Chiang Rai to Koh Chang Back: Part 3 - Homeward Bound

Discussion in 'Central Thailand Road Trip Reports' started by Kiwi Cruiser, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Koh Chang to Chiang Rai
    Route: 3148, 3, 317, 33, 304, 205, 21, 2285, 2196, 12, 11, 103, 1
    1300kms, 3 Days of riding.

    The Team:
    - The Goddess - Honda Phantom 200
    - Kiwi Cruiser - Kawasaki Custom 900

    Day 1: We returned via (almost) the same route as the ride down.
    About to ride onto the ferry to return to the mainland...
    The main difference going home was the weather... 20 kms up Highway 3, as it gradually curved to the left, it intersected the path of an ominously black thunderstorm and heavy showers of rain blowing in from the seaward side. The Goddess was ever so disappointed that I chose not to take shelter but kept on riding to the edge of the rain band, then donned the raincoat... This proved to be the very 1st many times that her motorcycle boots filled up with water...

    Frankly, she was as unimpressed as I was unsympathetic - after all, I'd explained multiple times prior to leaving home that she really needed to find and pack the rain-proof over-trousers... :roll: It was politely but firmly explained that NO complaints to the management would be entertained. If it rains, we get wet and after that we get dry... And thus it was, about 4 times before Nakhon Ratchisima!
    Taking shelter at a gas station during a deluge enabled yet another coffee...
    This guy's got the biggest collection of Landrovers in South East Asia!!!
    Note: The Goddess has her socks out to dry on the luggage box at this coffee break! :lol:
    Here it was dry... 300 metres up the highway, it was bucketing down!!!

    Day 2: 470 kms from Nakhon Ratchisima to Phitsanulok - with a delightful detour through Route 2285 / 2196...
    They are two nice back roads that eliminate Lom Sak from the Highway 21 / 12 route. There are some gorgeous little restaurants and resorts along 2196, worthy of a more leisurely inspection, if not a destination weekend to Petchabun! 2196 meets Highway 12 about 4 - 5 kms from the Route 12 Coffee Shop...

    A coffee break at Route 12 coffee shop, and ahead of us more black clouds were rolling in. A few kms north, it was time to get a coat on again...
    Looking back the way we'd come was far more attractive!
    Eventually, we arrived in Phitsanulok, damp around the edges, weary but well. Riding directly into the evening sun presented a serious problem, compounded by the after school / after work traffic. The plan was to go through to Sukhothai but the increased risk levels after a 470 km day of riding called for an executive decision! I decided we'd best stay in Phitsanulok again. During dinner we decided to just do a day trip to Sukhothai next day, and return by evening for a stroll in the Night Bazaar. Not having to pack / unpack for a day seemed like a good plan...

    Day 3: Sukhothai
    As neither of us had been there before, it promised to be an interesting excursion, and thus it was... Being able to ride the motorbikes throughout the park was great - renting bicycles would scarcely enhance my image! Here's a series of photos from around Sukhothai Historical Park;
    The park is spread over many hectares and walking is not really an option...

    Day 4: Phitsanulok to Chiang Rai
    Heading up Highway 11- all dead straight and boring except for a huge army convoy we overtook just south of Uttaradit - no photos! We actually got all the way home without putting our raincoats on, sneaking between showers all the way until we encountered THIS little beauty!
    We made 3 brief "under the over-bridge" stops until it eventually drifted off Highway 1.

    Home - total distance covered approx 3150 kms - no mechanical issues, aside from the need to throw a bit of oil on the Phantom's chain. At the end of the journey, The Goddess' perception of reality has been greatly expanded, as has her competence, confidence and general sense of self-esteem.
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Well done Mate, Nice Trip! I still love the Look of that Vulcan, Now I have to decide what Cruiser to get? The Vulcan 900 Custom, Harley Davidson or a New Triumph Bonneville??? On Top of this is the Availability now of Other Completely Necessary Bikes such as, Ducati 796 Hypermotard, KTM 690EnduroR !!! Oh the Decisions of Life!!! I just Wish I had more Free Time to take a Trip like Yours!!! Keep up the Good Work and Enjoying Life While We can :happy2:
  4. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Hi Ian
    Bike options have certainly changed in the last 2 - 3 years, its fair to say. Luckily, I don't have parking room for more than one bike for me, plus another for her, and I am very happy with the Vulcan. There are a couple of things that stand out;
    - fuel economy on 91 Gasahol
    - 20 litre fuel capacity

    That combines to give excellent range on a long trip - 300+ kms before you get down to the 6 litre reserve, approx 400 kms all up! The belt drive is almost as maintenance-free as a shaft drive, but without the power loss. The bike is very comfortable on long rides, and offers rock-solid handling under ALL conditions... including gravel / dirt if necessary - ground clearance being the limiting factor.

    See you next week...
  5. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    Good write up & photos - thankyou!
    Hope to see you soon
  6. scotty007

    scotty007 Ol'Timer

    Top notch report with excellent photos, hope to catch up with you both in December. :clap:
  7. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp Staff Member

    Hi Scotty

    Nice to hear from you - and December is approaching at an alarming rate of knots! Hope we have time to get on the road when you're back.
  8. scotty007

    scotty007 Ol'Timer

    Hi Ben, me to, don't forget the toolkit :lol-sign:

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