After waiting some 30-40 minutes we conclude that the Hmong dudes aren't coming back for us so we start hiking / riding again in the direction of the dirt road on the GPS.
It's still all uphill and with the bikes loaded the way they we are ass-heavy and our headlights are useless, pointing up into the trees so that can't really see what's in front of us. This leads to a few flops and picking up the heavily loaded bikes is getting tiring.
I wedged a stick in between the headlight and the surround to force it down a bit. This helped, but still not easy to see what's right in front of your wheel and I too dropped my bike...
Finally we decide that the fellows who have run out of water should ride on ahead to civilization, re-hydrate and then, if possible, send help or at least some supplies for the two of us who might have the spend the night in the jungle.
So Jake and Trent ride off and Dave and I continue slowly on foot. My bike gets dropped and suddenly the throttle won't snap back which has me a bit concerned, but we're still moving forward when the Hmong dudes finally catch up with us!
They've returned with an extra scooter which they give to Dave, and then they ride ahead of us, 2-up.
Pretty funny sight- Big Dave on that tiny scooter. He's looking for the starter button and I tell him he has to kick start it
The headlight on the scooter is pretty much useless so I follow him so that he has some light.
Eventually we reach the dirt road!
We are re-united with Trent and Jake who have flagged down a pick-up truck who offers to help us-
Big Dave compensates the Hmong scooter guys handsomely and transfers to the pick-up-
Big Dave gives us a nice "wave" from the back of the truck to signal that all is well
We follow the truck to the tiny village of Dong Sam Mun where we find water and snacks and villagers huddled around a small fire to stay warm-
The owner of the shop was super-gracious and offered to let us stay in his home and said he would cook food for us too. Amazing hospitality!
I'm game, but the city boys won't have it. They want a proper bed and a warm shower, so we negotiate with the pick-up driver to take us to Ban Wat Chan. What a terrible ride that was!!! Following the pickup on the rough dirt road it was getting very cold and extremely dusty. The road was very rough with deep erosion in spots that could swallow a bike whole. I have no mirrors but knew there was a light at my back, so just focused on following the pickup truck and not crashing.
Turns out we did lose someone along the way to Ban Wat Chan... I didn't have enough gas to go back and everything in Ban Wat Chan was closed up for the night... Our missing rider did eventually catch up, pissed cuz he got stuck in a hole, but hey, what ya gonna do??
There are homestays and guesthouses and restaurants in Ban Wat Chan but it was around midnight and everything was closed up for the night... Shit... The closest town then would be Pai, some 50km to the north. We were all running low on fuel, including the pick-up truck, so we had to wake up a station attendant to get some gas-
A couple liters in the bikes and 500 baht of diesel in the pick-up truck and once again we're off! Fekkin FREEZING at this point but we must push on! We reached Pai around 1 in the morning, topped up at the PTT-
We rode around looking for accommodation. First couple places were full, but finally we found a little boutique guesthouse kind of place in the center of town that told us they had 5 rooms, but in fact only had 3...
The lady running the place was thicker than thick and our patience was wearing thin. At least they had semi-off-street parking for the bikes-
Dave put the 3 Hmong dudes up in the big "honeymoon suite", he and I shared a room, Trent got a room and Jake ended up kicking the front desk lady out of the room she was in. Sorted!!
Shower and clean clothes and then out to find some grub! Dave and Trent took the hilltribe guys out for street food, Jake and I found a pretty good burger joint, but by the time we finished our meal all the bars on our street, that were hopping when we arrived, had already shut down. A few drinks in our room and it was finally time for bed.