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Old 07-07-2013, 07:11 AM   #1
Brian_BKK OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Oddometer: 23
Rainy Season 6 day ride - Southern Laos

Hi Guys,

Ride report to come..

Below a quick video of our 6 days.

Mud / Road works to ride over - through,
an Amazing bamboo bridge to ride over the river
Canoe crossing and riding through rivers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=zlmFRL2gDXI

We had a blast

Cheers
Brian
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:29 PM   #2
Brian_BKK OP
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Oddometer: 23
Rainy season continued

G'day All,

Another ripper ride with the Ubon Shogun (James) recently.. End June - Early July 2013

We have done a few rides recently out and around the Thai - Lao border in the Chong Mek / Srindahorn area.

Together decided it was a good opportunity to get over to Laos (weather permitting) for a final romp around prior to the rainy season proper setting in..

Extremely lucky with the weather.. You could not have asked for better for this time of year.
Last day was overcast but no rain at all..


The PLAN:-

Get to Ubon, cross the border and spend one night at Tad Fane resort leaving our gear and ride around the Plateau for the first day.
After that.. No Plan... take it as it comes..

In part as we were not sure how the trails and weather will be as previous two weeks there had been a bit / lot of rain..
As we were riding these 6 days.. It was very evident that it could have been a lot more muddy only a week or so earlier.
We still have some very slippery clay and some good mud to ride through.. but on the whole.. It was as good as could be expected for end June early July.

James meets me at the airport with bikes and gear in the pickup and off we go to the hotel in Chong Mek.
Diet Pizza in the pick-up to sustain us until the morning.

While on the way we discussed the possiblility of trying to get down the Plateau from Paksong to the last big river crossing on Route 18.
James had traced as best he could from Google Earth the trail that goes down and where he couldn't make it out.. Guessed the in between bits..
We were both hesitant as rainy season, clay and the unknown.. Can we get through, how high are the rivers and hope we don't get most of the way to turn around..

Day 1.
Up bright and early to the border.. first ones there for the opening.
All very efficient and fast as usual. The officials as usual very friendly at this crossing

Arrive on the Lao side.. Big upgrades going on..

Report on the border upgrade below
http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mot...date-July-2013


Arrive at Tad Fane to be greeted by Dirk (Koffie) Well known character for his love of all things coffee....




The accommodation


Breakfast with the best view you could ask for.


Short clip of the waterfall in all its glory.
[video=youtube;Bo-kRnz3nIg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo-kRnz3nIg[/video]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo-kRnz3nIg

After a great couple of hours chatting with Dirk and drinking copious amounts of his lovely coffee..
We decide we had better do some riding or we head for the hammocks for the rest of the afternoon.

We decided on the riding.. Taking a few trails here and there that always ended up back on the big and rutted main tracks.
After the riding we had been doing in Chong Mek it was a little boring to be honest..

So we decide to do a recky on the track down from Paksong to Route 18 - last river crossing...

Ride out of Paksong for around 15km and turn off.. All good so far even if a bit of a boring main track..
You can see where it had rained and been a mess.. but had mostly dried up...



Still at an elevation of over 1,200 metres above sea level and flat.

Some nice riding and creek crossings




Making new friends along the trails


It begins to get a bit slippery but nothing too bad.. the sun is out and helping.


The the trail has a bit of cover from the sun.. more and more slippery. No offs so far.. All good.


Riding along thinking this is looking good and we may be able to ride this tomorrow with an early start..

Next thing arrive upon major road construction... Thinking there goes our adventure, the track must be road all the way from the other side..


I venture a little closer than the pic above but don't go too far as waiting for James.. .
No sign of James and I turn back around and head back to make sure all is OK...

GT SLIDER....

It was bloody slippery as you can see below.. Green moss all over the trail..




This was the beginning of our GT Slider ride back..

Now the elevation is up and going down is easier.. a bit of throttle at the wrong time or anything really and you get the following











We attracted a lot of attention and had some good laughs with the locals.. One of the locals told us he came off his Honda Wave 5 times..


My turn.. The Ubon Shogun can't have all the fun...

What is the first thing you do when you crash? Get up and take a photo...


Bike facing in the opposite directions we were heading.. Good long slide as you can see in the picture by the scrape in the clay.


We head back to Tad Fane to lick our wounds.




We decide that night to head back the next day and check out the road works and how far we can get....

To be continued...
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:31 PM   #3
Brian_BKK OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Oddometer: 23
Rainy season continued

After a great night eating and drinking at Tad Fane with lovely views..


It was indeed hard to leave.. We were up early, not sure what happened.. The time just went and breakfast turned in to lunch time..

Plus we had to fix up the bikes from the Sliders the day before..
Again bent my gear lever..

Doing my own repairs!! Still need to learn to change a tyre ;-)

One last view before we go..


We are really not leaving at the best time.. Gone mid day and heading up to Paksong and we still want to attempt the route down the Plateau to Route 18..

