The Mae Hong Son Loop- the dirty way.

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by BignTall, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Route - Mae Hong Son Loop off road
    Rider -
    Bike - KTM 525 EXC
    Mileage - 900 km

    After putting in a few multi day super motard trips with the boys on pavement it was time to get back on the dirt bike. The KTM was switched over to off road duty and the map perused to figure out where we would head.

    A quick call to rally the troops elicited the same response a farang gets in the Thermae bar nowadays in Bangkok, in other words…nil. Luke was getting work done on his back, (I always thought it was fun, not work) and could not be bothered to dirty his fingernails, Silverhawk was deep into interior design work of his new home. Something is taking place amongst the biker expat community I feared, is it losing the biking spirit?? Jeez I thought, my friends have got different priorities. Ole Happy Fingers actually had a reasonable excuse with an upcoming business commitment tour group so he was prepping bikes and gear.

    So the choice was either to while away the night in the nighttime haunts, searching out new short time rooms and spending money or go for a multi-day off road ride by myself.

    The Mae Hong Son loop going around Chiang Mai – Pai- Mae Hong Son – Khun Yuam – Mae Chaem- and back to Chiang Mai via pavement gets most of the tourist attention for riding. Its OK, but I feel there are other more interesting sights and roads to be had elsewhere in northern Thailand. Add to the fact that nighttime activities add up to next to nothing in those towns and it would take another variable to have me head around the loop. The KTM in dirt bike trim would be that missing variable to urge me forward and get me doing the Mae Hong Son loop counter clockwise the preferred way….in the dirt.

    I thought BMW had the corner on the market with laughable advertising slogans stating their GS1200 adventure was an off road capable motorbike. Seems KTM has been sipping the BMW marketing “Kool Aid” with their own embarrassing “ready to race” slogan. Ready to race would have you assume you could ride the KTM EXC series of bikes off road without needing any modification. Its hogwash. Just as an FYI for potential owners of the EXC series of dirt bikes. If you’re used to owning Japanese Enduro bikes the Austrians come up a wee bit short in a few areas.

    1. Tank range – its got a motocross bike like 2 gallons which barely gets you into the woods on a decent ride let alone getting out of the woods. So now I have to carry extra fuel with me in inappropriate containers until a $300 larger tank arrives from the states.

    2.Kickstand – How difficult is it to design a bloody kickstand? KTM is the first manufacturer I’ve come across to fail miserably in something so simple. A cheap Honda scooter has ones that work, why not the KTM? Mine has broken and been rewelded three times so far just holding the bike up!!!!! Not me sitting on the bike on the stand. Useless, so a replacement has to be bought and shipped over from the states. More money.

    3.Triple clamp offset – First dirtbike I’ve ever owner that needs a steering dampener to calm the headshake at high speed. My motocross bikes shook their heads less than this so called Enduro bike. So either a $400 steering dampener or $300 triple clamps with a different offset is needed. Unless you like hanging onto something that resembles a dog shaking its head trying to get rid of a burr up its nose.
    4. Radiator fan – This bike overheats when you ride it in tight enduro like conditions it was designed to be ridden in. It should come stock with one if the cooling capacity needs it. KTM charges another $100 for this item
    5. Over flow catch tank- for when you overheat the bloody KTM. Even my cheap Kawasaki KLX has one stock, why not the “ready to race” expensive KTM?

    The bike has got a great engine with a wonderfully nice wide ratio 6 speed gearbox. KTM just seems to have skimped a bit on the details when charging a premium over the Japanese competitors. OK enough nagging lets go for a ride.

    I loaded up the bike four a four day off road ride and headed out to BungyIans X-center for breakfast.
    Since I'm riding the overpriced Queen I have to adopt the aloof model suck in the cheeks pose before she lets me on.

    I told my intended route to Ian and he suggested a loop to include in my itinerary. It was fast and sandy and perfect for riding alone he recommended. Perfect I thought. Motored off on the bike past the Prem center in Mae Rim and headed for the first stretch of dirt that would bring me out by the Mok Fa waterfall on the 1095.

