The Missing Link- Sangkhlaburi to Umphang and back!

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
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Trent decided to, um, cook his underwear for breakfast... :shifty:
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Waiting for the coffee to kick in!
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Mio got her smile back, but said she didn't sleep at all on account of having a tent but no sleeping bag... Had I known I'd have offered to keep her warm ;)
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Love the way these guys cook-
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Breakfast is served! Never expected to eat so well!
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The KLX is looking well rested and ready for another day of abuse :mrgreen:
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A happy GT Rider ready to ride to Umphang!
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Packed up and ready to roll!
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TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
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I'd wondered the evening before why we didn't push on to the Suriya river, this morning it all made sense, and once again I am reminded of the value of an experienced guide like Jack!
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Mt Nui explains to us how to navigate in a Thai jungle- just look at the trees. As you can see above, many trees are marked with place names and arrows, so if you can read Thai, you can navigate.

Of course, for those of us who can't navigate, best to hire a good guide!
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Wow! Ok, now I understand why we didn't try to do this last night in the dark!
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This is another trail that was too tough for the pudgy picture thief from Chiang Mai, Jack told us he had to turn around and go on the 4x4 track :lol-sign:
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A steep rocky ascent and an equally steep descent on the other side. Good fun (if you're not a pu$$y) ;)
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Brian managed to curly-q his shift pedal on a rock here, but at least it didn't snap off like so often happens on the CRF-L-
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Coming down the other side was tricky too, steep and rocky and fun!
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Oh dear, Gene seems to have lost his gf again ;)
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Everyone made it through in one piece! There was a nice water crossing waiting for us at the bottom :mrgreen:
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mikehohman

Ol'Timer
Sep 16, 2009
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Ah shit, man, this is better than Game Of Thrones S03E03 which i am trying to watch now. I find it's just filler in between your posts. And I was ON the damn trip for Christ Sake, so i kinda know what happens. Brilliant story and pix Tony, keep it coming.

Mike
 

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
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There was a "bridge" of sorts here, but nobody wanted to try it :lol:
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The water crossing was shallow and looks easy enough but the far bank is steep and muddy and harder than it looks. We end up throwing a bunch of rocks down to make a ramp of sorts.

Of course, Trent decides to go the "hard" way ;)

Jack goes big ;)

Brian makes easy work of it-

Next time I come out this way I'll put on proper off-road knobblies like this fellow-

Here comes Gene, minus Mio ;)

Trent drinks more water than anyone I know and was already running low, so decided to try Brian's "Life Straw"-
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A seriously cool little piece of kit that claims to be able to filter 1000 liters of water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeStraw

It got passed around to many riders during the trip and so far everyone is still healthy!
 

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
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This little water crossing above was the warm-up for the Main Event- crossing the Suriya river!

Mike finds us a bridge...
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Hmmmm, I don't think so!
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The river is pretty deep (and very beautiful) here and I doubt anyone would be able to ride across at this point-
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We back track upstream a bit until we find a spot that looks doable. Trent goes first and I get him on video-

I go next and muddle my way through. Next comes Mike-
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Trent tries to give Mike a helping hand and end up in the drink himself :lol-sign:
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I think Mike is one of the few who didn't fall over crossing the Suriya river-
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Even Jack needs a hand; Trent and Mike are happy to oblige-
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Here comes Brian-
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Slippery rocks and lots of holes- when you put your foot down you never know what you'll find!
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Best seats in the house? ;)
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Trent is providing directions ;)
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Honda CRF-L gets a helping hand-
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Where's Jack?
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Jack and Trent cooling down in the Suriya river near the Thai-Myanmar border-
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As always, we get by with some help from our friends-
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Trent trying to drink the river dry with Brian's Life Straw-
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Jack tried out Brian's Life Straw too-
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Brian takes "ATGATT" to the extreme ;)
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Reckon it's pretty tough to swim in full off-road gear. Are you ok Brian?? :lolno:
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Two thumbs up from Khun 20! ;)
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After a challenging crossing-
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Chillaxing in the Suriya river :)
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Even proper off-road knobblies are no guarantee of a safe passage ;)
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This river crossing was mayhem of the best kind! Here comes Mr Nui on his KLX 125-
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Mr Nui reminds us again that even the pros crash sometimes-
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Here comes Gene! Gf crosses on foot; probably a good idea!
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Trent and Mio relaxing on the bank of the Suriya river-
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TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
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As much as I think we'd all love to spend the rest of the day on the Suriya river, we still have some distance to cover, so back on the bikes and off we go!


