Ride report. Khon Kaen to Kusuman, 26th and 27th April

Discussion in 'N.E. Thailand Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by johngooding, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    One of the guys that I had not yet met from the email list of riders passed to me by Ray 23, mailed me to say he was back from his work stint and up for a ride. As the terrain around him, (40km East of Sakon Nakhon is new territory for me and more interesting than my part of Esarn, we agreed I would go over to his place. George (Tahaan) riding his XJR 1300 was keen to join me as his last chance to ride before an extended spell in the UK. Mel his mate also joined on his Suzuki Intruder 400cc. I posted the intended ride on GTR and my email list, but no more folks available.
    They came over from Chumpae and the 3 of us met up on Sat am on a slightly overcast morning at the Shell Station Khon Kaen and set off to Kalasin on the quick, flat dual carriageway of the 209. Not so much a case of great scenery or roads as just enjoying being out in the open air and a couple of days of freedom and biking ahead.

    Past Kalasin onto the 213, which became single carriageway, quieter roads and better scenery as one approached Phu Phan. Some excellent twisty stuff, now getting used to my FJR on the bends and enjoyed dueling with the slow lorries and oncoming drivers, plenty of places for a bike to get past and make good progress.

    Past the twistys, a long section of switchback fast road with little traffic. Here Jim met us on his XJR 1200
    and we exchanged the usual bike talk before dropping down from Phu Phan into Sakon Nakon for lunch at the excellent Green Corner.


    Headed out of town on the 22 towards Jim’s house at Kusuman, 40km East.
    Sakon Nakhon is flanked by the largest inland water in Thailand, Nong Han. A very peaceful spot.



    Jim then invited us into his place for coffee and his wife popped out to buy some barbequed dog (Maybe she just has a good sense of humour or wanted to frighten the Farangs’, we never got to find out)



    Now close to getting dusk, we headed back into Sakon and Jim led us to the newly built Elegant Hotel, which offered very high class accommodation for 650 Baht.


    After an evening meal Jim returned home leaving the 3 of us to explore the evening in Sakon a little further.

    Joining us for breakfast next morning, Jim accompanied us back to Phu Pan, before returning home.


    Without the time pressure to be back in Khon Kaen for 2.30, we may have gone on the Nakon Phanom and then taken the river road to Nong Khai, this is one trip Jim and I are going to try and do in the next few weeks.

    So a good weekend meeting some new riders, seeing some new countryside, enjoying the kind weather and the hospitality we met along the way.
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  3. tahaan

    tahaan Active Member

    A great report and pics from a very good weekend trip. The memories will have me rushing back to los in no time.

    John, it's a pity you didn't take that last shot a few minutes later. You could've caught me squealing like a girlie trying to keep the bike upright after slipping off that tarmac slope onto the road. :oops: Thanks to you and Jim and for helping out. I very nearly became the meat in an XJR sandwich! :cry:
  4. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Good to see you getting in some Trips on the Mighty FJR John. Keep a Record of the Best ones so when i finally get up there you can show me around :wink: Looked like great weather so enjoy it before the Rain comes. Good on you Guys!!!
  5. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer

    Great report guys; really enjoyed it.

    Like Ian says, got to get out there before the weather hits us hard.
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    John (& Tahaan)
    Thanks for the contribution & getting a few more guys together for a ride in your neck of the woods (sort of.)
    I like your tips about hotels & restaurants, as it all helps make the touring easier if you've got a name & place to head for.
    Please keep them coming.
  7. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Thanks for the comments guys. Makes it worthwhile to know someone is reading the reports.
    I generally waymark eating and sleeping places that I want to use again on my GPS, so can supply positions to anyone interested.
    Will still be riding over the wetter months. One of the advantages of 'poor dry Esarn' is that there are not so many complete washout days.
    Having said that it is pretty wet this week, good time to catch up on ride reports on GTRider lol
  8. Tubber

