Motorcycle Trips and Tours

Motorcycle Trips and Tours

A new “Missing Link”: Umphang to Kamphaeng Phet via Mae Wong National Park, Thailand!

I have long been fascinated by Thailand’s many “ghost roads”; roads that appear on maps, but don’t actually exist.

One of the more interesting “ghost roads” is the imaginary 1117 that is supposed to wind over the Mokochu Mountain range through Mae Wong National Part to connect Kamphaeng Phet to Umphang-
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In reality the road ends at the Chong Yen summit:
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Some friends were keen to go exploring up north so on the morning of December 13th we met up bright and early in front of the Paddock on Ratchadapisek and hit the road!
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Satonic, who is not known as a morning person, was only a wee bit late, arriving on the D-tracker he had just purchased the day before! No time to get dirt wheels, he was going to have a go on standard 17″ road wheels and IRC street tires- brave or nuts? Jury is still out! [IMG]
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Once we’d escaped Bangkok and were on the road to Nakhon Sawan we made a brief brekkie stop at McD’s
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Clowning around ;)
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I discovered that my KLX 351 gets terrible mileage on the highway. Whacking along at ~110-120kph on off road knobblies I was lucky to get 130-140km out of my 3 gallon (11 liter) IMS tank, not that I ever ran it dry. Off road I can usually get close to 200km/tank… Anyway, the seat is so uncomfortable on long hauls that it’s a relief to make frequent gas stops and give my backside a rest!

We made good time to Nakhon Sawan and just past the Nakhon Sawan bypass we turned off on the 1072 headed west, stopping at Lat Yao for a quick lunch, then continuing west / northwest on the 1072 and finally hanging a left onto the 1117 that winds up to Mae Wong National Park-
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They wanted to charge us the “tourist price” but we flashed our Thai drivers licenses and they reluctantly let us in at the “local” price, and we enjoyed a fun ride up to the National Park Visitor Center. Great road the 1117!
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Parts were being resurfaced and all that loose gravel was good fun on a dirt bike, but Satonic was hating it on his motard…
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When you arrive at the Visitor Center they will not let you proceed on up the road unless you register first-
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Arriving at the Visitor Center in Mae Wong National Park-
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They have beautiful cabins for rent and I would love to come back here with the kids some day- lots of wildlife, waterfalls, rapids, hiking etc. There isn’t much English-language information about this park, and the visitor center didn’t even have any park maps to offer us, but I found this one on the norththailandbirding site:
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We wandered about the Visitor Center area a bit to stretch our legs and enjoy the cool mountain air-
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Aloha from Mae Wong National Park, Thailand!
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The staff were very friendly and told us that we could ride up to the Chong Yen summit if we registered. (Registration is free)
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The visitor center overlooks a nice waterfall- you can’t really make it out in this pic…
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Satonic posing for a shot with the Mae Wong falls and river in the background-
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Having registered at the visitor center we are given a registration slip that we pass to the guard who then allows us to proceed on up the 1117-
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Mae Wong National Park is one of the last areas in Thailand that has Tigers and there is a huge controversy going on in recent years due to the government’s plan, announced in 2012, to build a dam on the Mae Wong river that will flood the tigers’ most critical habitat.
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The dam will destroy around 1,760 hectares (17.6 square-kilometers) of low-lying forest, which is the prime habitat for the tiger. There have been huge protests over this dam; I had no idea and am pleasantly surprised to discover that Thailand boasts such a robust environmental movement-
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More about the Mae Wong dam controversy-
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Fortunately with millions of anti-government protesters taking to the streets in recent weeks it seems this government’s days are numbered so hopefully the dam will never be built!
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We climbed up and up and up the 1117 towards the Chong Yen summit, some ~28km from the Visitor Center.

This is my first trip with a “real” GPS and while I’m still learning how to use it, it’s kinda cool to see where we’ve been and be able to look at elevation profiles. This is the climb up to the 1329 meter Chong Yen viewpoint and campground in Mae Wong National Park:
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The road is narrow but mostly in good repair at least up until you reach the Nam Yen viewpoint and campsite. After Nam Yen it’s pretty rough, no problem for dirtbikes and certainly doable on a roadbike if you just go slow and take it easy.

Roughly ~16km up from the Visitor Center I pulled off at the Kiew Krating viewpoint to check out the views and let the fellows to catch up-
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Unfortunately it was a very hazy day so the views were quite obscured… We saw pictures in the Visitor center taken on clear days that showed amazing views.

