Note

Welcome and a quick note. The orange highlighted text found throughout this blog are links to further information such as maps.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Winters Ride

I tried my first true winter ride last week and it was better than I expected. The temperatures have been around 4 degrees daytime but clear and sunny. So when a milder 11 degree day was forecast I decided it was time to charge the battery with a ride.

It is not possible to ride the mountains now, most roads would have snow and even lower areas are risk of black ice. Cars have studded tyres for winter driving but motorcycles have to stick to city and coastal roads. Across the other side of Tokyo bay lies Chiba, an area that I have read has a number of good riding roads so I decided to take the ferry across.

Leaving home it was very crisp about 3 degrees but the FJR came into its’ own in these conditions. I had good deflection of the wind and no direct cold air blast except perhaps my on hands and boots. I was dressed appropriately. I had a thermal base layer shirt and thin thermal mid layer which I picked up from the Japanese discount clothing giant Uni-Qlo. About $10 each for items that would retail many times more in adventure type shops with some fancy label attached. Having two thin tech layers meant I never felt bulked up under my old Alpinestars winter jacket and pants which are both lined. I had the grip warmers on high and my hands where never cold inside my Held winter gloves but probably at the low temperature limit of those gloves. Weakest link was my boots that are not really designed for winter but it was a short ride to the port and the day was already slowly warming. I have to say I was never cold like I have been in Australia on a naked bike in winter. The touring fairing and electric screen makes the world of difference.

Might be warmer inside that car but your missing everything…

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You cannot beat a water crossing to liven up a ride. Something exciting about it no matter how many times. Round trip for me and the bike was about $37. Not bad, it would have been even cheaper if I had a under 750cc motorcycle.

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Initially I went south to look about what is called the Boso Peninsular. Scenic at times but not such good riding as it was too urbanised with many cars. However the 2nd half of my route in Chiba was further to the north, see my route here, and the roads were quite enjoyable. (ps. people seem not to be aware that the orange highlighted text, like I just wrote, is a hyperlink. i.e. click on the words above and you will be able to see my route on a map and even download the GPS file if you wish. I thought it was obvious, much like clicking the photos will enlarge them, <pps.press Ctrl and – keys with full sized photos> however some comments asking for maps make me wonder since each ride on here already has a map available - via hyperlinks… Ok well back to the ride).

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There is a series of hills that rise up from the coast a few hundred metres with some interesting roads and then further north again is a collection of rural roads that criss cross the country side, some seem to have no traffic at all and are slowly rusting away, roads of the sort that really call out to be explored. I could easy spend many a day in this area seeing where each goes much like I used to do in the border ranges region back in Australia.

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Having to get the ferry back made me cut short the riding as I wanted to arrive with ample time for the 4.30 departure thinking it may be busy on the public holiday. I arrived about 3.45 and soon after the waiting area filled up and the maximum number of vehicles was reached so late arrivals had to wait for the next departure in an hour. I could have stayed out longer but leaving then afforded me sunset on the water which was spectacular and thanks to my new camera I was able to share what would have escaped me usually with just the phone.

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Always nice to find new places to ride and with the lack of options where I currently am along with any high roads being unsafe until summer this unexpected discovery has really boosted my chances to get out more. Seeing how well the FJR works in winter just further blurs my thoughts about the bikes future with me. Why is there no such thing as a proper mid size tourer…

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Motorcycling in Borneo

I finally made it to Koto Kinabalu to try some motorcycle riding in Sabah. Last time I was heading there I got food poisoning in Philippines and went back home. Fortunately this time round I arrived well and brought my mate from the Philippines along. It’s just an hour away from Manila but so different.

Since I have had this ride planned for a long time it was a a snap to organise. I had my routes already waiting in Ride with GPS and knew the rental shop Go Go Sabah was located downtown so shot them an email and booked some hotels and had everything set in no time.

When looking for the rental shop it is worth noting they are inside the shopping arcade at the address given (also open to the back car park) and they open after 9.00am. They have 125cc scooters but these are only for use within the city and their other bikes are 150cc Kawasaki KX road trial bikes. The KX150 bikes are like a 125cc two stroke motocross bike in size and weight, they have top boxes but these are permanently bolted to the racks and mine had a worn out lock.

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We set off late but got a good clean run out of the city at least to not lose more time and then it was not long before we were into the mountains. The route I planned was via Tamburan and the roads are absolutely superb. I took a few photos but really did not capture how nice the riding is in any shot. The views up higher go back to the city and ocean and all around you are deep lush valleys.

