web--572

Down and Out

Out of China and meet the Laos guide with a pickup.  We manhandle the stricken bike in and tie it down tighter than an epileptic tiger.

web--547 web--548Then down to the border to sweat it out.  I’ve been through here a few times and it just gets longer and longer every time.  I think they must all be out polishing that bloody gold paint.   web--549Two hours  and a couple of pints sweat later and we’re released onto the  jungle mountain road. It’s definitely worth the wait.  web--550To spend the night deep in the forest at a facility where they test rainbows…web--551And moonshine..web--552and clouds…web--553I mark them a 10/10 on everything.

Leave the gates and navigate the huge new brown elephant shit roundabout that appeared overnight, then get out onto the red mud to clamp my arse shut for the day.web--554Laos is such a beautiful country and I’d love to spend longer here but we had to move some dates about to avoid some border closures in Kyrgyzstan so we’re just passing through quickly this year.  That and the fact that it’s costing upwards of $200 a day per rider for all the permits and shit.  It’s such a shame.  Blame the Chinese…
web--557 web--556 web--555I stop for lunch next to a hairdresser.  What did I stop for?  I can’t remember…  I’m not hungry any more … I need a haircut … and a shaveweb--558Get on the road out to towards the border and initially it’s not very promising but it soon turns into an amazing deserted curvefest, the likes of which I’ve rarely seen.   The Bitch is not stopping for anything.. including photos.  Go there yourself.  Fuck what a road.web--559Up to the border and yet another beautiful hotel looking out at Thailand across the Mekong river.  web--565 web--566web--563 web--564 web--567web--560 web--561The injured rider is still with us.  Getting the bike into Thailand without him could be a real bastard  and he’s really helping by smiling through the pain.  The bloke is made of steel or something.  I’m sure he cries into his sheets and bites down on towels all night though…. according to the additional cleaning bill anyway…

Get to the Thai border and transfer the bike to another pickup.web--568And get our permits stamped by a women that looks like something out the X Files.web--569Those stupid contact lenses just spook me out every time!

Get to Chiang Mai and we all go out to say goodbye to our broken mate.  It’s really sad to see him go, and it signals the end of the trip is getting horribly close.

We’re only in Thailand for 6 days and our mission is to cram as many corners as possible into the shorted possible distance.  Enter the Mae Hong Son Loop.  1864 corners in 400 miles.  Jesus H Christ.

Ever since I was a kid, when ever I eat my dinner, or sweets, or … well .. anything really .. I always leave the best till last.

This is the last. This is the best.  This is total tarmac insanity.web--570web--571web--572I have a theory about the design of this road.   I think they dipped a randy dog’s tail in paint and stood him in front of a big piece of paper.  Then they got a running machine and placed it right in front of him, put the doggy winner of ‘on heat rear of the year’  on it and turned the dial to ‘wiggle’.  The trace he painted with his tail was dropped directly onto the Mae Hong Song loop.

In places the road is like a tarmac spiral staircase and it’s so steep that I can’t work out how the fuck they even tarmac’d it in the first place.  I think they just held hot strips of tarmac under helicopters then dropped then on the mountains.  I can’t see how else they could do it.  The corners can get so tight and steep that it’s first gear even for the Bitch, and there isn’t a truck on the whole road as it’s simply not traversable for them.

I’m following a couple of the others and you can see their crash helmets bulging with their massive smiles.  This is absolutely ridiculous.  It’s just non stop.  1864 corners.  1864!   The only downside is my forks.   My forks are now for decorative purposes only.  They’ve got to the ‘tits on a trampoline’ stage.  The slightest touch of the front brakes has the front wheel shoved up between my balls and the headlight pointing at the ground so I’m trying not to use it.  That’s fine going up… Going down is a problem:)  I’m dragging the back which is fine right up until the moment it boils, fails, and trys to wipe me like leather spread down the side of a jagged cliff.

Ever since my mate twatted his Transalp in China on the same jagged road I did, his bike has been dragging it’s arse like a dog with an itch. As I follow him I watch sparks fly off his panniers in the corners.  But when we stop for a moment just to breath in and blink we notice it’s not his panniers that hitting the ground, it’s his aluminium fuel can full of petrol.. Ummmmmmm …

We all get to Mae Hong Song with our tyres rubbed raw and our throttle wrists aching like single adolescents, then hole up for the night in huts on stilts and listen to the rain pound down around us.

web--576 web--577After breakfast we take a quick diversion to a beautiful bamboo bridge across a sea of glistening green to a Monastery.web--578 web--581 web--580 web--579Unfortunately I only counted about 700 bends yesterday… WTF are the rest?  Oh… OK… here they are… phew…web--584

web--583 web--585And I even found a Ktm bush…
web--582Get back to Chaing Mai amid a huge thunder storm and take the bike for a well deserved scrub down.  That’s not going to be a 5 minute job…web--587I’m just wandering about and I come across the secret of why the Thais are so attractive…
web--586All good things come to an end… and some things come to a good end.. down to the outskirts of Bangkok.web--588web--590web--589And time to reflect on an amazing journey halfway around the planet….web--591This is it… we adopt the swarm formation and buzz into the hornets nest that is Bangkok rush hour traffic.. web--592 What a laugh that is.. oh how we laughed… FUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKK.  Eventually we find our way to the freighters and turn off the bikes.  They all just sit there ticking to themselves.  Congratulating each other on a job well done.  Comparing scars and swapping stories…. or is that us… web--593 web--594 web--595We put the beasts in the container.. shut the door.. walk away…

Now the sad part starts …. until the next time:)routemap UK to BKK profile

 

 

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