    The pavement on the 1095 is in great nick

    I was originally going to head north up the 1095 for about 7 km’s then hang a left onto some more dirt. Instead I was going to do Ians bit of dirt he suggested at Huay Nam Dang that would bring me into Pai for the night. However when I got to the turnoff to Huay Nam Dang the KTM would need fuel for its mini motocross tank. Damn. This would necessitate me going to Pai for fuel then doing the loop backwards from Pai to Huey Nam Dang then back to Pai for the night. After filling up in Pai it was back into the dirt. The Road north out of Pai is on Davids Mae hong Son map, it was graded smooth as butter and offered a chance to open up the KTM through the foothills.
    Came into Ban Muang Noi for some gas.
    After Muang Noi there is a fork in the road. Left is a long loop to Sappong and right goes into Wiang Heng. I headed right for lunch and gas in Wiang heng about 60 KM’s away. The road climbed higher into the forest and the greenery increased.

    Followed this leg to another fork, it was right to begin dropping down to wiang heng. This is where I came from:
    Here it was a bit clay like and rutted probably not a great joy in the wet but so far it was dry as a bone and the trails flowing and easy. As long as the rain stayed at bay.

    They don't have whoopdeedo's on the trails in Thailand like they have in California, they have their own kind of whoopdeedo.

    Both the KTM and I got sustenance in Wieng heng before departing on the second leg of Ians suggested loop. Dropping down to Wieng Heng:

    Friendly faces in WH
    This track was supposed to be a sandy track paralleling a river. Hmmmm. The trail started out loads of fun through some sand/gravel rolling small dirt roads with lips and jumps to launch the orange pumpkin off. Great fun…until it dead ended in a small Hill tribe village. I asked for directions to Huey Nam Dang and the locals signaled pavement all the way back to the 1095. After a bit of sign language stating the big motorbike likes dirt instead of pavement and with my 10 words of Thai that don’t revolve around the bar industry I managed to figure out the singletrack that headed into the jungle out the back of the village should end up in Huey Nam Dang 50 km’s away. Definiteley not Ians recommended Sandy truck road paralleling a river but hopefully it goes through.

    Problem being it started raining a bit. Uh-oh!! Rain and off roading in Thailand on clay surfaces don’t always end up with miles of smiles as the surface resembles a lesbian love show in patpong with all surfaces as slick as Teflon. Not conducive to keeping the bike upright. Especially when your only 5’5” perched high atop a 38” tall KTM seat. I wobbled off onto the singletrack which was pleasant and scenic. Then the trail stated getting a bit slick. Good for the lesbian shows bad for me on the dirt bike. Lurid slipping and sliding began and it all began to go a bit pear shaped.
    You see everytime I fell over fuel would begin draining out the carb. No big deal unless your heading onto an unknown singletrack trail with unknown distances, with limited fuel on board, rain on the horizon, and its 3:00 PM, alone. Bottom line is that picture taking got sacrificed in the name of making headway on the trail. After dumping the KTM more than a couple times and trying to gingerly roll on the big bore KTM in the slippery stuff the trail ended onto a dirt road. The singletrack portion was lovely and little used and wandered through the jungle which is very nice in the Wiang Heng area. This area is really worthy of your time and exploration if you fancy off roading.

    Once back on the dirt roads progress could be made as the KTM was put on the main jet and the scenery got ingested. The road was nice as it paralleled the river through the valley.

    As it climbed the other side of the valley up to Doi Chang the road became a bit more used, especially with the farmers coming home from work, so be careful along this section.

    Dropped into Huay Nam Dang and back onto the 1095 into Pai. At the 1095/1265 the garlic farmers were staging a protest and the roads were blocked to through traffic. The road was lined with buses and trucks held up by the protest and the farmers were out in force. Many a backpacker was frustrated as their travel plans got a bit screwed, TIT.

    Luckily they let motorbikes through the blockade so all was well.

    Pai is not my favorite city, sadly its beauty is overshadowed by all the fisherman pant wearing, dreadlocked haired tourists with their noses stuck too deep into the Lonely Planet guide. It is however great to see the Thai tour guide lads raking in the farang tourist females for a twist on the farang male/thai female relationships ratios. Good on ‘em. Found an able and willing gal to provide the customary post ride massage and dinner company to divert my attention from the lack of nighttime festivities in Pai.

    The next morning was overcast and threatening rain. Over breakfast it started to rain lightly.