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Heading down the range my mates bike threw its chain off and we noticed the rear wheel was not adjusted to suit the chain length. Also his throttle mechanism was broken and turned around the handlebar making it difficult to use. Fortunately we could find a small car mechanic shop and they were able to make repairs to the bike. While the repairs are underway I notice the front tyre on his bike has some abnormal tread wear with one portion of the left side near bald while the rest of the tyre seems untouched. I presume the tyres are poor quality but fortunately the bikes are very light and the roads mostly well surfaced so I didn’t experience any problems except getting my bike started. It had a very worn ignition barrel that was often impossible to turn to the on position taking 5 to 10 minutes of wiggling.

Wonderful riding all the way to Ranau where we had a late lunch and refuelled. We were quite a bit behind schedule due to the late departure and repairs in route so I did not stop as much as I should of for photos but here is my mate and some of the road we enjoyed.

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Between Ranau and Beluran (photos above and below) the road rises and falls along the valley with plenty of curves  before crossing a smaller mountain range near Beluran. It’s a much nicer ride than the map would suggest. We had rain building up prior to lunch and leaving Ranau we rode into some light rain which I was betting on being localised but we stopped at a petrol station to discuss and I decided to put my upper rain jacket on as it was quite cool. We encountered a few more spots of light rain on the way to Beluran but were very lucky as it was all around us in the hills but not in the valley so both road and riders remained dry.

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This last photo I found on the net birds eye view (power pole worker?) of a wonderful forested section before Beluran that was some of the nicer riding on the day but which I failed to get a photo. The rental shop helmets were the usual worn out junk. We tried to pick the best on the shelf and they were passable but only open face. I have no idea how people ride very far with open face helmets. Rain stings your face as does small bugs or particles of dirt from trucks entering the road. I cannot imagine how bad it would be riding in full rain on wet roads with the dirty water spray from cars in front on your face. So glad we made it out of the damp mountains to the dry and sunny road to Sandakan to not have to find that out.

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The Pan-Borneo highway into Sandakan is a standard type highway which we should have been able to ride easy however the rental KX150 bikes were hopelessly underpowered. Open highway downhill we could almost reach 100kph wide open throttle but this slowed to 80kph with even a slight incline and you were back to 4th still wide open throttle to try hold that as the cars would bank up behind you as the bikes struggled to maintain that modest speed. Passing vehicles needed a run up or slip stream and cars you normally would be passing - you were holding up. Not sure if these KX150’s are made so low power or that the engines were worn out. I am thinking perhaps the later considering the condition of the bikes and how other 150cc bikes I have rented have performed so much better. The CBR150R in Philippines was fine and even the more modest performing Versa 150 in Indonesia had no trouble on hills. Final insult was getting passed by a 125cc scooter that had father, mum and small child on board while my throttle was wide open. 

The last portion of the ride to Sandakan is not particularly good. The road is a mess of holes and wash outs through palm oil plantations and then a chaotic jumble of half constructed roads on the outskirts of town that was grid lock with traffic. Very glad to get to the hotel and wash away the diesel soot and dirt that had turned my face black thanks to the open face helmet.

You don’t need an excuse to ride somewhere but if you are Australian then visiting the war memorial at Sandakan is a pretty good reason to ride over from KK. The Sandakan memorial park commemorates a tragedy and an atrocity. The tragedy was between January and August 1945, within sight of the Allied victory in the Pacific war, the death of approximately 2500 Australian and British prisoners of war held by the Japanese in the Sandakan POW camp. The atrocity was the manner of the death inflicted upon them by their captors – starvation, overwork, beatings and terrible punishments. About 1000 remaining sick and weak POW’s were forced to march 260km carrying materials to Ranau when the Japanese decided to relocate. About 500 died on the way and the remainder died in Ranau. Only 6 survived – all Australians who managed to escape.

There is a great amount to see and learn at the memorial built on part of the former POW camp grounds which is also referred to locally as the Australian war memorial.

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We were able to get an earlier departure for the return to Kota Kinabalu but did not get very far before riding into rain. Oddly after unpacking and putting on our wet gear at a bus stop we rode maybe 1 km and the rain stopped and it was dry roads again. The morning air was cool enough to leave the rain gear on so we tried to cover most of the open highway that was a chore on the KX’s towards Beluran before stopping for a coffee and getting out of the wet gear which was by then getting warm.

