Muppets get spanked in laos

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by BignTall, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. Since my motorbike trip to India was cancelled i thought a streetbike ride through Laos should be a nice wy to spend a few weeks. since i would be going alone this would be mostly pavement so no problem.

    The night before leaving Luke calls up at 1:30 am to say he has cancelled a trip to England and wanbted to be included in the ride to Laos. We had been doing a lot of dirt biking lately even though it was rainy season we had been having a great time. Since had had two in the party now why not make it a dirt bike trip Luke suggested. I sctached my nubbly chin and said but its rainy season and everyone says to stay away from off road during it(point). he pointed out we had been having a great time in Thailand despite the rainy season (counterpoint) which was true. so depite everyones warnings we mounted up knobbies for a dirt bike ride through Laos during rainy season. We could hear the veterans laughing already.

    A plod up to Chiang Khong had us cross the border no problem. The only issue was riding the KLX about 20 KM's before Chiang rai Luke and I heard a metallic clanking sound come from the front of the KLX. Everthing seemed fine so we kept riding as i thought I may have run over something. Coming into chiang Rai I braked for the corner to vjoin into highway 1 and had no brakes. Pumping the lever like a first timer to Nana I still could get no brakes. A back brake lock-up ended going into the corner. Pulled over we found the clanking noise was the brake pads being regurgitated by the KLX 20 KM's earlier. 20 KM's into Chiang Rai then a search for brake pads,. At first a set of XR 250 pads were used but they went up in smoke on the test ride. Luckily we yanked a swet off another KLX at a repair shop and we were off and running once again.

    Hitting Chiang Khong the gals in the customs office provessed everything quickly,

    the guys at immigration however quaffed around with their thumb in their bums for an eternity.
    171846674-M.jpgwhy in Thailand are the gals so much more efficient at things than their male counterparts. By the way David the custms gals say hello.

    The skinny canoe over the Mekong loaded with two bikes and gear and four people was wobbly and we both feared our trip would end before it even began. 171846676-M.jpg
    A lady yelled from the shore that it was too dangerous to go with one boat loaded that way so sent a second boat out to steady us. Once again the gals saving the day.

    The night was spent in Huey Xai trying to get up tp no good and vieng View pub. The next morning it was up the road towards Lam nam Tha. 1 1/2 years ago it was a 12 hour tortuous muddy bus ride for Luke. Now it is paved all the way except two spots. At 53 KM and 180 KM there are sections of roadwork still being completed and not paved so conditions are unpredicable at these two points. Each section about 3-5 KM's long. Other than that fresh blacktop all the way. if you don't stop about 3 hours to Lam Nam Tha. The scenery is nice along the road
    171846681-M.jpg and something very different is all the yopung children running out of the huts to yell, wave and scream as you ride by. Since the tourists all go down the river from to Luang Phabang not many visable tourists go this rooute yet and the population is not tarnished from tourism. A nice contrast to Thailand. This point will be driven home more and more especially once we got onto the dirt trail amongst the hill tribes.

    We cruised through Lam Nam Tha towards Muey Sing as we had our eyes on some single track trails through the forest towards Vien Phoukha and it would give us a closer start. Things start to go pear shaped for the muppetts at this point. Coming up will be tales of stupidity, laughs, frustration, and trying to extract ourselves from the coppers grasp in Nga for being accused of running ammo for the Hmong resistance. I kid you not.

    Sadly gotta run now as the bikes, luggage and GPS are giving the Muppets an ulcer and need to be tended to. I am also having difficulty uploading photos from Laos. More to come once caught up on things. We are holed up in Luang Prabhang right now for a night or so before venturing off to explore more dirt.
  2. Luke and I were up early this morning welding parts back onto the bikes to keep them going. I spent another $400 ordering a GPS. It seems my GPS unit has given up the ghost. Started cutting in and out two days ago and now it won't even turn on. Battery or hardwire, dead as a doornail. Really pisses me off.

    Lets backtrack to getting into Muang Siang. We rolled into this city since we wanted an early start on a 79km singletrack trail mat Ward had done in the dry season. The photos of it looked spectacular and it ended up down in Vieng Phoukha. We looked at each other when the report said it was maybe makable in the dry season but no way on the wet. We were off to find out why. i was holed up in Muang Siang for 1 1/2 days with both my bum and head fighting for toilet time. Not the most pleasant way to spend a day when your head has to follow the bum at steering the porceling bus. 48 hours and a few kilos lighter we hit the trails. rumors you hear of us getting tossed out of Karaokes in this town are just that rumors. We were not riding bicycles inside the club, dancing on stage, or making love with chairs on the dancfloor. Its all hearsay.

