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EleFUNtastic and a Chance Meeting Near Samoeng

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 17, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

As expected after a late night the other night I was a tad lazy the next day, but I did get some blogging done πŸ™‚ That evening who should rock up like a bad penny, Lorraine, she had just came back down from Loas and was heading to Malaysia πŸ™‚

So, of course a hair of the dog was called for, plus a nice bit of tucker and some nice company. The lifestyle here at the Riders Corner is very relaxed, out of the main rat race which is about 1km away, but still close enough for everything that is needed.

Here are Glenn and Paul

And here we have Phil(the host)on the left, then Auke who is a cartographer and is developing very good maps of this region and to the right is a school teacher from Shan. Shan was an independent nation until Burma left British control and they then included this region as part of Myanmar. It is basically right on the border that we rode to the other day, he came down with some army high ups who knew Phil.

I had an earlyish night as I wanted to do a loop ride, but one thing I had forgotten about was 3rd party insurance for this country. The next morning Lorraine and I grabbed a TukTuk and went down to the tax place and for the paltry sum of 188Baht I had 3 months insurance, cheap as chips, not sure how effective it will be though!

Bike riders start early in these countries.

So, after this I headed off for a loop ride. Thank you kindly to Phil for the map below πŸ™‚ This is from the forum thread Chiang Mai Loop Rides on the RideAsia forum website which has a wealth of knowledge about where to go and stay, plus maps of the normal roads, but also a heap of offroad tracks, which I will stay off πŸ™‚

My goal was to go south on the 108, then west on the 1269, before turning north on the 1096 and hopefully end up near Mae Rim in time for the show at the elephant farm, which I had heard started around 2pm. Some sections of the city approaches gets a bit choked, but they have a dedicated hard shoulder lane which is for bikes only, so at traffic lights, squeeze your way to the front, if you can find a way through πŸ™‚

It was not long though before I was on the 1269 and amongst some nice sweepers, after being caught in traffic and heating up in the sweltering humidity, it was great to have the airflow happening, cooling the body down.

It is the end of the rainy season, the transition period, so although it is starting to dry up and cool down, there is still the lingering heat and some rain showers and storm cells etc. As I clomb(climbed?) up and down the mountains I was in heaven, music in my helmet and some great roads to ride, what more could I need?

I eventually came to the junction to turn north on the 1096 and 30km to Mae Rim, I was expecting to stop about 10km before that for a tourist attraction, but to get there, I had some more tight hairpins and sweeping twisty roads to play on. The thing was, they were so much fun and just lots more of the same as the earlier photos, I failed to take any more during this section πŸ™‚ But, here is a short video which will introduce the chance meeting during this ride.


How about that eh, I was just thinking about the views from this mountain and the lack of safe lookouts to stop at when I spotted one. Then I saw the bike and also noticed it was a Vstrom650, the exact same model as mine(but heaps cleaner) and then found out that the chap riding it was none other than Gary Deeks, he is from Brisbane and was riding with Luk. He also was an avid follower of my last travels through the Americas and always sent me emails and comments on my posts, we had also previously met at a Horizons Unlimited meeting in Cooroy, 2010. What a coincidence and he was doing the same loop ride as myself, but in reverse, how cool is that πŸ™‚ So, we chatted for a while, it turns out he has been in the Chiang Mai region for a few months now, and decided we would meet up for beers at the Riders Corner tonight.

So we went our separate ways and I now needed to try and get to the elephant camp before the show started, as you can expect there were more twisties on the way down, but I also had time for a quick shot at a standard WAT, or temple, I will probably only post a few of these during my time here, they are nearly on every corner, as prolific as churches back home, but way more impressive, so when I find some real spectacular ones, then look out πŸ˜‰

I did get to the camp just before half one and lucky for me I did, because I found out that the show starts at 1.30pm, not 2pm. I quickly bought my ticket(200B) and got to the right place after buying some bananas and sugar cane to feed the animals where I got kissed for my troubles, crap photos I am sorry but I was busy and gave it, the camera, to an elephant handler.

The process was that the elephants are brought down to the creek for a bath, then taken up to a different arena where they do their performance, it is just like a circus but just with elephants. I am not fond of circus’, but these seem well treated and sure look like they are having fun. I edited some video together so you can see what it was all about and I took heaps of photos as you can imagine πŸ™‚



Dart throwing, you can see the dart in the second photo near the tree

So, that was all fun and lasted about an hour. I am sure the paintings were controlled by the handler, by ear tugging and soft words, an impressive result, but a tad boring to watch πŸ˜‰

All the rest was pure action though. I had lost about 2lts of sweat during this time because I was rushed and had no water nor food, so after grabbing a quick snack and a cold drink I sat and watched a Thai couple work making some concrete pathway.

The reason I mention this is because of what they are wearing. Long pants, a tshirt and another shirt over that and it was stinking hot!!! But, I have noticed this a lot everywhere I go, the workers are quite often wearing full balaclavas in the sun, fully body covered over and not with SPF stuff either, just normal clobber. I guess they are used to it, I know that I could not wait until I got back to the Riders Corner for a nice cold shower then a beer of a cooler temperature πŸ™‚ This did not take long as all I had to do was fight some traffic for the next half an hour or so and my wish was granted πŸ™‚

During the evening Gary rocked in for some beers and after some chat it looks like we will be having similar riding destinations over the next few weeks, so we may meet up for a ride or two, see what happens. The usual crowd turned up(I am thinking this place is becoming very familiar to me, almost like a local), Glenn, Auke, Peter, Ed, JustBob, Lorraine was still here but heading south in the morning. I went from beer to a drink called Sangsom, this was a radical move on my part as I could not see any rum around. It was not the best tasting firewater, but it had punch and mixed with the dentists bane, it tasted fine πŸ™‚

It was a very late night for me and I was pretty well done over by the Sangsom, we shall see how well my body can handle the effects tomorrow. πŸ˜‰

Cheers from Chiang Mai

4 Responses to “EleFUNtastic and a Chance Meeting Near Samoeng”

  1. 2wheels said

    Glad you’re getting out and about our area mate.
    We reckon it’s a good base for all sorts of riding and Riders Corner is an ideal meeting point.

  2. 2wheels said

    Elephant Coffee anyone?

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