    I muttered obscenities as I wondered what to do. I was planning the Pai to Sappong off road loop on Davids map. However this section gets pretty hairy and awkward if it’s wet. If I did not go this way I would have to do pavement to mae hong son, my next destination. I waited for half an hour trying to suss out whether it’s a local squall or a major system. Silverhawk had called and let me know it was pissing down in Chiang Mai which was not encouraging news. What was more discouraging was the thought of riding pavement to Mae Hong Son instead of dirt. So I prayed for the rain to stay away and headed for Sappong off road.

    Thr trail was dry and I made good progress clicking off the KM’s. Gassed up the KTM in a village and realized my spare fuel container was leaking.
    Loved this gas station (shed)
    as it was evident that gas stations worldwide all share the common trait of gearheads and a fan of girly pics.

    Damn since this loop would be right on the edge of my mileage capabilities of the miniature KTM gas tank. Not confidence inspiring. Plus the sky was not looking to inspiring.

    Got to where the trail starts to get interesting and past what looks like a hydro electric plant. The trail is a fun section of dips and rolls through here and I was really enjoying it.

    I came around a corner and saw a local hunter out looking for vittles for the pot. Thought I’d stop for a picture and say hello. Turns out its lucky I stopped.
    He asked where I was going and when I told him Ban Aecho then to Sappong. All I understood was “mie die” which was not what I needed to hear. Some frantic finger scratching in the dirt, pointing at a tree and babbling in broken Thai and I figured out a tree was blocking the trail. I asked if I could ride around the tree and he said no way. He said he had to walk two days to get to the next village. He said it was a huge tree near Aecho which ruined my plans. I wanted to try and ride to the tree to see if I could make my way around it and continue my ride. Sadly it was too far out to make it back if I had to backtrack. I would run out of gas. I decided it was not worth the risk since last time I doubted the hill tribe advice in terms of trail conditions I ended up spending the night in the jungle instead of a bed.

    After looking at the map my only other option to get to mae hong Son was to backtrack the trail 40KM’s to Pai, fill up gas there, then take the 1265 60 km’s to Wat Chan, more gas and some lunch then take the elephant trail north from Wat Chan to mae hong Son for another 80km’s of off road. Whew!!

    I'll continue the post later
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  3. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Damn!! I hopped back on the bike and screwed it on back down the trail to Pai. Gassed up and hit the tarmnac down the 1095 to the 1265. Turned right on the 1265 and put the KTM on warp 9 along the 1265. Fuun, though the KTM does not feel as planted on the pavement as my lowly KLX 250 or an XR250. Must be the high dollar suspension tuning by Racetech that gobbles up the dirt that makes the front end patter on the tarmac. My low confidence is visible on the tires when i roll into Wat Chan.

    Telltale signs of nervousness in the front is even worse.

    As my ex wife says..."you must be losing it or getting old". Sad reality.

    Bottom line by the time I got back to Wat Chan ready to hit the trail it was 3;00 in the afternoon. Luckily the sky looked clearer in this location than the trail I was on earlier. So I downed a couple M-150’s for some Glucose and energy and headed north.

    Some Gasahol 95 for the KTM and back on the trail:

    The trail was in good nick so progress was swift. The big Ktm is fun on these trails, spewing rocks and spinning the tire every time you lean on the throttle. What was a nuisance earlier in the wet is miles of smiles in the dry.



    The scenery is unrolling in front of me and even the clouds are cooperating.


    More whoops on the trail taking a bath.

    Sadly even the National forest area is allowed to be clear cutted.

    Towards the end of the trail I stopped by a little waterfall for a 15 minute break. I was feeling a bit knackered at this point, gonna have to hit the gym and get in riding shape. Too much super motard and not enough dirt biking maybe, or maybe at least get on top once in awhile

    A couple Km’s from the trail end I came across a few (maybe Scandinavian) riders on AX1’s rented from Chiang Mai. I stopped to see how they were doing and they begged for some fuel. Seems they were running low. I’m guessing they did not fill up in Wat Chan, but am not sure since their AX1’s should be able to make it from Samoeng to MHS on a tank of gas. My tank was on reserve at this point so did not have much fuel to spare. I gave them half my extra fuel and hoped the KTM would sip it into MHS. One of the riders stated “I know you”!!! Normally when a gent says this to me I get a nervous tick going and hope I have not mistakenly slept with his girlfriend. Turns out he was thumbing through the archives of GT rider and seems to remember seeing a midget posting.




