I made the unlucky decision to swap bikes with Satonic just before that hairy hill...
The first bit is super steep and loose. Rear brake was useless and when I found myself accelerating down the hill I touched the front brake and promptly went over the handle bars :sick:
Bruised but otherwise undamaged I struggled for a good while to pick the bike back up on the steep slippery slope. It was hard to stand, much less get the bike back up as every time I tried to lift it it just slid down the hill. Huffing and puffing I did eventually get the bike down to a less steep bit where I could stand it up. Then comes the crazy boulder section- a steep off camber hill with large boulders and lots of loose rocks of various size. Again, a lot of work on the D-Tracker, but I did make it down without dropping the bike again :mrgreen:
This part of the trail is single track and quite technical, I caught up with Satonic and opined that IF the trail got even worse further on we'd have to think about turning around, but the idea of climbing up the hill we'd just come down didn't appeal to either of us, so we pushed on. Fortunately, that was the worst bit and the trail leveled out a bit further on. Lots of small water crossings but nothing very deep or challenging-
You could tell we were in the National Park by the gates, lack of recent clear cutting, and absence of livestock, and fields-
Someone had run a tractor through here and graded the road fairly recently so we made good time, though had to be careful in the shady parts where the moss was growing thick on the red clay and made the trail super slippery.
Eventually we spot signs of civilization again- we've reached Kamphaneg Phet province!
Stunning views from the ridge trail that descends down the mountain-
Satonic goofing about in the corn chaf. Dude, don't you remember what happened when you did that last year??!?
What a fantastic ride and a beautiful area!
Satonic got a couple snaps of me on the descent-
Actually looked and felt like it might rain at one point-
We arrived at a small settlement on the edge of Ban Pha Phung that was THICK with livestock- it was almost like a hobby farm, full of pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, cattle, etc. Seems the folks here must have plenty of meat on the menu, or perhaps they haul it out for sale at a nearby market?
Coming in to Nam Pha Phung we encountered a small traffic jam
These pickups were hauling corn down from the fields. Eventually we managed to work our way around them-
Woohoo! We've finally made it to Ban Nam Phung! Both running low on fuel so we topped up on pricey gas here-
Filling up, one liter at a time-
Brilliant ride!! I wasn't sure if we could get through, but we made it!! :clap:
From here on it was a mix of dirt and paved roads all the way to the main highway 1 in Kamphaeng Phet, and from there a long slog down to Bangkok. After the sun went down it got very chilly and Satonic donned a cheap disposable rain poncho under his jersey to cut the wind. Sounds a bit goofy but this works really well :thumbup:
Somewhere along the way Satonic told me my front tire was flat. I didn't believe him; I'd dropped the pressure to ~12 psi a few days earlier and thought that was why my front end was a bit wonky in the corners, but we pulled into a service station, I tried to air up the tire, and sure enough, it was flat. What an oddly stiff front tire that I could ride all this way with no air in it! Satonic encouraged me to put in a new tube, but frankly, I figured if I'd gotten this far, another 2-3 hundred more km to Bangkok probably wouldn't be a problem. I rode that bike around for a couple more weeks with a flat front tire before my son finally insisted I put in a new tube
A surprisingly good dinner in Nakhon Sawan where the drunken proprietress all but molested me in front of her kid... WTF was that all about?! :lol:
We reached Bangkok well after midnight, buzzed and exhausted at the same time. Fantastic ride and can't wait for the next one!!
You might recall that Satonic had bought that D-tracker just a couple days before we left on this trip. That bike was very clean and you could tell it had never been taken off road. I quite like this before and after pic:
Until next time, The End! :mrgreen: