Trip Report: Cnx - Chiang Khong.

Jan 12, 2003
Trip Report: Cnx - Chiang Khong.
« on: Dec 13th, 2002, 12:44pm » Quote Modify Remove

Routes: 118 – 1 – 1016 – 1129.

Wed 11th December. Return Thurs 12th.

Left the Chiang Mai super at 3.30 pm & a bit late (as usual).
One of the reasons for getting away so slow was trying to get some air in my tyres. My fave gas station with the right bike valve nozzle is in the middle of town & I could not be bothered zipping into the town centre beforehand. So out on the super I had trouble finding a petrol station that had a nozzle that would fit! The 5th gas station was ok, but it really can be a pain chugging in & out with all your gear on, looking for a good nozzle. For the record then, in Chiang Mai, the Shell gas station at the Somphet intersection has a nice motorcycle friendly valve nozzle on their air hose.

Anyway, the weather was reasonably bright & sunny, after a couple of days rain. However as soon as I got into the hills it clouded up and sure enough after crossing the ridgeline 53 kms out down it came. AND yours truly did not have his waterproofs with him, as he foolishly believed the rain had gone. I even phoned Chiang Khong before I left & got the good oil – it was sunny, the rain’s gone. My pen rai, with only 270 kms to go it would be a good character-building ride (but how many more of these do you need at 48 yrs of age?).
The road route 118 was quite ok actually, and most of the shyte just out of Doi Saket, is not that bad now. They are down to a mere 7 kms of bumpy patched up asphalt now, with little dirt / gravel on the road; so you can hook into it a bit if you’ve got the right equipment. Even though it was wet, I was enjoying myself – gotta get out of the rain – but I soon got snapped back to reality when I had a huge moment just before Mae Kachan. The last hill before you go down into Mae Kachan is a nice long sweeping / swooping right hander over an open crest & I had the bike cranked over just a bit at 90-100 kph and was just starting to roll the throttle on and away the front end went. I had lost it. A nice "gentle" wobbling set of tank-slappers in the wet, it sure as hell was eerie, but scary. There was no time to panic. I just tried to pick the bike up a bit as we headed straight for the edge of the road, where luckily the tyres bit into the chip metal road shoulder. This enabled me to actually turn it round the corner & carry on - at a somewhat more sedate speed for the next few kms, until the pulse rate came back down sufficiently.
The rain oddly enough cut out in the hills between Wiang Pa Pao & Mae Suai & the rest of the run was dry, albeit with a wet road sometimes.

As it was getting on I even skipped the Charin Resort cappuccino & cheesecake stop for once.
Once on the 4-lane super south of Chiang Rai it was a breeze, and unbelievably I got a clean run through all the traffic lights on the Chiang Rai super. There are so many, this saves you at least 15 minutes in travel time. Lights came on at Chiang Saen & it was an interesting ride in the dark along route 1129 from Chiang Saen to Chiang Khong. There’s almost no traffic on the road at night, so you can use both sides, but the road’s poorly marked & got so many dips & rises in it you can get confused & lose sight of the road at times. All good stuff for the adrenalin production. Around Hmong Kiu Khan, on the top of the mountain, you have to watch out for unlit cattle and buffaloes on the road.

I hit Chiang Khong at 7.00 pm and could not believe the travel time from Chiang Mai: 3 ½ hrs. Possibly one of my best times ever, especially considering the wet & dark conditions.
In Chiang Khong I stayed at the Tam Mi La, my fave ghouse in North Thai, but missed out on my fave bungalow # 7, which has the “bed & sunset views” of the Mekong River.
Jip & Taew from the Bamboo were also away on hols, so there was no Mexican food, which was a real let down. I had no lunch, & the Bamboo was the first place I headed for in Ch Khong, even before the Tam Mi La.
I made do with a late dinner at Maliwan’s Rim Ta Ling restaurant downstream at Haad Khrai.
Late night was fun at Noom’s new Relaxe Bar next door to the Teepee. Nom ‘s a talented guitarist & singer, plus he now has a new hot little singer gal called Khwan to accompany him, & she aint bad with “Zombie.” I hit the sack at 2.00 am somewhat inebriated, while the mob closed the place at 4.00 am I believe. There must have been a few sore heads in Ch Khong this morning, including Miss Khwan, who helped drink my Grants whisky, a couple of bots of Leo beer & numerous good shots of Cointreau. And the total bill was less than a grey note - so for a hot tip, hit the Relaxe for a good cheap night in Ch Khong.

The ride back from Ch Khong today was a little more subdued, at an even later start. I got away from the Golden Triangle at 5.00 pm & arrived in Chiang Mai at 8.30 pm.
At the Charin I made up for missing out yesterday, by having 2 cappuccinos & 2 cheesecakes - gotta keep your energy levels up.
Overall nothing new to report, except it rained between Doi Saket & the ridgeline 53 kms out. Oh yeah, in the twisties in the wet I got passed by a hot driver in a Merc – well done, you were good!

« Last Edit: Dec 14th, 2002, 5:00am by Davidfl »