    We trundled out of town and exactly 49 KM's from the gas station in the center of town a small 3 foot wide trail winds up the hill off the left side of the road. We apologized to Buddha for our prior evenings behaviour and hoped he'd give us a hand.

    Buddha instead gives us the bird. Yep the trail was a pure joy for about 200 yards. Then it turned into what ianBungy calls "slippery as catshit". The trail was not difficult however our wheels could not get purchase. So instead of riding, Luke and i began a few hours of bike wrestling. We spent the next few hours pushing and pulling. yanking on bars, side bags, handguards and anything else to coax the bikes forward. Progress was minimal and we were running out of cursewords to describe our feelings. The trail was not overly steep, rutted or technical at this point, however with the surfacve of the trail resembling Teflon we could move hide nor hair forward.

    After 4 hours of this we had gone a grand total of 8 KM's. Hmmmm another 70 to go and no escape routes halfway through. You see the trail runs through the NBCA wilderness and its not the place for lost tourists to be plodding about. We were absolutely shattered. The bikes rear wheel probab;y hit the 78 KM mile mark with all the spinning it was doing. A few hill tribe people passed us on the trail walking and looked at us a bit curiously probably wondering why the farang were cursing so loudly and making noises with their bikes but not going anywhere, A strange tradition i'm sure they thought.

    Bottom line is mat was right. not a trail for the wet season and we never even made it to where the trail got difficult. We'll be back for some fun when it dries out a bit.

    After being psanked it was off to Oudom Xai to tray a trail that goes through Nga and ends in Lathane for a runb into Luang Phabang. This trail is on Davids map. This trail was a contrast to the trail the day before. A nice wide fire road that is fairly smooth and a good pace can be kept. it rolls down a valley passing numerous small hmong villages along the way. We felt like aliens as the locals don't get too many big bikes or farangs rolling through. The scenry is impressive through this section and I must say. So far laos far surpasses Thailand in terms of scenery. Loads of wilderness, Jugnle, people not hardened yet by tourism, and countless places to explore.

    The epople are not as outwardly warm as the Thais but also seem a bit more sincere rather than wielding a facade of kindness. Once you pass Nga about 25 km's we came to our first river crossing. It was rainy season so was a hell of a lot wider than in mat wards post during dry season. Since drowning the KLX in hang Dongs river and having to tow out I was not willing to cross this river without a cursory walk through sinbce it was at least 50 meters wide. There were two spots where the airboxes could take on water so we decided we would not ride across. By this time the local village had showed yup to view the Muppeteering spectacle. In Thailand you would of had helping hands of assistance to get the bikes across. The hill tribe people however we not as outwardly friendly and even wanted 50,000 kip per bike to take it in a boat across. We thought that a bit dear, so put on our stubborness hats and proceeded to push the bikes across instead of pay the extortion.

    After the river crossing the road climbed into the hils and paralleled ar river offering gorgeous views much like the mountain in states in Montana. Really scenic stuff. We even came across a couple working elephants. nice to see them working instead of kicking soccer balls for tourists in chiang mai. We were on the road about 100 km's the road starting to tighten up through the mountains. When we pulled over asking for directions at a fork we were informed a landslide had completely blocked the trail from all passage. no bikes, scooters or even walking. the hillside had slid and cut off the route to get into Lathane. Itr was 4:00 by then and we could either forge on ahead and see if we could somehow outwit the Hmong in their own backyard and find a way around or start the long backtrack back to Oudom Xai. We first tried to see if we could get a boat around the obstacle but to no avail. Rapids and a waterfall block the way downstream the villagers told. We asked many people repeatedly if ther was any way through to Luang Phabang. Nope they said have to backtrack to oudom xai to get to Luang Phabang. Foiled again.