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Beluran petrol station.

The return route was on roads that cross the path taken by the POW’s in the death march from Sandakan to Ranau. There are markers along the way showing places of significance. This is the same road we came over on and heavy clouds were again very close by threatening to rain at any moment so we made more haste than we might of otherwise thinking better to have the time banked if it turned into a wet ride as it would be even slower going then. Of course later I wished we had stopped a couple other spots for a look.

I find however even if it is fine conditions riding with someone else I tend not to stop so much. By myself I often see something and quickly double back for a photo or closer look but doing this or even just random quick stops when someone is following you is confusing to them. Well the roads remained dry all the way to Ranau so sure was happy about that.

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After Ranau we were riding into the Kinabalu mountain region. The road takes you very high up and on this day with the rain around we found ourselves in and out of clouds, fog and fine misty rain. The viewpoints were sadly obscured for us by cloud (so sorry no photos) but the roads were for the most part not damp and I would very much like to see this area on a fine day as I imagine the views would be grand. The riding was very enjoyable but as we climbed even higher near the peak the temperatures plunged and we both felt very cold and were glad when we had dropped back down the other side.

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I was shivering taking this photo and I think my mate who feels the cold worse than anyone I know was like frozen not speaking. We had a rest below the clouds to warm up then shortly after came to a halt at an accident with police trying to tow a car out of a gully without a tow truck and would have been there until nightfall so I decided to ask if we could go past and first was told no then after waiting further asked other police office and told ok slowly.

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From about half way down, the road becomes a roller coaster ride of dips and curves and I got a little too exuberant with the new found pace of the KX downhill and almost had a mishap following a car when it did emergency braking to avoid an oncoming car that decided to pass on a blind crest (as is popular in Malaysia and Thailand). I proved myself correct when trying to stop with the tiny single front disc brake that I had previously  noted out loud would be insufficient to stop the bike in a hurry. Fortunately it also lacked the power to lock the front wheel so I was able veer while heavy braking without losing the front and narrowly avoid either vehicle. It was a closer thing than I want to experience again, so after my heart rate slowed I asked myself WTF was I doing and vowed to keep more focus and return to my usual “I don’t want to test the local medical services” relaxed tour pace.

I could see a huge storm building and the temperature which had been cold at the top was now humid and stinking hot at sea level. We made good progress into Kota Kinabalu until the Garmin GPS decided now was the time for it to go haywire. Sigh. It took us completely off course and so we stopped and I cleared the route and manually pointed it to the city centre on the map and had it recalculate the route. It still wanted to take us the wrong way and so I got us lost a 2nd time before we abandoned the GPS and rode by the angle of the sun west towards the ocean knowing we would sooner or later get our bearings. This took us into some seriously heavy traffic which became a total grid lock for a few km due to nobody giving way to anyone and had closed up with no room to lane filter nor any room before the gutter. I could sense from experience we had a small window of time before the storm was going to let loose so sitting there sweating away I said to hell with this and started using the trail bike as it was designed mounting gutters to ride along footpaths, over roundabouts and anything else to get moving. It was probably the only time on the ride the little KX150 was in it’s element. Good thing we did too as shortly after dropping the bikes back and getting to the hotel it rained in a biblical fashion for hours. Watching the TV that night it was showing much of Sabah had received heavy rain for days and was now a flood zone. We had been extremely lucky to somehow ride to the other side and back and remain dry. 

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I really like roads around Kota Kinabalu. I’ll go back if I can find a better bike to rent and will focus on the area between there and Ranau as well as aiming for a time of year that might offer views from the highlands.(January is already listed as outside the wet season but perhaps March would be better) The town itself seemed a bit boring to be honest but the food was wonderful as it always is in Malaysia and when I returned via Kuala Lumpur to snow in Japan I soon wished I was back there.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Philippines Mini Ride report

Went to visit my good friend who followed me out the door of our former workplace and retired in the Philippines. Been there to see him before and still not convinced it is the best place to make the retirement money go further however a beer and a burger at the pub won’t cost you $20+ like in Australia and from Manila you can fly quickly to just about anywhere in Asia for few dollars so it’s not bad either. As long as the Aussie dollar recovers from its current death spiral towards 69 cents US I guess anywhere in SE Asia still offers a better lifestyle than could be afforded at home.