Here comes Satonic-

Satonic and Tony at the Kiew Krating Viewpoint in Mae Wong National Park!
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Another 12km to Chong Yen-
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From Kiew Krating it’s another 12km of busted up pavement to the END OF THE ROAD at Chong Yen-
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Here the “road” ends and there is only a narrow footpath that disappears into heavy forest-
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Chong Yen, 1340 meters, Mae Wong National Park!
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I knew the road didn’t go through, but always wanted to see for myself- I hiked down the trail a little ways and from the little bit that I saw I think this could be quite a challenge on dirt bikes!
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A friendly ranger told us that the trail goes for about 15km before it reconnects with a road to Umphang. He said it could be hiked but that bikes could not use the trail. I understand that bikes aren’t allowed on the trail, but what I was trying to figure out is if it’s POSSIBLE for a bike to get through on the trail. Unfortunately with my weak Thai I could not get this across to the ranger and he just kept saying no bikes on the trail…
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This way to Umphang!! Some day I’d really like to hike this trail, and if it seems possible to get through on a bike I reckon one out to try to approach from the Umpang side, as the approach from the East is “guarded” as it were by Mae Wong National Park. They record your name and license plate number to get up the road to Chong Yen, so if one were to simply continue there is the risk they could track you down and prosecute if they are so inclined… I’m not keen to step on any toes or break any laws, but it would be pretty cool to ride this “Missing Link” between Kamphaeng Phet and Umphang some day!

As with Kiew Krating 12km down the road, the views from Chong Yen were obscured by haze.
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The road ends at the campground and trailhead, but I spotted another trail that leads up the actual summit of the mountain. It didn’t look so far so I set off to reach the peak. Actually the trail was stupid steep!
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In hindsight, it would have been a lot easier if I hadn’t been hiking in enduro boots and full armor!

Finally I reached the summit!
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Still hazy, but the views from up here were quite a bit better than down below-
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In this pic you can just make out, in the center of the photo, the Nam Yen viewpoint and campground-
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Time to head back down to the bikes- the hike up here took longer than I expected and I was sure that the fellas were probably getting anxious to hit the road as it was getting late and we still had some distance to cover.

I enjoyed coasting down the steep road in neutral with the engine off, pretending the KLX is just a big mountain bike, and scared the crap out of some folks who were slowly working their way through a particularly busted up section of road- someone in the car actually screamed as I rolled by in stealth mode.

Before leaving the park Satonic and I made a quick side trip to the Kaeng Pa Nang Roy rapids.
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Lovely spot with camping- some nice Thai guys were setting up their tent right next to the rapids.
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I invented a new sport I call “enduro-yoga” πŸ˜‰
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Big thumbs up for the Kaeng Pa Nang Roy rapids in Mae Wong National Park!
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From Mae Wong National Park we rode a bit further north to the town of Tak on the Ping River. Little did we know but there was a biker party in Tak that night and we had a heck of a time finding a place to stay, eventually ending up at the Vieng Tak Riverside Resort which is centrally located and right on the Ping River. Not my pic:
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Weird bike party- no beer girls, no coyote dancers and EVERYONE was wearing Orange “We Love Tak” T-shirts… Mostly Harleys and Choppers-
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But there were a few real bikes in the mix ;)
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Honestly, when we first walked up I thought it was some kind of political demonstration, not a party… Oh well, folks were friendly enough even if you had to go find your own beers…

We’d had a quick lunch before riding up to Chong Yen and were starving! The street food at the biker party didn’t look terribly appetizing so we settled in at a pizza join nearby and ate them empty!
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We ended our evening doing what everyone does in Tak- drinking on the boardwalk [IMG]
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After a good nights sleep we enjoyed a fairly decent buffet breakfast at the Vieng Tak before saddling up and hitting the road. Today’s destination was the village of Mae Chaem, located at the base of Thailand’s tallest mountain, Doi Inthanon. Apple maps told us to go this way:
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But the heck with that! We’d spent most of the previous day on pavement and I was itching for some DIRT!

This is the way we went:
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One left over Leo went into my hydration pack which I filled with ice- oh how good that would taste at the end of the ride!!
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We followed the signs for the Bhumiphol Dam and Reservoir, then followed the 1102/1264/2047 which gets smaller and smaller as it winds it’s way up into the mountains. There’s a really fun bit of relatively new pavement that follows the border of a new reservoir-
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Short video-

It’s kind of cool because there are places where the old original road, which followed the original drainage runs right into the reservoir.
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Shortly after the reservoir the pavement ends and we ride an all season dirt road which ends at a tiny village and from there it’s a fun 4WD dirt track through Mae Ping National Park which eventually connects with the 4040/1087 in Lamphun Province.

Satonic had been worried that he wouldn’t be able to ride the off-road bits on the D-tracker he’d bought a couple days prior to the ride. No time to source KLX wheels or better rubber, he did the entire ride on 17″ wheels and stock IRC road tires- Respect!
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This dirt track was only about 30km long, but still good fun!
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Fun blast up to Mae Chaem on a mix of dirt and paved roads. Remember that beer I stuck in my hydration pack at the beginning of the day? It sure hit the spot as we pulled up on the southern edge of Mae Chaem to celebrate our arrival!
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Thumbs up from Tom!
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Satonic showing his good side πŸ˜‰
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We met up with Big Dave at the Mae Chaem Resort, a GT-Rider favorite- cute little bungalows for only 400 baht, a nice pool and a great restaurant.

