Doi Mon Ang Ket and Khao Soi in Pai Dirt Ride 2022

Sita

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
CRF 250, CB500x, Africa Twin XRV 750
Deere went and did it again; he delivered a spectacular dirt ride to a few lads thirsty for adventure. A mountain trail up a nearby peak followed by a tasty bowl of Khao Soi in Pai was promised, so the local dirt riders met on Saturday morning for coffee and breakfast before setting off.

In attendance we're mostly the usual suspects, though we missed our French Friend who is still nursing a foot injury. Hope he gets better soon and can use the gear lever. We also had a new-comer (well, new to the group). Apart from the new-comer, everyone knew each other and we all had a strong rapport amongst ourselves, which is great to see and certainly adds cohesion to a group ride.

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Breakfast was the dirt ride special: Eggs in a pan (Kai-ga-ta) and an americano. Though variations exist, I believe.

The weather was particularly nice; we'd just had 3 days of stormy weather, which served to clear up any smog or smoke that likes to hang around this time of year. Spirits were high and, as a group of 8, we set off.

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The plan was to head to Samoeng via the south road around Suthep (called the Samoeng road, I believe) and from there take the small backroads north to Doi Mon Ang Ket. The road up the mountain and then onto Pai would be dirt, varying from "easy" to "medium". If you've gone on a dirt ride with Khun Deere, you know what "Medium" means. The bigger his grin the more you should worry.

The ride around the mountain was pleasant, and we were in fine form. The pack sticking together and moving with speed and purpose, if I may say so myself. Perhaps because we didn't want to be left behind. Cruising quickly to Samoeng, we did a quick headcount and discovered there were 2 riders missing! How could this be, we had stopped not 5 minutes before this turn. What could have happened?

The newest member in the group, in his attempt to keep up with those that were perhaps being a little too liberal in their throttle, had low-sided on corner, tearing up his riding gear and damaging his rear brake caliper. While mostly he was just fine (though maybe a bit sore), his bike only had the front brake, and unsuitable to tackle the days trials and tribulations that we'd be sure to face. A few members helped him to rest and to zip tie his brake caliper to the swing arm so he could limp home or to a garage for a proper fix. Resisting any more aid or offers of a ride-escort, he departed.

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In Samoeng during the field repair. Deere let me test drive the DRZ400, a true pig of a bike. Little did I know that it wouldn't be the only time I drove it that day.

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On the way to the Mountain we had nice farmland views

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When we reached the mountain's trail head, Deere insisted that we swap bikes; him on the CRF 250 and me taking the DRZ 400. I think he wanted to get me to expand my horizons and take on larger challenges, a bit of guided skill development on the ride. That's one of the things I appreciate most about Deere: he's always looking out for you and encouraging you to take on bigger and better adventures. As a born Midwesterner, I of course refused three times begging off that I wouldn't be comfortable on it, but I eventually relented and accepted the offer. Now the mountain was a more meaningful goal to conquer!

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Deere taking my CRF 250 as part of our swap, and the rest of the dirty lads at the mountain trail head.

The ride up the mountain was spectacular. A wide dirt road alternating between lush forest segments and exposed sections with views of the surrounding valleys and hills. Large ruts added a bit of fun on these sections, which the group maneuvered admirably. If there were any falls, I didn't see 'em.

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We were rewarded with a stunning view. The air was clear and with just enough clouds to give the view a dramatic effect.
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Your's truly with the DRZ 400 after conquering the hill on. Photo credit to Khun Deere. Thanks again for the encouragement, you're a true friend. I won't go into comparisons here between the DRZ 400 and the CRF 250, there've plenty of articles written by more knowledgeable people than I. Suffice to say is that it's an entirely new level of power needing and entirely new level of confidence. My first foray on it on the dirt went well and I'm certainly eager to try it again.

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Kent (and other members of the group) and Scott on the summit admiring the view. At the top we shared a celebratory drink with some fellow riders. Though they rode more interesting steeds...
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Cheers to the rider ... and the mechanic!

On the way down we rode into a scenic valley full of agriculture. In the right time of year, it's spectacular.
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From here it was off to Pai via scenic dirt and busted concrete roads. The route was excellent. I'm always impressed by the beauty of these valleys and hills seemingly forgotten by everyone except by the handful or farmers, monks, or villagers to whom they are home. To think that not too many kilometers away is the bustling 1095, the busy tourist artery linking Chiang Mai to Pai and Mae Hong Son, that these gems are hidden. These spots are the major reason I enjoy riding on the dirt roads. It gives access to beauty unable to see otherwise.

Today's ride had plenty of hiccups, backtracks, and unexpected turns. In fact, the ride could have been named "How Rear Brakes Can Go Wrong". From the first accident in the day where the rider broke his rear brake caliper to the incident that just arose: brake overheating.

One of the riders drove a Yamaha T7. And by drove, I mean he has mastered this vehicle. Having ridden with him on numerous occasions, I can say for a certainty that he can handle the T7 better on nasty terrain than many riders can handle their smaller and nimbler CRF. However, for some reason, he was experiencing rear brake overheating. I won't speculate on why, he's done that plenty and I'm sure he's figured out the reason or at least, will soon. Not a big problem, we waited ~20 minutes or so to let them cool down before heading off again. I'm not sure they were entirely cool by then, but he seemed more than able to get by on the front brake.

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Discussing options. Do we head back and go the "easy" way to Pai? or press on. The rider of the T7 was adamant about pressing on with the "medium" terrain, which he handled well.

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I'm glad we stuck with the "medium".

