag when I had stopped there, it was ok, and the hosts were friendly, things have been slow there without the NGO presence.

    I took the dirt road to cut distance, missing the turn was a mistake, but all signs and markers had been had been removed. we had to stop twice to repair a clutch cable, I am not suggesting that anything was stolen, it may have also come loose and fallen off, but as the guard was at the rear, he would have seen it and picked it up. He saw nothing. Make up your own mind on that.

    I took the longer route to minimize police and army stops, and I would do the same again.

    The meeting point agreed was Pailin. We had delays with the hired Yamaha all the way up, we established contact that night and all seemed well.

    There are extensive roadworks happening in the area, road signs disappear, locals are not sure where the road goes to, so it requires a few stops to get on the right track.

    One of the riders had a GPS with Cambodia loaded into it, this could have been deployed somewhat earlier.

    Had we have met in Pailin, we could have seen and filmed a demolition, shared out the communal gear, spread loads more evenly, and headed for Osom as a group.

    I am glad that those that continued did so.

    Had I not have been in the lead on the road to Osom, it might have been one of the other riders that took the hit instead of me. was this so, I still would have had to stay with the rider to help sort him out with the local authorities. CMAC, The UN Human rights and UNICEF were all there to assist me, and I would have arranged the same for the rider in question.

    So I STILL would have not been able to meet up with you, due to sporadic coverage, it was not until late in the evening that I could get a text off.

    The following evening, all is on my head. Please don't forget that one rider was very ill as well, and in no condition to endure such a ride.

    I have successfully taken small groups touring, and had a good repore thereafter, this was admittedly my first major tour, however, I still maintain that thing would have been different had the group waited in Pailin, as agreed. :!:
     
  10. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    We were due in to Pailin before lunch, with the missed turning, clutch delays, oil and coolant stops, we were in Pailin around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. The dirt roads were far safer than the motorways. The demolition was scheduled for 5 pm. We could have seen it and been only one day late, also, the time would have given the ill rider a bit of a rest as well, had he told me he was feeling poorly, I could have given him something, I carry a rather extensive first aid kit.
     
  11. cdrw

    cdrw Ol'Timer

    I, too, am sorry about the poor experience that those that joined the Cardamom ride encountered.
    And, I must agree with 'Harry the Finns' comments. This is not meant as an attack on 'MuddyMick', however it seems to me that while he is well meaning and good hearted in arranging a ride to support UNICEF, he is not that experienced as either as a tour guide or the way things are done in Cambodia. We all learn from our mistakes and this was surely a learning experience for all involved.

    The the 7-P's acronym comes to mind: "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance".

    Based on the planning and support I had read about the trip, I was anxious to join the group. I've ridden often in Cambodia for the last 7-years, but nothing as challenging as the Cardamom ride. I was concerned about the November timing of the trip and weather. So I contacted "Dancing Roads" and his reply, which I posted on the initial Cardamom ride thread, helped me decide to not join the ride:
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorc ... 8-s25.html
     
  12. waterscm

    waterscm Member

    Hey 'harry the finn' i hope you realize that trying to destroy Mick's reputation doesn't do much good for yours either. ill bet with you there is always someone to blame and its never yourself, Mr perfect.

    after hearing what had happened i expected to hear a few whinging little pricks let loose whilst Mick is vulnerable, that's the easy thing to do, i wouldn't ever expect someone like you to be the bigger man, grow a pair of balls and try to understand what happened. think about how much effort Mick put into organizing the ride, it seems you just want to sabotage it, cause trouble and be the rebel - there's always one.

    I hope you are glad that you spoiled it for the rest of the group. not to mention the months of planning that's gone down the drain.

    It doesn't matter whose fault it was anyway, lets remember what the ride was all about, the important thing is that unicef got the donations. Im appalled that no one has mentioned this earlier and instead you all want to bicker about the stupid little details, it shows how petty you really are.
     
  13. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    I'd like to see a new thread with a trip report from the guys that made it through.
    Good effort given the time of year and what I've heard about that route.
     
  14. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    I am happy the others made the trip irregardless of what has passed. It is the toughest ride in Cambodia. I don't see how finger pointing was of any use whatsoever. Please, all readers, note that never at any time did I mention names, hire companies or directly blame anyone, it was merely my account of a ride gone bad for me and a few others. I am also glad it WAS me that took the hit instead of a client.

    I always try to avoid the police and military checkpoints, especially when a mate calls and tells me that he was stopped a bunch of times on route 5, and had on a few stops, been extorted for money, no local mc licence, no road tax, just because hes a white guy on a bike etc.

