Greetings From Loei

Desmocrat

Member
Mar 1, 2021
19
19
3
Meuang Loei
Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm Stephen "Prem" Bradley, from Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S.A. My wife, Nok, and I arrived in Thailand 40 minutes before the new year began. We did our time in a BKK lockup to insure we weren't contributing to the pandemic problem and then beat feet up to Isaan. We are making our home in Meuang Loei for now and slowly looking for that just perfect piece of property to buy. We found a great rental and went ahead and paid for a year up front.
I grew up on a working thoroughbred horse farm, which created a pretty strong work ethic, but I left my home town just after graduating from high school and did my initial training in photography and photojournalism through the U.S. Air Force and completed and associates degree in photography through the University of Kentucky (Go Cats!). My background outside of photography was in metal sculpture where I worked for the world's smallest fine art foundry and then the world's largest art foundry, casting sculpture for some of the highest tier artists around. I also created my own sculpture and paintings and enjoyed some success with solo shows of my work in New York City, Atlanta, and Lexington. In the mid 1990s, I returned to Kentucky and began learning to use AutoCAD while doing land surveying. Because of my background working in sculpture, I was learning AutoCad just as it evolved into a true 3D program and I took advantage of this and the engineering firm I was working for became the first in Louisville, KY to use 3D modeling in their designs. I went on to develop my 3D skills and later worked on many projects over 200-500 million and headed up the virtual construction modeling for these. In 2005, I published books on temple architecture in Kyoto, Japan and in Cambodia. As my research for the book included uncovering the history of the Khmer empire, my travels extended into Isaan, where I met my wife, who was my fixer while in NE Thailand. We joke that after being stuck in a car with her for several weeks and not killing her was a sign that I should hang onto her. So we were married in 2006 on the day of the coup against PM Thaksin Shinawatra began, April 2nd, also my wife's birthday. Ever since we took a trip over to Dan Sai in Loei Province, I have been scheming on how to return to this area and live here permanently. So last May we sold everything we owned, the house, the furniture, books, telescopes, photo and darkroom equipment, machine shop tools, blacksmith tools, welding gear, etc. and loaded two bags each and a synthesizer (. my retirement project) into the Volvo and took a several month long spin around the U.S.A. to show my wife as many states as we could sneak through during a pandemic. So she has now been to 42 states and I knocked off that final state so that I have been in all of the contiguous states. Maybe someday I will wrap it up with Hawai'i and Alaska. Then we sold the Volvo and headed here. I have to say this about Volvos, I am 13,000miles short of putting one million miles on 5 Volvos. Great cars! I knocked off a bucket list item in the last one by getting out on the Bonneville Salt Flats and breaking a ton in both directions (just to make it official). It took 36 quarters at the car wash to remove the buildup of salt later that day.
As to motorcycles, I started riding road bikes in the late 70s when in the service. Later, I got into Italian bikes starting with a Moto Guzzi and then moving on to the Ducatis. A few years later I was the Presidente of the Thoroughbred Ducati Owner's Club of Kentucky. I sold my last Ducati, a Paul Smart 1000 LE to pay the medical bills from my wife's surgery to remove a brain tumor (she's okay now). After several years off, I vowed to buy a new machine once in Thailand and just purchased a F750GS last week I defected from Ducati as I needed something more like a battle tank for these roads and something with dealer support a bit closer than BKK. Still waiting on the Tabian Bhan (or however you spell the yellow residency book) so that I can get the included insurance from the BMW dealer in Udon Thani. In the meantime, I'm ordering the necessary extras, e.g. crash bars, windsheilds, tool kit, protective clothing, etc. Still having an issue finding a helmet to fit my big ol' head and probably need an Arai as they are about the only ones I have found that fit me well. I guess I will need to order from outside of Thailand as I need at least a 2XL. Any suggestions welcome to try to avoid paying a big duty. So by the last of this month, I should be prowling around the roads that radiate outward from Meuang Loei. I hope to get the chance to meet up and ride with some of you soon.
 

Ian Bungy

Ol'Timer
Sep 19, 2006
2,301
304
83
www.chiangmai-xcentre.com
I would think every bit of riding Kit is avalible in Thailand so don't give up yet. Just talk to other Bikers and they can help point You in the right direction? Specially in Bangkok, lots of brilliant shops packed with gear! If You are in Loei pop into the Saloon Bar and talk with Chris. Bikers from all different regions normally meet up there when in Loei.
Good Luck and see You on the road some day. I am based in Chiang Mai if You are ever up here let Us know?
 

Desmocrat

Member
Mar 1, 2021
19
19
3
Meuang Loei
I would think every bit of riding Kit is avalible in Thailand so don't give up yet. Just talk to other Bikers and they can help point You in the right direction? Specially in Bangkok, lots of brilliant shops packed with gear! If You are in Loei pop into the Saloon Bar and talk with Chris. Bikers from all different regions normally meet up there when in Loei.
Good Luck and see You on the road some day. I am based in Chiang Mai if You are ever up here let Us know?
Thanks Ian for the hot tips. I did find a helmet that fits (2XL is hard to come by here though) and I had found jacket, pants, gloves and boots without issue. I also have ordered some road tools and a torque wrench to keep on the bike. Still researching tire repair stuff (CO2 vs. mini compressor). I had amassed all of this stuff over the years of riding, but then when one shows up in a new country, pretty much empty handed, and has to buy this stuff all over again, it just seems like a lot of stuff. Rather than let the dealer order and install stuff like crash bars/skid plates and wind screen, I told him that I am just going to oder this stuff myself and install it for myself. I am still welcoming any advice as to to the best places to order ADV bike gear from.
I will pay a visit to the Saloon Bar to introduce myself to Chris in the next few weeks. I'm still dealing with the initial phase of learning the Loei language which is taking up a lot of my time right now, not leaving me with much time to do other stuff yet. I haven't watched television this year and just a few hours of YouTube...to busy.
And yes, I'm sure I will find myself up in your neck of the woods as soon as I know my way around Loei province.
Many thanks.
 

