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  1. #1
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    Bust a Gut NW Thailand Dirt Tour, February 2013

    My sides still hurt from laughing my **** off so much this weekend!
    We got things started in Bangkok when Trent came over to have me install new chain and sprockets on his newly stickered KLX 250. Only took us ~7 hours to get it done!


    Quick flight up to Chiang Mai on Thursday afternoon on Thai Air. Let's see, passport, beer, ticket- Sorted!


    Caught up with a bunch of mates at "Tiger Kingdom" where every waitress was hotter than the next

    Then some bar hopping and hell raising


    Reckon it's pretty hard to get kicked out of the Spotlight Gogo, but we managed it!

    Dave couldn't find his car and we were almost eaten by a pack of wild sewer rats. I ended up driving us home

    Friday morning we met up at the Eurodiner for brekkie. Good to catch up with Franz and Nikster there, but they couldn't join us for the ride.

    Then we're off! Today's plan is to sniff out this "Motorcycle Only" trail on the GT-Rider map:


    Dave decided to spare his F800GS from more abuse and took his KTM 640 instead. He said he was going to thrown some dualsport rubber on the KTM, but seems that would have been too easy and he decided to head out with a Pilot 3 on the back and a rain tire on the front. The Thais have a great expression for this kind of self-imposed suffering: "SOM NAM NA!"

    We're off! Dave knows some good back roads to get us from Chiang Mai to Sop Poeng. Dave rips on the pavement, but as soon as we reach the dirt he has to slow right down. Early on he loses half a bottle of Absolut and a shoe!


    The road from Sop Poeng to Sop Kai is nicely paved in the beginning and gets rougher as you go, but all in all is in pretty good shape. You can see that the road has been upgraded in recent years and in some places you can still see traces of the older road-


    After you cross the Mae Tang river at Sop Kai the road north gets rougher and more fun. At the next village the large concrete bridge has collapsed in rather spectacular fashion and has been replaced by a suspension bridge for pedestrians and motorcycles and a wooden bridge for cars and trucks-


    Approaching the bridge from the south there is no indication whatsoever that the bridge is out. Reckon someone could come through here after dark and drive right off the end if they weren't paying attention!


    Some pics of the suspension bridge-






    Crossing the wooden bridge-


    I can't remember the name of this village, but it was pretty big and had a large school. Some cute kids came out to say hi-


    Some more pictures of the bridges-




    We asked the locals which way to Muang Khong and received conflicting directions. One track looked like it might follow the river but seems the river ate the track, so we U-turned back to the village and again spoke to the locals. I pointed at another track that went roughly west and they said we could get to Pai that way. Hmmm, interesting, not on the map, let's check it out!

    The track is awesome! Single track, muddy and slippery in some spots due to recent rain, and lots of sketchy bridges and water crossings!


    Trent and I are loving it on our KLX's, Dave, maybe not so much...




    The Pilot 3 on the back and rain tire on the front are not making his life easy...


    But gotta give Dave credit and respect- he powers on no matter what!

    Some fun water crossings-




    Do Kwai play Takraw?


    The trail rises and falls. Amazing views from the ridgelines-






    I just love the smell of pine trees!


    Some of the bridges were really dodgy, but thankfully none collapsed under us!

  2. #2
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    The Fresh Prince's Avatar
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    Looks like great fun. Do you ever close your mouth?

  3. #3
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    Another water crossing and the dodgiest bridge we've encountered so far-


    It seems so ready to fall down. Check out the main "pillar" that's holding it up-


    It supports Dave on foot but sways and creaks ominously-

    It's ~2-3 meters to the river. Would be ugly if it collapses, but we decide to give it a go.


    We decide to walk the bikes across-


    Trent went first and made it across, no problems-


    Dave went next. Some villagers came to watch the show and gave him a hand-


    I wasn't sure of the wisdom of adding their weight to that of Dave and his bike, but fortune was on our side and they made it across!

    After Dave made it I figured that the bridge was stronger than it looked so I rode across without any drama.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Some short video clips on the trails between Sop Kai and Mae Sa, Thailand-

    Fantastic single track ride from Sop Kai to Mae Sae - YouTube

    Kawasaki KLX Jungle Trail Ride - YouTube

  6. #6
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    We push on through the jungle on the fun and challenging single track trail that we've been told will take us to Pai.

    You knew this was going to happen sooner or later, didn't you?