Mae Chaem Resort
104/4 Sud Sanit Road, Tambon Chang-Kueng, Amphur Mae Chaem Phone 053-828025 084-4828454

Livers were abused, shenanigans aplenty!
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You fellas are doing it WRONG!
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Mae Chaem is a quiet town, but we fixed that!
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Can’t go to Mae Chaem without tossing some *****…
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Who throws a cat??!?!
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Dave got in to a drinking contest with Granny…. and lost??!?
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Good Night!!!
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We awoke the following morning with aching heads and throbbing livers…
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It had rained some time in the night and it was cool, foggy and overcast.
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The funny lady who runs the restaurant tried to scold us for being so loud and obnoxious the night before, but she was laughing too much for us to take her very seriously.

Over breakfast I checked the forecast…
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Being the eternal optimist I encouraged the guys to get ready to roll and I swear I saw a patch of blue sky, but that just angered the rain gods and the heavens poured down with a vengeance…
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Ok… it was COLD rain too, not the kind of stuff you really want to be out riding in, so, we did what any normal person would do- start drinking!! [IMG]

And lo and behold, sometime shortly after noon the sun did actually come out! Satonic and Tom were a few beers in didn’t want to ride tho, so Dave and I set off to ride the fun loop that takes you across the Mae Chaem river and up dirt roads north to the 1263, then back to Mae Chaem on the twisty 1088-
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Google maps link: https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=…Q;FVM-GgEdQ-fcBQ&t=h&mra=mi&mrsp=6&sz=17&z=12

The trails were wet, muddy and slippery from the rain, and good fun, though once again, Dave was wishing for a proper dirt bike! Guess how this ends?

Dave and I got back to Mae Chaem right after sunset and it now that the rains had moved on there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the stars were brilliant and it was COLD! We’d lost a day on account of the rain so tomorrow would be a LONG day. We were hoping to ride to either Pai or Mae Hong Song, though I reckoned both would be a stretch on wet muddy trails. We enjoyed another fine dinner and a few drinks before calling it a night.

It was very cold that night- 8 or 9 degrees Celsius and the Mae Chaem resort only supplies the thinnest of blankets… I doubled mine over and was still a bit cold, but at least the hot water worked and a good shower in the am got me going!

Stashed some emergency trail juice, just in case!!
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A beautiful day!!! We headed west in the direction of Mae La Noi and the 108- amazing views greet you shortly after you leave Mae Chaem!
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I’d have to compare against my GPS, but I think this is more or less the way we went:
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It’s easy to get lost in these hills, but the GT-Rider map has all of the small villages on it, so if you aren’t sure which way to go, either guess, or ask a local. GPS is nice, but I prefer chatting with the locals who are always happy to point you in the right direction [IMG]
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Spectacular views along these trails!!
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Another photo stop; Satonic thought he had time for a power nap…
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Dave though Satonic needed help waking up…
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Spinning him around like a rag doll didn’t seem to work, so next he showed us his unique style of “CPR”
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Even that didn’t seem to do the trick, so he resorted to the old kick start!
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Rockin west towards Khun Yuam! Here’s the GPS track plotted on Google Earth:
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Fantastic riding, didn’t stop for many pics and we reached Khun Yuam grinning ear to ear, refueled and enjoyed a late lunch.
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After lunch I wanted to show the fellas the nearby sunflower fields so we whacked east for a bit on the 1263 then north up into the mountains towards Mae Surin National Park:
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The sunflowers were past their peak but it’s still a great ride up and some amazing views!!
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From here if you push on north there is a brilliant dirt track that will take you all the way to Mae Hong Song. But it was getting late and I was worried we’d end up riding in the dark so I asked the fellas what they wanted to do- press on via dirt or turn around and ride to Mae Hong Song on the 1263/108? I figured IF we didn’t get lost and didn’t have any delays we MIGHT make it to Mae Hong Song before dark…

We all agreed to push on, so I don’t feel entirely responsible for what happened next-
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Sure enough, as luck would have it, about an hour into the trail we get a puncture…
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Tom and Dave enjoyed an intimate moment ;) ❀
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With this tube, I thee wed!

We got it sorted pretty quick, but we were fast running out of daylight… At this point it didn’t make sense to turn around, so we pressed on as the sun set over the western hills. At least the trail was easy… NOT!
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In the end we all reached Mae Hong Song in one piece, but not until well after dark, and after the sun went down it was very cold!! Thank goodness the Crossroads was still open! Some cold beers and good food had us feeling almost human again!

