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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Munro’

The Wheels On The Truck Go Round and Round!!!

Posted by TravellingStrom on February 28, 2013

Once again a quick update and a jump forward in time, maybe I will fill in the bits later 🙂

After 3 days in Bangkok, I had achieved a major goal. That was to meet up with Neil who I travelled through China with, and he brought me my new replacement Drift camera. We had had a few beers and I had also met up with Lachlan from the Sunshine Coast at the same time. It was a great evening and real good to catch up again 🙂

So, my next port of call was Phuket, this is about 900km south of Bangkok but I planned on doing it in two days, no need to beat any speed records. First thing before I left town was to find the DHL office near me, I then packaged up my Solar Focus cover(for my Kindle) and sent it back to Korea, where they were going to repair it and send it on to Phuket for me, all at their expense 🙂 the cover has a solar panel and battery with a reading light, brilliant idea but a bit flimsy, so the solar panel does not charge the battery any more and the light cuts in and out on occasion

That done, I was away a bit later than I wanted at 10.30am, because for the next hour and a half I had to play with the stop/go city traffic, horrible and hot as well!! Unlike the scooters, I cannot squeeze through most of those gaps, although I gave it a fair go 😉

Once clear of the city I could pick up speed and get some cooling happening, that felt good 🙂 The road south was a dual lane highway with a divider separating the oncoming traffic. It was a smooth ride, filtering in through all the trucks and staying out of the path of the flying SUVs coming up behind.

Once I had been riding for a while, I stopped for lunch. The new camera is smaller than the old one and will not take my large long life batteries, so I knew I needed to stop at least once an hour to change that and reformat the SD card, or swap that as well. Until I learnt this new cameras limits, which will take a few days, I would have to take pot luck and hope it is recording when I expect it to be. Lunch was a shock to the system, I had stopped at one of the many food courts along the road and pointed to two dishes, noodles and a mince one, but as soon as started to eat I knew I had made a mistake!!!! That was spicy, and I don’t do spicy, crikey I nearly burnt my mouth out! So, after gulping down most of the soft drink I had bought to cool the fire, I went and ordered a Pad Thai, nice and safe 😉 NB: it does not look that dangerous in this picture, but trust me, it is!

That was a lot better, and not too long after I was back on the road again. I had a few destinations in mind for the day, Moritz, Neil and Ron2Wheels had all mentioned different places down the coast here to break the journey. Most seemed to be places near to where I was now, like Hua Hin, but I still had over 700km to go and actually wanted to stop about half way. So, I figured even though the resort Ron had made mention of was too expensive, there could be others in that area and it was another 300km or so away. It seemed like a nice position to be as it was on the coast and about halfway to Phuket. So, I was cruising down the road doing the usual, keeping my speed at an even 110kmh(posted limit), passing trucks but as usual staying in the left hand lane until forced to pass a slower vehicle. I came up behind a truck overtaking another truck, same same, I have been doing this all day, nothing unusual here. I followed the overtaking truck until there was space to my left, and knowing the truck will probably stay where he is for a long time, I moved to the left lane and applied a lot of throttle to get in front of the overtaking truck, when surprise surprise!!!!!

Yep, I found myself an oil slick and I can still see the wheels of that truck right near my head!! Funnily enough I never said a word, and for those who have seen me drop the bike or fall off, I usually am quite liberal with the “F” word, I think I was stunned, like WTF just happened! Not by hitting my head, the helmet never even touched the ground, but by the fact I am still alive.

I initially thought I was going faster than I was, but after reviewing the video, I know I was slowing down coming up on the truck and even dropped two gears, so my speed would have been around 80 or so, maybe less. Did I do wrong, I am not sure, I have been doing the same thing all day and all through Cambodia and Laos, so to me, it was normal. Should I have seen the oil slick, maybe, I was looking at the truck in front of me, not to what is to my left and behind me. Once I moved over, in hindsight I am positive I noticed something, but by then I had already grabbed some throttle, so it was too late. The lucky part was that I was moving from right to left, so my momentum took me to the side of the road and out from under the wheels of the other truck in the left lane. (On the map is a big red dot, that is the crash location)

In other ways I was extremely fortunate as well, the bike stayed on the one side as it slid down the road and did not dig in and flip or otherwise tumble around. The right hand side pannier took most of the pain and the slide mark is actually a line of aluminium that has been ablated from the pannier, this set will need replacing now as a hole has been nearly worn though it. Mind you I am OK with that, if they had been soft bags I am sure the result would have been worse. The actual worst part of the whole thing was the engine not shutting down. You can hear in the video the motor screaming until I get close then it shuts down. This process should have happened as soon as the bike went down but in actual fact it took 22 seconds!! I did not realise it at the time, maybe a bit of shock, but this was going to turn into a big problem.

In the meantime as a lot of people have noticed, nobody stopped! Even the dude on a scooter who rode past me, did not stop!!! There were a group of workers about 50m back who came up to help me, but only AFTER I had indicated a lifting the bike motion, otherwise they would have stayed where they were. That said, they were helpful, they called an ambulance, grabbed a big bucket of sand, some witches hats and basically made the road a bit safer. They even used the sand to clean all the oil off my tyres 🙂

I did not need any medical care and told the ambos I was fine. My riding gear had kept me safe, so they were worth the expense and although I had a small sore spot on my side from the low side landing, I was OK. I found out later that evening when I took my gear off that a hole had been worn on my bum/hip area as I slid down the road, plus another near my boot. The bike as mentioned took one for the team again, the hand guard had come loose and jammed the throttle on by the looks of it, I am not sure if that had anything to do with the engine not stopping at the time. The indicator was non existent, the passenger foot peg once again bent nearly horizontal and as mentioned, the pannier had been worn away quite a lot, and probably not waterproof any more.

If you look at the handle bar photo again, you can see the camera on my helmet just touched the dirt as I went down the table drain. 😉 But, it worked perfectly, so that was good. After a short time checking the bike, I rode off south and tried to work out if there was any other damage. I did notice the starter motor made a high pitched squeal, but I could live with that. On occasion I could feel something was different but could not put my finger on it. In the end I stopped at a place called Ban Saphan where I found a nice little(expensive) aircon cabin next to the beach front. It did not take me long to find a nice spot to have a beer but without WifI I was net less, but you get that occasionally.

I found another bar across the road after dark and had some basic tucker, toasted sangers and beer 🙂

I had an early night as the place was pretty dead here, nice an quiet 🙂

Cheers from Ban Saphan

Posted in Around The World, Eurasia | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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