Eastward Ho ! - Trip Report #2

Feb 6, 2003
After a refreshing two nights back in CM I took the Steed down the Super to Lampang. Awful. Hate Super's. Continued on Route 11, got off that to take Route 1023 to Phrae for the overnight. Route 1023 was a good ride; scenic, easy, and gentle. It was late afternoon and the heat was mostly off and traffic was light. Stayed in the big hotel: [Nakorn Phrae Tower] -felt like a real tourist. Checked in after the long ride from CM, showered, went out walking, stoping at the first Carlsberg beer sign I saw. Two big one's went down real easy. Can't recall much after that but had dinner somewhere [more beer]. Sloshed, I stumbled back to the hotel for a good sleep.

I know the area has interest but for me the next morning I just wanted to ride and so took off for Nan on R101. Uneventful ride; it was hot and dry so I kept a high speed reaching Wiang Sa in time for lunch. Road surfaces were all good and no probems anywhere. Having this Steed over the old hard-tail was much easier even though the handlebars were too wide limiting your turning control. Reached Nan by mid or late afternoon and checked into the Dhevaraj Hotel [just fine]. It's at the far side of town close to the river and the walking around is good having a nearby marketplace, the river, and an interesting small Wat next to a city park. I struck up some good conversations in this park after sunset with two policeman, a Thai military man and another local. The police were looking for drugs but asked me no questions; only introducing themselves to me and as a Farang they were interested in talking with me. The other two locals wanted to meet again the next night [same place, same station] (?)..So I went off to dinner at Da Dario's for some Italian Veal Cordon Blue.

I rode around Nan a lot at night on the bike simply enjoying doing that, stopping along the river at times. Although it was dark the full moon made this sojourn quite nice. Couldn't find any girly-bar so spent the rest of the evening in an outdoor beer garden along the river bank.

I kept the room for two nights so I could return after a days riding up to Bo Klua and that area. This was a great ride. North from Nan on 1080 to Pua then across the mountain to Bo Klua. Stopping in Chomphu Tree for lunch which turned into the locals plying me with some kind of rice liquor. The local policeman was there as well but he kept professional yet friendly. This also turned into a photo event as I shot most of the locals and their children. The policeman took the Steed for a ride up the road much to his satisfaction. I lingered a bit to get over the liquor before hitting the curves and going onto Doi Phukla National Park where I spent most of the remains of the afternoon. Realizing I had to get back to Nan I jumprd on the bike and roared down 1081, linked up on 1169, and continued south all the way back to Nan. What a ride. Perfect road, perfect curves, no traffic, and great scenery. I was hummin' and almost regretted arriving back to Nan. I drove by the Wat on the way to the hotel and
one of the local's from the night before was there waving at me.

After a shower in the hotel I re-met him outside and he took me to some great eatery way down some road north along the river. An outdoor place with great Thai food and cost less than 150 baht for both of us, plus a few beers. Quite a few actually. It was a fun evening with a few other local's joining in. One of the things I like about Thailand is this friendliness you find everywhere with strangers. They are so trusting and usually turn out to be great company.

From Nan I took route 1091 west to Ban Luang and Chiang Muan enroute to Phayao. This was a tough decision as I really wanted to take route 1080 north to route 1148 to Chiang Kham as David had indicated this was the road to do and was one of his fave's. It looked like a great run but long in order to get to Phayao for an overnight so I elected the shorter way which wasn't bad at all. From Chiang Muan a bit north is a road [#1251] which I wanted to take but I found no info as to surface type or condition and since it is marked a minor road I had to find out. The police check point near Ban Luang said it was rough and full of potholes and the going would be slow, so I opted to take 1091 to Chun then 1021 to Phayao, and that was a day long enough. Besides I
had to reach and stay the night in Phayao due to an experience of last
December that cost me B1000 and I wanted my refund. [This story is cut out here] Refer to "Rain Trip up North" posting of last December.
It involves a girly-bar that wasn't a real girly-bar.

Phayao this time was better as I discovered the waterfront area and hung out there eating and drinking and meeting local folks and a few expat farangs riding big chrome bikes who live there married to Thai's. A Kow Vulcan [1400cc] and a Harley. All spic n span. These guys must wipe down their bikes every hour. They liked living there [who wouldn't with a 1400cc Vulcan and a Thai wife]. They were good company and fine drinkers. So [before the serious drinking], we linked up and rode around the lake together at sunset time.

The next day I winged it back to CM at speeds beyond my previous ones
and made CM in surprisingly short time. The traffic was light all the way to Pong Din and by Doi Saket it was work and slower speeds.

All in all a good week on this run and it's always good to return to Chiang Mai.