Another FULL DAY ride!!!
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A good night sleep at Rom Thai Guesthouse in cheap fan rooms as we certainly did not need AC during this chilly period! Then the best breakfast in town at the good old Salween:
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Salween’s Khao Soi is to die for!!
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Tom had to ride to Chiang Mai today to collect his gf who was coming up from Bangkok. Dave was kind enough to give him a ride back to the guesthouse.
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Of course Dave had to pop a wheelie down Pradit Chong Kham alley, past the smiling policemen guarding the lake.
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Tom holding on for dear life! Haha!!

I was nearly out of gas-
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So hitched a ride to Salween with camera-shy Satonic, sporting his cute new pink scarf that his gf knitted for him the night before our departure πŸ˜‰
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Today we needed to start heading south as we both had to be back in Bangkok no later than the 19th. Satonic was exhausted from wrestling his D-tracker through the dirt the previous day so we agreed we’d stick mainly to pavement today on our way south to Mae Sariang. We rode south on the racetrack-like 108 and Dave and I split off for a really cool side trip on the 1337 west of Khun Yuam:
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I’ve ridden up and down the 108 more times than I can count and never knew about the brilliant loop you can do on the 1337 to Mae Ngao! The northern half of the loop is a wide and fairly well maintained dirt road that would be perfect for big adventure bikes, while the southern half is beautifully paved super motard racetrack!
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During this brief stop Dave noticed a strange alien caterpillar trying to crawl into my ear!
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Seriously cool and creepy! If you listened real close I swear you could hear him saying “Take me to your leader” πŸ˜‰
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Once we hit the pavement Dave quickly disappeared on his KTM supermotard! Fantastic stuff, highly recommended!!

Arrived in Mae Sarieng in the late afternoon and checked in to the Mae Sarieng Garden House Resort where they are asking 700 baht/night for the bungalows. Not a bad place but rather overpriced for Mae Sarieng imo.
Nice spot for a sunset happy hour tho!
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Wandered over to Beng’s Sawasdee Bar on the river for dinner and drinks- definitely the place to go when in Mae Sarieng! Yo Dave! You break it you buy it!!
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Beng- the hostess with the mostess!
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The complete route for this day:
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Bit of a wild night in sleepy Mae Sarieng [IMG]

After a great dinner and plenty of beers at Beng’s Sawasdee Bar we headed over to the karaoke shacks that surround the bus station. Colder than a witches tit that night but fortunately there were plenty of young lasses to help us ward off the chill. Sorry, those pics aren’t going here!
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No idea what time we got back to the resort, but waking up the following morning was NOT easy! Satonic was in particularly rough shape and having his hot water cut off in the middle of his morning shower probably didn’t help. I swear I have NO IDEA how that happened!!!

Eventually we dragged ourselves down the street to the good old Intira where some hearty food helped settle our stomachs. Hey Dave, you gonna share that or eat it all yourself??
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Our beat up Kwackas parked in front of some fancy big ticket adventure bikes-
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Dave needed to head home to Chiang Mai so we bid him adios and continued south on the 105 to Mae Sot.
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The 105 is a strange mix of brand new racetrack-like pavement mixed with some of the roughest potholed sections you’ll find anywhere. Example:

The KLX was a heck of a lot better for the rough stuff than the Gixxer!

Was wishing for my Gixxer for the good bits though! Here’ a clip from last year of one of the good sections of the 105:

We didn’t leave Mae Sarieng until well after noon and I’ve been up and down this road many times and was feeling rough so didn’t take many pictures except this one at the turn off to Mae Ngao National Park- a park we’d explore a month later-
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Arrived Mae Sot in the late afternoon after an pleasant ride down and stopped at the Krua Canadian for some beers and to figure out where we’d stay that night. Getting close to the holidays, a lot of places were fully booked. We eventually found some rooms at a new place called the “J2” which was pretty nice and quite reasonable- can’t quite recall but I think the rooms were 700 or 800 baht with Wifi and a buffet breakfast.
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Interesting decor in the clean modern rooms at the J2-
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Once cleaned up we headed back to Krua Canadian for dinner. Have to say that the food was not as good as usual on this visit… Maybe a new cook?
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But the beers were cold and the service friendly, so can’t complain too much.
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After dinner I was hoping to find a little night life so went off in search of some live music at Aya only to discover it’s been shut down 😦 Β So we ended up across the street at Bai Fern where there Burmese staff were glued to the TV watching a soccer match between Myanmar and Thailand. Myanmar won and it was party time! [IMG] Had an interesting conversation with an expat who manages a number of orphanages in the area and he told us that within the next ~12-18 months all of those huge Burmese refugee camps in the Mae Sot / Mae Hong Song area would be closed down and the Karen pushed back into Myanmar. The times they are a changing!