    We had to up the pace and no stopping to make it back to Oudom Xai before my eyes throw in the towel when it gets past dusk. We wound up the throttle and were socially irresponsivble to make up time to get back to Oudom Xai. We got back to Nga and pulled over to fill up gas tanks and pull various chicken feqathers off the bike as a few had been sacrificed in the name of a good pace. I topped off oil and gas and plodded back to Lukes bike. i would take off ahead as i had to beat the sun. Luke would take a break and catch up on the trail to me later. Or so we thought. See,s the communist police officers in the city had taken interest in our fair haired friend. They then approached me and demanded papers and oassports. After making smalltalk and showing them the passports i thought we would be free to go. Nope off to the jail for some discussion. Oh shit. It seems a guy wioth a U.S. passport whose country shelled the hell out of them a few years ago along with a Brit that speaks Lao drew some attention. next thing we were being asked how we knew about the city of Nga (ugg its on a map!!!! dummy), who we spoke to and what was said, if we spoke Hmong and why were were carrying ammo for the Hmong resistence. I thought there was something strange about ole lUKE...KNOW I NEW HE WAS A hMONG RESISTANCE FIGHTER, THE BASTARD.

    The questioning continued for about 1/2 an hour and being communist i feared it would drag on for eternity. meanwhile the sun was rapidly disappearing and dear ole me needed to get back on the throttle so i would not have to spend the night out in the jungle. I winged my ill health and needed to depart so just assumed the position that I was leaving. they hemmed and hawed but eventually gave me Luke and I's passports. i jumped on the bike and started putting on the helmet when they began questioning the GPS. i almost said it to keep track of all the Hmong ammo dumps but bit my toungue instead and ignored them, fired yup the bike and took off. luke knew i needed to get going ASAP so agreed to meet back in town if he did not catch up to me.

    Soon it was back up to chicking killin pace and frantically slipping and sliding to make Oudom Xai by nightfall. We made it both laughing at the frantoc pace but bummed we could not push the route through. if anybody finds out info on the landslide i'm all ears as i'd love to do this ride again.

    We celebrated the evening in good style at a place called club salika that is just on the outskirts of Oudom Xai and recommended for a pervy evening.

    We have now tarmac ridden to Luang prabang to stage some rides out of here and nong Kheow. Some fixing of bikes and welding bits that have rattled and broken off the bikes and we are back at it.

    Apologies to all as laos is absolutely crap for loading photos to smugmug so not so many photos until i can get them loaded onto the internet.
  3. Justin & Luke
    Luang Nam Tha - Na Toey should be a bit of a race track from what I can gather, but what was the condition of the asphalt road Na Toey - Oudom Xai - Pak Mong?
    Now for all you road bike riders, this report basically means that Houei Xai - Luang Nam Tha is "open" to any type of bike now.
    The gossip in Chiang Khong is that the mini buses from Houei Xai now take a mere 3 1/2 hrs to get to the China border at Boten.
  4. Just got out of the forest. Spent a night in a village far off in the jungle when a trail on Davids map proved unnavigatable by bike. No slippery conditions this time. Just a trail pushed through by the Hong. if you have a moputain bike it would work as you could carry it through the hard sections. 300 pounds of bike proved too much. The trail however was a beaut before it got too nasty. One night swigging Lao Cao with the locals and being put up in his hut was memorable. More to come later.

    The road through from Houei Xai to Lam Nam Tha is paved all the way except for two section of about 5km's where it is still unpaved but getting there. The two section are 53KM's and 108KM's from Houei Xai.

    Good Luck
  5. David,

    Lam Nam Tha to Oudom Xai is perfect asphalt, recent;ly laid. The road from Oudom Xai to Pak Mong is paved and really twisty. It is old pavement so has its share of potholes and rough sections but no dirt.
  6. Justin and Luke,

    Good to read your trip reports. Get those photos up when you can.

    Just for the record, it was Jeremy that did the Long to Vieng Phoukha mission, I did not think the Minsk I had at the time would be up to it. Jeremy will give me quite a bit of stick for getting credit for that one considering I spent much of the day eating at the Boat Landing Guesthouse in LNT while he slogged along that trail by himself!

    On the trip through Nga how far into the tighter 4x4 road did you get before you encountered the landslip? This part of the trip (40km before arriving at Ban Lathane) was by far the most fun, hopefully you were able to do a bit of it before the slip. Did you find out where the other fork went? We heard that it was possible to get near Pak Ou but ended up at Ban Lathane and wondered if the fork you saw went closer to Pak Ou.

    Do you recon nailing the chickens without flicking the locals some kip might sour the locals towards us farang bikers?

    Look forward to your next post about the jungle stay. Where were you?

