Tham Ngop and a MHS loop

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by ianyonok, May 26, 2014.

  1. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Firstly headed up to Doi Angkang on the steep main road 1249 to the checkpoint intersection with the 1340.

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    But about where it says "Caution: Very Steep" on the GTR map, the bike stopped. The old girl decided it was just too damn hot and needed a rest. The exhausts were very blue and smoke was coming off the engine.

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    After a 10 minute rest, she was good to go again to the checkpoint at the top.

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    Headed down the lovely 1340 and stopped for a look around in Tham Ngop.

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    Rod Page has posted info about Tham Ngop. General Li's KMT army was based here in the 60's through the 80's. The General's house which is a museum, was closed till November, but I met his daughter and had a quick chat. She runs the place and the restaurant on the old parade ground.

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    She also set up the website

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    The general's tomb is an impressive structure in Ban Yang, between Sinchai and Chai Prakarn.

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    Then headed west across to Arunothai and round to Wiang Haeng. Stayed at the Bahn Suan Farm Resort, 400 baht.

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    Next morning, up through Piang Luang to the Lak Taeng Pass, where Moto-Rex posted about. A busy place, back in the 60's & 70's when the KMT and Khun Sa were both using this natural pass through the mountains.

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    Some fantastic photos in a little gallery nearby, of times past in the Shan State. Some of these photos are also in Khun Sa's museum in Thoed Thai.

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    This is a better place to stay at the Bahn Suan Chomview resort, in Piang Luang.

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    Then headed back to the 107. Doi Chiang Dao was looking wonderful.

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    The loop was fun as usual. I didn't bother stopping in Pai, don't like the place, but continued on to Mae Hong Son. The Piya Guesthouse is a great place so I stayed a couple of nights, down by the lake.

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    A short walk into town and you can have some great food at Herbert's Pizza Primavera. A "Must Visit" when in Mae Hong Son. Lovely pizza's and other great Italian dishes with home grown salads. They do a fantastic selection of breakfast dishes too. A level above the Salween River restaurant.

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    The next day, Herbert and I went for a ride up north but instead of going to the touristy village at Rak Thai, we turned off west and went to Pang Ung. This is a lovely quiet spot. A bird watching hide in the foreground and the lakes are dried up at this time of year.

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    There is a Royal Project where they are breeding black swans.

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    Accommodation in Pang Ung

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    The main road

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    The village chief's house is also a restaurant coffee shop with some fantastic bamboo.

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    Then we headed back to Mae Hong Son and went on some of the smaller roads.

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    Next day, it was another lovely cool morning after overnight rain for the great road south from Mae Hong Son down to Khun Yuam with a stop at the War Museum.

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    Then down to Mae Sariang and out southwest on 1194 to Mae Sam Laep. It was tarmac once.

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    Finally made it to the Salween river, looking very low this time of year.

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    There were two GH's in the village, but no electricity that day, so I headed back to Mae Sariang for the night.

    Next day, headed south again, another beautiful cool morning with some light rain, down to Mae Sot. The road started like this...

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    then a bit of this...

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    back to this..

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    some of this....

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    All easy stuff for the old Thunderbird. Then into some serious roadworks..

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    and out on to wonderful swoopy new tarmac.

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    Wow........ and almost no traffic....... Sheer Joy....

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    Reached the Moei river.

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    The Karen refugee camps actually look quite pretty

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    But halfway along you see a steel gate with guard and barbed wire.

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    The Mae Sot Friendship bridge

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    After lunch I headed out east on the horrible 105 to highway 1. Full of trucks and manic pickup drivers, sharp bends, roadworks and damaged tarmac.
    However, 1/2 way along this road, I took a break and went to see the "Big Tree".

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    It is a beauty. But impossible to photograph.

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    After reaching Tak, I headed north up to Thoen for the night. Dropped into the Tak Riverside restaurant which I knew from about 15 years ago as 434, on the Ping river. There is another lovely tree there shading the entire car parking area.

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    I took the smaller road off highway 1 up over the mountains and through Li

    This spirit house had a full wardrobe for a family of spirits

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    The road home.

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    6 days & 1300 miles, out and about in beautiful northern Thailand. What could be better!
    The old bike performed brilliantly and was a joy to ride as always. Burned/leaked about one litre of oil and adjusted the rear chain once.
     
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Really Top Stuff Ian, What a Great Trip, Photos and Report. You certainly saw a lot of attractions along the way I normally just Blast past most things!
     
  4. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Great report Ian.

    Love the last photo, it would have been nice on the old bike riding along there with the sound of the Triumphs two cylinders echoing through the jungle.

    You certainly find all the interesting places to visit.

    Cheers Moto-Rex
     
  5. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

    Not a consort, that is a well know picture of Inge Sargent and her husband Shan Prince Sao Kya Seng. She wrote a wonderful book "Twilight Over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess" and was actively advocating on Burmese human rights issues for decades, based out of Colorado. I am not sure if she is still alive.
     
  6. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Good information and photos there Ian. Pleased to see that the mighty Thunderbird managed with only one 'sweaty' moment.
     