Time to call it a night! Tomorrow we have a LONG ride from Mae Sot to Bangkok and I tell Satonic I’ve found an interesting route that will help us avoid much of the highway and shave a whopping 30km off our total distance! Haha! Little did he know what the next day had in store for us!!

So, a normal person who had to ride some ~500+km from Mae Sot to Bangkok on a dirt bike would probably take the direct route, right? Well, now one has ever accused the Bangkok Weekend Warriors of being normal!
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But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. I needed to do a quick border run to extend my visa and there’s a crossing from Mae Sot, Thailand to Myawaddy, Myanmar. I told Satonic to sleep in and I’d do a quick border run in the early am.

I rode to the crossing and proceeded on foot as it’s still quite difficult to bring a Thai-registered motorcycle into Myanmar. (Permission needs to be arranged in advance via a licensed tour company and you need a ton of paperwork and a guide.)
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Cool and chilly this morning!

Crossing the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge from Mae Sot to Myawaddy-
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(Noticed something a bit funny- if you don’t want to bother with the immigration check points there are long tail boats in plain sight of the bridge that were doing a brisk business running illegals back and forth across the small river that separates Thailand and Myanmar.)
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The immigration officials in Myawaddy were very friendly and I asked them about bringing my bike over- they said I’d need written permission from the Permanent Minister of Transport… Oh well, doesn’t hurt to ask!

Wandered about Myawaddy for a bit to check out the sights and get a feel for the place. First impression, shockingly poor. Mae Sot, Thailand is bustling and quite clean, while in Myawaddy they seem to just be getting by…

Morning market-
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Cute Burmese kid πŸ™‚
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Monks collecting morning alms-
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We had a long day ahead of us so I hustled back to the hotel in Mae Sot, hooked up with Satonic for breakfast, and we hit the road! Normally you’d head east on the 105 to Tak to get back to Bangkok but I told Satonic I’d found a shortcut to the south that would shave off at least 30km. He’s so trusting!Β Southbound on the 1090 to Umphang!
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Now, anyone familiar with this road will tell you that there’s no way to get from Umphang to Bangkok, and if you’re in a car or riding a road bike, they’d be telling you the truth, but on dirtbikes it can be done!

Here’s the GPS track showing our route across the mountains from Tak province to Kamphaeng Phet, via Mae Wong National Park:
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And the .GPX file should anyone want to try this route: http://www.asianconnection71.com/2013-12-19 08.24.53 Auto.gpx

We cruised south a ways on the 1090 and turned off a bit past the small town of Phop Phra in Tambon Khirirat. Note to any who go this way- top up your fuel here- there isn’t any gas available again until you reach the small village of Ban Nam Phung on the other side of the mountains.

The bridge over the Mae Lamao river is the last “real” bridge until you reach Ban Nam Phung-
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From here on it’s rough 4wd tracks; Satonic, on his D-tracker with 17″ wheels and road tires started giving me dirty looks right about this time…

It didn’t much help that he got a puncture early on…
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What a cute little Karen village. I forgot the name already. They were off the grid, with only some solar panels for power, but folks there were very friendly and they had a small shop with drinks and snacks, but no fuel. Note the TV / radio antenna in the background:
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We got the puncture repaired in pretty good time, but it was already getting close to noon… Hmmmm, I’m starting to think it’s going to be a long day!

Shortly after this village you get into the National Park and this trail was very rough and challenging!
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Somewhere in here is that crazy hill with all the boulders at the bottom and all the loose dirt and sand at the top that claimed a clutch when Brian, Rob, Mike and their amigos from the States went in the opposite direction a couple weeks later: Chiang Mai to Bangkok – The Long Dirty Way Down.

(http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-mo…Chiang-Mai-to-Bangkok-The-Long-Dirty-Way-Down)

I made the unlucky decision to swap bikes with Satonic just before that hairy hill…

The first bit is super steep and loose. Rear brake was useless and when I found myself accelerating down the hill I touched the front brake and promptly went over the handle bars!

Bruised but otherwise undamaged I struggled for a good while to pick the bike back up on the steep slippery slope. It was hard to stand, much less get the bike back up as every time I tried to lift it it just slid down the hill. Huffing and puffing I did eventually get the bike down to a less steep bit where I could stand it up. Then comes the crazy boulder section- a steep off camber hill with large boulders and lots of loose rocks of various size. Again, a lot of work on the D-Tracker, but I did make it down without dropping the bike again.

This part of the trail is single track and quite technical, I caught up with Satonic and opined that IF the trail got even worse further on we’d have to think about turning around, but the idea of climbing up the hill we’d just come down didn’t appeal to either of us, so we pushed on. Fortunately, that was the worst bit and the trail leveled out a bit further on. Lots of small water crossings but nothing very deep or challenging-
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You could tell we were in the National Park by the gates, lack of recent clear cutting, and absence of livestock, and fields-
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Someone had run a tractor through here and graded the road fairly recently so we made good time, though had to be careful in the shady parts where the moss was growing thick on the red clay and made the trail super slippery.