    I would do the same again.

    I did make the group aware that my pc had crashed, and was unable to load the map prior to departure.
     
  15. shadow

    shadow Ol'Timer

    cant take it back but sorry
     
  16. waterscm

    waterscm Member

    are you sure you want to go down this path? ok......

    if you were as smart as you pretend to be you would know that you are making yourself look like a fool.

    so please continue.......... :?:
     
  17. MuddyMick

    MuddyMick Ol'Timer

    The packing and loading up took a bit longer than usual, we were late in leaving, having heard and confirmed the tip about rt 5 being thick with checkpoints, Sr seemed the better, and yes longer, option. we were loosing day light, and we were well past the turning for the ferry anyway. As stated before there were other delays with the one hire bike, wanted to get it sorted in Pailin, but the others had moved on, at my groups request, we tried to head for Osom. Easy to be hard and analytic after the fact. I made a few mistakes, others as well, mine was merely ( as earlier stated, a report, no finger pointing, no blame, just sharing a lesson learned). I hope you have enjoyed having your go at me, possibly, I may deserve it, possibly not, however, there are more articulate ways of making your point.

    I thought this was a forum to discuss and learn, instead of a court full of judges that were not there.

    I thank you for your opinion, but I am insulted by the manner in which you have written it.

    Harry the Finn was there, he was angry with me, clearly, however he did manage to remain polite. His comments were sharp and unwarranted, it was agreed in SR that evening to meet them at their hotel, the Bamboo, this was the clients wish, this is what we set out to do the next day.

    They did not remain there, they moved on. The rest is history.
     
  18. Franksmith

    Franksmith Member

    Guys,

    we waited in Pailin for about two hours the following day, the guide failed to meet up with us so we pressed on from Pailin to osom. We had phone signal all the time and mark and I contacted all the time. I traveled from Osom to Pursat to pick up the guys, One of the guys told me they had rode 980 klicks before getting to Pailin. (on black top roads) They were just done and wernt interested anymore. The remainder of us continued over the cardamoms and it was great, we left osom at 07:00 and arrived in Koh kong at 2 pm. Myself I rode the cardimons on a KTM supermoto R 690 with ease. It was a awsome ride and Harry is a legend and we all are very happy he is with us. The route from Pailin to Osom was much harder than the Cardmons. We couldent make it in one day because we left really late due to waiting for Mick, and bike problems. (130 klicks total) this message is just to straighten up the story. A full trip report will follow soon as we get home. It was wasn'tt Harrys decision to go on, it was a group decision to press on and meet in Osom. If anyone knows Bard, they will know when Bard says we are going at 6 the clutch is released at 6 and not a minute later. It would have been so easyfor the following group to ride from Pailin to Batambang to Osom. It was so easy to meet up with us. Bard sent all the bike maps to everyone about one month before. We could find our way very easy arround Cambodia. As for the cambo police. We got caught today in town with no helmets and itcost 1dollar and got a ticket. The police told us we can ride today with no helmets for today but tomorrow cannot. So no one can tell us the police are bad and unfair.
     
  19. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    Looking fwd to that Frank
    Is it still the original old track or have some parts been upgraded ?
     
  20. Franksmith

    Franksmith Member

    Hi Bill,

    It is the original track but the first say 10 klicks has been turned into a logging road, one deep river crossing has a bridge built, they just nard the last board down and we crossed. Some people havebeen through there as all the little bambo bridges were all in tact. Truly a very enjoyable ride.
     
  21. shadow

    shadow Ol'Timer

    Sorry if i sounded rude or insulting. Im no great writer and didnt mean it that way. just put it as simply as I could. As you say its just my opinion based on what you have written or as I interperted it, not all the facts.
     
  22. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    There is quite a bit of road building activity going on in that area as the Chinese are going to build several hydro power systems in the Cardamom Protected Area as well as the Bokor National park. Several of the river crossings will be replaced by bridges and single trails will be widened to accommodate trucks to transport building materials etc. So, if you want to ride the Cardamoms don't wait till most of the single trails have disappeared.
     
  23. slimeyboy

    slimeyboy New Member

    Ok, rather than turn this into a slanging match, I'll just write my ride report. Everyone can then draw their own conclusions on when/where/how this ride fell apart for my group. Please bear in mind none of the people in our group have ever ridden in Cambodia before and do not know our way around. Yes, it is true I took a GPS with me but that was intended to be used to get Landon and myself back to PNH on the 26th, since we knew that we'd be riding the trail back home alone.

