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Old 11-02-2011, 09:44 PM   #16
DesertSweeper OP
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Day 2 - Entertainment

We kit up in our still-soggy shorts and t-shirts and Paul tells us it’s going to be another 45 clicks of the same as yesterday – bring it on!!! Then allegedly it's going to get easier...


Soggy "Riding Gear"

Before we continue on the “Road of Moans” we popped into a local temple just to keep Joe happy (he’s our cultural ambassador) and then we were off again into the mud malarkey.


Joe's Temple

Fairly soon we arrive at the first river crossing but it’s too deep to cross so we need to use a local’s dugout that Paul commandeers, along with support staff. This is surely going to provide much entertainment as the intended solution is to sit on top of the “craft” and balance by shifting weight using your legs – to keep things on an even keel as such. Paul tests the theory and gets his bike across successfully. There is a little sting in the tail of this tale in the form of a steep muddy bank on the other side – but more of that later.

I elect to go next and I readily admit to being shit scared. The lads are shouting encouragement and are trying to get me to wave and turn around – in the hope that I will fall in. I do not so much as even flinch. I quickly adopt an array of religions and prey. I make it…miracle.

One by one the lads get across with sighs of unhappiness as no one falls in. The last to come across is Joe who makes it all the way with knees bouncing like a badly shimmed valve and then he tries to get his bike up the river-bank:



1 minute and 30 seconds of great entertainment


Our "Fixer" Mr Slim crossing the river


The executive commitee of the Randy Helmets: "I say old chap, jolly good fun this thing eh"
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:29 AM   #17
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Day 2 Continued

The rest of the river-crossing goes without further entertainment and then it’s back into the mud-bashing


Mr West getting a send-off up the river-bank

After this incident I gather the lads around and tell them that I am a quick learner and I am sure I have got this falling-over thing waxed – they don’t need to show me any more. In fact I am willing to show them that I have got it down to pat. And I do…many times…

We go through the longest deepest muddiest stretch any of us have ever seen. On the other side we all agree that there couldn’t be anything muddier then that. A few clicks later it gets muddier… and muddier and muddier.


A typical mudbath


Joe's front brakes give out at a strategic moment as he is heading towards a fallen-over tree.


Joe explaining what happened "I was there and then I went in there and hit that"

We stop for a beer-o-clock break in a small village and Mr Cameron doesn't let the team down by falling over right outside the pub:


Cam show us how to do flat-track riding - position is important he says

Soon after Blian pipes up: “Common lads – lets get on and do what we came here to do – drink beer and ride bikes – (in that order)”

Eventually we arrive in the small town of “Kam Pong Loav” (approximately) at dusk: This is the motley crue:


Mr Blian is Hapeeee


Mr Joe (holding his back after a hard-days falling and showing his beer-boep)


Cameron clutching at his chest for breath


Your humble scribe


Cameron giving the troops a bollocking "you didn't fall over enough!"

We hand in all our t-shirts and shorts to be cleaned at the multi-function shop next-door. I wander over in my underpants after a shower and see a rack of clothes. I try a few on and eventually find one that sort of fits. I inquire as to how much it will cost to buy the shirt… The proprietors are horrified as it transpires I have been trying on various peoples laundry…

After a good meal we sit around a table outside the hotel and put away a decent quantity of beer and whiskey…as you do. Tales of extraordinary feats out on the trail go around the table. The little town goes to sleep and eventually so do we.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:35 AM   #18
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We rode 30 year old Russian 125cc strokers through the said countries…what a journey that was
Sweet. That was my first motorcycle, Minsk 125. They were actually pretty reliable by Russian standards, in large part because of a simple design.

Booze, bikes, and bogs in Cambodia sounds like a hell of good time! I tooled around the Phnom Penh and Siem Rip on a rental XR350 with a shot transmission in dryer times, and it was fun other than having to bribe the cops for going the wrong way on what turned out to be a one way street. It did not matter that the rest of the bike/scooter/car/oxcart traffic was going whichever way they felt like, and sometimes even in the circular patterns. Luckily the ticket/bribe i paid was cheap by the American standard (i think something like 10 bucks) and the cops even wished me good luck in broken English when they let me go.

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Old 11-03-2011, 11:53 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=IgorDmitry;17221178]Sweet. That was my first motorcycle, Minsk 125. They were actually pretty reliable by Russian standards, in large part because of a simple design.