    Once we reached the lookout that signals the last hill top before dropping onto the 108, we all shut our engines off and coasted down the hill a few KM’s to save petrol. They stopped for piccies but I had a massage on my mind so bid them farewell.

    Rolling into MHS I stopped by the Bikepoint Castrol bike mechanics shop. The GPS connection had failed and so was running on batteries which were down to one bar. Let them strip the bike and begin chasing the problem. Great as by the time I was out of my Armour and Camelback they had the tank and seat off. Turns out the negative connection to the battery had failed. A new connection crimped on and viola back to modern times with a GPS. A lubed chain bought the bill total to 50 baht. A great way of doing things over here is paying the cheap labor rates yet supervise to ensure things are done your way. Originally they were just going to wrap the wire around the negative terminal, so a quick pantomime got me a crimp on connector installed.

    Off to the Mountain Inn hotel which is pricey by MHS standards but has parking out of view for the bike and nice rooms. Then it was off for some massage and socializing. Stopped by Thanyas place for a great two hour massage. Got the social pumps primed by bringing in a bottle of whiskey and ice for the gals and needless to say the rest of the night was as God intended. Lots of fun and laughs with the girls, a wondrous two hour massage, then a night out with the ladies for dinner and fun. Not a bad way to wrap up a long day of riding.


    Lecherous photos of me and the gals deleted for innocent paerties protection.

    Off to bed now will continue the post later.

  4. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Big and Tall...

    You are a man amongst men...

  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Big 'n Tall
    Great stuff mate. You really know how to ride & enjoy yourself, plus cap it all of with excellent trip reports.
    It's good to see you looking after the Baan Thai massage team in MHS - takes the pressure off me for next time round. They sure do provide the best massages in North Thailand, to make any ride to MHS worthwhile - they are that good!
    Please keep 'em (rides & trip reports) coming & we will have a high benchmark for all the lurkers to keep pondering.
  6. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Woke up the next morning and since Mae Hong Son is a tourist mecca it means I can get a breakfast other than boiled rice porridge/soup. I love Thai food but in the morning I still have my roots in the farang world and appreciate food other than rice for brekkie. Since the night before was rather long I needed something other than a greasy English breakfast. So headed to this spot which I've gone to before but forget its name, just round the corner from the Crossroads Bar.
    orded up my Muesli, yogurt and fruit and had a great talk with the Burmese immigrant workers crew of mom and daughter. Apparently been in Thailand 7 years and happy to be here given the status of events across the border.

    Todays riding destination was Mae Chaem. There were clouds in the sky but no rain as of yet thankfully.

    The route was going to be turn left off the 108 about 35 KM’s south of MHS. There is a shack at the start of the dirt road and a checkpoint ½ a kilometer in on the road.
    I took this road up into the hills on a clockwise loop,
    through teak forests and around a lake and came out on the 1263 at Mae Yum Luang about 55 -60km’s.

    One of the joys of offroading is you come across ways of life a lot different than your own and that of major cities like Chiang Mai. A wonderful tool for insight the ole dirtbike.
    Also came across loads of income property opportunities and/or retirement home dwellings.

    Hoping I would not have to test the KTM brush guards against the bull that left this gift on the road coming round a corner.

    I love these little valleys and hallows you come across with little farm plots. So very far away from Los Angeles.

    Trail shot:

    The riding was mostly relatively easy until about part way through it climbs rather steeply and ends at a gentlemans house, hmmm.

    He came out to see why there was a lost farang stumbling about his property. I asked if the road goes through to Mae Chaem. He indicated going backwards and around which I was reluctant to do fearing running out of gas. He sensed this and said I could take the track that goes through his property and told me to take the right fork as I exited his property. This gent opened the fence for me to get through onto his property. This would not happen back in the states where I would be told to f__k off and the police called. I thanked him profusely and opened and closed the gate behind me at the rear of his property. Not sure if it was private property or an Army outpost, though no army uniforms were seen.

