I didn’t realize it at the time, but turns out that whole bit from the farmhouse to the Suriya river was actually in Myanmar- cool!
After crossing the river back into Thailand we still had a ways to go to reach the village of Laytongku where we’d be spending the night.
Just as the temperature was peaking Satonic decided to wipe out on a steep off camber trail >.<
The rest of the group were well ahead of us so it fell to the two of us to drag his bike back up to the trail. 140Kg of bike plus maybe another 20Kg of gear in >40 degree heat- Ugh! But we got it back on the trail!
Don’t do that again!!! We made it the rest of the way to Laytongku without any drama
Laytongku is a fascinating and unique village- home to the “Loe-si”, a Karen sect who are neither Buddhist nor Christian (despite the missionaries best efforts) but rather wear their hair in distinctive top knots and worship a kind of sage in a temple decorated with huge intricately carved elephant tusks:
(not my picture) Strange too that they have a Buddha in their temple…
Lordy it was hot! But fortunately they had a cooler box with some cold drinks. Thumbs up from Bank!
Anyway, the Loe-si are some of the most fit people I’ve ever seen- every guy looks like a prize fighter, all muscle and not an ounce of fat-
Damn cute kids too!
We would spend the night at the village clinic and dropped our bags there before riding on the the border town of Peung Kleung where we could get gas and more importantly COLD BEER!
Peung Kleung is a sizeable village that one can reach via paved road from Umphang. There’s a crossing here into Myanmar but it’s only set up for Thais and Burmese. Foreigners can not cross here. Some pics from last year-
Welcome to Myanmar!
Lots more here: The Missing Link- Sangkhlaburi to Umphang and back!
There’s really only one decent restaurant in this town, and we quickly drank them dry. Bank, ever the character, jumped on his bike to find more beer!
We were supposed to rendezvous with Big Dave here. He was riding down from Chiang Mai on a rented dirt bike and I’d told him I expected we’d reach Peung Kleung around ~2 or 3 in the afternoon, which, as it turned out, was about right. But no sign of Dave, and no cell phone service in this town. They do have land phones though, so Jack attempted to reach him, but no answer, which meant he was probably in an area with no service and / or riding.
Satonic, ever photo shy, off in search of fuel, beer and ice-
How many days with no women now? Too many apparently!
It was getting late and I was a bit worried about Dave, but fortunately he rolled up a little before sunset!
All bow to the man with the Jamesons!
Get a room fellas!
It’s getting late and it’s about a 20km ride on a terribly dusty road to Laytongku. We do not want to be riding that road in the dark. Time to saddle up!
But before we go we strap as much beer and ice as we can to our bikes!
Ready to roll!
We’re whacking along at a pretty good pace when I come upon Dave taking a nap in the middle of the road
That poor rental… I think he lost track of how many times he crashed it! He’d actually managed to pop the radiator the day before and had to get it patched up in Mae somewhere which I think accounted for his tardy arrival.
As you can see, this road was incredibly dusty- the goal was to stay out in front, so I fanged it all the way to Laytongku, slowing down occasionally to make sure someone was following me. Alas, in my haste I lost all my beer and ice!
Also, Dave had an ugly crash coming in to Laytongku and really tweaked his knee. He was limping around badly and was worried about riding further into the wild with a bum leg. What a shame he’d some all this way only to suffer an injury
Still, he popped a ton of ibuprofen and iced the heck out of his knee in hopes it might feel better in the morning. Despite my lost beers the ever resourceful Bank had arranged for a truck to deliver a case of beer and plenty of ice, so we did not go to bed thirsty in the end!
Funniest part of the whole trip was watching Dave try to get into his hammock. Tried and failed more times than I can count! There’s a video floating around that sums it up pretty well but I’ve lost the link; will add it here when I find it. HAHAHA!!!