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Old 10-27-2011, 11:17 PM   #1
DesertSweeper OP
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LONG WAY DROWNED 3 (with apologies to Charlie and Co)

My dear fellow adventure riders this is an uncertain start to an uncertain adventure: the Long Way Drowned 3 tour of Cambodia. As always I must go back to explain…

Back in 2008 a bunch of intrepid explorers rode bikes through the Philippines. The trip was characterised by an excessive consumption of alcohol and general mayhem that led to the adoption of the name “Long Way Drowned” – as in drowning in alcohol. Sadly I was not on that particular adventure but indeed was blessed by joining the “Long Way Drowned 2 – Vietnam & Laos” in 2009. We rode 30 year old Russian 125cc strokers through the said countries…what a journey that was:





And then this year the lads started discussing the LWD3 trip to Cambodia. I ummed and ahhed and finally committed a few weeks back. And then it started raining. I write this intro from a hotel in Bangkok where the city is in the process of evacuating as the water rushes in. Tomorrow we hope to fly to Siem Reep to start the journey but there is talk of hiring boats not bikes. This will literally be “Drowned”…in water!

And so I am not sure we will actually be riding and I am not sure I will get internet to update the journey…but I assure you I will give it a damn good bash!

As is custom we landed at 6am this morning and after checking in at the hotel struck out down the seedy streets of Nana Plaza to sample the local beer. When booking the hotel I read this review: “Great cheap hotel. Clean, decent breakfast. Horrible location. Sleazy old men and bars everywhere”…booked it immediately – we do have a reputation to maintain!

Watch this space….
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:20 PM   #2
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The inmates

Allow me to introduce the gang…

Long-term stalwarts and co-founders of local UAE motorcycle-club “The Sandy Helmets” Aussie Brian and Wheelie Joe. And then there’s our dark-horse Cameron…:


The Sandy Helmets Trio

Then we have biking legend James West who will allegedly join us directly in Cambodia in several days…

And finally your writer and strong swimmer:


An early liquid breakfast in Nana Plaza, Bangkok
Along with the mandatory sleezy old men…
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:18 AM   #3
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Th country is flooded & many routes will not be possible - but there are loads more ways around Cambodia.

It should be fun
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #4
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Fun

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacl-Kampuchea View Post
Th country is flooded & many routes will not be possible - but there are loads more ways around Cambodia.

It should be fun
Indeed it should!
After a night at the infamous "Nana Plaza" we are on our way to the airport to catch the flight to Siem Reep.
For those of you who know Nana Plaza cameras are not allowed...sorry no pics! But yes ping-pong balls were flying about and baloons were popped with darts and what have you...

And wer are off to Cambodia!
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:14 PM   #5
christiewarren
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hey BOYS...


im sure i dont need to tell you to have fun, im awaiting so crazy photos. have a whiskey for me
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:44 AM   #6
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Water water everywhere

Flying over Cambodia from the west to Siem Reep we look down with consternation at the lands below us. Flooded fields and villages stretch to the horizons. I have never seen real flooding other than on the telly but I can assure you it looks grim:


Water everywhere


That’s a village!

We land rough and go through immigration having to get our fingerprints scanned which always worries me in countries with questionable ethical values. Immigration never picks up on the fact that Mr Blian is either dyslexic or a pervert as when we filled out our immigration forms he told us we were staying in the Hotel Sodomy Dev which is in fact the Hotel Somadevi…

On arrival we are met by the company who is renting us the bikes (which we have yet to see) and go over our proposed route through the highlands so as to avoid the deluge witnessed earlier.




And then it’s off to “Pub Street” which is just that – a street with many pubs. We do a little homework and find the nightclub “Zone One” out of town which is really where it all happens. Though photography is illegal I manage to sneak a pic while the security boys aren’t looking.



Zone One, Siem Reep

It’s a truly bizarre setup with this heaving mass of locals and the odd tourist gyrating away to thumping noise while torch-bearing security guards patrol around the edge looking menacing. It’s as though the authorities are allowing the exuberance but trying to keep control. Prices? Insanely cheap. A beer is a dollar (everything is un u$) while $3 buys you a decent meal. We stumble home in the wee hours after consuming an insane quantity of alcohol to get a few hours sleep for the “cultural” part of this trip – the mandatory visit tomorrow of the famed Angkor temples
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:26 PM   #7
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Cambodian Culture

We keep our tour-guide waiting for an hour as we stumble around trying to find our heads and are off in a mini-bus with mandatory breakfast beers in the cooler-box. It’s humming with humid heat and we are allegedly going to do ALL the temples, including the famed “Lara Croft” one.


This chap is in charge of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider section of a temple. Angelina!


And this is apparently where Angelina showed off her fine chassis:




Little kids are running around everywhere trying to flog you some manner of trinket:




Back in the evening James West finally turns up and we are enticed to continue the cultural absorption by attending a Traditional Cambodian Dance performance. The lads are starting to grumble at this stage about culture and bikes and a lack of common-ground between the two and so we leave the magical performers and go play some pool in Pub Street. Tomorrow morning is an early start to our first day’s riding. Apparently the first 40km’s is “very challenging”. We are holding thumbs it is!!!
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:55 AM   #8
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Day1 – Humble Pie

As always I must go back to explain. Back in Dubai when we had our last-minute send-off meeting we all concurred that shorts, T-shirts and hiking boots were to be the standard riding gear. Someone pointed out that the organisers had strongly suggested full riding gear. This lame idea was rejected unanimously by all….and now back to day one…
We are picked up at the hotel bright and early and deposited at the headquarters of “Hidden Cambodia Dirtbike Tours” and are greeted by Paul and Sheila the proprietors.