  7. Hi Justin,

    The trail which you found to be impossible to navigate is that the one east out of Luang Phrabang from Pakxuang to PhonXai and then on to Nong Kham at Rd 1C ? The reason I ask is that I received two GPS tracks from other people (1 who used a LandRover and the other from people on a dirt bike) and both tracks stop somewhere near Don Kham so I wonder if they had the same problem you encountered.

  8. Hi Justin & Luke,
    Haven't heard from you Guys for a while? Looking Forward to your next report. If you have Laos Sim Card for your Phone let me have the Number so i can give you a Call sometime. I hope to be Free so i can come along with you Guys Next Trip. Enjoy Guys.
    Cheers Ian.
  9. Agreed this - running down chickens - is not a good idea. I hope it was not deliberate.
    Village chickens are food & perhaps income for poor villagers.
    I once accidentally killed a good sized chicken in a remote village in North Thai, & as luck would have it the trail ran out a few hundred metres after the village. On my return through the village, the villagers were waiting, strung out across the road blocking my "escape." They were not impressed, and especially the dead chicken owner who was cradling his murdered chicken - it must have been a prized possession. After a lively 15-minute debate I agreed to pay 150 baht compensation to please the seriously disgruntled locals. And in those days a whole cooked BBQ-ed chicken with honey was only 40-50 baht.
    So the moral of the story don’t race through villagers scaring / killing the livestock. The villagers don’t appreciate it at all.

    Re getting pulled up the local police. It was only last week that 7 "terrorists" were arrested in Houei Xai planning to blow up govt buildings, so perhaps the local officials are all a bit touchy at the moment. Chuck in the Hmong govt overthrow plot in the US a few weeks ago & it's easily understandable why they are sensitive at the moment.

    LAOS ARRESTS 'BOMB PLOTTERS' ... 040364.php
    Published on July 11, 2007

    Communist Laos arrested five Hmong dissidents - including a Thai national - over
    an alleged plot to bomb at least seven places in the northwestern province of Bokeo, a Thai security source said.
    The five were nabbed on Saturday in the northern province but were now detained in the capital, Vientiane, the source said.
    Lao Foreign Ministry's spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy neither denied nor confirmed the report saying there was no report on the plot and the arrest from local authorities.
    Speaking on a phone interview from Vientiane on Wednesday, Yong said "We have no report about the incident, only a newspaper report is in the file so far."
    The five are accused of planning to bomb seven spots on the seventh day of the seventh month - last Saturday - including the city hall, airport, provincial hospital and radio station, the source said.
    Lao armed forces boosted troops in the province and along the Mekong River, which forms the border with Thailand, and tightened control over movement of people.
    Authorities in Bokeo learnt about the dissident group last week and began to search the province. Some 20 suspects were arrested over the past week for allegedly feeding intelligence information to dissidents abroad, the source said.
    Lao authorities cracked down on at least five villages in the province on Sunday and clashed with dissidents, the source said, but gave no detail on casualties.
    Vientiane has consistently denied any movement of Hmong dissidents within the country and has sought cooperation from Thailand to block any moves by "rebels" here.
    Early last month, police in the US arrested high profile Hmong leader Vang Pao and nine associates over an alleged plot to topple the communist regime in Laos. Prosecutors allege that Vang Pao and the Hmong group ordered the purchase of weapons to be shipped through Thailand for use by dissidents in Laos.

    I hope you trip continues to be a fun one with lots of pix 'n reports. Ride safe & keep them coming.
    Sorry about the map trail "error" Phonxay - Nong Kham. Info for this one came from either Andy Dennis or Mick OShea a couple of years ago, I think. But in defence the classification does say "Road / Track Unconfirmed Status." That for me means it should exist, but I don’t know anyone who has done it. Any of these unconfirmed status tracks on the map are only for the real adventurous, & may or may not work out depending on the season.
  10. Originally posted by Auke

    Just to add to Auke’s comments about the road east from LP. Jeremy M headed this way on a Baja to see if he could get to Nong Kham. The road is not very flash after Baanphoneton (N 19.937 E 102.912) and gets worse. We had previously met a French cyclist nutter in Oudomxai who had tried it and given up. Jeremy got about 7 km east of Baanphoneton which is 15 or 20 kms east of the turn south to Don Kham (N 19.923 E 102.824). His clutch cable started seizing and it was late-ish in the day so he turned back (N 19.962 E 102.954) near the Phou Loei NBCA. I presume this jungle is where Justin and Luke stopped for the night?

    Near Baanphoneton

    "Road" works team near Baanphoneton.