Fantastic single track riding through jungle and forest before some steep hill climbs up and over the mountains to the village of Laytongku!


Once we're up in the recently burned hills it's so dry and I can't help but wonder what would happen if this all went up in flames as we're riding through it---

Pretty cool views from the summit. I turn off the engine and coast down the steep bits.

Good fun following Mike through this tall tall grass-

Finally the single track reaches a dusty 4x4 track and after a few more water crossings we finally reach the village of Laytongku in Umphang province-

Dusty and tired, but we made it!
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Looking a bit shattered, aren't we?
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Very cute village kids-
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Laytongku, as I understand it, is famous for their unique culture and religion.
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Despite the efforts of missionaries, most villagers are neither Buddhist nor Christian but "Ruessie" (sp?) I think it is, but I've been unable to find any information about them, probably because I'm spelling it wrong.
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Time to press on to Beung Kleung for lunch! Bye kids! :wave:
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brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
2,137
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Ripper report Tony.. One of your best yet...

Yes, it is pretty hard to swim in full gear LOL.
I just stepped of a rock and had no footing at all.. The current started to take me...
Crikey.. kicking and nothing happens with dirt boots on full of water and long socks..
I was not far away from needing rescuing...

Really enjoying this one Tony.. You have really captured the mood of the trip in this report.
Bunch of mates out exploring, looking out for each other and meeting new people and helping each other along the way.

Publishing with out the owners permission (stealing?) other peoples trip photos is one thing.. telling the story and putting them in context is another..

Keep it coming.

Cheers
Brian
 

Rhodie

Ol'Timer
Mar 5, 2006
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Epic ride and a cracking read.
Nice one Tony.
Also excellent to see an adhoc joint ride put together on the fly.
Looking forward to the finale.
Congrats to all who rode.

PS hope Mio has her own report, "walking in Trent's tracks"!
 

Jurgen

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Oct 23, 2009
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Was it driving or rock climbing? In any case a great team work. For me, the link is still missing as I am not ready to be on this trail soon. I also enjoyed the video giving realistic impressions of the “excursion”

A great ride for you and a great reading for me. Thank you for sharing this.
 

DavidFL

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Chiang Khong
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Amazing trip & pics. Serious adventure & serious fun. That Suriya river sure looks a beauty with that crystal clear water.
Can't wait to see the rest of the report.
 

heilong

Ol'Timer
Apr 3, 2011
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When me and my girlfriend Mia arrived at Sangkhlaburi, first place we went was the Baan Unrak Children's Home bakery/coffeeshop/restaurant, I already been there during my last visit to Sangkhla. Perfect place!
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Sunset in Sangkhlaburi
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Next morning, we're riding to meet up with the Thai riders.
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And soon we're off on a really dusty dirt road
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The result
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The real adventure starts from here
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Quite soon we approach a very rocky section, I'd say it was the trickiest part of this whole trip. At least it's the only section where I've fallen down twice (and actually bent my handlebar a bit, as I discovered 2 days later).
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This downhill section also made many riders fall down a bit
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Tony's bike didn't idle well after deeper water crossings, did you figure it out Tony? Electrics or maybe something with the carb vent hoses?
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Post-lunch nap
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At least two bikes (if I remember correctly) were dropped in the water during this crossing, had to change the oil in the only CRF that was on the trip
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Trent and Mio became devils (Oni) after a night without any comfortable sleep
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Socks and a huge steak for breakfast
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Very apocalyptic looking landscape, and a lot of very slippery dried grass on the trail. The CRF rider fell down and bent his handguard enough that it started to interfere with the throttle tube returning.
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Rising from the dead
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A short rocky downhill/uphill section. Brian bent his shift lever here.
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Had to dig the bank a little bit to make the crossing easier. When the last bikes were going up the bank, there was a pretty deep rut already.
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This crossing was pretty long and very beautiful. The people who already crossed could enjoy a great swim in the refreshing river, some of them in full gear including boots
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Quite a few bikes were actually dropped in this area, but nothing serious
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In that suit he's well protected from the jellyfish. Oh wait it's not the sea!
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The end of the trip
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Mia has survived all the bumps and rocks! She had to walk a little bit on the tougher parts, but not too much actually (she would prefer to walk more).
P.S. After me and Mia got to Umphang, we spent the next day visiting the Thi Lo Su waterfalls (only allowed to go there by car), next day I went on a solo trail ride, but the day after that we went off-roading together again, on a pretty rough and disused (full of fallen bamboo) hiking trail leading up to some nice hot springs. So maybe someday she'll do this ride again. Or on her own bike?
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TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
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Fantastic pictures Gene! It was a real pleasure meeting you and your lovely gf (and her beaver) ;) and I hope we'll hook up for some more off road adventures soon!