    The path turned into a graded but unused road that skirted down the mountains through overgrown grass. Nice but the rain started in which made my pace quicken to get down ASAP. In Thailand you push your way through branches and bushes all the time off roading and it’s all well and good until….you come across the dreaded VINE. Yes this wayward bit of fauna is as treacherous as a twenty year veteran of Soi Cowboy. Usually at least with them there is a bit of fun involved before the difficult ugly bits rear their head. The vine has no such love as she wraps her tentacles around my throat, I think its nothing but a gentle caress and keep the throttle going. Then she gets miffed at you and the clench snaps tight around your neck. Next thing I’m being dragged off the back of the KTM, eyes bulging and feeling feint. Left hand has already been pulled off the bar, left foot is waving in the air instead of on the footpeg as the vine plucks its 135 pound piece of fruit. My buttocks are in the air instead of on the seat and the right hand is losing its grip, it’s gonna ground me like an Ulitmate Fighting throw. Just then my month of teaching in an orphanage in Cambodia karma gets cashed in and the vine lets me go. Sadly my karma knew I hit a few dodgy joints in Cambodia and was not worth all that much since I was practically pulled off the bike I now went veering off the trail and crash. Joy. After this episode I remind myself to forego exploring being strangled during sex as some enjoy. Maybe I’m getting old.

    Gathered myself back up and treaded a bit more cautiously down the rest of the trail. It was disused so went off trail a couple times gatting to the bottom. Towards the bottom there was a small bridge crossing a stream. Thye foot and a half drop onto the tree trunks and then riding across the tree trunks looked a hell of a lot more dangerous than just crossing the river through the water.
    through the piddly stream and on the other side is a National Park entrance with two forks. I chose the right fork and continued down to the 1263.

    On the way down to the 1263 I came across this road sign, maybe a harbinger of things to come.

    The trail continued down onto a road that led onto the 1263 where I had lunch at a local village named Pang Oung. Had to trade in visions of a Tri Tip steak instead for a lowly bowl of noodle soup, sadly my dining is paralleling my social life lately.

    The trail after lunch I was taking headed north off the 1263 to a village named mae Ruam. The beginning of the trail was sandy with decomposed limestone so the traction was great and the corners lovely. The KTM was put on the main jet and gas prices be damned, we’re having some fun. The fun meter was pegged for awhile until Buddha felt some balance was needed. So he motioned to his buddy Zeus, The Greek God that happened to not only handle Mount Olympus but also a few Thunderbolts. Zeus thought it would be fun to wreck this midgets day of fun and wheelies and transformed my once sandy track into hard gawd awful clay and added some of his proprietary rain and thunder for a good show.
    Needless to say my trek to mae Ruam became an agonizing mix of slides, falls, slips, and many curses as the skies opened up and the trail turned into a slippery mudfest. Oh it was a joy.
    The technique is to put your bike in gear, let the clutch out gingerely so as not to spin or slide the wheel, then attempt to keep the bike upright with your two feet used as outriggers to stabilize the slipping and sliding bike. This is awkward but at least viable if you are 6 plus feet like Luke. If you’re 5’5” like me…well, you just suffer.

    My legs are used as pointers instead of stabilizers since they don’t touch the ground…except when you crash. Which sadly I did quite often in this stretch. Usually I keep my wheels in thye ruts so that when they slip the ruts help keep the wheels from slipping sideways. Instead i just bounce out of control like a pinball down the ruts. One village guy was laughing and gave me thumbs up as I came down a rut back wheel locked up, front brake feathering trying to not lock up the front and feet like two lobster antennaes probing for safety in the air down to where he was farming. This technique was quite ugly but feeling like malcolm X and "by any means neccessary" tried to maintain forward progress.

    Nothing too hideous happened other than falling over loads of times until I thought I was out of the slippery stuff and came around a corner in third gear feeling good, almost like I was getting the hang of this shit. I was on the crown of the road now which meant when the wheels slip it would be ugly. Yep you guessed it, the wheels take a gawd-awful slide, the back tries to pass the front, my eyes are bugged out, the bikes rear tire slides off the trail into the bushes, catches on something and highsides me into the air like a damn catapult. I feel like Mick Doohan getting launched by a 500cc two stroke grand prix bike. Instead of getting flung into the soft bushes my trajectory takes me over the trail, remember that hard as rock clay trail? The only thing I remember is not to brace my fall with my arms as I have broken my collerbone too many times. So what do i do? The biggest darn belly flop you've ever seen. My camera that I carry on my chest gets dug into ole terra firma pretty good and I feel like I've taken a solid hit on the sternum by Mike Tyson himself. Gotta love the camera dig in mark on the ground. Damn sony took the licken though.

    Jeez this crashing really drives it home that i'm not 19 anymore. The sad thing is this terrain is bloody so easy in the dry you could drive a Honda Gold Wing down it yet I'm getting schooled on this stuff in the wet. Humbling.