    Near where Jeremy turned back was a Hmong(?) village that he passed through before turning around. On the way back the village men, most them drunk, stopped him by blocking the road and held his handlebars while they talked to him in a less-than-friendly way. After trying to smile his way out of it, he pulled out his Irish passport because nothing else was working and they kind of let him go (and he took the opportunity to blast off). One of those uncomfortable situations.

    Speaking of which, can anyone shed light on this situation: my wife and I were stopped 5km out of Vieng Thong at a very small village on our way to Nong Khiaw. They had pulled a rope across the road with plastic bags on it and Trace politely stopped – bugger it. Jeremy had ridden around the rope 1 minute before us. Two guys with no uniform had AK47s, one of them fired off some Lao at us and was worryingly aggressive. As he rubbed the back of his thumb he asked us for haa pan kip (US50c). I was a little worried that if we gave in to this demand he may ask for more, but he was so twitchy and on edge that I figured it would be best if we just gave him the 5000 kip and kept him calm. Trace had some money in her pocket so I asked if she had 5000. In true Trace style, with two men with AKs frowning at us, she said “I'm not paying them that, what is it for...”, “Trace, lets just keep them happy eh?”. Once the guy started moving his gun in a subtly threatening way at me, Trace gave them the evil eye and a grunt and forked out the 5000 and they let us through. When we caught up with Jeremy we found out he had just ridden around the barrier, which may have explained why the guy was fired up.

  11. Hmmm...local "road tolls."

    Not sure what the go is there Matt. I think in a lot of the more isolated villages the locals pay for the road/track/walking trail maintenance themselves - probably sick of waiting for the relevant authorities to do something about it.

    They used to do the same thing to us in Vietnam when I was working there. We had a 3 to 7 hour walk in and out using this delightful and charming mountain track and near the start was a little toll hut. They used to hit us up for 2000 dong per person each way for "track maintenance". While this is probably only about 20 cents, paying it used to annoy the absolute shit out of me. Particularly when the track maintenance seemed to involve spending the money on Vietnamese vodka (not to be drunk anywhere near a naked flame!!) which they got legless on in the hut while playing cards all day.

    Have seen enterprising kids in Cambodia running a great little money earner on tracks during the wet season. On the road from Banlung out to the Viet border they would construct motorcycle tracks around the muddiest and most churned up parts of the road, throw up a little wooden gate and then charge a couple of hundred riel for anybody on a bike who wanted to avoid the crap.
  12. Greetings all,

    Luke and i are back from another fun ride for new tires in Luang Phabang.

    Auke, mat and david,

    Through guesstimating we got 14 KM's along where the trail turned from road width into singletrack. Once it turned into singletrack there were numerous bamboo gates to be opened and closed and multiple river crossings. The road turned into singletrack leading out of a village we are guessing is Baanphoneton. Once pass this village the trail is no longer navigateable by 4 wheel vehicle. Multiple villagers in all the villages tried to turn us around saying the trail is impossible on motorbike and asking for passports. you get the feeling they don't really want you exploring too much back there.. We succeeded for about 14 KM's through about 5 different small villages. The trail was impossible after a village we remember as Veng Jaroen ( spelling is guessed at). The village is on a river, we passed through the village out the other side and down the trail 20 meters. We got cross the river but could not get up the bank on the other side. It was steep and one rut 3 feet deep that switchbacked on itself too tight to get the bikes through. We tried but no luck. the villagers said that it got waaaaaay worse further up the trail with steep vertical climbs through grassy hillsides. It was 5:30 PM and we were getting tired so we called it quits in this village. A night to remember was had in this remote village. the ride up to that point was absolutely wonderful singletrack riding through remote villages with Hill tribe people that don't encounter Farang. A great change to thailand. The village head man said the only farang he had seen there was one group of two mountain bikers come through their village before. They had bivouced in the jungle a couple of days to get to that point.

    Matt - we got across the river pass Nga (though it was 50 meters wide this timn of year). The road did start to get a lot more interesting and the views of the river below were awesome. Working elephants etc. Scenery looked like something out of Montana. The landslide was about 40km's pass the river. i was saddened not to make that loop.