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Not too much farther on some of the lads got a bit excited and decided to take their own try at navigating, leading to them by-passing the turn off. Undeterred by this, Deere said that no problem, their way also leads to Pai. So began a scenic, though confusing, side track. We passed by a small house and orchard before we started getting into some small single track that ultimately led us into a dead end.

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Confusingly, Google Maps showed there was a road. Deere went off to scout a few dozen meters, but there wasn't even the faintest suggestion of a track. Just bush and scrub. Defeated, we turned back and headed to the missed turn-off.

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Right before the end of the road.

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Luckily, detours here just mean more dirt riding with outstanding views. Doing a quick time check, it looks like we're bound to hit Pai for 4pm! No worries, the Khao Soi won't get cold, but we'd be fighting sunset to get back to Chiang Mai.


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The rest of the ride was smooth sailing on the dirt, for the most part. We couldn't have had nicer weather and we followed a series of single tracks that could barely be called a track to a larger, open dirt road. Thanks to the rain, the road wasn't dusty, and enough time had passed that it had dried up, preventing us from battling the mud.
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One more tricky section remained however, and we were running low on fuel, so before we hit the last leg of the dirt before reaching the 1095 to Pai, we fueled up in a Lahu village.

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Now the last bit: it was dry as a bone and sandy as hell. Add in a couple of steep sections and the result was 2 falls from members of the group: the back tire locking up and slipping out from under them.

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Just as we righted the one bike, another decided bike decided to join in!

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Sand is slippery stuff!

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The video compilation will show it. Luckily, everyone come out unhurt from the falls: they were at low speed.

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Celebrating the successful completion of the dirt: at 3:30! Let's go have lunch, lads.

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We arrived in Pai and supped at the Nong Beer Restaurant. Holy cow. Incredible Khao Soi. I'm not sure if it was because we hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was now well past 4pm before eating lunch, or it was the anticipation of the noodles, or if it was simply prepared with love, but this was the best Khao Soi I've eaten. Hands down. The chicken was tender, the noodles just perfectly cooked, not a congealed mass, and, most importantly, the broth was just the perfect consistency. Not too watery like a soup, but just thick enough to give the dish body and carry a strong flavor of the cream and spices. Will have to make a return trip to confirm it wasn't just my hunger that added the flavoring.

And then it was back home, leaving Pai by 5pm, for the 2:30 trip back. A rider suffered a major leg cramp, which me and another fellow rider prescribed water and electrolytes, but otherwise was a nice cruise back. The hills on the 1095 at sunset are amazing, especially with the amount of green now that the rain has come.

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Thanks for reading, here's the video compilation for the curious.

 

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Another good report Sita; thank you.
I'll watch your video tonight when time permits.
 
Watching this in stages. Enjoying it too!
I'm always impressed when seeing locals on their little scooters (probably with bald road tyres and no suspensions mods)
negotiating those tracks, probably on a daily basis (y) (from 7 mins)
 
That was an epic ride and video Sita. :DD(y)
Thanks for the effort you went to in sharing this.
(What video software are you using?)
No inane commentary, no imposing music; just the sound of the bikes and the tracks.

I haven't said 'wow' so many times within an hour since.... well, we'll leave that!

Great riding; careful and controlled.
Seemed to be a good group too.
Great bikes.

Humble mountain villages with million dollar views.

The incident around 48' 30" was fun to watch.
That Thai rider appearing out of nowhere to assist on an interesting looking little bike.

Most of us know that the true steepness of the ascents and descents does not accurately translate onto the screen,
but some of those climbs looked really gnarly even so.

At 53 mins; well controlled sir. (y)
Looks like the rear tyre was a bit overinflated or worn?

Any chance of you including a route map of this (or future) rides?
 
Hey 2wheels, thanks for watching! It's great to receive feedback on the videos.


I'm using the iMovie application, nothing fancy, but the stock software that comes preloaded on apple computers. It's great for these more minimal style videos, as you mentioned, and which I also prefer! I'm not one for talking into a camera, either, so you hardly see me in the videos. I much prefer being the one filming.

At 53 minutes, the rider was Kent, who did a good job of saving himself from another spill in the sand, as you said! Before we hit the dirt most of us deflated our tires to ~14 PSI, but I can't recall if Kent did or not. It's entirely possible that his tire was still running pressures intended for paved road usage.

Speaking of that, our French Friend bought a portable electronic tire pump that I have since bought and now recommend to everyone. It's ideal for rides just like these. You can deflate your tires, then check the pressure / top up if you went a bit too far deflating. Then, when you leave the dirt, you can pump back up to road pressure. Great things to have with you, especially for 1,000 baht.

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I'll include the link here to the Lazada shop: [ พร้อมส่ง ] Xiaomi Mi Portable Electric Air Pump 1S ปั๊มลม ปั้มลมไฟฟ้า ปั๊มลมไฟฟ้า เติมลมรถยนต์ ที่สูบลมรถยนต์ ปั๊มสูบลมไฟฟ้า เติมลมยางแบบพกพา เครื่องปั๊มลมไฟฟ้ | Lazada.co.th
I'm not working on commission, I promise 😁

As for the route, I'll post the GPS from my phone. It's not entirely accurate, but it gives a sense of what the roads are!

From Samoeng, we took the 4021 up the Mae Sap river. Eventually, the 4021 leaves the Mae Sap, but we turned off on a road that is unmarked on Google maps, but still follows the water way. We took that to the mountain, and then from there the map shows a web of unnamed roads on Google Maps!

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Overall, excellent route! Would highly recommend and looking forward to riding again.
 
Thanks for that response Sita.
Some of us are very interested in the route maps.

iMovie it will be for me then (y)

And I do use one of those compressors, which are compact, light weight and effective.

Keep up the good work.
 
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