    By the time I rolled into Mae Ruam I was a wreck. Supporting and picking up 250 pounds of bike time after time really makes me feel old and useless. I wolfed down water and luckily they had Sponser drinks to re-supply the glucose levels. It kept raining and I began to talk to the locals and making friends since Mae Chaem looked impossible today. A gent offered me a place to stay once he found out I was single, I was leery of his proposal until I found out he had a single sister he wanted me to be introduced. Things were looking better until I took a look around ole mae Ruam. This place reminds me of a border town in Mexcico, messy, dingy and with a smell of rotten fish. Yuk!!!

    Mae Ruam in all its glory.

    Ok gents got the nurse from Surin flying in to take care of me so will post the conclusion after my rehab.
  7. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Guys - thanks for the kind words. Always makes the drudgery of posting reports that much more tolerable.

    Yes Colin riding by myself is always a nice change of dynamics.
  8. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    You had a number of us worried that you were flying solo without the usual suspects or partners in crime.
    But this report again shows you can still come up trumps even if Starsky is not backing up Hutch!
    Quality adventure writing as ever - never fail to amuse in whatever endeavor you undertake.
    Bravo & Many Tanks*!

    *genwin oirish*
  9. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Justin, an amazing tour and incredible fotos you posted, keep 'em coming.....cheers, Franz
  10. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ol'Timer

    Well, no one can accuse YOU of being a lazy, drunken, good for nothing scoundrel who haunts the seamier side of town in an endless satyr-like search for conquests... :) Au contraire... you are a true adventurer, a veritable Marco Polo! Undeterred by terrain, the forces of nature, transportation difficulties etc, you bravely go where no man has gone before!

    Most importantly, you unselfishly share your adventures with the couch potatos, who derive a vicarious amusement from your manly exploits and acts of derring-do! Would that there were more MEN like you... The pen is truly mightier than the sword!

    You deserve an accolade! Big and Tall you are indeed, because the magnitude of your missions, alone and unaided, vastly exceeds your stature!

    Thanks for sharing - I'd like to buy you a beer sometime!!! :)

    PS: Its not the size of the dog in the fight that counts most... its the size of the fight in the dog!
  11. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

    Bign Tall:

    Hi Bign Tall, you see 12.6.2008 in 'Elephant Trail'
    four riders from Finland. We running low because we don't take fuel in Wat Chan or Huai Mana. I think we can rideing to MHS this fuel what we make tank in Samoeng. Near where you meet first time my friend two bikes was have on auxiliary tank and where to meet me “I know you” my bikes and my friends bike going to auxiliary tank.

    Bign Tall, many thanks to you. You give with us and my friend your reserve fuel. Your are the rider and you are the one legend gt-riders to me this gt-riders message boards.

    It's very nice to meet you in 'Elephant Trail'. Elephant trail is the best route what we rideing in this hollyday and we rideing together 12 days and 2500km.

    7.30 pm. we arrive to MHS and four AX-1 take fuel 330thb.

    This day when you meet with us we rideing 299km, 11h 45min.
    Route: Chiang Mai - Samoeng - Huai Mana - Khun Mae Tala - Wat Chan - Huai Tong - Huai Poo Leoy - Huai Poo Ling - Nong Khao - Nam Hu - Mae Hong Song - Soppong

    Big and Tall and everybody. I'm sorry my bad english, it's very difficult write to english to me.
  12. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Gosh I hope all these accolades don't go to your head. With your stature and a head twice the size it is now, it will not be a pretty site! :lol:

    And he wrote:
    What is taking place may be a realization that I don't bounce back as quickly as I used to. Also my bike definitely does not like the prone position. I also know that although perhaps you are a little lacking in stature, your riding skills far surpass mine.

    Although you again invited me on an "easy trail ride, the kind that you like ":roll: , I note your references to getting older AND your number of face plants. I also remember that I have more than a decade on you. I'm not sure to attribute my reluctance to accompany you on this "easy outing" was due to mature wisdom or increased cowardice.

    Either way, a great report and you do deserve the accolades! :p
  13. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    Great report Big n Tall, and fantastic photo's.


    Cheers Rex.
  14. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Back from 4 days with the "nurse " from Surin and her much needed "therapy". Travelling with a gal provides some thoughts and realizations to mull over, however this being a family message board restraint must nbe shown.