    We also rode to the vietnamese border at Na Son. We were hoping to find a road that connected Na son to Tai Chang. there is no road on the lao side but if you could get Vietnamese permission (doubtful) you could connect the two villages as supposedly there is a road on the Vietnamese side. The scenery is gorgous along this road. mountainous and hilly. The road is 128 KM's to the border and is smoothly graded dirt. You could drive a large bike (BMW, Africa Twin, etc.) on it no problem. It even has a few KM's of pavement laid down in places. You are in the hills the whole way to the border. not much in the way of food along the way as you are in remote country that is sparsely populated here. i managed to scroung a pack of mama (Top Ramen) noodles to keep the diabetes purring, but don't expect too much. could not even find bottled water, coke in a couple places (no good for the diabetic).

    Sadly the GPS has packed it in two days into the Laos trip. So i have no tracks or waypoints saved. What a pisser. guess that means we have an excuse to do it again. I'm also having the worst luck loading photos. I've only got 10 photos loaded but trying for more. As soon as they are up i'll post em.

    "No chickens, goats, turkeys, pigs or cows we harmed during the writing of this report. All animals were treated with the respect(well except a couple suicide minded cluckers)
    any creature loving human would dote them with. Speeds maintained through villages were a molasses like 10 KPH."

    Even saw a Lao gent nail one on his scooter and didn't even flinch as the feather flew.

    We are finding the coppers take an interest in us when we take longer breaks in remote villages. in larger villages and towns no problem. in the smaller ones once word gets out the farangs are here the gents in the green uniforms appear. Luke and I have developed the system of buggering off when we spy a green uniform approaching as they can easily eat up 45 minutes querying you, which plays havoc when you are looking to make time on unknown trails.

    We have had no issues with road bribery as of yet.

    Luke and i are off from Luang Phabang to hongsa and Pak Kob tomorrow off road. I'll drop Luke off as he's heading back to Thailand and i'll loop back for a few more days in Luang Phabang before heading back to chiang mai.

    Ian - Sorry no sim card and no phone at all over here. I'm back in a couple weeks and in touch via email.
  13. Luke and and a third guy Pastey (german guy on a Suzuki Djebal) were gonna do the dirt road from Luang Phabang into Hongsa, then push on to Muang Nguen for the night. Then to the border at Huai Xai and into Thailand.

    We left in the morning. This trail begins with a boat crossing across the mekong to the dirt trail visible from the city of LB. Take a boat from the north side of the penninsuela at the obvious concrete boat ramp to the beginning of the trail. Hats off to you guys that do these crossing on the tiny boats on beemers and such. Two up with Luke on the XR and me on the KLX was wobbly enough, thank you very much. The trail is wide and fun with gorgous scenery as it parallels and dips along the mekong.

    I rode for 55 Km's about 1/2 way or so then decided to suck on my thumb. I had had a new tire shipped up from vientienne and it was causing me grief. Slipping and sliding all over the dirt. hell i thought my super motard tires were more grippy on dirt than this Chinese knock off IRC's. Since Luke had Pastey as a riding partner i said i'd bow out and make a u-turn for Luang Phabang. The Mueng Sua and a special place i had found were calling me back. The trail up to that point was wonderful and scenic. I even managed to stop off at some birthday party in a village on the way back. Some Lao Lao was consumed and ended up getting hooked up with a lass at the party. Things are not all bad in laos :). I even ended up giving a Lao guy a ride back to his village both of us drunk as skunks wobbling along the trail. he even fell off the side of the bike once. So how was the trip farther on you ask????

    Luke just send me an email detailing his trip so i'll post it here for you all. Judging from the email hopefully I'll get back into thailand and i guess i am forced to exit from huai Xai judging from Lukes email :). Ahhh the muppets never do things normally eh, otherwise knon as complete cock ups.

    Here it is:
    mr.sallows you whore shagging muppet, am back in chiang mai as of last night after a mammoth 480km 14hour ride/boast/border trouble journery back.
    A few things first mate - at the border it turns out i did not get an entry stamp when entering Laos, thereby meaning we were in the country illegally without permission and with no-one knowing we were there, mmm good job those police checking us couldnt read or understand passport stamps as we'd have been in the shitter had they realised!!. so this means that i had to pay a fine of 10 dollars for every day that i was in the country, 14 days equals 140 dollars, didnt have that so i handed over everthing i had which totalled
    80 dollars abnd 10,000 Kip. I got a decent immigration guy who seemed
    to realise that we hadn't intentionlly screwed up and he was quite
    Not sure how is best for you to do this as you are going to be coming
    on 30 days in the country, i would show them a certain amount and keep the rest well hidden!! whoops! so check your passport for a 5th july entry stamp and if you dont have one get those dollars ready!

