Trail riding south Laos borders with Steve & MM

KTMphil

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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Trail riding south Laos borders with Steve & MM


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Midnight Mapper had some mapping updates to do in south Laos, so it was a chance to do some trail riding in that area. The problem is that its 1,000km from Chiang Mai which is a lot of tire wear on off-road tires. Best option was to put the drz 400 in the back of the pickup and go pick MM up in Vientiane, Laos, then drive south in Laos to Pakse.


Some beautiful views on R12 in Thailand heading eastwards towards Udon

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Normally Thai registered motorbikes are not allowed north-bound across the friendship bridge at Nong Khai into Laos, no-one could give me a definitive answer, so i gave it a shot. It caused a lot of confusion at Nong khai border immigration, their initial answer was no. After more discussion the boss came out and ok'd it & temporary export from Thailand was granted for the pick-up & motorcycle by Thai customs and immigration. Laos side less confusion, 2 weeks temp. import was for both vehicles, they told me this could not be extended a border run would be needed.

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Clearing into Laos Customs

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Getting late now, Laos insurance at the border already in mid party.

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Then off to Blue Bananas for some food (highly recommended) & Villa Laos in Vientiane for for some sleep.

Villa Laos GH in Vientiane, 800 Bht ish - a beautiful place to stay

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MM Honda XR400R with about 200,000 km on it

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Got MM's XR 400R in the pick-up --the stunning Miss "Uh!" on the bikes

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got Steve (a magical mechanic) in the pick-up, his WR 250 with motard nobblies went on top of a bus down to Pakse.




The brand new (opened 11/11/11) Thakek / Nakhon Phanom international border crossing into Thailand.

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Beautiful bridge

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KTMphil

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Joined
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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Chickens being carried on R 13S in Laos

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1st day's road-trip south we stop at the Lattanaphonephasouk Hotel, about 35km north of Savannaket. Great value hotel 80,000 kip with air-con


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Someone has forgotton their leatherman - it gets put on a plane in Vientiane and is waiting for us at Pakse airport ...all very efficient

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KTMphil

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Joined
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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Next morning up early and off to find the bus with Steve's WR250 on top of it - the location isn't isn't easy to find if you bus your bike down to Pakse


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Now to get it off the bus -- piece of cake for these guys that do it every day

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Using the friction of a turn in the rope as a brake - a very easy transition

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KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
We have a good staging post at Steve's GF's Aunties house in Pakse to unload and pack the bikes --MM with all our gear

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Coffee from Gee's Coffee farm, she also rides an XR 250

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MM wirelessley transferring us some routes he wants to check out, poking around the Cambodia border area

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KTMphil

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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Then finally we're free - a great feeling, first ride is westwards across the Mekong river out of Pakse up the mountain to see the new temple, nice little dirt trail up there too

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You can see Pakse airport in the distance, here looking north east across the mekong river to Pakse

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Bridge across the Mekong river in Pakse

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Next stop the ancient ruins

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KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
From Steve's bike sitting on top of the bus, Steve discovers that the front forks seals are leaking. He manages to find some waxed playing cards to see if he can clean out the seals

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It improves the seals immensely


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Some locals (many Chinese selling motorcycles) taking an interest in what we ride

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It was a pretty poor village --looks like the mud roads would be a disaster in rainy season

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Nice day of poking around on some trails SW of Pakse (some detours were needed)

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We find a lovely little village on the Mekong with a the Khaophasert GH - 70,000 kip, bargain

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Next morning up at 0545am, great sunrise across the Mekong river

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KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Next night planned detistantion doesn't get more south in Laos than this - here right at the Cambodian border

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The trails in this area were sandy and pretty dry, great riding

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There was supposed to be a bridge here, looks like demolished in rainy season

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We poked around further down the river and found somewhere that looked shallower - here Steve checking the depths before we give it a shot

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Being a bit early after rainy season, we'd heard it was still a bit swampy in south Laos, this was our first encounter of many (i had blown my rear shock seal by here too)

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Another bridge gone

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KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
More mud

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Typical southern Laos farm house. You would sometimes ride 30km of trails with no civilization and then stumble on one house like this all on its own

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One of the many bridge crossings, this one in good condition

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Then we hit the sand, fun riding - keep the rpm's high - power on and its a blast

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Local lady near the Cambo border fetching some water. Note how the facial features look different to the northern Laoations.

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
MM with the water-carrier

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Here on the "Ancient Road" - MM explaing about how there would be an area for the elephants to drink and bathe and a rice paddy near by

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One of the many iron-buffalo's we would see along the way


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Getting some local knowledge - you can't beat it when out in the sticks where many white people haven't been before


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Curious Laos village near the Cambo border

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The poverty in south Laos is some of the worst i've seen, housing was pretty sad

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
P1070708.jpgThen some deep swampy mud and water


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Riding trails in the dark to the Cambo border, we stumble into an army camp, doesnt seem like a good place to stay so we get out of there fast and back track in tha dark to a village. One of the houses offers us somewhere to hang our hammocks and some mamma noodles


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Steve erecting his hammock in the back of the truck


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Early morning ---I had had a problem with my headlight turned out to be a sticky relay for the HID light, we re-routed the wiring so that the relay could be hit to make it work. Electric start had a problem too, luckily i had a kick start so it was managable

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Getting some fuel before out for the day on the trails

