Saturday, 30 August 2014

Under monsoon skies

A break in the cloud
Should I stay on this route? Making a decision when tired is never a good idea so I decided to sleep on it. In the morning, my riding gear still wet through and smelling of damp dog, I decided to miss Cambodia, take a sharp right and head for Thailand going as quickly as possible for the shelter of my friends bar in Koh Tao. This would cut my riding days down from 10 to 5.

The monsoon rain had somehow got snagged on my bike a few days ago and no matter how fast I rode, I could not escape it. When I stopped in Thakeh, I had tea with a Belgian guy who was surprised to hear how bad the rain was “Really? Wow. It only started raining here last night.” 
“Yes” I said. “That’s when I arrived!” That confirmed it. I needed to get off this path and hope these clouds would set their sites on some other poor soul. 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bikers paradise?

So why have so many bikers moved to Northern Thailand? If you have to ask the question you have never been to Northern Thailand!

If the rich culture, the weather and the twisty roads aren't enough to tempt you then let's not forget the stunning countryside, miles of trails and of course the beautiful women!  Some of them have even taken to riding bikes! I know it's amazing (yes you did detect a little sarcasm).  Personally I am not looking (you know me!) but it's hard not to spot the odd dishy young man on a bike too. One of whom recognised me (well probably Rhonda) at the noodle stop yesterday on route to Chiang Rai. He decided to stop and join us for the rest of the ride. Don't mind if you do!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Riding on the edge

Following Thailand's mountainous border with Myanmar over the last few days has been a real pleasure and has left me with many lasting memories. Who said adventure had to be tough?

This region seems different to the southern part of Thailand and I would highly recommend riding here. The twisting roads are quiet and the people are extremely friendly. People leave you to it and charge you a fair price without the bartering. I hadn't seen any tourists along this route until today when I reached Mae Hong Son and met a Spanish couple on a hired twist and go trying to navigate a muddy section. I stopped to help of course, right after I pointed and laughed! The standard off road procedure in these circumstances.

Riding out of Bangkok is a lengthy process and a laborious task which took me around two hours. However, the drivers were courteous, making way for me to filter, and surprisingly, followed the rules of the road. Since Turkey I have come to expect chaos and lack of discipline and so this came as a welcome change. Something I had really not expected of Bangkok.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

We make it to Thailand!

Meeting the boss at AP Honda! 
Nepal customs were surprisingly thorough. I had to unpack EVERYTHING while they inspected it all with a fine tooth comb. I then had to remove all the fuel, disconnect the battery, lower the tyres and (to make it fit in the crate) remove the bars, mirrors, front screen and topbox. I opted not to remove the front wheel and pay a little extra for a very slightly bigger crate. I didn't know what help I would have when I arrived in Thailand and with no centre stand, it's not an easy job to put the wheels back in place. It was a decision that later proved to be the right one.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Room at the "Hilton" Hospital

Helping hands
I could not leave India without a little more drama and so, just miles before the border, my top box decided to try and make a run for it. Having no legs, it didn't get very far and landed on my back as I hit yet another pot hole. I decided to keep my arm around it as best I could and carry on slowly to a petrol station where I could remove all my worldly possessions in relative safety and attempt some running repairs! The crowd soon gathered as I began to unpack and after some frustration I looked up and addressed my audience
"Are you going to just watch or are you going to help?" 
"Help" came the reply and so they did! Before I knew it my top box was bolted back in place with some new bolts from around the corner and I was waving goodbye to my new friends and to India.