Very odd how my bike did not like water on day 1. Days 2 and 3 were no problem. I will replace all vacuum hoses and the spark plug lead just to be safe.
:happy1:
 

heilong

Ol'Timer
Apr 3, 2011
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Pleasure riding with you sir! It's my beaver actually ;) Or I'm his human, to be more precise.
When I had a Honda XR250 in Russia, I put in a MSR vent kit, basically there are lines that go down under the bike and up and into the airbox (connected to a small air filter). If the original setup is not like that, maybe good to make it look like that. I'd put some electronic spray (the one that does have some water-resistant lubricant, not just the cleaner) inside and outside on the spark plug lead, or some silicone spray. Actually I do that for all of my electrical connectors (once first time and then occasionally when I unplug them for any other reasons).
 

brian_bkk

Ol'Timer
Mar 30, 2010
2,137
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Great pics Gene.. As discussed.. If we plan any trips will let you know.
We have enough vans and pick-ups now.. You make it up to Bangkok and we can help with your bike.

Cheers and look forward to the next ride together.

Brian
 

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
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I'm back from Indo! Time to bang out the rest of this ride report!

Mike tells me that Laytongku to Beung Kleung used to be a challenging dirt track, but now it's been "upgraded" to an incredibly dusty road. The bull dust was super-deep in some places and you had to keep a large gap between riders or end up looking like Mr Ton-

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:lol-sign:

Beung Kleung is a pretty well developed border town, the main street is paved and they've got electricity, but no cell phone coverage. Topping up the fuel, bottle by bottle-
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Gene and his beaver ;)
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Mad respect to Gene and Mio for completing this ride two-up! :clap: We tried and tried to convince them to stick with us but the lure of hot showers and WiFi in Umphang won and they continued north from here.

Local kids enjoyed looking at our bikes and showing off their skills ;)
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Jack and Mike took us to the best restaurant in town and I must say that the food was quite good, the staff were easy on the eyes and most importantly, the beers were ice cold!!
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Photographing the photographer ;)
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By chance there was a wedding party going on that day that passed right by the restaurant-
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Some cuties, eh?

Group photo in front of the restaurant (owner in blue) in Beung Kleung-
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Trent bought as many beers as he thought we could carry to bring back to Laytongku
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Before heading out of town we stopped for some pictures at the border crossing to Myanmar-
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Border patrol pooch? ;)
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The Thai-Myanmar Sala at Beung Kleung-
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Brian and moi on the Thai-Myanmar border at Beung Kleung-
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This friendly border guard didn't mind posing for photos-
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There are no immigration facilities so even if we had visas we could not cross into Myanmar here-
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Mike is ready to roll! To avoid the mad dust storm we take of ahead of the rest of the group and enjoy a fun blast back to Laytongku-
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heilong

Ol'Timer
Apr 3, 2011
77
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0
Great write-up and pics, Tony! I regret a bit that we didn't go back with you, as I saw you had a great time at Lay Tong Ku, but on the other hand, I did a lot of really nice riding around the Umphang area, and the way back to Tak was pretty fun on the paved mountain twisties...
 

