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Old 11-09-2011, 04:55 AM   #1
boomshakalaka OP
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The Golden Triangle: first time touring

edit: the title is a bit misleading, as I did pass near the Golden Triangle, but did not actually ride through it. I was under the impression that the whole mountainous area around Chiang Mai was referred to as the Golden Triangle, hence the thread title.

I've been riding for about two years now, but back in August I sold one bike and put the other one away, as I was heading to Thailand for an undetermined amount of time. I've been living in Chiang Mai for the past couple of months, and I just booked my ticket back to the states. I considered buying a bike out here, but at the very least wanted to do a bit of touring. I hadn't gotten around to it yet and with only a few weeks left I decided I better get to it.

This beat up old worn 250 D-tracker is mine for the next week..

I decided to rent in the afternoon, take it for a spin up the closest mountain to get a feel for it, then hit the road in the morning. Also this way I get to return the bike in the afternoon. Oh crap, that's rain closing in on Chiang Mai-- I don't have my rain gear with me-- Crap!

Despite the very real threat of getting drenched I had to stop on the way down to snap a shot of this landslide. It was hard to find an angle that illustrated it well, but it would be quite a while before you came to a stop if you happened to yourself heading into this abyss. What have I gotten myself into? Heh..

Luckily I made it home mostly dry and I can't wait to head out tomorrow. If anyone has any tips of advice, feel free to chime in. I won't be bringing my laptop with, but I will probably check in before heading out in the morning.

oh, btw, here's the route I'll be taking:

boomshakalaka screwed with this post 01-23-2012 at 03:24 AM
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Old 11-09-2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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Need some resizing on those pics. Makes it nearly impossible to read what you typed, lol.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TurkeyChicken View Post
Need some resizing on those pics. Makes it nearly impossible to read what you typed, lol.
oops.. first time using that hosting site, the one I used before auto resized.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:21 AM   #4
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Wow, I just completely abandoned ship on this RR. I've been a bit busy, relocating to L.A. to recharge my batteries and figure out where I want to head in life. I don't have the greatest memory, so I'm just going to post up my favorite pictures in more or less chronological order, and offer a few words if any come to me.

These next two are of the first big rock slide I came across (although the roads were generally free of an abundance of potholes, rock slides and road washouts were all too common.) I'm from the Midwest where everything is flat, so seeing a boulder the size of a large SUV, blocking half the road, in a blind corner, is pretty crazy for me!

A crappy attempt at using photo stitch--

These five are from the Mae Sa Valley Samoeng Loop. The next three are from what was probably my second favorite stretch of pavement in Northern Thailand. If my memory serves me correct it is between the turn off for Huai Phak Phai and Mae Khannin Nua on 1269. I did the loop in a clockwise direction, and was going downhill through these twisties. I meant to head back and do it in reverse as this is only an hour or so away from CM, but I ran out of days.

Losing sunlight-- by this point I had already made the mistake(?) of not getting a room Phayao when I arrived in the early afternoon. I figured I could make it, but ended up riding for two hours or so through mountain passes with blind corners, decreasing radii, oncoming trucks passing in my lane, etc. However I wasn't too far from home this time and managed to get back after a quick roadside snack and drink of water.

This last bunch is from my ride up to the top of Thailand, Doi Ithanon. It's not all that high, peaking at 8400 ft or so, but it was a fun ride, and it's worth it if only for the obligatory picture of the bike and the sign.

There were paths around the summit that were a bit tourist heavy, but beautiful nonetheless.

This song played in my head as I was riding back down through the clouds --

Second time in the day eating pork belly, smoked on a grill this time.

Me trying to be artsy with my cheap point and shoot. This was a massive (about the size of a football field) steel platform thing with a helicopter pad painted on it. I noticed as I rode through the mountains that there would randomly be helicopter pads near major temples and whatnot. After a little bit of thought, and after experiencing at 30 minute red light which only turned green after a royal percession passed, I realized that these H-pads were just setup for whenever any of the royal family wanted to visit these sites. Many were overgrown and probably saw very infrequent use.

Third time eating pork belly in one day, this time braised with some steamed rice and stewed vegetables.

I ran into this web without seeing it while hiking to a good vantage point to check out a waterfall. When I turned back (after scrambling around and wildly brushing any potential spiders off my head) I saw this crazy little guy. The spider has some sort of appendages on it's back that look almost like wings!

A RR from Northern Thailand without a picture of a waterfall!? Alright... here you go...


Wish I had more pictures to share, but I ran out of batteries a few times, and simply was enjoying myself too much to stop and think to pull out the camera at times. Hope you enjoyed the RR though, thanks for taking a look!

p.s. before bed I grabbed some moo ping (bbq'd pork belly skewers) from a little street cart, making pork belly the main component of four out of four meals in one day. That's gotta be some sort of record.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Great shots - thanks for taking the time to post them.

Love that area of Thailand, would be amazing to explore by bike. Very jealous!
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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Thanks for this, I did my first multi-day motorcycle trip on a rental out of Chiang Mai back in 1991. We went up through Chiang Rai to Mae Sai on the (scary) highway/roads, did day-trips around the Golden Triangle, and then made our way down along the Burmese border on mostly dirt/mud track. Little villages, gas from 55gallon drums, mechanical help in trade for Marlboros, cool caves, temples, water everywhere, and lunch with an army patrol at a cafe on the Mekong. Really cool places -- would love to go back.....
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:40 PM   #7
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thanks for lookin guys, and ya, Porrick, I want to go back myself! I want to ride more dirt next time. I stuck mostly to pavement and went with the d-tracker instead of the klx because I don't have more than an hour of dirt experience and I did this trip alone. It really is a beautiful corner of the world!
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