never forget it

Jan 12, 2003
never forget it
« on: Jun 24th, 2002, 7:17pm » Quote Modify Remove

Hello GT rider: Well , I have finished procrastinating and am now prepared to vent my hot air. My wife Marnie and I (Mike) are both avid Ducatisti from B.C. Canada. We found out about GT rider while perusing touring possibilities on the web , while we were vacationing down in Koh Lanta. A quick email to Mr. Unkovich on reccommendation on motorcycle rental led us to Leks and the rental of a TDM 850. Thanks David you did well for us. We hadn't brought any of our gear with us so we acquired necessary eqpt. in Chiang Mai. We rented the TDM for eight days.
Our first outing was on a XJ 400 though just to get a feel for riding on the "other" side of the road. We did the Phrao loop and came home thoroughly impressed. From Phrao to hwy 107 left us reeling. I don't think the motorcycle was ever straight up! The weather was not so hot as it had just rained, and we arrived back in Chiang Mai with big smiles and a hunger to do some more on the to be acquired TDM.
We acquired a copy of Davids book (which I have since passed on so I can't reference it for this post) and found it quite helpful. We left Chiang Mai and headed up the hwy 107 towards Fang. It was smokin hot and we found it necessary to pull over and hydrate at every oppurtunity. Right away I noticed a carburetion problem with the Webber carburetor. Poor carburetion at anything below 4000 rpm meant running the bike a gear lower than normal was in order. The countryside was varied and we found ourselves rubber necking constantly. The first night was spent in Tha Ton on the Nam Mae Kok river at a hotel that wasn't the best. It had Apple in the name and thats as much as I can remember. If we had ventured into town a little further it would have paid off because we found an awesome restaurant and lots of places to stay. The temple(monestary)obove town was awesome with the sun setting behind the golden statues as we sat for one of many unforgettable meals.
After a good nights sleep (200 baht) we hit the road again in the a.m while it was cool and had a revelation that was destined to repeat itself every a.m..." I can't believer where we are!" We rode until we came upon Mae Salong. The road leading there is undescribable. The only drawback was the smoke due to the Slash and Burn season. This was a draw back all through the trip, but was my fault for not having gone earlier in the year as was suggested. Mae Salong was beautiful and had a very special feel. The people,as always, were very friendly and we had company as we sat down for tea. The digital camera we had acquired proved itself an invaluable tool in that it seemed the perfect magnet to make friends with children everywhere. After leaving Mae Salong we ventured on backroads (don't ask me) until we came out at the Doi Tung royal villa. Incredible! Fantastic gardens and a total shock as we had come off dirt roads and were then presented with a jewel of a garden. We left the villa after 2 hrs of touring around and headed for Mae Sai to renew Marnies visa in Myanmar. We found a little bungalow right over the Sai River . Literally right over , as it was on stilts in the river. We had missed Davids reccommendation in his book , but we still made out alright. During the night we were awakened by the sound of people crossing the river in darkness with furniture. Yes, I mean couches and chairs and kitchen sinks. Seems the border crossing can be a real nuisance, and the water is only a half meter deep.
The next day was of course a trip to the golden triangle. We wouldn't be able to face everyone at home unless we actually got there. We took the hwy 1290 only a short jaunt to the triangle. Pretty touristy of course , but well worth the trip to actually see it. We took the longtail trip to the three points including a drop off on the Laos side for a t- shirt grab. Lunch on the bank was awesome once again. South from there brought us to Chiang Rai for the night. The night life in Chiang Rai is fun and lively. We found ourselves a nice bar with ice cold Singha and smokin hot food and watched the parade of humanity . Is there a bad restaurant in Thailand?
The next morning we had decided to hammer down the number 1 to Phayao in the early hours, then head across the 1150 to Phrao. We stopped by the lake for coffee in Phayao after having set land speed records to the astonishment of many Thais along the way. Hope we didn't offend, but I hadn't had my coffee yet.
The 1150 is unbelievable! After 25 km of non stop lock to lock corners Marnie tapped my shoulder and motioned for me to pull over. There we were by the side of the road in the shade laying down on the asphalt (on the shoulder) taking a break. More corners than I could comprehend. After our respite we remounted with designs of making it to Pai for the night. The hwy 1095 gave us one of our most memorable incidents on the trip. This road is something else and really puts a rider to work with its non stop 180 degree corners. I thought I had been setting a torrid pace while enjoying the cooling air as our altitude increased until Marnie pointed at the guy behind us on a 150 scooter with a basket who was rapidly gaining. What can I say...........that guy with the vegetables in his basket and the smoke hanging from his mouth showed me a thing or two. It took quite an effort to finally lose him , and I was truly humbled and much amused. We arrived in Pai very tired and hungry and hot. We found an awesome bungalow cabin backing onto the jungle and river . Dinner that night in Pai was wonderful and we enjoyed sitting and reminiscing about the days incredible scenery and diverse country side.
All About Coffee, if you don't remember anything else about my scribbles remember this name. This is a small coffee shop in Pai that serves fantastic coffee and the worlds greatest brownies. Breakfast there is equally as impressive and we vowed to return. Wonderful owners and parents with an adorable child named Bangkok , as the owners had lived there (Bangkok) but left there 9 to 5 jobs to move to Pai and the quiet life.
We left the next morning for Mae Hong Son along the 1095 which threw corner after corner at us. We stopped on a peak along the way and did a little shopping at a hill tribe market. The camera paid off again and we left after having made some friends. We arrived in Mae Hong Son in the early afternoon and sought air conditioning as the temp was in the mid 30s. The air was choked with smoke and we made an early night of it.
Unfortunately, the next morning we had to retrace our steps back along the 1095 as the air was now almost unbreathable due to the fires.
We arrived back in Chiang Mai late in the day after another work out over the pass, and happily headed back into Chiang Mai and familiar surroundings.
Our time was up, but it had been an adventure neither Marnie nor myself will ever forget. Fantastic roads, beautiful country side (from what we could see) and an adventure around every corner. We will return. Earlier in the season though.
Thanks for the advice David we really appreciated it. Great website , you are one lucky individual.
I have digital pictures of the trip and will forward them in the near future.
Mike and Marnie