  7. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Thanks guys......
    and Thanks very much Johpa for the info on Inge Sargent. Very interesting, I must find the book..........
    (by the way, without wishing to be pedantic....."Consort" is probably correct, as wife of a reigning monarch, same Queen Victoria's husband Albert was the Prince Consort).
     
  8. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Good to read that the elderly 'Bird is running so well.
    I'm sure by now after all the hours you have put in to it that it is capable of going almost 'anywhere'
    Looks like a good trip & interesting as well.
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah yeah yeah, great trip & write up with some nice bits of history.

    I like the pix of the good General's tomb - I think you got me there too, as I don't recall actually being there.
    After reading this I think I need to go for a ride back out to Piang Luang & Wiang haeng.
    There's an old Shan wat I need to check out between Wiang Haeng & Piang Luang.

    Thanks.
     
  10. Johpa

    Johpa Ol'Timer

    Happened to attend the local monthly "Burma" meeting the other night here in the US and bumped into a friend who had recently visited with Inge Sargent in Boulder, Colorado and reported that Inge was doing well and still advocating for human rights in Burma.
     
  11. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Well, David L, The bike was doing fine...... but when back in Mae Hong Son a few weeks after the above trip............ had a bit of an issue.
    The gear change lever got jammed hard in 4th gear and we came to a halt on a steep hill 30 klms north of MHS at about 16:00, after riding all day.

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    Called up Ron W in MHS to organise a pickup truck, some strong lads and rope, to come and rescue me. Tried walking/pushing the bike up the hill with engine running and slipping the clutch in 4th, but only managed to produce clouds of black smoke out of the clutch...
    After what seemed like a 2 hour wait (50 cars and bikes went past and no-one stopped to ask if I was OK, not that I was flagging anyone down) a slow old pickup arrived and 2 small women got out.....then it started raining hard..... First attempt to get the bike in the truck failed, on the hill, but after rolling back to a section of flat road with a struggle and lots of swearing Thai..... we managed to get the bike in the back. The "rope" they had was 1/8" string. So, had to sit on the bike in the back of the pick-up, balancing around the corners barely seeing in the torrential rain, as they drove slowly back to MHS. After arriving and getting the bike out into the GH car park, a hot shower was welcome and then it was clearly well past beer o' clock.
    Next day, in the spirit of classic biking, had to try and fix the problem rather than take an ignominious journey home with broken bike in pickup. So, although I had a reasonable toolkit with me, went into town, bought a few more tools and some sealant and spent several hours working on the bike.

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    Water/rain had got into the gearbox as the clutch operating lever is a bit of a loose fit in the gearbox outer cover due to wear. Not a great design anyway, pre-O ring era. Minimal gearbox oil gets to the back of this cover, so the gear lever return springs had corroded badly and one had broken into 3 parts and jammed the lever. In town, managed to find some springs for a jap bike that just fitted snugly, only slightly oversize but worked well.

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    After putting it all back together and new gearbox oil in, a test ride proved that the clutch was still working OK, although slipping very occasionally.
    Next day, got as far as Hot, and the gear lever was getting sticky again. So, cover off again and all was OK, just that I had forgotten to put any lubricant on the moving parts.. After putting gear oil on all the parts, it all worked fine for the following day's ride home.
    Need to order some new clutch plates anyway and some stainless springs and that issue shouldn't happen again. I'll be rebuilding this gearbox soon anyway, as I just scored some rare New Old Stock gears on ebay. Will look at modifying the shaft to fit an O ring or sleeving the cover hole so the shaft fits snugly.

    Many Thanks to Ron W for your help and also especially to the 2 small ladies who did a great job rescuing me.
    Greatly satisfying, to be able to ride the bike home after a successful car park repair. [​IMG]
     
  12. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    The joys & delights of riding vintage steeds........

    Glad you got it sorted enough to get home.

    Just read the article again & note that you don't like Pai but prefer MHS. Funny how tastes differ - I prefer Pai. Very 'one horse' but (to me) Just had something about it!

    On another Triumph point. Pi in Bkk who bought my Bonnie has stripped it completely. Engine casings, block & cylinder head were all cleaned up when it was in CNX for valve re-shimming. But he wants to get it looking even better. 7 years old & done 55,000 miles - pistons, rings et all still well within tolerance! I changed oil & filter as per handbook (every 6,000 miles) Triumph CNX were surprised because here in Thailand I think they recommend every 4,000. However, no one ever bothered to tell me. Says a lot for today's quality oils!
     
  13. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    You can always trust the Trusty Triumph, David!
    My Trusty Triumph wasn't so trusty on the mountain, but only due to old age and wear.

    Just been reading about Jack Haswell's Trusty Triumph record run around the Brooklands banked circuit.

    Average speed over 60mph for 100 miles! Astonishing..
    This was 103 years ago, on a bike with no electric start, no kickstart, no clutch, no gears, no front brake, no twistgrip throttle..........
    Push start, jump on, fiddle with fuel lever, air lever and timing lever... then hang on...

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