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Old 11-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #541
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Good luck Ian.
I'm currently negotiating a contract to be back in Laos for another few months work, maybe starting as early as December, so I might see you over there sometime.
You might have to change your habits and actually come drop through Vientiane. I actually really love that little town. It has to be one of the most laid back capital cities in the world Some really good food when you get your fill of country grub (in my field work, I do actually get pretty sick of the country grub). Also a great bunch of riders and expats live there that are worth meeting and riding with. First time I went through Laos in 2005 I spent a matter of hours in Vientiane- just passed through and shunned the place. What a shame.
Saying that, so long as you avoid the horror strips, such as Ko San Road and whatnot, BKK is awesome too, though best IMO to be taken around by someone who lives there rather than face it on your own.

Have fun, watch out for that dust
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:29 PM   #542
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Thumb shite just got serious again

Great to see you back on the road Ian - happy travels!
And I applaud the new boots....
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:15 PM   #543
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I'm pencilled in to speak at the Asian Horizons Unlimited meet in Chiang Mai in Janua

I'll be there to listen watch and learn. Making a beeline for CM soon to spend Christmas and a late celebration for our 40th anniversary with my lovely wife.

I looked on HU for info about the meet but no details yet.

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Old 11-29-2013, 02:30 PM   #544
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Hey Ian,
How's it going? There's a really nice bloke called Richard who runs Siem Reap Dirt bikes and he has a fleet of KTM 400's and 250's. He's a really nice bloke and may be able to help with KTM parts etc if needed.

Cheers
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:39 PM   #545
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G'day folks. Yep. On the road again. I'll update when I get to somewhere with wifi... I'm just on a thin connection via USB here in Anlong Venh. I need to get some repairs done this morning before visiting Pol Pot's grave. I've got battery issues... and that's serious, given my knee. Need to get the aftermarket sidestand fixed or rebuilt in steel too.

I binned it yesterday, so am feeling bloody sore. Soft sand that we couldn't attack hard enough (or was I just over tired?). Justin was right behind me... and is still cursing that he'd just turned hi GoPro off. There was a hard edge to the sand on the track and when it caught the front, I was gone. Ended up on my back in a ditch, laughing my head off. I was like a stranded turtle. The knee braces earned their keep.... as did the new boots. Tweaked some ribs and strained a wrist... nothing major. Had the usual interesting moment with a front wheel flat too. Need to find another tube or two if I can.

We spent most of yesterday bush bashing... through 10' elephant grass, gullies, even some paddy fields (avoiding the cut, but not threshed rice)

I suppose I should mention... the trip started with a visit to the Fire Bar in PP... which is run by the girlfriend of a mate in Chiang Mai.



I can assure you, there's nothing like that in Anlong Venh.

I took the boat to Siem Reap, spent two days getting the bike going... including fixing a wire from the regulator that a rat had chewed. First test ride, broke the subframe. Its fixed





Even got a new sprocket



A quick couple from yesterday



That's Harry

.... and the object of our exploring. This was carved in 802AD... pre Angkor Wat.



OK, breakfast......

... oh, remind me to tell you about the lovely young waitress we had the other day.



I do believe I scared her somewhat when she first saw me.
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:39 PM   #546
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Hey Ian,
I am flying into VTE tomorrow and flying out just before NYE. I'll have weekends free and some time at the end before I fly out to do some rides.
Give me a buzz if you make it to Laos.
Stay safe, and that may or may not includet posting pictures of yourself in cat-houses
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:30 AM   #547
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OK Hans. We'll see what happens. No cat houses out here btw... that was only to visit a mate's girlfriend's bar.

A bit too knackered tonight to catch up everything... but here's a couple from today. This is in what was the living room of Pol Pot's house



The trail in needed some caution.



Plenty of uncapped bunkers. One might expect there's still plenty of mines around too

I do believe (or at least my GPS does) that we snuck in to Thailand on the way out there.



... and closer to civilisation... one had the opportunity to piss on his grave if one should choose... and I did... whilst remembering his 1.7 million victims.

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Old 12-07-2013, 06:05 PM   #548
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OK. Let's try a couple of quick photos from my boat trip up the Mekong, then the Tonle Sap. Near enough to 6 hours. We were making 33-39 kilometers per hour across the ground when I checked on my GPS a few times. Given the flow rate in the Mekong, not bad.

Quite a lot of photos taken, but I'll keep it down a bit... seeing this is a bike site.

The birdlife was great. Saw a lot of species, but I was seriously under-gunned, with the 18-200 on the Nikon.



Go have you bath sonny.... OK Mum....



That was in one of the floating villages we went through.



A major replanking, on the banks of the Tonle Sap, near Siem Reap.



I got to Siem Reap and got the beer in the fridge ahead of Justin and Harry's arrival. Under $12 a carton. Gave some to the night guy at the hotel.... which helped the other guys more than me in the end... they got a discount.

The photo below is of my first night's dinner in Siem Reap. Marinated beef (rawish) and beef tongue and fried squid (I wish they'd cooked it more) with banana flower, green tomatoes, green banana, etc. and a dipping sauce. Wasn't bad actually. Very popular place with the locals. Two meals (Mr Jeat, my friend here), 6 beers for $14. Local food, local prices. Jeat looks after me.... but sheesh, he's even less photogenic than me. Great guy.



His brother, Muoy (I may have that spelling wrong) is far more photogenic... here we are the next day, belting along the back road into Angkor Wat (without paying) for lunch



This is as close as we got... but I've been through twice before



I'm not really into naming photos, but I'd call this happysnap "concentration, wonderment and joy"



.... and here is Muoy helping with getting the bike going



We did the valves, an oil change and a few other things

Even Dad and Jeat's sister helped out. I slipped her some money for having helped store the bike. I forgot (really) Muoy, but I'm sure he benefits from some things I've done with Jeat.



Some snacks during a break in proceedings (heavy rain). That's some sort of beef jerky, and the peanuts and sunflower seeds are obvious



It really did bucket down



Jeat's sister. Lovely girl... at her roadside shop. Pity the flies on the meat don't show up. Hmmm

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Old 12-23-2013, 06:52 AM   #549
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Sorry folks.... I've been a tad busy. Let's get back on track.

I know some folks like to see what's carried. Here's how I shipped out of Sydney.



I wore my riding gear onto the plane... and ditched the boots, KLIM Dakars and armour as soon as I got on board. I carried the helmet on too. Amazingly, I didn't have trouble with the backpack... which had a lot of spares in it... heavy stuff, like brake rotors, pads, sprockets, bearings, etc. Things I thought may give them a heart attack.... like the chain, I packed in the Giant Loop.

Here's the stuff that goes in the tank bag - along with my passport and phone. I learnt the hard way that it always has to be in a drybag. The downside to that is that the lens on the Nikon now has fungus in it.... and its not that old.



Now, if I've said it once.... I've said it how many times? I love the Mekong. Absolutely love it. I've been down it on the slow tourist boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc (Vietnam border) and then from there to Can Tho on a banana boat



Here's the boat I took from Phnom Penh up the Mekong and then through Lake Tonle Sap.



I read a couple of reviews of this trip and the Nancies were all saying "death trap, don't do it" and so on. Hang on a minute..... this is a steel boat. It isn't going to sink in 10 seconds. It's fine. Sure... it's noisy on the top deck, but up front or inside, its fine. Great trip. Don't miss it.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:09 PM   #550
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As all boats in SE Asia travel out side unless it's pissing down or to hot in the sun. It gives the best view.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:20 AM   #551
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Yep - outside is definitely the way to go.

I know I'm a day late, but just to show that riding doesn't always dominate... here's proof that I believe in Santa Claus



Santa, unfortunately, brought me some tragic news, and I was tracked down as I emerged from the jungle and informed of the death of one of my best friends and his wife. Nick was the Chairman of my private company and a colleague for the last few decades. There's a police strikeforce investigating. He'd had death threats in the past and its my belief this is related to his strong sense of justice. They were found dead in their home. To say that this news shattered me would be an understatement.

Re that view that Gavo mentioned. Here's a few views from the deck of the boat that took me to Siem Reap





Its not slow, making 36-39 kilometres per hour the whole way





As we went through Lake Tonle Sap, we were out of sight of land, with the exception of a mountain range or two in the far, far distance.



My second day of working on the bike wasn't too encouraging from the weather prospect



The guys in this workshop were an order of magnitude better than the average Cambodian workshop. I'll dig out their contact details for a later post



But enough of that.... let's get into the riding. Our plan was to find the way to the carved elephant. Its a life-sized carving right from the beginning of the Khmer civilisation. It was carved in 802AD. We knew roughly where it was and we wanted to try and get to it up the escarpment.