    Tubber Ol'Timer

    Good to meet up with you John, Tahaan (who really does squeal like a girl) and Mel. I was very impressed with the FJR, John, but after the incident outside the hotel, I think I will stick to buying a new FZ-1. Might be able to keep up with you then, had to flog the XJR a bit and you still overtook me. The wife was serious about the barbequed dog, her pug has been getting a lot of funny looks from the locals but he is white so that should keep him out of the pot. Black ones taste better apparently? Any feedback from anybody that has bought a new FZ-1 or ridden it would be most welcome. After I do buy one are you up for a ride to Chiang Mai John?
  9. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Hi Jim,
    Good to meet up with you too and certainly up for a ride to Chiang Mai, as soon as you have your FZ1.
    As you mention the 'incident outside the hotel', I should explain to curious folks. I had popped off to the ATM, rode back the 300m to the hotel, where Jim, Mel and George were waiting, they were parked on a sloping bit of pavement outside the hotel. I pulled up turned the wheel to the right a little to face the road, put my right foot down and before I knew it the FJR was tipping past the angle I could hold it. I stepped off to the right and fairly gently laid the bike almost down, with Mel and George watching, only Jim came to tthe rescue and helped me right the bike. I could not lift it myself. Never done anything like that before and certainly a great way to impress new friends. The bike suffered a slight scratch on the offside pannier and absolutely no other damage which was great.
    I am very aware of the weight of the bike when wheeling backwards into the garage and handling parking manouevers. It is very heavy, especially with a tank full of petrol and full panniers.
    That said once the bike is moving it is a joy to ride, so I will continue to live and learn and hope not to make a fool of myself too many more times. If the only accidents I have in Thailand are at 1 kph, that's not too bad.
    Good to know about the dog, in the interests of completeness I will try some when next up your way, the Si Dam variety obviously.
    So get the FZ1 sorted and then off to Chiang Mai, to meet up with some of the good folks up there and enjoy the great countryside. Would like to come back via Nan area, next time I go up.
  10. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Hi John,
    Lucky No Damage but very easy to do once you lose your Footing with a Heavy Bike :oops: . Incidentally Jerry called into the X-Centre yesterday, the Guy who Brought the FJR here in Mae Rim. I was Shocked :shock: His Bike looked Terrible. Only done 500 Miles on it!!! Said he can't be bothered Cleaning it :oops: Looked like he had hosed it off but never Wiped it so water Marked and Scratches on the Panniers from His Boots. He also Dropped it after Drinking ( I recommended the Drinking and Bikes don't go together to well ) So His Mirror is all Scratched. Lucky he has Frame Sliders which saved any More Damage. Sad to See such a New and Expensive Bike in that Condition. :cry:
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arh, yes the old "putting your foot down on the low side" faux pas.
    Been there & done that, but you soon remember to watch out where your putting your foot down - & the high side is more preferable.
    Good to know that you & the bike are both ok.
  12. tahaan

    tahaan Active Member

    Good to meet you too, Jim. When you contact Yamaha, don't forget to mention getting a discount for two.

    Regarding the hotel incident, there wasn't a lot I could do sat on the pillion of Mal's bike. It all happened so quickly. It looked like one (almost graceful) movement as you swept in to park and then put the bike down. I could only sit and look on in disbelief. In my defense, it takes me a while to get me leg over these days! fnarr, fnarr
  13. Tubber

    Tubber Ol'Timer

    Will be going down to the Yamaha shop in Korat on Tuesday or Wednesday. I will ask them about a discount for buying 2 but I know what the answer will be. When are you thinking about buying one? Do you have to sell the XJR and Dragstar first? If my visa extension is approved I will be buying one next time round, probably middle or end of July. How is the weather in the UK?
  14. tahaan

    tahaan Active Member

    Jim, I wasn't being entirely serious about the discount :wink:

    I want to buy when I get back but I'm not sure when, probably Sep. I'll get rid of the XJR and keep the cruiser for my wife. Yamaha CNX reckoned they'd be able to find a buyer for it pretty easily. However, we'll see. What are you doing about your XJR? Could you ask Korat when you're there about selling old bikes on? I know they won't do part ex as we know it but they should have plenty of contacts in the market. When I bought my truck, I said the deal would depend on me selling my old one and left the showroom. When I got home the dealer had a buyer waiting outside my gate!

    Weather yesterday was good. I haven't seen many bikes since I've been back but there was a steady stream of them screaming up and down the bypass all day. I guess they're a sign that summer's on the way :D

    Edited to add; Good luck on your trip to Korat!
  15. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Hi John and all the other guys.

    regarding bikes and fall's i have noticed that in many cases guys with the heavy bikes will try to continue driving even with extreame low spped especially when aprocahing trafic lights and then when coming close to end of the cars bikes front wheel is bend and bike is about the stop and that is one of the most dangerous part of the whole time, weight will eventually take bike down.

    my bike as you know John is doubble to you about 475KG (Dry weight) and that is hand full i can say.

    Im so happy to hear that your bike is still in 1 piece, take it easy man and drive safely.

    What you think John would you be up for a week tour on february? we are planning with Dougal to tour in CM region? or any one else,, exact dates are not yet set as im coming back to home form my next contract by 7th Feb -09,, but if there would be any one intrested, would be nice.
  16. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Hi Marco,
    As you say your bike even heavier, just what you get used to I guess.
    I will definately be interested in a week or so away on the bike in February, I will keep that time free.
    Seems a long working spell you have there, hope all going well.
    All the best John
  17. Dougal

    Dougal Ol'Timer


    If you PM me with your e-mail I'll send you a trip plan for Feb '09.
    I'll be doing a very similar trip in Dec this year and its more like 15 days.
  18. Tubber

    Tubber Ol'Timer

    Didn't make it down to Korat, pretty much wrote off the XJR a couple of days before, anybody got a front end for an XJR1200 :cry: ? So I will be buying a new one as soon as I can when I get back probably mid-July. I was serious about a discount and will ask. Have you decided yet what you want?

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