Eventually we spot signs of civilization again- we’ve reached Kamphaneg Phet province!
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Stunning views from the ridge trail that descends down the mountain-
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Satonic goofing about in the corn chaf. Dude, don’t you remember what happened when you did that last year??!?
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What a fantastic ride and a beautiful area!
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Satonic got a couple snaps of me on the descent-
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Actually looked and felt like it might rain at one point-
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We arrived at a small settlement on the edge of Ban Pha Phung that was THICK with livestock- it was almost like a hobby farm, full of pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, cattle, etc. Seems the folks here must have plenty of meat on the menu, or perhaps they haul it out for sale at a nearby market?
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Coming in to Nam Pha Phung we encountered a small traffic jam.
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These pickups were hauling corn down from the fields. Eventually we managed to work our way around them-
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Woohoo! We’ve finally made it to Ban Nam Phung! Both running low on fuel so we topped up on pricey gas here-
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Filling up, one liter at a time-
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Brilliant ride!! I wasn’t sure if we could get through, but we made it!!

From here on it was a mix of dirt and paved roads all the way to the main highway 1 in Kamphaeng Phet, and from there a long slog down to Bangkok. After the sun went down it got very chilly and Satonic donned a cheap disposable rain poncho under his jersey to cut the wind. Sounds a bit goofy but this works really well.
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Somewhere along the way Satonic told me my front tire was flat. I didn’t believe him; I’d dropped the pressure to ~12 psi a few days earlier and thought that was why my front end was a bit wonky in the corners, but we pulled into a service station, I tried to air up the tire, and sure enough, it was flat. What an oddly stiff front tire that I could ride all this way with no air in it! Satonic encouraged me to put in a new tube, but frankly, I figured if I’d gotten this far, another 2-3 hundred more km to Bangkok probably wouldn’t be a problem. I rode that bike around for a couple more weeks with a flat front tire before my son finally insisted I put in a new tube πŸ˜‰
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A surprisingly good dinner in Nakhon Sawan where the drunken proprietress all but molested me in front of her kid… WTF was that all about?!
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We reached Bangkok well after midnight, buzzed and exhausted at the same time. Fantastic ride and can’t wait for the next one!!

You might recall that Satonic had bought that D-tracker just a couple days before we left on this trip. That bike was very clean and you could tell it had never been taken off road. I quite like this before and after pic:
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Until next time, The End!

Categories: backcountry, Environment, Inspiration, Motorcycle Trips and Tours, Motorcycles, motorsports, mountains, National Parks, Outdoors, Thailand, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Day Trippin on the Land Yacht, aka K1200LT

Finally made the move from Thailand back to the US and have settled down in Redmond, Washington, or the “Eastside” as Seattle folks call it. Been busy with the new job and the move but finally managed to get out for a ride!

Day trip to Leavenworth via Stevens Pass, Lake Wenatchee and the Chumstick Highway

I really didn’t have a destination in mind- just wanted to get out and ride. Thought about heading down towards Mt Rainier, or West to the Olympic Penninsula, but I’ve been to both so wanted to discover something new. Never been to Stevens Pass or Lake Wenatchee, so decided to check them out.

Beautiful day, cool and mostly sunny, I headed north out of Redmond on the 202 towards Woodinville then onto the 522 which eventually connected me to US Route 2, aka the Stevens Pass Highway. There were a few bikes out, but not as many as I’d have expected considering the beautiful weather. Rode with a couple of fellows from Sultan as far as Gold Bar where they peeled off, and from there I continued solo up to the Stevens Pass ski resort, which sadly has had to shut down due to lack of snow…

From Stevens Pass I continued on some nice fast sweepers until I reached the turn off for Lake Wenatchee State Park.

A stiff breeze was blowing off the lake and it was a bit chilly, but I imagine this place must be very popular in the summer months-

Leaving Lake Wenatchee I saw a sign that pointed to an alternateΒ way to reach Leavenworth. Why not? Turns out it was a good choice- the Chumstick Highway (Route 209) is a nice little whack on a motorcycle!

Arrived at my destination with a smile on my face- Leavenworth is a trippy little town that’s all done up in a “Bavarian” theme. Weird, huh?

The place was packed with tourists, and I have to say, as much as I’m averse to tourist traps, this place is pretty well done-

Lucked out and found a good parking spot just off the main square πŸ™‚

Was thirsty and a bit hungry and wandered around until I found a good spot-

The Icicle Brewery has a nice outdoor patio, live music and some mighty fine brews

Wandering around a bit more, enjoying the sights and people watching and had to take a snap of this

It was getting late and I didn’t want to ride back over the pass after dark. Coming over the road was wet in some places and it would suck on a bike if it froze! 4:30 in the afternoon and it’s about 100 miles back to Redmond-

Had I been a bit more prepared I’d have brought camping gear, overnighted up in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and continued the loop up to Winthrop and back over the North Cascades Highway 20 which just opened this weekend. Ah well, maybe next weekend!

