Start of the Journey- out of CM

Oct 27, 2006
Date: May 10-11 2007
Bike: Honda Steed 400
Route: CM- Arunothai- Fang-Doi Ang Khang- Mae Salong
Conditions: No rain and dry roads

Well, as you can see I officially started the adventure over a week ago, but this is my first time with internet.

I see a great post was just put up covering most of the area I covered for this report, so I'll try not to repeat too much and keep this short.

CM-Aunothai-Fang I got a real late start from visiting friends in the morning, so didn't get out of CM until 1pm. Did 107 then 1178 to Arunothai. On my approach, the engine started to sound like a was running out of gas, I thought it was a little early for that, but since I left CM on a partial tank I switched over to my reserve. I then stopped for lunch in Arunothai, filled up, and when I went to take off the motor wouldn't turn over. Well, OK, no problem, I'll just do a rolling start like a always did with the Minsk in Vietnam. No problem, starts right up, and I'm on my way. As I pull out of the town and head up the hill, the engine starts to act like I'm running out of gas again- sputtering and jerking a little. I'm no mechanic (as I'm about to prove to all), and when I hear and feel the engine lurking up the hill I think great, first my battery goes and now my engine's screwed up, all on the first day of the trip. I notice that the engine is fine in the middle of the powerband, but started to shutter like its not getting fuel or a spark at high and low revs. So to play it safe I keep the power in the middle on my way up Doi Ang Khan, and when I get to 1249 I headed straight into Fang to find a shop instead of heading up the mountain. I was hoping to camp up there for the night, but decided I better take care of the bike first. There at the shop, I find out to my relief (though at the expense of my motorcyle-knowhow ego) that unlike the Minsk that doesn't even have a battery, in this bike if the battery is dead then the engine doesn't run well. Who knew? (besides all of you. If someone wants to expain that to me I'd be interested to learn). Anyway, so no problem with the engine and a couple hours later the battery was fully charged and seemed to be holding it, so problem over. I stayed that night at UK hotel (really a guest house) in Fang. It was 210B and had HW, TV, and the staff was very friendly, but I'm pretty sure the sheets and towels hadn't been washed for a least the last few guests and I woke up the next morning with bed-bug bites to prove it- so not recommended.

Doi Ang Khang The next morning I headed up Ang Khang via Nong Tao and Nor Lae. The first few K's are pretty flat and wind through villages. Then I reached the military check point at the base of the mountain, and from that point until I got to Nor Lae I never left 1st. As its been noted elsewhere, its very very steep. The road is, I guess, techniacally asphalt, but its baddly broken, rough, and rocky. There were a couple of hairy points with loose gravel but the Steed pulled through ok. I don't think I'd want to head down the other direction on this bike though.

The roads around the top of the mountain are great, smooth, and winding. I wasn't planning on stopping at the Royal Project Agriculture Thingy (I think that's what its called) but I'm really glad I did. It's just 30B to get in and is a great place to stretch you legs for an hour or so. Head into the Bonsai Garden and follow the trail into the "Natural Rock Garden" and you'll find a labyrinth of trails winding through the rocks and up the mountain. There are some good views of the Project and surrounds up there.

On the way down the mountain I saw where I would've camped and it looked like a nice area set amongst pine trees. I descended on 1249 again then got on 1089 at Fang.

Fang-Mae Salong 1089 is a smooth, pretty fast road with great views. I took the first (furtherest West) turn off to Mae Salong. If there was a sign saying Mae Salong I didn't see it, but you can't miss the turn because there's a big police check point and a dozen orange cones there. The first few and last few K's of this road look new and are nice and wide and smooth. The middle section is still a good surface but not as smooth. Great little road- fantastic views and great twisties. Especially nice around sunset.

That night I stayed at Shin Sane Guest House (100B simple rooms, 200B singles/300B double with HW, sat tv, and furniture.) The rooms where nice, very clean, and had comfortable beds. The owner, Mr. Ho, was very friendly and helpful. Food is good and cheap. Highly recommended.

More to come as I head into Mae Sae, and then wrap around the Thai-Lao border into Nan for a few days in that riding nirvana.