He was joining me to ride Borneo in a few days but before this we rented some scooters. My mate who had just ridden in Thailand with me came for a look so it turned into a small group ride.

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Stinking hot we stop at a sari-sari store with the usual heavy defences against being robbed. Just lemonade available but least it was cool. Below, the Ferrari of Jeepneys draws admiring glances. 

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We arrive at the ocean whereupon I came down with a touch of flu and fever for a couple of days which cut short any other riding along the ocean shore so this really is a mini ride report. Lastly we visited Mt Samat in Bataan riding along the infamous death march route from World War Two. I have been here before but wanted to show my mate who was coming with me to Borneo as there we would be riding along the route of another WW2 death march from Sandakan to Ranau.

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We were laughing at the madness of there being a nuclear power station here in the Philippines. Not just that Bataan is a earthquake prone area next to an active volcano (minor details) but if you have seen how corruption affects things built and operated here then you would understand. Apparently it was found to have over 4000 defects at one stage of construction. It was eventually finished after 10 years and a couple of billion dollars but never commissioned due to the then over throwing of president Marcos and fears after the Chernobyl disaster and has sat idle ever since.

The ride was paused by the problem of a flat tyre on the way but this was soon repaired by a vulcanizing shop. One thing about riding in the Philippines is you will never be too far from a vulcanizing shop or fuel in the shape of 1 litre bottles sold at a village store. The roads in the mountains of Bataan are actually pretty good riding but as I have said previously you really need a big wheel bike over here like a road trail due to the road surface so it was bumpy at times on these small wheel scooters.

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Above the village mission statement and map but nobody was manning the gate and probably nobody would have paid anyway. Below on the death march road and at Mt Samat memorial also built by former President Marcos. You ride an elevator up inside the cross. The museum and visitor centre has been closed, the historic large calibre field guns removed and even the toilet facilities all neglected and out of order. It comes at no surprise given this is how everything is treated in the Philippines but it is not good enough for a major war memorial that commemorates such a terrible tragedy and atrocity.

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Well that’s all, just a short visit in route to Sabah. I have previously written more about the Philippines and you can read that ride report by following this link

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thailand Tour 2015

This post is the first part of a recent trip riding 3 countries in SE Asia. The other areas I visited were the Philippines and Borneo, Malaysia which I will follow up on shortly. I have already toured the northern mountains of Thailand twice and was not initially planning to return this Christmas however a opportunity arose to meet up with my long time ride partner from Australia first in Thailand and then continuing into Philippines so I thought why not! My previous rides in Thailand can be found by following these links. 2013 Ride. 2014 Ride.

If you are tempted to try an overseas ride then in my opinion Thailand would be one of the best options to start with in Asia. You fly to Chiang Mai as your starting point. This is a easy place to explore and very simple to rent a bike from. You can do a ride from here just by paper map as it is easy to navigate but a GPS or offline map on a smart phone is always going to be handy. I use a GPS with a battery pack in a case that I velcro to the handlebars, (info here) this has worked for me around the world. As for motorcycles I have rented from the three most well known bike rental shops in Chiang Mai and here is my verdict on them.

No.1. Pops rental has so far been the best for me. Huge fleet of brand new or very late model bikes, all good condition. No need to book even high season as they have very large number of bikes (about 30 to 40) A smooth transaction, I was on the road quickly. Negatives are no insurance.

No 2. Mr Mechanic rental. The bikes are older Kawasaki ER6’s with high mileage and the tyres fitted are no name however I give 2nd spot to this shop as they do offer some limited insurance on their bikes which no one else does and they will reserve bikes if you give a deposit.

No.3 Tony’s Big Bikes. The bikes are perhaps similar age to Mr Mechanic but were much better maintained. I relegate this shop to 3rd as the insurance I was offered at this shop, from what I could understand after purchase, actually did not cover much at all … and despite having had a confirmed reservation on my 2nd visit I was told no bike available and when pointing to the bikes on the lot was told they were reserved the day before so I could not have them despite my reservation being 6 weeks prior.

Rental helmets at all these shops are total crap. It is a shame they cannot at least replace visors occasionally which are so badly scratched they cannot be seen out of. I managed to secure the use of one of the staff own helmets from Mr Mechanic which was not very comfortable but least ways had a visor only minor scratched up. Of the three Tony’s had perhaps the best helmets but most seem reserved for the tours that shop operates. They also offer rental jackets however the one I rented had not been washed in some time and was very soiled. Best to bring your own gear and be comfortable. And of course YMMV with any of these shops.