    Looks like a load of Exctasy pills bound for Scandanavia found its way to the GT-rider crew. Guys your compliments are deeply appreciated and obviously vastly overstated.

    Silverhawk put a thread on the board awhile back stating that sometimes it is difficult to post trip reports when the poster gets little feedback and I'm sure he speaks for most of trip report authors. I think kudos goes to Silverhawk for making us aware of the drudgery there is in writing reports and inspiring all of us duffers to blow smoke up each others bums when someone actually pens a report. Without them the board is bore.

    it was a ride I did a couple years ago with Silverhawk and Pikey over some of these same trails that inspired me to make Chiang mai home for most of the year. That ride will always have a fond place in my memory as one of my best rides ever. Great company, great trails, new discoveries and pretty views doersn't get much better that. Silverhawk the trails were easy and I have no doubt would of been a breeze for you. Its the damn twists on these rides that throw one a curve-ball ie rain, getting lost, and jungle vines that need the odd caress that made the ride awkward. No doubt with your accompanyment I would not of gotten lost and of course the rain would of abstained :wink: . Mature wisdom has yet to bestow itself on either of us, we're two middle aged men involved with Thai women, awaiting the wisdom.

    Great to see ThaiLasse on the board and nice to meet you on the trail!!!! Don't worry about your lack of English skills, most of us over here have relationships without it, a trip report we can easily deal with, haha. We would love to hear about you ride. It sounds fantastic and hats of to you for seeing the ride through. If nothing else a few sentances and some pictures would be marvelous. Best of Luck!!!

    I think I'm the one whom owes you a beer SEO Guy after your most generous post. Thank you.

    Franz - Hope to catch up with you one time. I missed your last CNX visit. Cheers.

    Happy (finger) Feet - That was not Yoda i was after but a certain Burmese massage girl. Sadly my failing vision once again leads to the horror of the concierge at the hotel as another winner is drug home.
  15. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Justin, will be around from approx. Tue 22nd July until Sat 2nd August for my annual vacation, details to follow. Keep 'em coming !!!!!! Cheers, Franz
  16. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    I was mulling over whether an introduction to the Mae Ruam lads hill tribe sister would be worth it or not. Sadly I've learnt through experience that many a poor decision has been decided upon under the burden of a knot in your shorts. Did Clinton think his cigar trick with Monica would cuase him that much grief as he was unbottoning the blouse? I think not.

    The rain storm passed and the sun broke out, this combined with the wretched smell of Mae Ruam inspired me to enquire how long it took the locals to ride to Mae Chaem. They said 1 ½ hours with no rain. If the trail treated me well I could make Mae Chaem I thought. Besides how pretty could a single gal in her 30’s be out here in Mae Ruam. Surely some cabbage farmer would of snagged her long ago if she was halfway decent. No hill tribe rejects for me tonight I thought. I’ll save those for the Spotlight Strip club back in chiang mai.

    The trail was surprisingly in good nick and not too slippery at all from Mae Ruam to mae chaem.
    The odd patch of awkwardness was all that was thrown at me on this leg. Something to get the heart rate going without the aid of a short skirt. Slimy green algae on top of firm clay.

    Clearing the rain and looking back at clouds that brought me heartache and a sore sternum.


    I was knackered at this point of the trip so once again my picture taking goes on hiatus. so no stopping for pics in the name of keeping a good pace going. Rolled into Mae Chaem and stayed at a joint called the Pamview Hotel which was basic accommodations, nothing special. Located across a bridge and river as you enter town from the main road.

    More importantly since I was shattered after today’s ride they had a restaurant across the street overlooking the river and a masseuse was on call. Good enough for me in my state so called it a night.

    As i was covering the floor of my room with dried mud changing out of my gear I spied something that caught my eye (and caught my neck earlier in the day). Yes that bloody vine had left a telltale hickey for me to keep for a couple weeks to remember it by. One of the GT riders even sent me a website link outlining the methodology of Auto-erotic-asphyxiation in case I should reneg on my decision to pass on this style of sex. Such is the altruisitc nature of the GT-Rider clan.

    Another interesting night with a masseuse that ended with the Guest house keeper becoming involved (not that way you sick buggers), home was starting to look attractive.