The bikes at Hidden Cambodia Dirtbike Tours in Siem Reep

Paul asks the lads to give an account of their riding skills and everyone does their bit to convince him they are up to scratch. Well we do have some of the best riders in Dubai on this trip…allegedly. We announce we are ready to ride which raises some eyebrows. Paul asks us why we are not wearing our riding gear. We explain that we are in fact wearing our riding gear. Suit yourselves he says and we fire up our Baja 250’s and head out into the countryside in our shorts and t-shirts. We are led through a fast section of dirt roads with alternating sandy and muddy patches. Bringing up the rear is “Mr Slim” who is their backup sweeper rider. A river crossing claims it’s first victim as Joe buries his steed under water:



A scene to be repeated later...Joe likes the low-rider look

We finally reach a cross-road where we stop for a discussion. Paul explains that he has been keeping an eye out on our riding skills to decide which route to take and is satisfied that we can have a go at the fabled ancient “Old Angkor Road” from Kway to “Preah-khan” or something like that. He tells us it is going to be tough…very tough. The lads snigger amongst themselves… Being the rookie-rider I am a little nervous.


Yes Brian I am sure they are still there…


The usual suspects - they are in every village all over the world!


We head off along glorious winding paths…fast and pleasant. Things start getting a little more interesting and finally at around 130 clicks we stop for a refuel in a tiny village. Petrol comes out of old plastic soda bottles. Paul says that the next 45 Kilometres will be “difficult”… And then things get really interesting really quickly. The “road” disintegrates into a mix of thick sandy stuff, crusty old deep ruts and mud. All kinds of mud. Wet watery mud, thick hard mud, slimy slipper mud. Lots of it. From what I figure they use this “road” to move large quantities of mud around the countryside. There cant be any other explanation.

The famous Angkor road starts claiming victims amongst the elite riders. James falls off a raised runner-board into the mud:



James in action

Needless to say Cameron thought he could do better so he gracefully bailed off the next one into an adjacent bamboo swamp:



Look carefully at the biker behind the first one…



This goes on for a while and after we have covered maybe around 10 clicks of mayhem Paul says things should ease up from now on…but they get worse, much worse (or better if you like that sort of thing – actually I am loving it – as are we all)
At this time the lads are starting to quietly grumble about shorts and t-shirts and hiking boots… this is dangerous unknown terrain and we are riding some of it fast. with little or no protection...

DesertSweeper screwed with this post 11-01-2011 at 10:59 AM Reason: typos
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:52 PM   #9
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Day 1 Mud Continued

My how they all fell all over the show (with the exception of Blian who rides sensibly). When I ask them why they are performing so poorly they say they are kindly demonstrating to me how NOT to do it. They are in fact teaching your writer by example... Good mates eh!



James clearly missed the last-minute meeting as he isn’t wearing hiking boots. Tsk tsk



At one river crossing we were horrified when James figures out a different route to get through the river without drowning so when Joe arrives we all shout to him to go “the deep way round” lest he fail to entertain us:







Joe determined to re-craft his bike into a low-rider


I can easily say it was some of the toughest riding I have ever done. OK Jo the wild-coast was tougher but in a different way…

During one break I asked the lads for their comments as to how things were progressing. “Easy going” “smooth sailing” “walk-in-the-park” “what mud?” – they all lied….

Some pics of the rest of the day:


The Motley Crue


Mud mud glorious mud!


My trusty steed


Yes yes that IS my trusty steed being recovered


Cam contemplating impending "how not to do it" lesson for your writer

And finally we have a few clicks of fantastic high-speed soft sand to our destination for Day 1, a small village in the middle of absolutley nowhere. We arrive alive and somewhat humbled and very very dirty:

Joe thinking to himself "if only I had real boots and riding pants and..."

And our dinner being prepared after being freshly caught from the ditches on the side of the road:

Frog ala Cambodia!

DesertSweeper screwed with this post 11-01-2011 at 08:54 PM Reason: missing video link
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:57 AM   #10
Osadabwa
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Talking Deja vu?

Mate! Didn't you chaps learn the necessity of MX boots on your trip down here awhile back? If I'm not mistaken, one of your crew went home with a bust foot thanks to the decision to wear hiking boots. The desert sun must bake your brains and fry your memory.

More please. This has tragedy written all over it.
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:37 AM   #11
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Just got back from riding in Cambodia last month. It was an experience in liquid, to say the least. Water water everywhere.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:00 AM   #12
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Mud, Glorious Mud...... more pics please.... this looks like its going to be great
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:37 AM   #13
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Zzzzz

And so the day ends and the only thing to compete with the Sandy Helmets Symphony (the boys have regular sleep-in meets to get their snores to harmonise) is the sound of baying dogs in the distance and terrified frogs in the ditches... Tomorrow is another day and another day of riding and that is not a bad thing...
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:09 PM   #14
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Liquids

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR1 View Post
Just got back from riding in Cambodia last month. It was an experience in liquid, to say the least. Water water everywhere.
Yes we are having the same experience though with us it's a little more of Beer beer everywhere to get us through the Water water
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:14 PM   #15
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Genius

Quote:
Originally Posted by Osadabwa View Post
Mate! Didn't you chaps learn the necessity of MX boots on your trip down here awhile back? If I'm not mistaken, one of your crew went home with a bust foot thanks to the decision to wear hiking boots. The desert sun must bake your brains and fry your memory.

More please. This has tragedy written all over it.
Hey Osadabwa! Good to hear from you, how things styling in Dar.... ahhh what a trip that was...

Yes with the boots thing we are not exactly ahem... bright?

Actually that was the very same Mr Blian who graces us with his voluminous presence on this trip. He did actually finish his section of that trip, busted foot and all. He's done his ankle in here, just to keep things normal you understand...
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