    Even better is that Trent was expecting it and captured it on video!
    Man down!! - YouTube

    Trying to negotiate a tight corner on a steep downhill slope, Big Dave takes a spill that has us all rolling!



    He's fine and the bike is fine and we all laughed our butts off!

    Well, ok, maybe Dave wasn't laughing at the time, but after he saw the video he thought it was pretty damn funny too!

    The initial crash brought out the whole village, and Dave, being the kind and generous guy he is promptly crashed again on a steep slippery climb up the other side of this drainage, much to the amusement of the locals-
    Villagers helping a KTM 640 across small bridge - YouTube

    No video of that crash, but again, rider and bike were undamaged. We press on and eventually the trail brings us to the village of Mae Sa on the main road to Pai.

  7. #7
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    We re-hydrated and re-fueled in Mae Sa. It was only 2 o'clock and we were only ~50km from Pai if we took the main road (1095).

    Not wanting the day to end so early we busted out the GT-Rider map and spotted this "easy" looking loop that we thought would be a nice way to round out the day-


    The track starts directly south of the military checkpoint and is a ripper of a ride! Really rough and varied, you could do it in a 4WD, but it would be very slow going. Great fun on the KLX's, probably less fun on the KTM supermotard...

    Eventually we reached some sort of park-


    From here the trail got really rough and very slippery due to recent rain. We were slipping and sliding all over the place!


    Dave had another little off and then Trent got stuck in the same spot- can you see the green moss on the trail? That's a sure sign of slippery conditions- it's steeper than it looks and was hard to even walk here!

    I had to walk down and give Trent a push-

  8. #8
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    We continue to climb. It looks like this track gets very little traffic so I'm a bit surprised to encounter a couple scooters coming down. We ask them if we can get to Pai this way and they say yes, just stay right. Cool!

    We reach a junction close to the summit- what a view!


    Following the advice from the locals we take a right, and things get really interesting...


    In some places the track is open and easy-


    In other places it's terribly overgrown-




    I still get a signal here and my phone tells me that we're in a bit of a "no man's land"...


    We continue to make slow progress until we reach a largish tree that's blocking the trail. Not much of a trail at this point...


    We tried muscling the KTM over the log and almost lost it down the mountain. Ugh... Dragging it back up to the trail was not fun! I hiked on for a bit and found more downed trees blocking the trail. It was getting late and at this rate we could be out here all night. We agreed it would be best to turn around and get back to the main trail.

    By the time we finally make it back to the "main" trail, the sun is setting and we are still a LONG way from Pai!


    Good fun riding in the jungle in the pitch dark! We all agreed that it would be a ripper of a trail in daylight!

    We reached Pai well after dark, hooked up with David Unk at the Baan Pai restaurant on walking street, had a fantastic dinner, checked in to the quirky Unicorn Guesthouse, and crashed early.


    So ends day 1! Day 2 gets even better!!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fresh Prince View Post
    Looks like great fun. Do you ever close your mouth?
    It's hard to keep your mouth shut when you are laughing so hard!

  10. #10
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    We woke up well rested at the Unicorn Guesthouse and ready for another day of mayhem!

    Remember Dave lost a shoe yesterday? So he had to wear his Alpinestars to breakfast


    We met up with David Unk at Pai Country for an outstanding brekkie-


    Full up and ready to ride!


    I visited the motorcycle shop on the main road near the market that sorted my throttle cable two weeks prior to say hi and grab a new headlight bulb (my low beam had burned out the evening prior). They said they close on Sundays and would love to show us some local trails. Damn tempting, but we weren't really keen to spend two nights in Pai. Super nice guys. Hope to ride with them some other time!

    Topped up at the PTT and snapped a pic of these cute girls on their dad's scooter, with mom about to jump on the back. Gotta love Thai-style!


    We crossed the bridge and missed the turn to the dirt track we were looking for and ended up ogling some elephants instead-


    U-turn and we sniff out the track, we're looking for and it's flippin awesome!!! Follows the Pai River for a little while, then heads pretty much straight up the mountain!


    It's an old forest road that hasn't been maintained and is definitely motorcycle-only!

    Trent has his first off on a steep slippery section-


    Rider and bike are undamaged-


    I was worried that Dave would have trouble on this steep stuff with his Pilot 3 road tire on the back, but he just motored on through. He said steep descents were a lot more difficult than the ascents.