    The fourth day dawned, unfortunately not bright and clear like I was hoping but instead overcast and murky, oh joy. Up north in mae Hong Son and Pai I had marvelous weather with no real rain which made things as nice as a busty gal in a tight T-shirt. Once down to the lower latitudes I came into the storm track that Silverhawk had told me about affecting Chiang Mai. Which made my morning resemble a “ten” the night before as it loses half its score in the morning light. Had a breakfast of boiled rice since an English Fry-up was not to be found.

    Gave the KTM a few ML’s of oil, lubed the chain (gluttonous orange queen needing some pampering) and off again. The loop today was going from Mae Chaem to Chomthong off road but because of the weather I cut a section of dirt route off from Mae Chaem to the village of Om Long. I instead slabbed it from Mae Chaem down the 1088 to the 5188. The 5188 turns to dirt once you get past Om Long village and this would be a 40 km section of dirt into Ob Luang national park just outside Chomthong.

    The drizzle turning the roads into something not in the Tourism of Thailand (TAT) brochures.

    The trail is scenic as it rides into small valleys that were being planted with rice. Drizzle evident in the water of the rice paddies.

    Today drizzled nonstop for me the whole way making it not the most joyous days I have spent on a dirt bike. Luckily due to the relative low elevation changes on the trail compared to yesterday though the trails were bearable in the wet, thankfully. Dropping down into Chomthong I hit fog all through my decent just to remind me how nice the first couple days of the ride were. Fickle as Thai gals the weather over here.


    The conclusion of this report i had in my mind a couple days ago. It was supposed to be myself with a white skinned gal (a rarity I know) in a bathing suit. I had intended meeting up with a gal in Chomthong I knew, then getting together with Silverhawk and his GF Thim for an afternoon by the river to unwind, soak off the grime of the ride, chat with Silverhawk, and grope the gal. However as most things involving Thai women unwound the plans went awry. Ended up hooked up with David and Thim over some Ice coffee before the slog back to Chiang Mai. Once again apologies to David and Thim for the lack of river trip. Next time. Aplogies to the GT rider clan for no beauty shots either. Is there no mercy??

    All in all the trip went well with loads of fun on the KTM off road after motarding it a bunch with the boys. The trails were all fun and in decent nick apart for the rain, slides and crashes entering into Mae Ruam. Oh and be careful of those vines. Just ask Luke, haha. If anybody hears the trail is open from Pai to Sappong or definitively closed please post an update as it’s a nice section of trail.

    Cheers all.
  17. Lightemup

    Lightemup Ol'Timer

    Excellent report, thanks for writing it up.
  18. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer


    Top quality trip and report! I have the exact same Garmin setup on my bike and plan to bring it along for my 1st go at the area. What mapping config/software are you using to get the Thai road detail required on the 60Cx? Thanks in advance.
  19. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Lightemup - Love your screen name :D !

    Feejer - I have the ESRI map of Thailand on the Garmin. You can find discussions of the software under the GPS section on this website. Great software that covers the whole country with points covering lodging and points of interest. I have heard you can also buy it in the states for about $100 through Garmin.

    Keep in mind the offroad trails are not on the map.
  20. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer


    Cracking report mate and great pics. The difference in the trail conditions from when we did it together will Silverhawk a couple of years ago is quite something to see. I'm with SH on this - you refer to the trails as "easy" but this dirt riding tosspot found it hard enough in the dry season so trying to follow in your noble footsteps in the wet season would still see me out there marooned under my bike no doubt!

    Glad you made it back OK and I am sure there are many CNX gals that are glad too ;)


  21. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

    BignTall wrote:
    BignTall, heh. I hope and I wait when I Can meet real GT-rider on the road and when I can meet one of the legend GT-rider on the GT-rider meassagea boards. And where I meet BignTall, "elephant trail" what I want to ride North Thailand five years.

    BignTall same to me! Very nicte to meet you on the "elephant trail" and the GT-rider messagea board. What you tell me, after when my pictures have a my homepage I want to try write some little trip report with amazing pictures. :wink:
  22. thailasse

    thailasse Ol'Timer

  23. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Just like to add my appreciation for a great report.
    Great pics and very witty too.
    Makes me long for a bit of the dirty stuff!!!, under the wheels that is.

    Do you think my FJR would be OK doing this trip, next month, if I take the panniers off?
  24. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    This report has really inspired me. If I were to dream about a perfect few days riding, this would be it.



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