Hey Igor! To be honest the Minsk's were completely unreliable but great fun. They broke down all the time which gave us more time to drink beer while they were getting fixed!
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:07 PM   #20
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Hidden Cambodia Dirt Bike Tours

For those who want the details of the good folk who arranged out trip here goes a mud-spattered sticker:

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Old 11-03-2011, 12:57 PM   #21
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Day 3 - Yup...more mud

I am rudely awoken by someone banging on my door and so out we go for breakfast and a little tour of the local market. While I bang out a few lines for this story the lads wander around desperately looking for any kind of protective gear they can lay their hands on. James clearly has an issue with his foot-protection (see previous post) and so the lads kindly source him some protective boots (too little too late – one of his toes is turning smelly and black):



Note the toe with rag in the background

James is not convinced so Joe models the beauties for him:



Tada

Boots and Breakfast and it's back to the bikes and we are off. Today will allegedly be easy. “A day to recover”. We head off at speed and yes indeed it seems to be dry and dusty green-laning. Beautiful terrain to ride through. We are top-of-the-world, styling... And then suddenly there is a big muddy wash-out. And then it’s dry and dusty again. And then mud and then dust and mud and dust and … the “road” deteriorates in one village to totally impassable. We work our way around through the village, zigzagging between the raised huts. Kids and chickens scatter in all directions.


For those are interested to see what sort of terrain we are riding through visit this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIZ0dSYtATg
Apologies for low resolution and sound issue... resources are limited on the trail...



Isn't it wonderful


Brrrrmmm brrrrmmmm brrrrrrrrr

We stop off for a mid-morning snack of frogs and beer – as you do.


Flied Flog for snack


Mr Blian spreading the sandy helmets lurve


As always there are the cute kids giggling nearby

And then it’s off again into the mud mayhem. Eventually we come out of the goo and onto a decent gravel road. Paul warns us to watch out for the “bridges”… you are cruising along happily in a cloud of your mates dust and then suddenly there is a lip that hides “the bridge” which consists of tree-logs with gaps between them. As James said “don’t look at the gap”…or you WILL go over the bars. It all happens really fast. Laughter is the best way of dealing with this. We take a detour to go and look at a waterfall on the Mekong River – an old friend of ours from a past trip. The road is gravel with massive washouts. Great fun. All the headcams are on in the hope that Joe does a washout-bail…and he doesn’t fail to deliver…

So after sucking down a few swifties at the waterfall we head back and on to our final destination for the day – a really awesome little village on the banks of the Mekong overlooking Laos just 100 meters away. A gaggle of kids wash our boots for a dollar a pair in the river while we wash down the dust with ice-cold “Beer Laos”

We’ve all been going on about liking really hot chillies so Paul gets the local food-spot to rustle up some dinner… which literally blows us all away. These are the leftover chillies we couldn’t get down:



Blian nonchalantly contemplating the inferno

The only solution is chase the burn with beer. We empty the cooler box and so they scurry off to some other part of their world and bring back more and more. At around 1am the Mama who runs the place yells at us to go to bed so we sheepishly depart for our beds and pass out...
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:52 PM   #22
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Fantastic!
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:29 PM   #23
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Day 4 - Laos

A quick breakfast at the same place as the night before and Mama is still scowling about our late-night merriment. We jump on a boat and head over to Laos where we can do a little shopping.


Blian has gone all French on us

The shore is lined up with all sorts of produce being ferried back and forth between the two countries.




There is no sign of any border-officialdom which warms the heart. I elect to catch up on this blog and so sit near the river at a little restaurant and wax lyrical (ahem)



The lads return looking dejected as there are no bike-gear shops in this village either. We head off back to Cambodia across the mighty brown Mekong.



Look at that exhaust – finely tuned beast…
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:48 AM   #24
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Thank you!

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Fantastic!
Hey rubberband - thanks for the thumbs up and encouragement. More to come shortly!
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:05 PM   #25
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Day 4 continued - Beer break

When we get back to the other side it finally happens – dear Blian has not fallen over once yet despite all our best efforts. But he falls off the boat in spectacular fashion and thus redeems himself as a fully-fledged part of the team.


"Man over board"

We kit up for the ride but Paul’s bike won’t start so we cruise over to the river-side pub and order breakfast-beers. This doesn’t impress the local lad:



Finally the gremlin is resolved and we are off again. Today we see very little mud, just the murderous tree-trunk “bridges” that keep you on your toes.

