MHS Loop via Hard-Tail - Trip Report #1

Feb 6, 2003
The mid March weather was dry and very hot in CM the day I went bike shopping for a rental. I had a price already in mind and was seeking a shop that would meet it [7k baht for 16 days]. Finally settled on the wrong shop run by a Chinese "Les-bean" woman who met my price but said the Honda Steed wasn't due back until tomorrow, so I took a hard-tail for the day. Returning the next day I discovered she had extended the Steed for three more days to whomever had it. Well, I'll stick around CM for 3 days and drink as the hard-tail was ok for in-town and I liked the Harley-like sound. On day four still no Steed so I took off on this hard-tail as I had now become used to it.

Route 107 north to Mae Malai [drink stop] was ok. This was my first MHS ride and I knew from the map the road was as curvy as a Bangkok Butt and I had David's newer MHS map which does show some wicked's but I was not prepared for the hair-pins and hard leans which I like to do. It wasn't the leans as much as the no ground clearance on this hard-tail, and to make matters even more interesting the rear break pedal flange hung down so low that any right lean scraped the road. Twice righting myself after scraping on a right curve I learned to go real slow which took some fun out of the run.. By the time I reached the area of the National Park I was ready to turn around and get any other bike but I pressed on to Pai anyway thinking I would make that decision there. I had met Pam [Pam123 from Vancouver] on the road coming from the other direction and we talked about riding back to CM together but I figured I'd come this much of the road, I'll just continue.

Pai was ok. Got the best massage in my life there for B150. for an hour and a half and that got me unkinked from the ride. Found a cute jazz bar w/Euro food run by an expat Austrian [ The Shark Bar]; the BeBop was either hidden or not open. The rest of Pai was Farangs walking around. I stayed in a rude g/house across the walk-bridge;
"Good View" I think. Actually I kind of liked it as I rarely stay this "low", and for two nights I could walk to the sometimes working shower. Two young Canadian girls in the next hut provided nice entertainment for the eye. What!..nothing else??? Hey, I'm in Thailand, I want Thai's.

The road west from Pai was a bit tamer but still like a Bangkok butt, and speaking of butts, mine was getting as hard as the seat, no buts about it. This was an enjoyable ride to MHS and I had mastered the bike by now and drove a bit freeier yet still keeping my right leans shallow. I learned how to just gently scrape the flange now without having the bike flip back up. Stopped at the Fish Cave just north of MHS and took that little road through the village; very scenic but lunch was growling to be eaten so zoomed into MHS, checked into the MHS Hill Resort [no resort] but the a/c was effective and the room-huts are well hidden by foliage and footpaths and felt private.

The Fern restraunt was quite good, nice atmosphere if not a bit pricy.
At first I didn't like MHS but after the first night, I did. It's unique and there are just the right amount of Farangs [hardly any]. Spent both evenings at Wat Hua Wiang where there was a kind of carnival going on with a large live band. I was a big hit in that I was dancing in the dirt with a few local gal's much to everyone's delight - nice to see those Thai smiles.

The last evening found me in a "girly-bar" on Sirimongkoi Road [rest censored].

My original plan was to ride to Mae Sot, Sukhothai, Phrae, Nan, Phayao
but on this bike no way. So I decided to go as far as Mae Sariang for the overnight, then to Hot and back to CM to exchange the bike for the rest of my trip, [which I did].

The ride from MHS to Mae Sarieng was hot and the scenery was so dry it looked all dead. Never saw Thailand look so brown. This was a more gentle ride as the curves are shallow with long straight runs and I throttled up and speeded along
allowing the hot air to pierce my face and got to Mae Sarieng by late afternoon with plenty of sun left. David's MHS map was very helpful with g/house locations and I chose a nice one, "River House". A bit pricy at B700 but it's clean, new and attractive with a great view of the river from your balcony. It's all dark hardwood even the bathroom floor, so no Thai-style bathing in there. Had a good BBQ dinner in some restraunt somewhere. No Farangs! Anywhere. Not even at the g/house.

Route 108 east from Mae Sarieng was a really good run. All those previously washed out places are now wide flat smooth black asphalt. In fact most of the road is like this. From about 50Kms east of town it's like driving in Colorado for several kms. Made good time on this run reaching Hot shortly after noon, but this run I really was driving full tilt, bad bike or not, as there was little or no traffic and the surfaces were dry and the new asphalt hugged tight to the tyres.

Had run out of Baht in Hot so went to a Wat...No...went to an ATM instead, but I did find out you can stay in a Wat for 10 Baht.

From Hot to CM is, well, trafficy, so the ride was work. Stopped in Hang Dong [Aren't you?] for a drink and got clipped by a scooter with two of the cutest girls I've ever seen on it. They passed on my left as I was making a left turn. It was then I discovered my left rear blinker bulb was no-op [!] Well she ranted and raved while I stood silent and looked at her bod. Finally I apologized by rubbing her shoulder and all was pleased including the shopkeepers watching.
No damage, just a shake up.

Good to get back to CM and familiar ground and to exchange the bike for a Steed. Two overnights in CM, dinner where Meow sings, a good massage, and off to Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Bo Klua, Phayao, on a new bike; a quiet Steed. This will be in a different road report: "Eastward Ho!"

You can't buy any Mahler cd's because I have them all.