Refuel and leave Paksong at 1pm.

Go and check out the road works and see how far we can get and may be turn back or keep going. Depending on conditions...

We delve in a little deeper.. crickey.. Look at this mud..



That looks pretty sloppy and I really don't want to have to pull bikes out of mud for the rest of the afternoon...
Better walk it first and see if I disappear or make it to the other side...

One last look back in case this is the end


James has the rope handy to throw me and pull me out in case the Boolaven Plateau decides to swallow me whole


The Ubon Shogun decided we should proceed...
[video=youtube;Jl3bZa5pBQ8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl3bZa5pBQ8[/video]

We make it to the other side.. I decide to go for a walk as far as I can in the distance to the dirt mound.


Give the signal that the other side is looking OK...


Looking back to where we came from.. The mountain being devoured by machinery


We have two choices to pass

One


Two



With one looking slippery and dodgy as hell walking it..

Two was my choice.. Also good fun. When you are first.. You never know.. Will I sink, slide, etc etc..
[video=youtube;d9MGmn97dng]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9MGmn97dng[/video]

Next is the Ubon Shoguns turn.


Yet again we attracted some attention.. We were probably the most entertainment the workers had for the month if not year to date.
They all came out and chatting and encouraging us to go on.. Every step of the way following up to the next part..

Then the road gets a better




Time to confess..
I am having serious reservations about getting down the Plataue before dark now.. We messed around here for around 45 mins 30 min..

James and I discuss the options and concerns. Then decide to push on for 30 mins and check out the conditions.
If OK we keep going if not, turn around and go back and start early the next morning..

Then with in 1 to 2 km we came to an abrupt end to the road works..


That 30 mins became a point of no return.. You can see the moss and it was so so so slippery.. When we reached the bottom.
We both knew we would not get back up easily at all.. so pushed on and it got a little better, then slippery as hell.

That is it.. We have to keep going as heading back is not an option...

More to come...
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_BKK View Post
After a great night eating and drinking at Tad Fane with lovely views..


It was indeed hard to leave.. We were up early, not sure what happened.. The time just went and breakfast turned in to lunch time..

Plus we had to fix up the bikes from the Sliders the day before..
Again bent my gear lever..

Doing my own repairs!! Still need to learn to change a tyre ;-)

One last view before we go..


We are really not leaving at the best time.. Gone mid day and heading up to Paksong and we still want to attempt the route down the Plateau to Route 18..

Refuel and leave Paksong at 1pm.

Go and check out the road works and see how far we can get and may be turn back or keep going. Depending on conditions...

We delve in a little deeper.. crickey.. Look at this mud..



That looks pretty sloppy and I really don't want to have to pull bikes out of mud for the rest of the afternoon...
Better walk it first and see if I disappear or make it to the other side...

One last look back in case this is the end


James has the rope handy to throw me and pull me out in case the Boolaven Plateau decides to swallow me whole


The Ubon Shogun decided we should proceed...
[video=youtube;Jl3bZa5pBQ8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl3bZa5pBQ8[/video]

We make it to the other side.. I decide to go for a walk as far as I can in the distance to the dirt mound.


Give the signal that the other side is looking OK...


Looking back to where we came from.. The mountain being devoured by machinery


We have two choices to pass

One


Two



With one looking slippery and dodgy as hell walking it..

Two was my choice.. Also good fun. When you are first.. You never know.. Will I sink, slide, etc etc..
[video=youtube;d9MGmn97dng]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9MGmn97dng[/video]

Next is the Ubon Shoguns turn.


Yet again we attracted some attention.. We were probably the most entertainment the workers had for the month if not year to date.
They all came out and chatting and encouraging us to go on.. Every step of the way following up to the next part..

Then the road gets a better




Time to confess..
I am having serious reservations about getting down the Plataue before dark now.. We messed around here for around 45 mins 30 min..

James and I discuss the options and concerns. Then decide to push on for 30 mins and check out the conditions.
If OK we keep going if not, turn around and go back and start early the next morning..

Then with in 1 to 2 km we came to an abrupt end to the road works..


That 30 mins became a point of no return.. You can see the moss and it was so so so slippery.. When we reached the bottom.
We both knew we would not get back up easily at all.. so pushed on and it got a little better, then slippery as hell.

That is it.. We have to keep going as heading back is not an option...

More to come...
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
Brian_BKK OP
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We begin our decent ever so slowly down.. slightest move and you went sliding sideways..

We made it with out dropping it down the first green slippery part.


Hmmm. If it is like this all the way. It is going to take us a month to get to Attapue. Now around 2 + PM
Me: Shall we turn back? James: Lets go 30 minutes.. OK..

The trail has turned in to a creek from the mountain run off..

Ok going for a while.. Then steep and slippery again.
The next 5 KM took us 2.5 hrs! We knew we couldn't ride back up.. It was difficult enough getting down.

