Wet Muddy Ride in the back country, July 2-4

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by mikehohman, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Spent three days riding the back country from Chiang Mai over to Soppong with JD (ChiangMaiDiver), Dirty, Jim and Peter last weekend, July 2-4. Great times were had by all, slipping and sliding out in the mud. Lot's of spills, lot's of thrills, some breakdowns and a flat, and thankfully, no injuries... :) I flew up to Chiang Mai Friday morning, rented a KLX, and met the guys about 10:00 AM. We were heading out of town by 10:30 AM up to Mae Taeng and then up into the hills, over to Meuang Khong and then over to Pai, arriving about 8:30 PM (me and JD in a truck, see below)... Saturday we spent about 10 hours getting over to the Cave Lodge by way of the Burmese Border, and Sunday I had a nice leisurely road ride back to Chiang Mai, and then grabbed a flight back to Bangkok, home in time for Sunday Dinner with my wife and son.

    A really awesome 3-Day weekend, my first time riding in Rainy Season. It's definitely worth it, and quite different from dry season. Much better colors, and more challenging (and dirty) trails... Anyway, i will let the pictures tell the story. JD and Dirty continued on to Mae Hong Son on Sunday, but the others came back as well (i think). JD should be posting some photos, and some video as well...

    Captions BELOW the images...

    Dirty, Jim, JD, and Peter. 4 KLX's (3 rented) and 1 Honda XR 250.

    Dirty ready to ride... Mae Taeng

    A couple of Brahman cows heading down the road, Mae Taeng

    JD overlooking a village in a valley, north of Mae Taeng

    Dirty on the move...

    Peter, Jim, and JD in the mist as we head up into the mountains

    WIpe out! I wrecked crossing that irrigation ditch, which i came up on blind. Did a couple somersalts and actually landed on my feet, minus 1 shoe. The 5 of us spent 20 minutes looking for it, and we never found it. JD lost his GPS, not sure where on the trail, and he found it in the dark...

    We floated the other shoe down the ditch to see how far the lost one might have gone... JD catching it on Video

    Jim crossing a stream. He scores a perfect 10 on the wheelie...

    But didn't nail the landing....

    JD crashing across...

    Typical stream crossing in the mountains...

    Planting some ride paddy outside Mueang Khong

    Rice fields and my (rented) KLX. I miss my own. This one has taken a beating over the last 21k km. And poorly maintained.

    Water buffalo with calf. Man, do they STINK!. On top of all the mud, there is plenty of cow shit all over the trail...

    Coming around a bend in the hills

    Hills up near Burma

    Dirty on the trail...

    Laying down our bikes to run pull Peter out of a mud hole.

    Peter hit this mud hole and flipped forward over his bike, which came down on top of him.

    Bike in the hole. It took 4 of us to pull it out, it seemed like quick sand...

    Peter and his ride...

    JD got a flat outside Mueang Khong. On the dirt, he was still fine. Actually, we couldn't even catch him, he was still faster then the rest of us, even with the damn flat. And damn, we are fast, so that is saying a lot about JD. But back on the pavement, he needed a lift...

    Turns out i need a lift too! Coming down 1095 into Pai Valley, my motorcycle just completely died, no power, no nothing... Electrical problem, easily resolved the next morning in Pai

    Saturday morning at the hotel in Pai, super nice and cheap, the Baan Tawan...

    View of the Pai River from the hotel balcony

    View of the Pai River from a Sala at the hotel

    Saturday morning, which way do we go? which way do we go? 2 GPS's was almost 1 too many.... :)

    Thunderstorms on Saturday around lunchtime

    Dirty refuels

    JD puts on his game face

    That's rain water rushing by....

    Chinese Landscape Painting scenery (this photo doesn't come near to doing it justice) north near Burma

    JD hit this "puddle" at speed and stalled out when his pip was submerged. He's standing where he got stuck...

    Muddy Trails...

    Lovely mud...

    Cake on the wheels....

    Kinda hard to ride this trail without any damn traction or steering control. Makes it tricky to avoid the ruts...

    Fresh rice paddy

    We ran into this guy 3km from nowhere. Not only did Dirty know him, he actually had designed one of Dirty's tats. I am still trying to understand the dynamite cheeseburger...

    Beautiful pine forests at elevation

    Trail conditions

    Some pretty deep ruts. JD hit this descent at high speed and ended up here...

    JD savoring the moment... I think he actually enjoys the wrecks....

    We stopped to help these guys with their chain. They were out hunting...

    Muddy wheels...

    A hunter takes aim...

    JD on the move...

    Rolling hills north of Soppong

    Nice little village nestled on the hillside

    Dirty chills while Jim makes another attempt at a steep ascent. Only JD on the XR made it to the top (although I don't think which bike mattered)

    Trail through the bamboo

    The bike is cleaner after crossing a pretty heavy stream just below these hills

    Me above a small village north of Soppong

    Dirty and JD

    Cave Lodge, lobby...