On the way back to Seattle made an ice cream stop in Skykomish

Shout out to the very nice ladies who run the Sky Deli, they were closing but invited me to hang out and we enjoyed a long and interesting chat.

Not a bad way to spend the first Saturday of April. Thinking I really need to get a dirt bike as I know there are tons of awesome dirt roads worth exploring in the mountains around here. Happy Days!

Categories: Motorcycle Trips and Tours, mountains, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Riding to Crater Lake in November was perhaps not such a great idea ;)

I really should have known better, but I’m stubborn sometimes πŸ˜‰ Wet and cool leaving Medford, Oregon.

Had the roads all to myself! Riding north to Crater Lake on the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Highway-

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Rainy day selfie πŸ˜‰
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Snow??!? That hadn’t really occurred to me…
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A wet and chilly ride up Mount Mazama-
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Ha! Made it but visibility was terrible and the wind was howling! Crater Lake is down there somewhere!

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A couple more pics and then it was time to head down before the road (and I) froze!

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Live To Ride! Ride To Live!!

Categories: Motorcycle Trips and Tours, National Parks, Outdoors, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kansas City, KS to Springfield, Missouri to Oklahoma City via Arkansas! Fall 2014 motorcycle tour!

They take their BBQ pretty seriously in Kansas City!

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Was great to catch up with friends who recently moved from Bangkok to KC, what a change, but they are happy and seem to be doing great!

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A short ride down to Springfield, MO. The road is nothing special, but it was another beautiful fall day so a pleasant ride nonetheless.

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Welcome to Springfield!

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Was great catching up with good friends in Springfield, then time to push on! Discovered a fantastic web site called motorcycleroads.com, fantastic resource and helped me plan my route through the Ozarks on some brilliant roads!

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Cool beautiful morning. Crossing Table Rock Lake in SW Missouri-

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Up the in the Ozarks it was cool and foggy

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Wow, southern Missouri is nice! I had no idea!

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Welcome to Arkansas! Say, wasn’t Deliverance set around here?? O.0

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Eureka Springs is a funky little tourist town in NW Arkansas. Would like to come back and explore it some time.

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Getting off the beaten path- a small twisty mountain road through thick forest led me to the antique single lane War Eagle Bridge-

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Minneapolis to Kansas City! Day 1 of Fall tour 2014

Ready to Roll!

Leaving Minneapolis!

Leaving Minneapolis!

Cool and breezy, temp in the high 50’s. Got out of the Twin Cities just fine but a big rig crashed just south of Prior Lake creating a big traffic jam… Other than that it was smooth sailing! I-35 selfie πŸ˜‰

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I-35 Selfie

The temp climbed as I rode south and I soon found myself sweating from all the layers I was wearing plus the winter gloves and baklava I was wearing under my lid. A quick stop in Ottawa, MN for fuel and to lose some layers and switch to normal weight gloves- much more comfortable!

Ottawa, MN fuel stop

Ottawa, MN fuel stop

Whacked on down to Desmoines, Iowa where I had to stop for fuel. Cruising at 80mph sure does burn a lot of gas! I usually get 50-52 mpg when touring with my son as we never go over 55 mph, but today with higher speed and a pretty consistent head wind I was averaging 41-42 mpg… Thirsty beast πŸ˜‰

Des Moines, Iowa pitstop

Des Moines, Iowa pitstop

Another 200 miles to Kansas City! I’d hoped to get there before the sun went down but got a late start from the Twin Cities. Enjoyed a spectacular sunset- this pic doesn’t do it justice at all.

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Almost there!

Approaching Kansas City!

Approaching Kansas City!

Sunset selfie πŸ˜‰

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Wow, Beer Lao in Kansas City! Who knew??!?

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Minnesota to Washington via Arizona by bike!

Gorgeous fall weather and colors in the Twin Cities! Tomorrow I head for Bellingham, WA via Phoenix, Arizona- ready to roll! ^_^

Looking forward to catching up with a few GT-Riders along the way!

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Taking a dip in the Saco River, Crawford Notch State Park, White Mountains, NH

Riding down from the summit of Mount Washington-
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Really feels like we’re on top of the world up here!

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Here we are approaching the Dry River Campground in Crawford Notch State Park- you can see the Frankenstein Cliff off in the distance-

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We were running out of light but Kristhawee was keen to go swimming. A local ranger had told us there are some nice swimming holes in the Saco River. Let’s see if we can find them!

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This will do nicely!

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A gorgeous spot but oh how that water was COLD!!!