The roads are mostly in excellent condition and the options for riding curvy mountain roads seem endless. Almost any road in any direction north of Chiang Mai will be good. The main thing is to time your ride well. The burn offs start around February and make the air quality poor and the roads slippery with ash. After this the rains begin and so late December early January seems to work good for me but check weather and you will be able to ride other times too. It gets cool in the mountains and in the mornings at year end and January so a wind breaker is needed.

Make sure you have a International Drivers Permit when you ride in Thailand. It is one of a couple of places where the police want to see this and not your drivers licence and will fine you for failure to produce it. Costs are very reasonable despite the exchange rate not being what it once was. The bike rental cost compared to western countries remains low. Hotels, food and drinks are all reasonably priced too. I was looking at a motorcycle tour company price for a Northern Thailand tour and it was $3750US plus $1040US single supplement which is just madness. You can get a  nice room with breakfast for around $30. $45 is top hotel. So for this 2 week 13 night tour they charge you an additional $80 a night if you won’t share a $40 room. Nice little rip off which I see repeated by many tours. Then they offer a capped damage bill in case of accident of 1000 euros upon payment of 200 euros but Mr Mechanic offers lower cap included in rental. If you are going on a organised tour it should include that standard, I always look and think well WTF are you paying for then? All up with a private room you would be shelling out $5000US plus you still have to pay your way with fuel and drinks and most meals. So how about the route, surely it must be superb with all that time and money, well actually is misses the best roads despite claims of being researched. What nonsense, go for a week and you will have ample time to ride my route, see the sights and do it for 1/3 of that cost all inclusive.

Ride report

We rented from Mr Mechanic this trip having assumed being Christmas holidays the place would be packed and the bikes all booked but actually it was quiet and Pops rentals had a full lot but anyway we already had paid a deposit so just went with our original plan. My bike turned out to be a ER6n with 80,000 on the clock and not too much straight on it. It is a tribute to Kawasaki how very good these ER bikes are after such hard lives that mine still rode semi reasonable. My mate had the fairing version and not long into the ride we noticed his front tyre was bald. My bikes front tyre was only slightly better having low tread on a tyre called a ‘Road Winner’ which I decided soon into things was a product of the even less well known Slippery Tyre Company, China.

We had an extended lunch not far out of town while they brought another bike to replace my mates green machine. I probably should have looked mine over beforehand as I would have not taken it either but we got a very late start due to miscommunications and slow going at the shop so I just jumped on mine and went then realised it was in car terms a ‘beater’. But I have ridden worse so soon started to adjust to everything being slightly bent and the engine having a big flat spot at a certain point in the rev range which reminded me of my old 750 when the carbs would go out, but this was EFI so the poor things engine must have been in bad shape. Good thing I don’t use rev counters or needed to mind my speed as the dash on mine was illegible seeming to be affected from years of sitting in the hot Thai sun however the fuel gauge worked which was all that mattered.

Below, my mates first rental the green Er6 and my red P.O.S.

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So much for the easy day one. The GPS was saying ETA 7.30pm and you always have to add an hour to any Garmin ETA since they are as reliable as a Thai fake Rolex. I decided to cut down our original route taking a short cut to Mai Hong Son via the 1088 and 1263 roads. The 1088 I had visited previously and it had some mixed surface but this time it was fresh hot mix sealed and excellent. The 1263 was also mighty fine riding and being new to me I enjoyed it very much. So despite missing out on much of the famed 108 we had a great ride on these back roads. Alas even with just brief stops and a quicker pace set by my mate up front who is a master of back road riding, we could not avoid being in darkness by the time we got back onto the 108 for the last 60 km into MHS. Surprisingly we managed to get into town a bit after 7.00pm which was a excellent recovery but something I do not wish to have to do again. 

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Above 1088. Below 1263. (these photos from net)

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There is at least as many curves on the roads surrounding MHS as the 1864 figure claimed for the famous 108. You get fatigued riding this area from the corners, they never let up. By the time you are back to Chiang Mai or north to Pai you want to get out of 2nd or 3rd gear and long to see a bit of straight road. Ha-ha, not too many places like this where you can ride a couple hundred km of non stop curves. Personally I like the open flowing roads these days more. I used to prefer technical roads when younger. The 108 on the south is slightly more flowing and also the road surface on the south of MHS is excellent where as the road to Pai has some mixed surfaces.