We lost count and stopped taking photo's of the GT Sliders shortly after.. Just pick up the bikes and carry on.

Steering your bike around an obstacle and not dropping it was a herculean task.






This is an easy bit where you could get a bit of speed.. Not a full monty GT Slider, but you get the idea.

[video=youtube;lFJE9Q_aDiY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFJE9Q_aDiY[/video]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFJE9Q_aDiY

Coming down the mountain.. I am leading.. Left or right.. They both join up..
I take the left.. Turns to mud and open the throttle to get through and come around the bend to a tree across the trail.
Rather than drag and turn the bikes around and get out the mud.. James brings out a trick "chain saw". Great knife and cuts the tree branches off and we could pass.


The Honda Wave boys have mastered these trails.. Riding down like some kind of Snow Ski.. Flip flops as the stabilisers and it works..
James had a GT Slider moment.. Me walking back down the trail, Honda Wave boys passing.


The Honda Wave boys offered to lead us out.. But we didn't want to slow them down.. LOL
We never saw them again..

While I didn't have a GT Slider moment " Technically " I did seem to get sucked in to bloody great big holes.
Like some kind of black hole that I couldn't escape.. Once in, dismount and pull the bike out....



I am not crying... after dismounting the bike and standing on the clay I started to slide off down the mountain.
Jumped in to the hole and grabbed on to the earth wall to gain my balance.. Then managed to rub mud in to my eyes..


Dragged out of one hole and slide in to another...




At least once on the way down we started talking about camping along the trail and what food etc we had
We could have no worries.. I had some beef jerky and the life straw and James has some bits and bobs too.

After getting out of the Black holes, we rehydrate and continue..
Finally, not as steep but still slippery.. Now we can do at least 20 kph if not more some times..

A small creek crossing.. Probably impassable if there had been more rain.

[video=youtube;QavYo55canA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QavYo55canA[/video]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QavYo55canA

Walk the next crossing to see how deep it is


We spot a small bridge further upstream.. Luckily as this was too deep, rocky and fast flowing.




Another small creek crossing along the way to route 18


Now we finally reach flat graded roads.. One last big river to cross..

The last big river crossing and dusk is not far away and we still have some KM's to cover to get to Route 18 river crossing..

We pull up at the river.. There is no way we are riding this..


As we pulled up two locals came along and I asked which way..
They looked at the bike and us then point to the bridge.



A closer look






Time to ride over the bridge

[video=youtube;_wcea-WZY_4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wcea-WZY_4[/video]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wcea-WZY_4

Next the Ubon Shogun


Next we are able to open it up on the graded trails.. 70 / 80 even 90 kph.
Felt like freedom after the crawl down the plateau.

We stop at a village to refuel.. They tell us the rest of the way to Attapue is Sabai Sabai.. and laugh when we tell them about our journey.

Only 1 hour away.. Now the funny things is.. except for the very start at the road works.. Where we were told 2 hrs to Attapue.
Everyone we met along the way said.. Attapue, 1 hr away.. By this stage we have been hearing 1 hr for the last 5 hrs..

We arrive at the last river crossing on route 18 right on dusk.
Pull down to the river looking for a raft to get over.. The river is too high to ride.
No rafts.. Go back up to the village and they direct us further down..

There is now a bridge over the last river crossing.. Also looks like road works going further in to route 18.


After a couple of KM it is pitch dark.
We are able to make good time.. Road works and bridge works and cows laying on the road to dodge..

The last part of the road just before Attapue was hard.. Really rutted and really rough and not much fun in the dark.

Shattered and had enough.. Suggest to James we head for the biggest and best hotel.. James agrees.



Time to check in


Bike friendly hotel.. Bikes sleep in the lobby


We arrived at 8pm. 7 hrs ride..

Accommodation report here:-
http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mot...493#post291493

The track:-




Shattered we head for food and beers.

More to come.
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:48 AM   #6
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The next day we woke up and met for a nice breakfast which is included with the room rate.



Both still really shattered.. we talked around what we should and could do for the day. (Neither of us very enthusiastic)
It became apparent to both of us pretty quick.. We were both stuffed and needed a rest day..

First order of the day was to find and get a soapy.

James is your man if you need soapy in Attapue





The bikes certainly needed it.. My chain started making a clunking sound which was a bit disturbing..
The sound disappeared with a soapy and a good jet of water in the right places ..

Next to the Soapy place there was a great little shop with bits and pieces for bikes, trucks etc.

We needed more oil for the chains.
The kids loved our bikes


Then we went for a ride around town, over the bridge and back and then along the river looking for a nice place to relax the afternoon away..

James having some fun with the owner.. She thought this was quite funny when she woke up and we showed her..


My turn in the hammock and about 6 or 7 beers later.. I was nicely primed.


Nice afternoon just chatting, boozing and watching the world go past.. (Smelling the roses)


Next destination Sekong
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