Ombrophobia & Riding In Wet Season

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Kiwi Cruiser, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Kiwi Cruiser

    Kiwi Cruiser Ben Kemp
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    The GR-Rider upcountry dinner last week looked like an excellent opportunity to test the new Italian-made waterproof riding boots, plus the storm cover for the Dowco "Iron Rider" luggage that has served me well for almost 10 years. A ride from Mae Sariang to Tha Ton, with bad weather already settled in - what could be a better test?

    It rained hard all Tuesday night but stopped as I got up at 6 am. By the time I rolled out at 7 am, the road was drying out but clouds remained dark and ominous... To my surprise, it did not actually rain the entire 400 kms! However, there were some mucky roadworks on 108 that got the bike filthy.

    Day 1 Route: 108, 1001, 1346, 107
    The Crew: me, myself and I
    The Bike: Honda Rebel 500 "Dual Sport" ;)

    The 1001 / 1346 route offers an excellent way to miss all the Mae Rim traffic and the busy 107 thereafter...

    An obligatory Amazon Coffee stop at Phrao, and a couple of Sala Pao Moo Dang (BBQ pork buns) for me and 200 bahts worth of 91 for the Rebel and we were rolling again.

    1-1346-1.

    The 1346 is lovely at this time of year, with extensive orchards along the roadside for miles - in this case, mangoes.
    1-1346-2. 1-1346-3. 1-1346-4.

    Arrived at Tha Ton dry and thirsty... the Saranya Hotel is nice, albeit pricey at 1250 baht, but it is convenient and the bed was very comfortable indeed!

    2-saranya-2-thaton.
    2-saranya-1-thaton.

    As evening closed in, the weather kept getting brighter.

    3-tha-ton-man-mae-kok-1. 3-tha-ton-man-mae-kok-2. 3-tha-ton-man-mae-kok-3. 3-tha-ton-man-mae-kok-4.

    As per David & Ian's comments, it was great to catch up with old friends and have a few beverages, listen to some stories and relax in good company!

    gtr-img_1413-.

    From left: Ian, John, David & Ben
    Commonwealth well represented: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand

    See: Monthly GT Rider Up-Country Dinner Rendezvous Rides

    Thursday morning, I had a 7am breakfast and rode up to the big chedi viewpoint. The view back over the valley was pleasant at that hour....
    3-tha-ton-man-mae-kok-5.

    From there, I headed out the 1314 as encouraged by Moto-Rex - a glorious early morning loop ride from Tha Ton to Mae Ai.
    4-1314-1. 4-1314-2. 4-1314-3. 4-1314-4. 4-1314-5. 4-1314-6. 4-1314-7.

    Lots of horticulture happening out here, orange trees dotting the hillsides.
    4-1314-8. 4-1314-9. 4-1314-10.

    The "temple" looking building in the distance turned out to be an entrance archway to something... very ornate indeed.
    4-1314-11. 4-1314-12. 4-1314-13.

    Coming down the 1314 is pretty nice - as you can clearly see, there's some nice corners but caution is required as there's a bit of loose grit here and here.
    4-1314-14.

    From there, I rode across to Thoeng with the intention of a ride out 1155 and up to Phu Chi Fah on Friday morning.
    5-thoeng-2.

    If ever you need a bed in this part of the world, the Wattanawan Hotel is ok - 650 baht for the deluxe room, hard mattress at no extra cost.
    5-thoeng-3. 6-phaya-piyak-1.

    Friday morning, over the Phaya Piyak road ...
    6-phaya-piyak-2. 6-phaya-piyak-3.

    and onto the ever-wonderful 1155
    7-r1155. 7-r1155-2. 7-r1155-3.

    Up to Phi Chi Fah

    8-phu-chi-fah-1.

    8-phu-chi-fah-2.
    After that, back over to Chiang Rai for a night out with friends.

    Saturday, down Highway 1 to Phayao for morning coffee

    8-phayao-3.
    8-phayao-1. 8-phayao-2.

    Then, out to Dok Kham Tai and over the 1215 to the 1091....

    Some exploration being in order, I decided to ride a couple of roads I'd never been on before. Down 1020 and onto the 1154, through to the 103 and into Phrae.

    9-R1179-2.

    I can't remember if this was the 1120 or 1154... it was all a blur in the hot sun!

    Lunch break in Phrae... I was going to stay there but after meandering around for 30+ minutes trying to find any of the hotels that Google Maps offered up, I thought "That's enough of this, Lampang's the go!" - not least because there is a Saturday Night Market right beside the Pin Hotel where I've stayed several times before.

    10-pin-hotel-lampang.

    The old part of Lampang is quaint and delightful, not least because of the horse and cart rides on offer, right outside the Pin Hotel.

    10-pin-hotel-lampang-4-horse.

    10-pin-hotel-lampang-2.

    The "Standard Room" rate is 600 baht including breakfast and staff are very cheerful and friendly. An exceedingly comfortable big bed and a large room...

    I arrived at the Pin Hotel at 5pm, just as the streets were getting choked with market traffic...

    10-pin-hotel-lampang-5-night-market.

    Saturday night's dinner was at the Riverside Restaurant which is a 5 minute walk from the Pin Hotel. Views are lovely at sunset, beers are cold and the food is pretty damned good!
    11-riverside-restaurarnt-lampang-1-. 11-riverside-restaurarnt-lampang-2. 11-riverside-restaurarnt-lampang-3. 11-riverside-restaurarnt-lampang-4.

    Garlic bread, and Pork "Cordon Bleu" etc, washed down with cold Leo... As Arnold would say.. "I'll Be Back!"

    Sunday morning - I headed out at 9am for a leisurely 300 km cruise home...

    Total Distance: 1,715 kilometres over 4 and a half days
    Weather: zero rain all the way around, although I only just missed a couple of small showers that had wet the road in front me but had cleared conveniently just before I got there.

    That's always been my experience of Wet Season riding here in the 12 years I've lived in Thailand. Rain is rarely an all day event. Mostly, its a short downpour in a narrow rain-band - you can either wait for it to pass by, or ride through it and expect to dry out again shortly thereafter. I've got serious wet-weather riding gear but have rarely ever had to use it.
     

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  2. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    "Ombrophobia"... that explains a few things...
    Thank you.
    Our cats clearly have it.!
    "Fair weather bikers" is a more familiar term to me. Certainly a common affliction back in the olde country. But then riding through the winter snow every year could make anyone ombrophobic....
    Oh.. sorry... that is chionophobic.......
     
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  3. Big_Dave

    Big_Dave Ol'Timer

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    Good pics mate.

    I plan my rides around the wet seasons...its cooler, the countryside is beautiful, less tourists and all you have to worry about is getting a little wet sometimes...hardly a big deal!
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Funny how it goes eh. Nothing ventured nothing gained I reckon.

    My "failed" Laos visa run ride was 3500 kms return from Chiang Khong over 18 days and I never had to put my rain gear on once.
    I had to ride through a couple of showers, but nothing too significant. Being the start of the wet season I reckon it is safe to say that the rains mainly come in the evening / late afternoon. And it definitely doesn't rain all day.

    It really is a beautiful time to ride, the countryside is turning lush green again & it is that fantastic vibrant green at the start of the wet.
    The roads are cleaned & being "low season" there is much less traffic on the roads.

    This pic makes me want to head back over to Tha Ton & do that loop again
    4-1314-14.
     
  5. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

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    Great shot!
     

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