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
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Mike and I arrived back in Laytongku and enjoyed a Leo while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.
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Trent arrived with a flat tire; he'd torn the stem off the tube but just kept going... :twisted:

Someone should tell him that beers are for drinking?
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:lol-sign:

Turns out we were spending the night at the village medical clinic, which just happens to be right next to the beautiful Laytongku waterfall!

Love this bilingual chart of ailments in English and Burmese-
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The clinic has electricity supplied by some small water-driven generators placed at the top of the falls-
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Quite ingenious the way they have set up adjustable sluices to direct water to the generators-
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The "trail" down to the base of the falls is not for the faint of heart.
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At least we were sober going down... ;)

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You couldn't ask for a nicer spot to relax after a long day riding on hot trails-
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Happy riders, good times!
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Strike a pose ;)
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Jack, Trent and Mike-
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Cheers!
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Are you ok Brian? ;)
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View from half-way up-
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Quite deep in the center of the pool-
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I think Mr Ton, aka Ton-Mao, is starting to feel the effects of his "Turbo" cocktail :lol-sign:
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(Man he took some painful looking falls on the hike back up to the clinic) :wtf:

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TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
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Twas getting late and the mozzies were starting to come out, so time to bid adieu to the Laytongku waterfall and hike back up to the clinic, find a place to sleep and get ready for happy hour :mrgreen:

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We slept on an open air covered patio next to the actual clinic. Not bad at all. Mike and Brian charging batteries and reviewing their pictures-
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Campfire cooking
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Bonne appetit!
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I woke up some time in the middle of the night to take a piss and kicked what I thought was a dog that was sleeping on my feet... Come back from the outhouse only to find Mr Ton curled up and sound asleep on my camping mattress.

Turns out Trent had gotten so drunk that he kept tripping over everyone's camping hammocks and was ordered escorted back by Mr Ton, but Mr Ton was so drunk he just passed out on the floor next to Trent. Of course, as the night wore on the temperatures dropped and it got quite chilly, so Mr Ton rolled around looking for warmth, and found me... :sick: I prodded him awake and told him to go find his hammock, but he just rolled back onto the wooden floor and passed out again. I could feel his shivering through the floor boards and kept expecting him to try and snuggle with me again but I survived the rest of the night unmolested ;) Man that must have been a miserable sleep for him, yet come morning, he seemed more or less ok... Tough funny dude that Mr Ton! :clap:
 

TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
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Day 3! GOOD MORNING from Laytongku village, Umphang province, Thailand!
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How'd ya sleep Trent? ;)
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My "room" is a bit messy, but I slept pretty well-
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These poor little puppies were shivering and so skinny. I didn't see any sign of their mother, but offered them some of my breakfast after which they settled down for a nap-
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The goal today is to ride all the way back to Sangkhlaburi in one go- it's not a huge distance, but it will be a full day all the same!

The kind staff at the clinic cooked us up a pretty decent breakfast and there was plenty of coffee.

Took a team effort to get Trent's tube replaced, especially since Princess Trent doesn't like to get his hands dirty, but it got done eventually- I think one of the Thai guys took this pic?
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(not my pic)

Mike and Brian-
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Took a while for everyone to get packed up but eventually we were ready to roll-
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The young man and girl in the green shirts are the clinic staff and the building behind us is where we slept. The man in the white shirt seemed to be in charge of the clinic. Very gracious and hospitable hosts.
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None of these folks spoke Thai. They speak their own dialect of Karen and Burmese. This cute smiley nurse was very shy but surprised me with a "See you soon!" in English just as we were leaving-
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I have a stowaway ;)
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TonyBKK

Ol'Timer
Dec 27, 2007
3,854
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heilong;289641 wrote: Come on man, it wouldn't be gay to give some warm cuddles to a brother :)
I have no doubt Mr Ton would have very much appreciated your Beaver to keep him warm on this chilly night ;)

:lol-sign:
 

SilverhawkUSA

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Mar 15, 2003
1,528
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www.daveearly.com
Terrific adventure guys and great, comprehensive photos. I am surprised you found the chance to take as many snaps and videos as you have. Tony, I know the amount of time it takes to put together a thorough trip report. Top Notch effort. Epic even. :thumbup: