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Old 02-07-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
TonyBKK OP
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Location: The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
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Bust a Gut NW Thailand Dirt Tour

My sides still hurt from laughing my **** off so much this weekend!
We got things started in Bangkok when Trent came over to have me install new chain and sprockets on his newly stickered KLX 250. Only took us ~7 hours to get it done!
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TonyBKK screwed with this post 02-07-2013 at 05:14 PM
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:14 PM   #2
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Quick flight up to Chiang Mai on Thursday afternoon on Thai Air. Let's see, passport, beer, ticket- Sorted!


Caught up with a bunch of mates at "Tiger Kingdom" where every waitress was hotter than the next

Then some bar hopping and hell raising


Reckon it's pretty hard to get kicked out of the Spotlight Gogo, but we managed it!

Dave couldn't find his car and we were almost eaten by a pack of wild sewer rats. I ended up driving us home

Friday morning we met up at the Eurodiner for brekkie. Good to catch up with Franz and Nikster there, but they couldn't join us for the ride.

Then we're off! Today's plan is to sniff out this "Motorcycle Only" trail on the GT-Rider map:


Dave decided to spare his F800GS from more abuse and took his KTM 640 instead. He said he was going to thrown some dualsport rubber on the KTM, but seems that would have been too easy and he decided to head out with a Pilot 3 on the back and a rain tire on the front. The Thais have a great expression for this kind of self-imposed suffering: "SOM NAM NA!"

We're off! Dave knows some good back roads to get us from Chiang Mai to Sop Poeng. Dave rips on the pavement, but as soon as we reach the dirt he has to slow right down. Early on he loses half a bottle of Absolut and a shoe!
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TonyBKK screwed with this post 02-16-2013 at 02:53 AM
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:53 AM   #3
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The road from Sop Poeng to Sop Kai is nicely paved in the beginning and gets rougher as you go, but all in all is in pretty good shape. You can see that the road has been upgraded in recent years and in some places you can still see traces of the older road-


After you cross the Mae Tang river at Sop Kai the road north gets rougher and more fun. At the next village the large concrete bridge has collapsed in rather spectacular fashion and has been replaced by a suspension bridge for pedestrians and motorcycles and a wooden bridge for cars and trucks-


Approaching the bridge from the south there is no indication whatsoever that the bridge is out. Reckon someone could come through here after dark and drive right off the end if they weren't paying attention!


Some pics of the suspension bridge-






Crossing the wooden bridge-
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:54 AM   #4
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I can't remember the name of this village, but it was pretty big and had a large school. Some cute kids came out to say hi-


Some more pictures of the bridges-




We asked the locals which way to Muang Khong and received conflicting directions. One track looked like it might follow the river but seems the river ate the track, so we U-turned back to the village and again spoke to the locals. I pointed at another track that went roughly west and they said we could get to Pai that way. Hmmm, interesting, not on the map, let's check it out!
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:55 AM   #5
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The track is awesome! Single track, muddy and slippery in some spots due to recent rain, and lots of sketchy bridges and water crossings!


Trent and I are loving it on our KLX's, Dave, maybe not so much...




The Pilot 3 on the back and rain tire on the front are not making his life easy...


But gotta give Dave credit and respect- he powers on no matter what!

Some fun water crossings-




Do Kwai play Takraw?


The trail rises and falls. Amazing views from the ridgelines-






I just love the smell of pine trees!


Some of the bridges were really dodgy, but thankfully none collapsed under us!
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:01 AM   #6
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Another water crossing and the dodgiest bridge we've encountered so far-


It seems so ready to fall down. Check out the main "pillar" that's holding it up-


It supports Dave on foot but sways and creaks ominously-

It's ~2-3 meters to the river. Would be ugly if it collapses, but we decide to give it a go.


We decide to walk the bikes across-


Trent went first and made it across, no problems-


Dave went next. Some villagers came to watch the show and gave him a hand-


I wasn't sure of the wisdom of adding their weight to that of Dave and his bike, but fortune was on our side and they made it across!

After Dave made it I figured that the bridge was stronger than it looked so I rode across without any drama.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:05 AM   #7
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Some bridge and water crossing videos-







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Old 02-16-2013, 03:15 AM   #8
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Some short video clips on the trails between Sop Kai and Mae Sa, Thailand-



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Old 02-16-2013, 03:19 AM   #9
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We push on through the jungle on the fun and challenging single track trail that we've been told will take us to Pai.

You knew this was going to happen sooner or later, didn't you?



Even better is that Trent was expecting it and captured it on video!


Trying to negotiate a tight corner on a steep downhill slope, Big Dave takes a spill that has us all rolling!



He's fine and the bike is fine and we all laughed our butts off!

Well, ok, maybe Dave wasn't laughing at the time, but after he saw the video he thought it was pretty damn funny too!

The initial crash brought out the whole village, and Dave, being the kind and generous guy he is promptly crashed again on a steep slippery climb up the other side of this drainage, much to the amusement of the locals-


No video of that crash, but again, rider and bike were undamaged. We press on and eventually the trail brings us to the village of Mae Sa on the main road to Pai.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:35 AM   #10
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We re-hydrated and re-fueled in Mae Sa. It was only 2 o'clock and we were only ~50km from Pai if we took the main road (1095).

Not wanting the day to end so early we busted out the GT-Rider map and spotted this "easy" looking loop that we thought would be a nice way to round out the day-


The track starts directly south of the military checkpoint and is a ripper of a ride! Really rough and varied, you could do it in a 4WD, but it would be very slow going. Great fun on the KLX's, probably less fun on the KTM supermotard...

Eventually we reached some sort of park-


From here the trail got really rough and very slippery due to recent rain. We were slipping and sliding all over the place!


Dave had another little off and then Trent got stuck in the same spot- can you see the green moss on the trail? That's a sure sign of slippery conditions- it's steeper than it looks and was hard to even walk here!

I had to walk down and give Trent a push-
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:36 AM   #11
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We continue to climb. It looks like this track gets very little traffic so I'm a bit surprised to encounter a couple scooters coming down. We ask them if we can get to Pai this way and they say yes, just stay right. Cool!

We reach a junction close to the summit- what a view!


Following the advice from the locals we take a right, and things get really interesting...


In some places the track is open and easy-


In other places it's terribly overgrown-




I still get a signal here and my phone tells me that we're in a bit of a "no man's land"...


We continue to make slow progress until we reach a largish tree that's blocking the trail. Not much of a trail at this point...


We tried muscling the KTM over the log and almost lost it down the mountain. Ugh... Dragging it back up to the trail was not fun! I hiked on for a bit and found more downed trees blocking the trail. It was getting late and at this rate we could be out here all night. We agreed it would be best to turn around and get back to the main trail.

By the time we finally make it back to the "main" trail, the sun is setting and we are still a LONG way from Pai!


Good fun riding in the jungle in the pitch dark! We all agreed that it would be a ripper of a trail in daylight!

We reached Pai well after dark, hooked up with David Unk at the Baan Pai restaurant on walking street, had a fantastic dinner, checked in to the quirky Unicorn Guesthouse, and crashed early.


So ends day 1! Day 2 gets even better!!!
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:41 AM   #12
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We woke up well rested at the Unicorn Guesthouse and ready for another day of mayhem!

Remember Dave lost a shoe yesterday? So he had to wear his Alpinestars to breakfast


We met up with David Unk at Pai Country for an outstanding brekkie-


Full up and ready to ride!


I visited the motorcycle shop on the main road near the market that sorted my throttle cable two weeks prior to say hi and grab a new headlight bulb (my low beam had burned out the evening prior). They said they close on Sundays and would love to show us some local trails. Damn tempting, but we weren't really keen to spend two nights in Pai. Super nice guys. Hope to ride with them some other time!

Topped up at the PTT and snapped a pic of these cute girls on their dad's scooter, with mom about to jump on the back. Gotta love Thai-style!


We crossed the bridge and missed the turn to the dirt track we were looking for and ended up ogling some elephants instead-


U-turn and we sniff out the track, we're looking for and it's flippin awesome!!! Follows the Pai River for a little while, then heads pretty much straight up the mountain!

It's an old forest road that hasn't been maintained and is definitely motorcycle-only!

Trent has his first off on a steep slippery section-


Rider and bike are undamaged-


I was worried that Dave would have trouble on this steep stuff with his Pilot 3 road tire on the back, but he just motored on through. He said steep descents were a lot more difficult than the ascents.

A couple short videos from the trail. First Trent, then Dave-




We get underway again and I come around a bend and see Trent lying in a ditch and his bike pointing nose to the sky-




It looked bad and I was quite concerned, but as I got closer I could see Trent shaking with laughter so I knew he was alright-


Thumbs up!


He'd taken quite a spill but both bike and rider were thankfully undamaged and we all had a good laugh
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:48 AM   #13
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We ride on and the track becomes difficult to follow as it goes through thick forest and the trail is covered in leaves. It starts to rain a bit, nothing heavy, but it's enough to make the dirt sections extra slippery. We spot a village down in the valley and decide to head that way and ask a local where we are. On a steep descent Trent wipes out yet again!





Crazy slippery here- hard to even stand!

Once again, rider and bike are undamaged-


Like riding on ice-


Cameras ready we watch Dave gingerly work his way down the slippery slope-


He made it!


Seriously slippery stuff!


Descending towards the village of Ban Sai Ngarm-


Riding through the village I go splat much to the amusement of a house full of kids


Yeah! We made it to Ban Sai Ngarm!
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:51 AM   #14
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From Ban Sai Ngarm it's a short ride to the main road (1095) and who should rock up as we're rehydrating and recounting this morning's adventure? None other that David FL on his nicely customized Versys-



We were out riding for some 3 or 4 hours so we were a bit shocked to learn that we were only ~5-10 minutes from Pai! Ha! Seems we did a big loop and didn't actually go anywhere! No worries, it's all about the ride, not the destination.

David was headed to Mae Hong Song so we decided to follow him there. The roads were still wet so we went at an easy pace. Then, much to my delight, Dave offered me his KTM just as the roads were drying out. See ya!!

Was a fun blast to Sop Pong and we topped up the tanks in Pang Mapha and then joined David for coffee at the Rock Resort-




Trent was tired of crashing and decided to continue his journey from the comfort and safety of a pink bicycle-

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Old 02-16-2013, 03:52 AM   #15
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Another fun blast and we pulled over at the Pang Mapha viewpoint where David took this incredible picture of the three of us with the Lahu granny who always hangs out there-


Man she is funny! High as a kite I reckon, and frisky too!


She must support the whole village with the tips she gets from passing tourists.

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