    Clouds over Mae Hong Son province

    Clouds over Mae Hong Son province

    Clouds over the Pai Valley on Sunday - the Rainy Season sure is beautiful!!
  2. Stunning landscape pictures. The views are incredible after the rains have started and have washed away the dust on the trees as well as in the air. Good also to see Dirty back in action and enjoying his smoke while others try to conquer the steep ascent.
  3. Wow yeah it's soooo beautiful up there in the rainy season. I almost forgot during the hot dry summer time. This is definitely the secret to Pai - this time of the year. Nobody there, fantastic air, unbeatable views. So you get a bit wet from time to time. Winter it's overrun with Thai tourists (not on the trails though). And summer March/April it turns into a desert and it's best to escape to the south if you appreciate your lungs.

    We just relocated to CM from Pai but this makes me want to go back up there right now. I need to get into the offroading thing too :) looks like just so much fun. I have done some muddy backroads over there on the ever so practical Honda Wave. Not fast, but steady, it can take on any of these muddy roads (with the exception that nasty hole there, wow!!!!).

    It's funny you stayed at Baan Tawan - first time I got to Pai I stayed there. Did you run into Tip off road? He's mad, but he's been riding these back roads up there near burma for over 10 years now. Baan Tawan certainly got a lot nicer since I stayed there.

    Cave Lodge of course is legend.
  4. Many thanks for an great report, inspiring trail/bike action pics and superb landscape photo's. I am really looking forward to enjoying some of this offroad terrain, when I shortly make the move up North. Will need some trail companions to break me in gently as not really been off road since the Brecon Beacons in the 1980's.
  5. Guys what a perfect trip report and real stunning fotos !!! Sure you like the mud and at looking at your bikes, nothing seems to be at an straight angle anymore, you surely enjoyed it !!!! The whole front & light unit of the XR seem to be bent completely...........keep 'em comin', rgds, Franz
  6. Don't worry, it's a rental bike.......... :) Fantastic photos, and clearly you guys are not afraid of the "red mud of death".
  7. Outstanding shots Mike very impressed. I think I love the black Kawa with the front tire completely stuck in the mud.... hahaha, too bad I wasn't there to see it. Video is taking much longer then I thought and think I'll have to do multiple clips but working on it.
  8. Yep fantastic photos & report. You guys are wild out there & actually enjoying it beating yourselves up. (Hongsa sorted me out. :cry: )
    Many thanks for the contribution. Please keep 'em coming. :thumbup:
  9. Great report and pics. Reminds me of my early day commutes to work after I got married (David remembers the road well) riding my not always so trusty 78' Honda 125XL . Getting that red clay caked up on the tires always did present a challenge that was never easily solved. Sort of like wearing roller skates on an ice rink. Well done!
  10. Ok here are the two YouTube Links if anyone wants to check them out.....

    Part 1 - [youtube:h52vjuto] /youtube:h52vjuto]

    Part 2 - [youtube:h52vjuto] /youtube:h52vjuto]
  11. Jd
    Beautiful vdo. You guys are stars. Thanks.
  12. Excellent :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
    great pics and trip

    much thanks for posting :clap: :clap: :clap:

    just one point :!:
    road/trail tires in that mud!!........no thanks :crazy:
  13. Great vids, some of the best yet that I have seen to show what it is like to ride and commute up in the hills of the Golden Triangle at this time of year.
  14. Mike - Fantastic to see you enjoying yourself in the muck once again. Also especially nice to see Dirty with his continued chain smoking and back over here thrashing about.

    Your trip looks minging and exploring some fun tracks. Best time of year to ride with the scenery blossoming and all you hope for is a smidge of traction.

    Good on ya?
  15. Hey Justin, it was really great to be back out there, and like everyone had said, it's damn cool in the rainy season. Makes for challenging riding, and even getting soaked is ok. We had rain off and on, but you pretty much dry off between downpours and it keeps you cool. Putting up with the "red clay of death" is really worth it for the green green fields, blue skies and clean fresh air. I did the full loop in 1 day in April on an ER6n, the riding was fun, but the air was really nasty and no views to speak of, it so damn hazy.

    Great to be out with JD and Dirty as well, they make good company.

    Thanks everyone for all your kind comments about the photos. Much appreciated. Seems like many of them pretty much just take themselves, it's so beautiful out there in Rainy Season. That said, I am really happy with the photo of Jim pulling the wheelie while crossing the river, that's a tough shot to get with a compact camera. All photos are from a Canon S90...

    Nikster, i guess Ban Tawan got leveled by the flooding in Pai and they have rebuilt it from the ground up. They are still working on it a little, but it is very nice these days. And we did run into Tip, he was a great help in getting our bikes back on the road.

    Well, I just had keyhole surgery on my right shoulder last Friday to fix a sports injury from a couple years back, so i might miss the rest of the rainy season, but will be back in time for some adventures in November. Hope you all have a chance to get out there and get muddy!!


    PS: Franz, The front end of JD's XR is held on by plastic ties... I guess it's been knocked around a bit... :)
  16. hahaha.... Ya Franz, smashed the front end of my XR when I went airborne into a tree. Few zip ties and all good, though that trip out with Mike shattered the one good side that was attached... Few more zip ties and it held till I can get it replaced.

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