    A couple short videos from the trail. First Trent, then Dave-
    Kawasaki KLX on forest trail near Pai, Thailand - YouTube

    KTM 640 Super Motard on dirt track near Pai, Thailand - YouTube

    We get underway again and I come around a bend and see Trent lying in a ditch and his bike pointing nose to the sky-




    It looked bad and I was quite concerned, but as I got closer I could see Trent shaking with laughter so I knew he was alright-


    Thumbs up!


    He'd taken quite a spill but both bike and rider were thankfully undamaged and we all had a good laugh

  11. #11
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    We ride on and the track becomes difficult to follow as it goes through thick forest and the trail is covered in leaves. It starts to rain a bit, nothing heavy, but it's enough to make the dirt sections extra slippery. We spot a village down in the valley and decide to head that way and ask a local where we are. On a steep descent Trent wipes out yet again!





    Crazy slippery here- hard to even stand!

    Once again, rider and bike are undamaged-


    Like riding on ice-
    Kawasaki KLX slippery muddy hill descent near Pai, Thailand - YouTube

    Cameras ready we watch Dave gingerly work his way down the slippery slope-


    He made it!


    Seriously slippery stuff!
    Walking and sliding down a slippery muddy dirt road - YouTube

    Descending towards the village of Ban Sai Ngarm-


    Riding through the village I go splat much to the amusement of a house full of kids


    Yeah! We made it to Ban Sai Ngarm!

  12. #12
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    From Ban Sai Ngarm it's a short ride to the main road (1095) and who should rock up as we're rehydrating and recounting this morning's adventure? None other that David FL on his nicely customized Versys-



    We were out riding for some 3 or 4 hours so we were a bit shocked to learn that we were only ~5-10 minutes from Pai! Ha! Seems we did a big loop and didn't actually go anywhere! No worries, it's all about the ride, not the destination.

    David was headed to Mae Hong Song so we decided to follow him there. The roads were still wet so we went at an easy pace. Then, much to my delight, Dave offered me his KTM just as the roads were drying out. See ya!!

    Was a fun blast to Sop Pong and we topped up the tanks in Pang Mapha and then joined David for coffee at the Rock Resort-




    Trent was tired of crashing and decided to continue his journey from the comfort and safety of a pink bicycle-


  13. #13
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    Another fun blast and we pulled over at the Pang Mapha viewpoint where David took this incredible picture of the three of us with the Lahu granny who always hangs out there-


    Man she is funny! High as a kite I reckon, and frisky too!


    She must support the whole village with the tips she gets from passing tourists.


  14. #14
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    "Lahu Granny and the Dancing Bear"
    Lahu Granny and the Dancing Bear - YouTube

  15. #15
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    Another pic from the Pang Mapha viewpoint; my next phone MUST have a better camera!


    We arrived in Mae Hong Song in the early afternoon and checked in to the Piya Guesthouse- I've always wanted to stay there but it's always been full. Nice clean bungalows for only 600 baht, beautiful grounds, and excellent location- best value for money in Mae Hong Song I reckon.


    Beers at the Sunflower and a really interesting conversation with "George" the owner about riding and touring in Myanmar. Then off for an outstanding 2-hour Thai massage to work out the kinks, and a round at the crossroads and finally we finished off at the Chalet Pub-


    Good night!

  16. #16
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    Good morning from Mae Hong Song, Thailand! Brekkie at Salween can't be beat!!


    Looking forward to getting well off the beaten track today! We bid Bon Voyage to David, top up at the PTT and grab some snacks for the trail and we're off! A quick short blast down to the Doi Pui turn off and we ride up the 3006 which starts off paved but quickly turns to dirt.

    This is the elephant trail in reverse, but instead of riding directly to Ban Wat Chan we turn south and ride through Huai Poo Ling and are rewarded with a fantastic ride through the mountains and valleys to the tiny hilltribe villages of Huai Sai and Kumin-


    We made excellent time and didn't stop for many pictures- here's a good one though-


    Lots of funky little bridges and some cool water crossings. This one, somewhere south of Huai Poo Ling, was really beautiful- the water was crystal clear and cold!
    Kawasaki KLX and KTM 640 River Crossing, Thailand - YouTube

  17. #17
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    Nice one Tony. Thanks for the adventures.

  18. #18
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    We rock up to the tiny village of Kumin and it's party time!


    Most of the adults are good and buzzed on their locally made rice wine, aka Lao Kao, which is a bit like Japanese sake and goes down smooth!
    Drinking Lao Kao Moonshine with Thai Hilltribe Villagers - YouTube
    Moonshine!

