Mae Hong Son via Inthanon

Jan 12, 2003
Mae Hong Son via Inthanon
« on: Jun 1st, 2002, 2:26am » Quote Modify Remove

Yesterday I woke up late-ish, checked my email, and while casually surfing the GT site noticed that it's only 130k or so to Pai. So I bombed out of Chiang Mai at 11:00 for a quick out-and-back. The weather was good although started to crap out as the switchbacks started. An amazing road, except for the pea gravel at the apex of every corner. Would be deadly on the CBR900. So I took it pretty slow. Got to Pai at 1:30 and the weather was outstanding! So I figured, just keep going. Mae Hong Son is only 110k away... The stretch from Pai to Mai Hong Son was dreamy. The scenery is much wilder than around Chiang Mai in my opinion. At one point I stopped for a photo and while I was pulling the camera out of my bag I didn't notice the bike starting to tip over. The asphalt was melting under the kickstand. I managed to arrest the fall, part with my arms and part with my bare knee, right on the cylinder head. Have a few nice grill marks today. Have to remember to mention the incident to Gung: to impress upon her the lengths I go to preserve the condition of her bikes.... Got to Mae Hong Son at 4:00 after 4.5 hours in the saddle. Got up at 6:00 the next day and was on the road south to Khun Yuam at 6:15. I was a bit concerned since it was already quite dark with low overcast cloud. Quite cool too. On the climb up 1263 east I was actually chilly! Chilly in Thailand, what a concept. There are a few landslides that have reduced the highway to one lane between Khun Yuam and Doi Ong. Looking over the sides I have no idea how they are going to fix that road without building a bridge. The remains of the road look as if they are being supported by the will of the gods alone. Once I got to the Doi Ong viewpoint and looked east toward Inthanon I had a near religious experience. From that lofty perch, the view the road far below snaking east is front cover material for Cycle World magazine. I hope my shots turn out. That stretch of road is as fun to drive as it looks, without alot of the pea gravel problem as the Pai leg. In Sop Wak I ran over a chicken. Going really slow even, barely faster than the chicken. The stupid bird was running in front of the tire trying to out drag race me. I tried to avoid it but there were a couple of loud squaks and that was that. Chicken a la roadkill in someones pot today. "I feel like chicken tonite, like chicken tonite...." Had that jingle running through my head for a goddamn hour. The entire stretch of road to Mae Chaem seems to go alot faster than you'd think it would... seemed that way to me anyway. Climbed out of there on the way up and over the shoulder of Inthanon to Chom Thong and home. It was nice to not have to pay the park entry fee going in that direction. Rolled into Chiang Mai at noon sharp after nearly 6 hours of non stop riding. Actually felt fresh enough to do the 4.5 back out to Mae Hong Son. Totally doable as a day trip, albeit a long one. But I'm not sure why you'd want to; could spend a week on the side trips off the loop as it is. The bike is now 3 days overdue, hope Gung (Mrs. Mechanic) isn't too PO'ed at me.....
« Last Edit: Jun 1st, 2002, 2:49am by leebaer »