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Haha! Kristhawee took the camera and got some funny pics of daddy πŸ˜‰

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Time to head back to camp before the sun sets and the temperature drops!

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The White Mountains of New Hampshire exceeded all expectations! Tomorrow we head to Vermont!

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Categories: camping, Environment, Family, Father Son, Hiking, Inspiration, Motorcycle Trips and Tours, Outdoors, parenting, travelog | Leave a comment

Father and Son ride to the top of Mount Washington, White Mountains, New Hampshire!

It’s a short ride from the Attitash Resort to the Mount Washington Auto Road; upon arrival there was a queue of vehicles waiting to drive up, but it moved along fairly quickly.
Mt Washington Auto Road, White Mountins, NH
I did ask a nice lady from New York to snap a pic of us while we were waiting in line πŸ™‚
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This looks like fun πŸ™‚
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The entrance to the Mount Washington Auto Road! Couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day to ride to the top of New England’s highest summit!
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The super nice lady at the ticket booth didn’t charge me for my pillion πŸ™‚ Off we go!

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The road is narrow and steep and there was a fair bit of traffic so we take it nice and slow. I wasn’t expecting dirt though! Ah well, we’ve ridden worse!

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Father and son selfie on the Mount Washington Auto Road πŸ™‚

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We made it to the top!

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The Summit of Mount Washington stands at 6,288 ft (1,917 m) tall and is highest peak in New England!

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There is a really cool cog railway that also climbs all the way to the summit- They claim it’s the world’s first cog railway? I always assumed the Swiss invented these?

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Once upon a time you could book a bunk at the Tip Top House, but now it’s preserved as a National Historical Monument-

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Father and Son on the top of Mount Washington, White Mountains, New Hampshire!

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It was fun to watch the cog trains work their way slowly back down the mountain-

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You’d never guess it from these pictures, but Mount Washington is famous for extreme weather and holds the world record for the highest recorded wind speed on the planet- 231 mph!!!

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There are movies and plaques inside the visitor center that tell of the dozens (hundreds?) of lives that Mount Washington has claimed. Pretty sobering stuff, but we’ve lucked out and can hang out in our T-shirts on this beautiful day!

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A couple shots back at the bike, then it’s time to head on down.

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Life is GOOD!!!

Categories: Environment, Family, Father Son, Hiking, Inspiration, Motorcycle Trips and Tours, Outdoors, parenting, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father and Son ride Alpine Slide at Attitash Ski Resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

The pancakes we had made the previous morning were such a hit that Kristhawee wanted more! Who am I to argue with such an excellent plan? πŸ˜‰

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Today’s plan is to ride up to the top of Mount Washington which, at 6,288Β ft (1,917Β m) tall, is highest peak in New England! It was another gorgeous day to ride!

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Some great roads in the White Mountains and quite a few bikes out and about!

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New England is famous for its covered bridges- here’s a good example:

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We arrived at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road only to discover that there was a bicycle race taking place that morning and the road wouldn’t be open to the public until afternoon… Oh well, no shortage of things to see and do in the White Mountains!

We followed some bikes back the way we’d come until we reached the Attitash Ski Resort (44.082921, -71.231112)

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Lots of activities here in the summer, including mountain biking, bungy jumping, Alpine Slide, Mountain Coaster and a whole lot more. We decided to give the Alpine Slide a try. Enjoyed a scenic ride up the Flying Yankee Quad chairlift- father and son selfie πŸ˜‰

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Hamming it up a bit πŸ˜‰

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Up up we go, back into the White Mountain National Forest-

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The Alpine Slide is pretty cool, basically a summertime luge? Over a mile long, the Attitash Alpine Slide was good fun!
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After the slide we grabbed an overpriced lunch in the ski lodge- sure feels weird to be in a lodge in the summer time! Then it was time to once again hit the road and make another attempt at Mount Washington!

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Categories: Family, Father Son, Inspiration, Motorcycle Trips and Tours, Outdoors, parenting, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father and Son Explore the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

Arethusa Falls, Crawford Notch State Park, White Mountins, NH

Arethusa Falls, Crawford Notch State Park, White Mountins, NH

We sure did enjoy the hike to Arethusa Falls! Now it was time to head back to camp and maybe do some swimming if the sun was still up! First we had to negotiate some footbridges that have seen better days πŸ˜‰

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Came across this cool old sign on our way back to the trailhead which gives a lot more info on these trails-

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We rode down to the local General Store for some more supplies and Kristhawee’s new friends joined us again for Jiffy Pop after dinner πŸ™‚

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Little dude doesn’t want to smile for the camera πŸ˜‰

 

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I guess it’s hard to smile when you’ve got a mouth full of popcorn! πŸ˜‰

Categories: camping, Environment, Family, Father Son, Hiking, Inspiration, Motorcycle Trips and Tours, Outdoors, parenting, travelog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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