We are riding into a large military area that is close to the borders of both Thailand and Laos. A heavy military presence is everywhere.



Our waitress


Blian thinking oh my, what a beautiful large beer over there


El Bandito


Bike transport

Paul is taking us to the 3-way junction between Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. It’s way up high on the top of a mountain. The last 100 meters is a steep rocky slimy climb and naturally Joe once again delivers the goods – he goes down again.



We stand on the spot that divides Cambodia, Thailand and Laos



We head back down the mountain for a lunch of noodles and all get married to the waitresses – as you do. Paul warns us that this is a heavy military area and these girls are probably the daughters of military men. We eat up quickly and speed off down the dusty track to our evenings destination which is a guesthouse run by a Taiwanese chap and his Cambodian wife in the small town of Anlong.



The owners son doesnt like us

Tonight we are going to drink. Paul and Mr Slim fade at around midnight and the heavy drinking starts. Many hours later and the toll is heavy


Yes that's an empty bottle of whiskey tucked in there...
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:25 PM   #26
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Bikes in Asia

All over Asia one sees the most extraordinary things being carried on the smallest of bikes. I have seen mopeds carrying everything from 4 fully grown pigs to an aquarium (with fish) to an adult cow and even three truck-wheels. Seeing a full family including Papa, Mama and three or four kids on a scooter is normal


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Old 11-04-2011, 07:39 PM   #27
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Day 5 - Military Exercises

An extra-ordinary Session of the Sandy Helmets MC was held this morning. From what I understand there was unprecedented dissent in the ranks. I am not privy to these closed meetings but my sources tell me that Joe wanted to visit a 9th century temple while the rest of the lads wanted to drink beer and ride bikes. Apparently Joe gave an impassioned speech about Culture and History that brought tears of guilt to the lads. The session was dissolved without vote and we all went to the temple…

Sadly we are unable to ride the last few hundred meters up to the Temple so Joe will not be entertaining us this morning.


Joe is not taking any chances this morning so he wheels his bike up to the parking area


On the way up we pass hidden bunkers pointing over at nearby Thailand. Only back in February this year there was three days of heavy fighting. The reason is in fact the temple we have come to visit. Both countries lay claim to it. It’s really really old – somewhere around the 9th Century. Cambodia claims Thailand didn’t exist back then but Thailand is big and strong so they don’t care. There is an uneasy peace. Thailand has already annexed a piece of Cambodia just a stone’s throw away so that they can keep an eye on “their” temple. Oh and by the way they took Elephants to it and destroyed much of it back in the 60’s when the border was still being decided. But now they want their ruin back and they are clearly willing to fight for it. There is heavy-duty hardware on both sides. The Cambodian argument sounds convincing to me … and I am on their side of the geographical equation with a large troop of heavily armed nationalistic soldiers following us around the temple...







Chilling - she can't be more than 7 or 8

DesertSweeper screwed with this post 11-04-2011 at 08:04 PM Reason: Add-a-pic
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Old 11-05-2011, 12:26 AM   #28
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Indeed we have seen the same "elephant" and survived, lol

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Originally Posted by DesertSweeper View Post

As always there are the cute kids giggling nearby
And we have also both fallen victim to the endless smiles and happy faces.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:15 AM   #29
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The Temple

There is little uncertainty as to who this temple belongs to:



This temple is highly revered by the people of Cambodia and it shows. They follow you everywhere (about 10 soldiers) to keep an eye on you (us being dodgy bikers and all). There is a very knowledgeable chap who can tell you all sorts of interesting stuff but none of us can get near him as Joe is sucking him dry of cultural knowledge.


The Cambodian Flag flies proudly attop Preah Vinear Temple

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Old 11-05-2011, 08:42 AM   #30
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The Temple Pics

For those of you who are not into the culture thing just skip on ahead but please don't tell Joe


The first part of The Temple


Blian is sad - he really wants to be a replacement pillar for the old temple


Blian and the monk (look carefully in the dark window)


Look at that incredible workmanship, the mitre joint is perfect, cut from rock 1,200 years ago!


My Temple and Their Temple


Soldier at the end of the world.... this is the view from the last part of The Temple


They sell these great little mini-blian rings up there
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