DKT Dave

Ol'Timer
Sep 25, 2019
71
82
18
Welcome Stephen.

Panda Rider in BKK is a great shop for riding gear.
As far as a portable air compressor the Xiaomi Mi portable air pump is a very popular pump with great functionality and very small size. Many people here have one and are happy with it. 899 thb on lazada (link below).


When you make it to the North keep an eye on the GT Rider Dinner thread (link below). The dinner is generally held on the last Wednesday of each month in a different small town somewhere in the North of Thailand, and there is normally between 20 and 30 people attend. Great fun.


And in November each year is the GT Rider Memorial Ride out to Mae Hong Song. It is a great event that last year had over 70 attendees. See below links.




See you on the road!
 

Heineken

Ol'Timer
Mar 2, 2019
176
255
63
Welcome Desmocrat..............................like Ian mentioned head down to the Saloon Bar and meet some locals, your wife will be made welcome, great for a feed aswell.


Also in Loei is the Whats Up Bar, it also has expats, lots of riders live around Loei, make a few friends, do a few day trips and or longer, there is alot to see around that area :cool:
 

gitchegumee

Member
Jan 22, 2005
11
8
3
Greetings! I'm Phil from Udon. Just did a short trip around those parts. Met my riding partner in Dan Sai. Stayed at Loei 1000mile and left for 3 days north and east along the Mekhong to Nong Khai and back to Dan Sai. Chiang Khan is a beautiful Mekhong river town. Sorry to see that one of the highlights along our way, Wat Pa Phu Kon is closed due to pandemic. The most spectacular temple I've seen. After another night in Dan Sai, we headed north and west around Sirikit dam, taking ferry across the river Nan and onward to Na Noi. Then an amazing ride on 1216, 1217, 1024 into Phrae--another lovely town. From there, 1022/1163 is 50% hard-packed dirt, and 100% fun! After a night in Nam Pat, 1268 & 2113 back to Dan Sai. I've got a 250CFR, and my partner the new 300CFR, so our route may not be suitable for larger bikes. I'm out & about very frequently now as this pandemic has brought the best riding opportunities of a lifetime. Inexpensive resorts and no tourists! We have the roads to ourselves most often. Will try to hook up some time for a dinner. Otherwise, I'll plan on giving a shout next time I'm in Loei. Welcome!
 

Desmocrat

Member
Mar 1, 2021
19
19
3
Meuang Loei
Hey Mr. Gumee, Sounds like a ride that I might have to trace on my own at some point. I'm still stuck waiting on a few essentials, like a helmet, I got a big ol' 2XL head and had to look afar to find one, Klim suit to arrive tomorrow, and a few bits for the bike itself that might take another week or two to arrive. Next Monday I report to Immigration to do the 90 day validation of my Non-Immigrant O visa, then the Yellow Book, then the driver's license, and send a copy of the book to BMW in Udon to get my license plate and registration applied for. Anyway, I'll be road worthy pretty soon. Yep, put me on your "to do" list next time you are in Loei. My wife is quite the bad ass in the kitchen.
 

gitchegumee

Member
Jan 22, 2005
11
8
3
Might be soon as I've an Irish/American friend who lives in Phetchabun that I need to visit soon. As I've mentioned, this is the best riding I'll ever do, so I'm making excuses to go places while tourists are gone. My regular riding partner and I are doing Tak loops north and south in two weeks. Been north before, but not south. Looks promising! Be in touch!
 

Dodraugen

Ol'Timer
Aug 19, 2012
269
186
43
53
Lampang
Umpang district south of Mae Sot is a fantastic area, and the road down there has even more twisties pr km than the Mae Hong Son loop. The biggest waterfall in Thailand lies there called Thi Lor Suh amongst many other POI. Highly recommended! (In TAK province)
 

Desmocrat

Member
Mar 1, 2021
19
19
3
Meuang Loei
I would think every bit of riding Kit is avalible in Thailand so don't give up yet. Just talk to other Bikers and they can help point You in the right direction? Specially in Bangkok, lots of brilliant shops packed with gear! If You are in Loei pop into the Saloon Bar and talk with Chris. Bikers from all different regions normally meet up there when in Loei.
Good Luck and see You on the road some day. I am based in Chiang Mai if You are ever up here let Us know?
I did wander into The Saloon last night and met up with Chris. Funny, his wife was working there too and recognized my wife as they had gone to grade school together down in Nong Hin. Food was good, beer was inexpensive, and everyone was most welcoming. I'm sure they will see more of me in the future. Thanks Ian for the lead.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Some other options for touring the North