    happy border crossing

    secondly for some reason i had all the forms for the motorbike on the
    thai side, not a big problem as i have left the papers for your bike in the thai customs just on the right hand side of the hill as you land from the boat in ching khong about 80 yards from the water on the right, just show them your passport and they should have the papers ready and waiting, it is a simple process they just looked at mine stamped it and let me go you don't have to go to the place back in town. this doesnt cost any money...

    about the rest of the ride. you idiot the riding got better and better about 15 kms after you went back it turned to narrow trails with some single track all along the ridgeline and the side of cliffs, navigating wasnt a problem, had an hour holed up in an army shack beacvuse of a downpour that slickened up the trail nicely, your dodgy IRC would have been just the ticket mate as
    it was pretty ****in muddy in places as well, no drama apart from my
    clutch line broke, thankfully it was only 2nd gear riding anyway so not too much drama as pasty had a spare one, we pushed on for muang ngeun, arrived around 6.00 had ****ing great food, could have been that we only 8kms from thailand i reckon as they had fish and shripms and cooked pretty much everything so a big feast for a early start the next day.

    started a 7.00am and after 4 kms got separated from pasty, had a bitch of an hill early in the morning fresh with rain and mud when i got to the top couldtn hear pasty so i just thought he was being a woman and waiting out the rain that was falling so i pushed on myself only to get lost ...twice.... yep normally the steadfast navigator was all at sea and i ****ed up ended up 15km down the wrong trail, not just 15 kms slag as well a ****ing cesspit of contruction so that pissed me off i then turned round and
    missed the turnoff again, this time ended up at a sheer cliff with no
    road going anywhere, by this time it was 8.30 and dreams of ching mai were fastly disappearing, so on the right trail again i pushed on, still no sign of pasty i figured he got up the hill and was ahead of me as i had screwed up the directions, a rutted and slick but not difficyult trail then continued to xieng khone for another 50 kms and i rolled in about 10.30, not without drama though as i dumped the xr going about 60, came over the rise of a hill
    going into a off-camber right hander, the front of the xr was doing nothing what i asked of it and promptly gave way chucking me down hard, the protection meant i diodnt hurt too much but i hit my head and it left me a bit dizzy for a while, also bent the rear brake and footrest badly and this needed fixing, 60 baht fixing in about 20 mins, still no sign of pasty so i figured have some breaky and give him an hour to show up and if not i was gonna carry on. pasty turns up then about 40kms to the boast, whaceked the bikes on there for 800 baht each and sped up to pak tha, then another 40 kms
    to hauy xai, past had 2 punctures on the way eating up into valauble
    nothing too techincal and a fairly easy ride would be even easier if it didnt rain an awesome dry season ride i reckon, got into thailand at 4.30, and i had one thing on my mind . ching mai and the sweet smelling CRF so i ****ing gunned it in 4 hours 20mins through the rain all the way back to ching mai to get in at 8.50,
    im knackered from this email now so let me know whats going on laos and hope miss-fun buns is providing the goods. p.s has she .....??!
    take care man p.s photos are waiting here on a cd for you.
  14. Just got a message from Rhodie that he's in town with Hiekel and will try and get together with them.

    David thank you for the edit...forgot about that stuff :).
  15. Had a fantastic break from the riding to share a meal and fun conversation with Rhodie and Hiekel.

    Back to the riding now...the ex-wife, yep ex-wife (long story) flew in from japan to volunteer to ride shotgun on the back of the KLX for some fun. The first leg of the trip is over. We road off road from Luang Phabang to Pak Xan then hung a left and road up from the river into the mountains to come out about 68KM's east of Nong Khiaw back onto tarmac. The off road portion is about 120 KM's or so. I'm guessing at the milage since both my GPS and odometer have stopped working. The dirt road is smooth and bump free with only a few ruts bumps abd potholes into Pak Xan.

    Once the road leaves Pak Xan it detoriates a bit but is manageable even two up. Though the pace has to be reduced due to the bottoming of the rear shock. Funny as the Thai gals have never had me bottoming out the shock, hmmmm :). The ride into Nong Khiaw took about 5 hours including lunch on a bluff overlooking the pretty ridgetop scenery. It raind a bit towards the end but we wre homefree with only one front end wipeout crash. I of course blamd it on her taking away my front end traction.

    Anyway just to relay you can do the ride two up.

    We are next off to se what else is out there.


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