We got to within a kilometre, twice, from different directions.... but it was 300 metres above us and some supposed trails simply didn't exist. We were bush bashing... through gullies, paddy fields, grass about twice the height of the bikes and so on. I saw Justin ride over one snake (he didn't see it)... and he found some hidden stumps in the grass

Here's Justin's first lay down of the day.



He had three... and I had a big one, a bit later on. Big enough to rattle my ribs, but small enough to have me pissing myself laughing as I lay under the bike.... but this is Justin...





and that's Harry, having some fun down in the gully. Both Justin and Harry are far better riders than me, but hey.... I cleaned these sections.

Not much of a trail, is it?



We'd just come out of the long grass, top left, here...



and were in some farmer's paddy field. The rice was cut, but not gathered.... just laying there in clumps, so we were careful to not ride on it. Justin did a lap around that house, top right.... and should have found a trail, but it wasn't there, so we backed out of here and tried again, further around

We eventually gave up on the escarpment idea, and went a looooong way around and attacked it from the other direction, eventually succeeding, after some false starts and bum information. Got in over a rock platform, across some creeks and single track. My Cambodian mate, who has been a driver in Siem Reap for years, knew nothing about this site. Here's the carved bull





and a really crappy shot of the site with the elephant and three carved lions in the background. The light was shockingly bad for photos... and its beyond my photoshop pay grade to fix



This is the shot I posted earlier...



From there, we nailed it up the bitumen (after fixing my first flat of the trip.... a fast deflating front that gave me some excitement)... to Anlong Venh, the former stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. The next morning, my Trailtech sidestand gave up the ghost and we had some local lads modify a scooter sidestand



Then it was off to the border to track down Pol Pot's past. That ride started a month that seems to have been dominated by border crossings. My GPS tracks show 38 land border crossings in the month to now.... and I've only got one passport stamp to show for it.... but more on that next time.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:41 PM   #552
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I've just got access to Justin's photos from Cambodia, set up differently to mine, so this is a bit of a test to see how they work.

Justin with my friend Jeat





Ahh, frog for dinner



... and we really were well into my KTM the next day.... subframe gone to the welder, bits happening everywhere

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Old 12-26-2013, 09:57 PM   #553
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How many kids do you have?



..... and another one on the way. That was at our first refueling station, out of bottles, of course. Justin's main concern when he updated from the 525 to the new 500 was this..... crappy fuel, out of dirty bottles with an EFI bike



This is me, lying in the ditch, pissing myself laughing. I'd caught the wheel on the edge of the rut and couldn't recover it. I hit the ground at about 30 kph... but bounced well.



Photos first, of course.... then see if the poor old bastard is OK



It didn't take long for us to start finding interesting bridges

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Old 12-27-2013, 06:48 PM   #554
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I'm being slack again.... I still haven't been through all Justin's photos. Just last night we were talking about how bloody difficult this damn stone elephant was to photograph.... and here, he's got this one



and one that Harry has snapped as we started back down the escarpment to head towards Anlong Venh.



The track into and out from the carvings had been pretty rough, and I'd hit some big holes. I noticed that my front was down a bit, so gave it some more air (I carry a cheapie pushbike pump... cost me $5 in Thailand... leave the heavy electric one at home now). It was a bit more serious than I hoped and a couple of km down the road it was this...



Meaning a late arrival at Anlong Venh



Harry tweaked our environmental conscience AFTER we'd received our dinner. Justin and I both ordered "deer". I'm a sucker for venison... see it all too rarely on the menu at home, and I grab it when I see it. "I don't eat deer here, the Barking Deer is an endangered animal"... Shit... too late now, but thanks for letting us know. Its too easy to miss subtleties like that. Oh well, it was nice. So was the Guiness.



Here's the remains of my much repaired Trailtech sidestand



The trouble with it started last year in Phnom Penh. Its gone now and there's a steel concoction in place. I'll get a decent one made sometime soon.

Justin and I chatted up some farmer's wife, who was waiting for axle repairs to their iron buffalo cart.



For those who don't know what an iron buffalo is... this is the engine



They cost about $2,000 and haul an amazing amount of farm items. They use them in paddy fields, with iron paddle wheels fitted, use them for pumping, etc. They float too.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:57 AM   #555
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Hey Big fella
good write up again
Sorry to hear about your mate.
Could you pm me the coordinates for that stone carving of elephant, I like that old old stuff

You are always having trouble with that orange shit, get your self a descent ride,, BMW

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