    21/11/09
    Landon and I arrive at PNH airport on the afternoon of the 21st from Bangkok where we were met by Mick and Mark. Mark had arrived in the AM and already had his bike - a Yamaha WZF 400. So we jumped on the back of the bikes and proceeded to the rental shop, where we picked up Landon's Baja 250. My XR 250 was already at the hotel. After stopping for a few beers at a friendly bar called bata bing (spelling?) we retired for the evening and went back to the hotel. So far, so good.

    22/11/09
    We get up, saddle up and head over for breakfast at 10:30ish back at bata bing and then are left waiting for an hour or so because the safety gear that was supposedly allocated for the guard had been picked up by another tour group. Anyway, some safety gear finally turns up and we get on our way at around mid-day off to meet the guys in Pailin.

    Mick advises us that there were some issues with the route down on highway 5 (increased police presence or something) and therefore advise us that we will be taking a slightly longer route, which we were fine with. After four or 5 hours on the road Mick advised us that we'd have to do some night riding in order to make it to Pailin to meet the others. We weren't very happy with that but were told we should be there by 7pm max. Anyway, at 9PM after riding for 4 hours in the pitch black (no street lights and roads littered with cows, oxen, cats, dogs) and narrowly avoiding multiple incidents we, as a group, turn to Mick and say enough is enough and we need to stop the night at the nearest town, which was Siem Reap. We get to Smiley's guest house in Siem Riep, where we stay the night. We agree to meet at 7am the next day for breakfast so that we can get on the road early.

    23/11/09
    Mark, myself and Landon meet for breakfast at 7am and are joined later by Mick at 7:45AM. We saddle up and get on our way by about 8:30-9AM. We are told that Pailin is 150KMS so expect to get there around lunch time. After 150KMS we query Mick as to how much further it is. He chats with the guard and we are told only another 90KMS. We continue another 100KMS or so and then after multiple stops where both Mick and guide were scratching their heads it became apparent that we were lost. We asked Mick what his GPS was telling him... this is the first time we know that he actually had no maps loaded and that it was just in fact a decoration on his handle bars; so we know decide to unpack my GPS and get it mounted, which we do (agreed, in retrospect we should prolly have pulled this out a long time before but hey we're in the hands of a capable guide, yeh?). After another 100KMS @ 14:00ish unbeknown to Mick (who drives right through the town), our GPS indicates we're finally in Pailin. We catch up and advise Mick that we are have just passed through Pailin (how many times have you been here Mick?).

    Anyway, we double back and we stop at a gas station where we refill the bikes and take on board some much needed refreshment. Whilst at the gas station we manage to get word to the other group who advise us that after waiting for us for most of the morning they've now ridden up the road to Ossom. We then try to catch up with them but because Ossom isn't on the map we have to rely on Mick and the Guard for navigation. We head 10 KMS or so down a small dirt trail which leads us to a bridge. We ask the locals "did another motorbike group cross the river earlier today" to which they explain 'No'. We decide to cross the bridge anyway but there's an issue - the locals want 1$ each from us. Mick vehemently refuses to pay and gets somewhat aggressive with the locals - we decide that we can do without the aggro and confrontation and pay the toll anyway. So we get across the bridge and about 2kms up the road the incident happens - Mick collides with a motorbike being ridden 2-up by 2 army chaps in the opposite direction. I'm not laying blame anywhere but Mick by his own admission was riding in the center of the trail just before the collision occurred. The problem occurred when both bikes took the same route to avoid the collision course - Mick veers left to go around the bike (in hindsight I'm sure he'll agree he should have stuck to his side and gone right) and the army bike tries to avoid Mick by going to his right placing them on a head-on collision course. Landon is first to arrive on the scene where he pulls the bike off of Mick. Mick's first reaction is to get up and try and go over and punch the two army blokes who are writhing in agony on the floor (they had no armor). Mick calms down and actually passes out for 30 sec or so. The shit storm then ensues. After about 1 hour or ranting and raving a UN convoy turns up and we explain what has happened. The UN convoy takes the two army blokes away to a health center they have down the road. We wait patiently for the police to arrive but we're getting more and more concerned as it's starting to get dark. The army agree to let one of us go to the health center to speak with the UN guys to see if they can assist with a translator. Landon volunteers and returns an hour or so later with the help that we'd hoped for by which time the police had arrived. The translator manages to broker a deal whereby we all stay the night at the health center and then Mick deals with the issue the next day at the police station, which we understood would now simply be a monetary issue. So we head to the health center and setup camp for the night. We explain that we really need to head to Ossom first thing in the AM to catch up with the other group. We insist that the guard stays with Mick and that we'll be okay to go it alone, since we were told by the locals that we were only 90KMS away from Ossom. So it's agreed… we head on to Ossom while Mick sorts the monetary issue with the army/police, gets his bike out of lockup and then catches up with us later on. I get a call later than night by the boss of the guard who says that the guard will be coming with us. Not our call but it's clear that the matter is not debatable. By this time our primary concern is not with Mick (since we know he's physically ok, his bike is rideable and also that we'd likely be expected to come up with the accident settlement fee) , it's with trying to catch up with the other guys in a bid to try and rescue what we can of this holiday.