Part of the enjoyment when riding in SE Asia is the notion that there is less rules and you can do as you want. To a certain extent this it true. The rules are still there but mostly not enforced which can be a double edged knife and riding a bike you must assume that the other vehicles always have right of way and if something happens you will be at fault no matter what. Still it is uplifting to ride there and if you live in a police state like Australia you will feel a real sense of freedom. Personally I no longer have the desire to ride that fast but I enjoy not having to think about the speedo just the same. Thailand has a nice balance of freedom without lawlessness.

Day two was going to be the longest ride day and it turned out even longer thanks to heavy traffic on the 1095 road to Pai with many Thai people enjoying a day out on the Saturday along with tourists galore. I had plotted a route with some new roads rather than riding the busy 107 north but the Garmin was playing up big time on this day and completely dropped the route I wanted via the 1001, 1150 then the 118 and instead took us north via the 107 for a good distance before crashing and by the time I realised we should have turned off it was too far to turn back. So we continued north to take the 109 over the mountains to Chiang Rai. As luck would have it this road which I had ridden previously and wanted to avoid due to poor surface had just been freshly resurfaced and turned out to be one of the best bits of tar of the trip. (below a typical sort of road ridden today, see my previous posts for more)

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Thai buses are all elaborately customised with blinged engines out back with lots of lighting etc. Chiang Rai clock. And a rare photo for my ride reports of not only myself but also my friend from many ride reports in Australia on the right.

Day three and another day of fairly clear skies which I have not yet mentioned. This trip was the first for me where views were not totally obscured by smoke haze. This was especially good news since today I wanted to visit a view point on the border with Laos at a place called Phu Chi Fa. The ride there from Chiang Rai included a lovely road sweeping through the valley before a very steep climb on the final section. The border lookout itself was unfortunately a long walk from the car park and with no way to secure our bags we just just stayed on the Thai side which I now regret and make a mental note to bring something to secure my bag to the bike next time like a small cable lock.

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Above, examples of the roads on the way to and around Phu Chi Fa. The replacement ER6 my friend got seemed to be pretty good. I was getting used to the Road Winner front tyre and had more or less established its grip limit and kept just below where it would want to slide which is always such fun with a motorcycle front end.

After this was the fabulous 1148. Rated the best ride in Thailand I really cannot say enough good things about this road, it is just a wonderful bit of surveying that any rider coming to Thailand should enjoy. Actually it is worth the trip there just to ride this road. Todays route.

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Who let these two idiots into the country, might be what some of the local riders were wondering as we passed them.

Day four was a loop ride from Nan, an easy short ride but the GPS got bamboozled again and so we did not complete it exactly as planned but had a nice ride all the same in the high mountains north of Nan where I finally got around to taking a few decent road photos Smile. Riding up very high today on the 1256 road which climbs to about 1900m. Unfortunately some low clouds made for chilly temperatures and I was really cold in summer riding gear. Additionally we could not see anything much of the views from the top as the clouds were swirling around but the riding was still excellent and most of the photos below are the 1081.

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Great day of riding but sadly not without incident. The 4th photo above was taken moments before my bike fell off it’s stand. My own fault as it was downhill and besides that the gear shift was wonky and the gear box very well worn so either gravity overcome it being in gear or the bike jumped out of gear. Lesson leant and fortunately the fall was onto one of the roadside concrete posts which stopped damage to the usual external parts but did put a big dent in the tank. Still that is better than needing repairs to be able to ride but I fretted about what the damage bill would run to as the insurance that was provided had a very high excess but in the end it was a couple of hundred dollars and they did not charge us the balance of extra rental time so I was happy enough with the result. Todays route was a variation of my loop last time in Nan.

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Parking at the Nan hotel, inside the restaurant due to parking limits out front. Really a crap hotel compared to where I stayed last time but you win some, you lose some.

Last day and again I had planned a route that was a variation on my previous rides trying to add some new roads to each day of this ride. Leaving Nan we had good weather and great riding but as we progressed there was some rain clouds on the horizon and the route I had planned would have seen us most likely getting wet so we opted to make a few changes I did not get to ride any new roads on this day. Oh well always good to think that leaves something for next time. Most likely when I return here I will explore the roads to the south of Chiang Mai but that will be awhile off as I would like to ride Laos and Cambodia before that but you never know, it really is a superb riding destination. 

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