    They invite us to hang out but we need to press on. Once again I am just amazed at the hospitality and genuine friendliness of these humble folk!

  19. #19
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    Earlier in the day Dave thought it would be funny to kick some cow shit at me... No worries Dave, I don't get mad, I get even!
    Shit On a Stick Revenge in Thai Jungle - YouTube

    "Game on motherf@cker!"

    From Kumin we rode east/ north-east until we reached Ban Wat Chan where we stopped for fuel and an outstanding lunch. Then we rode south and east and we stopped in the village of Dong Sam Mun where we found Mr Tong, the guy who rescued Dave's BMW two weeks prior. Such a nice guy! He was just about to drive a pickup truck full of strawberries to market, but stopped and unloaded a box for us to try. Wow! Big, perfectly ripe and oh-so-sweet! Some of the best strawberries I've ever had! Not like the little sour ones I usually find here in Thailand.

    We invited Mr Tong to ride with us as he's got a sonic with knobbies that looks like it can rip, but he had to deliver the strawberries but told us he'd love to join us next time. I look forward to it!

    We continued south to Mae Daet Noi and took a right, heading south west on a fun dirt track.

    Got caught in a rut and had a little tumble...


    Missed a turn somewhere and ended up in the dead-end village of Huai Pok Kalong. U-turn and find Dave who got caught in some deep sand and had a little tumble. It's getting late and we'd like to reach pavement before dark. Finally we spot Mae Sa, descend, grab some fuel, and press on to Mae Chaem-




    We arrived in Mae Chaem after dark and the town was in party mode for "Teen Jok" (sp?) festival.

    The shenanigans continued and Dave was assaulted by a flying cat...

    "Who throws a cat?!?!"


    Fortunately we were still able to score some bungalows at the Mae Chaem resort, and we partied until the the wee hours when it got so cold we had to retreat to our rooms and call it a night.

  20. #20
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    Brekkie at the Sikon in Mae Chaem-

    Unfortunately this restaurant will be closing in a few months as the owner is moving out of town... There aren't many breakfast options in Mae Chaem...

    Over breakfast David pointed out some dirt trails on his map that he thought we might enjoy.

    We headed out of town and up the 1192 towards Doi Inthanon National Park. Has that road been improved, or is it just that much more enjoyable on a KLX?


    The 1192 intersects with the racetrack-like 1009 which we rode a little ways, then headed south on a twisty paved road that quickly turned to dirt. Some amazing views from this dirt road that winds through fields of cabbage and strawberry and can be ridden all the way to Chom Thong.






    Many of the trails dead-end at farms. Here's Trent pretending he didn't just drop his bike in a cabbage field


    I think it was on this day that we gave Trent a new nickname: Sir Crashalot!


    Some fun playing in the mud
    Kawasaki KLX in mud, Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand - YouTube

    Lots of cool log bridges-


    Another wrong turn (or is it?) and we end up in a strawberry farm!


    I'm in heaven!!


    We pigged out!



    Really friendly folk. They sell these strawberries for 20 baht a kilo!! These would go for 300 baht a pint in Bangkok. Man it would be fun to spend a night here!



    These kids were super shy, then again, they've probably never seen the Jolly Green Giant before!


    Adorable! Even the dog was shy. I can't wait to take my kids here some day.


    Trent had one more good wreck on the way back, managed to bend the hell out of one of his hand guards and bust up the switch gear pretty well, but despite his best efforts, he just couldn't break the KLX!




    We made it back to Chiang Mai in the mid-afternoon. It was unseasonably HOT in town. Such a contrast from the wonderfully cool weather we'd enjoyed up in the mountains. Trent dropped his bike at the train station to send it back to Bangkok and then came over to Dave's house to get cleaned up and we went out for dinner and drinks with Dave and his wife before our flight back to the Big Smoke. I left my bike at Dave's as I'll be flying back up again soon to do some more exploring! Can't wait!

    Thanks GT-Rider! See you again soon!

  21. #21
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    Cracking thread, thanks for sharing.

  22. #22
    Fuck it
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    Nice one for sharing here mate.... I'm still jealous I couldn't join you but I have the family over

    Here's to next time

  23. #23
    Molecular Mixup
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    Great stuff
    Raises the bar for biking threads on TeakDoor - and it was already high !

  24. #24
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    Cracking thread. Looks like you all had a fantastic time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBKK
    "Who throws a cat?!?!"
    fcuking lethal if thrown properly

    great thread, looks like you had some fun

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