    24/11/09
    We head off early in the AM and end up getting completely lost on a small trail which isn't on the GPS but apparently takes us to Ossom. The trail gets very hard core and after speaking with other locals along route we're told that the trail doesn't go to Ossom as were first led to believe. Anyway, by this time we're totally pissed off and with no reasonable hope of hooking up with the other group and being unable to reach them by phone (SMS or call) we decide to backtrack and head back to Phnom Pehn (bear in mind Landon and I have to leave the group by the 26th anyway). After hitting a road which was recognized by the GPS we are able to start navigating the journey back. Mark's Yamaho finally gives up the ghost in a town about 100KMs from baddabing. Everyone agreed it was unrideable and that it would need picking up and taking to a garage for extensive repair (it was pissing oil from the front sprocket). So we left the guard and the bike there (as previously agreed with the guard and his boss) and continued back to Phnom Pehn. Tired and hungry we stop in Pursat for the night. Mick gets word to us that he's on the road again and off to Ossom - at this point we tell Mick that we're completely and utterly disheartened with the whole trip and that there's no way we'd have time to attempt the cardamoms now given that we had to back in Phnom pehn for the 26th ready for a flight back to BKK on the 27th. So we passed on the other groups contact details for Mick to hook up with them if he wanted to.

    25/11/09
    We leave Pursat bound for Phnom Pehn on 10:30AM after having a much needed lie in. We reach Phnom Pehn sometime after traveling some 1100KMS (of which about 10kms were on proper trails :-().

    27/11/09
    We all manage to fly back home safely.

    This disaster won't stop any of us from having another crack at the whip. Next time though, it will be with the other lads from Thailand or in an organized tour.

    Out of interest Mick - how many previous tours have you led before?

    Also, what was the point of a GPS with no maps loaded? If you had no GPS maps why not tell us from the start so we could sort ours out. You say you did tell us but I never heard that and I'm sure none of the other guys did either as we were all equally shocked when you did finally get around to telling us en-route. If you didn't have any GPS maps then wouldn't you have thought it would be a good idea to have some hard copy/paper maps - sure, I know you had CMAC maps but I mean maps that you could actually use for navigation?

    I'm just glad that we all made it out in one piece.

    Cheers!

    Simon
     
  24. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    I'm still on the trip in Cambodia and having a ball. When I finish in a couple weeks I'll put together a report based on what unfolded from the guys crossing from Thailand side. Sadly for the guys that met up with Mick things went awry and never got back on track. My heart goes out to them since they had travelled a great distance from AUS for a great riding experience.....of which they got none.

    Mick we sent directions to meet at the T-intersection that heads south towards Osom outside Pailin the night before. We did this to save time, you guys would of had to come into Pailin then have to turn around and ride back 40-50KM's to the t-intersection you passed on the way into Pailin. Hence our decision to meet your group at the T-intersection. We waited well past our planned meeting time but nobody showed. Hell as I understand it the group never made it to Pailin until 3:00 PM.

    Simon glad you're still up for some Cambo riding despite the bad taste given your first time. Hope to hook up with you in person next time.

    A tip of the hat to harrytheFinn for all his tuteledge, tips, and guidance. A true gent if there ever was one. For Waterscm to bad mouth him shows his lack of perspective.

    As Auke stated there is a lot of development going on in the Cardamoms. I talked to A chinese national supervising the first dam being built in the area and he says three more are to follow after, hence the plowing of tracks and building of permanent bridges etc in the once pristine Cardamom region. We rode the same track Alrikki rode in his report and it has indeed changed dramatically in the last nine months.

    Right then back to the bike for some more riding.
     
  25. bill

    bill Ol'Timer

    Did any of you that got through record a garmin compatible gps track ?
    If so, I would appreciate a copy if possible.
    Some friends and I will probably go this dry season, before the Chinese build a highway through there.
     
  26. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Bill - I'm on the road for another couple weeks but once I'm back I'll send you a copy of the tracks if one of the other lads doesn't get it to you first.
     

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