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KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
There were some swampy trails during this day's riding


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Beautiful bridge

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We get right against the Laos/ Cambo border and find a remote settlement that may not have seen white people before, it was right on the river and they survived from fishing

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A medium sized iguana that looks like will be dinner

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Pretty basic accommodation

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Fish traps

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The local catch

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Laos to the right of the river Cambodia to the left


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Back off on the trails, a view obstacles here and there
 

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KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
More obstacles


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Laotian farm house near the border


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Beautiful young girl with Cambodian looks near the border

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Snapped clutch cable, once again Steve to the rescue making a jury rig out of a throttle cable

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Then some more great trail riding poking around the Cambo border'

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
A Laos lady at the Lao/Cambo border with a great smile chatting with Don


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Checking the depths before riding

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We decide to spend the night on Kong Island, here the first of what was to be many water crossings

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2nd ferry to get to Kong island was in the pitch black
 

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KTMphil

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Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Kong Island - we stayed at the Don Kong GH 100,000 kip


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Here we bumped into 2, German guys, a German lady & a swiss guy all riding around the world on motorcycles. Funny enough 3 of them were electricians and had been sitting around for a few days bored waiting for an injury to heal and were delighted to look at my electric start issue.


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They even modified the loose spring on my rear brake pedal - great guys


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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
One of them is riding a BMW with sidecar!


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View of the river from Kong Island

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Sugar Can juice and ice on the way to the next river crossing

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Then onto the next boat

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Pounce

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Perth
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'12 KTM 690R & '09 KTM 450EXC
Wow!
That's what it's all about.
Great story so far Phil.
 

Ally

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PCX - with custom valve caps
Fabulous - Well done all 3 of you. Great pictures.

Ally
 

KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Some of the best photo's to come --give me a few hours - still recovering from the 1,250km drive back to Chiang Mai... :kat
 

Captain_Slash

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BMW 310GS Honda Wave 125 Honda MSX 125
Well it certainly looks like you had a fantastic time Phil and yes some really good photos too
 

LivinLOS

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Gas Gas 250 (Trials), YZ250 (enduro), DRZ440 (Supermoto) CBR900 Streetfighter (scary !!)
Sure looks like you enjoyed southern Laos more than we did.. Found the south very plain after the northern mountains..

Probably our own fault for trying to cover too much distance down the R13 in too short a time.. Jonesing for the bars in Cambo.
 

KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Quick stop at the KP waterfall near the Cambo border for a Kodak moment - We estimated the drop to be about 5 meters

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Then south to check out the new Nongnokkhien international border crossing


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The new Laos checkpoint almost finished


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The old existing checkpoint administration office

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Another border checkpoint slightly around to the west

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Laos temple

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Pumping water in a small village
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We found a remote track that took us straight to the Laos Cambo border line. Across the stream ahead was Cambodia! Often there are Soldiers stationed in huts sleeping in hammocks around locations like this so we didn't want to push our luck going across without immigration visa's

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More water crossings

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Laos children having fun below

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A quick 85km jaunt back north up R 13 S ready for tomorrow's trail riding eastwards that would join up with R 18 that runs east-west in southern laos towards Attapeu - this is roughly 40km south of Pakse on R 13 S

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KTMphil

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We managed to find the Sabaichai GH - 70,000 kip with aircon in this town

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Interesting the locals get their beer Laos poured into a plastic bag so they don't have to pay for the bottle deposit (the bottle in the photo is mine)

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Ancient fort on the way east in southern Laos

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Elephants out of the Kingfisher Eco Lodge

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
More water crossings


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The next water crossing was tricky to say the least cavernous rocky areas, time to pay attention to how the local iron buffalo's got across

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Steve watching the IB's tracks


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Look at the angle from the uneven bottom

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Steve memorizing the IB's tracks ready to give it a shot

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Looking good - no cerevisiaes hit

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
MM carefully walking across -surveying with his electronics

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I had gone across - got stuck in a deep part and drowned the bike, so we had to deal with that once MM was across



MM - being smart deciding to pay for the boat (I wish I had)

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More water crossings

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My bike died againg --even towing it, it would run then die...We were about to take the carb apart, then Steve said "I wonder". He poked the weep hole in the cyl. head casting for the spart plug recess clear with a wire tie - shit loads of water came out, we pressed the start button and it fired up first time!! You can't beat experience.


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KTMphil

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Steve surveying another water crossing

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The IB had no problems

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Laos farm house on the trail


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Getting ready for the next river crossing


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MM giving some route advice ----maybe they'll buy a GPS map?


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The locals KNOW we'll need assistance, they gather in about 3 minutes


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First helping the IB get across


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With it being so deep the wooden trailer of the IB starts to float down stream in the current


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Steve goes across on the safety line - this should give you an idea of the depth!


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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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The locals ask for 100,000 kip a bike, we offer 50,000 kip & end up settling at 70,000 kip a bike. Here MM's XR 400R being lifted across


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MY DRZ 400 coming across


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80% of the swampy areas on the route had a detour around which was a godsend

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KTMphil

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Steve doing some more surveying at the next water crossing


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Looks like it was a water collection wheel arrangement


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Another really tricky crossing


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Shame we couldn't have used the bamboo walking brige ...huge crevasses on this one


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I gingerly walked my bike across in gear it did konk out 4 meters from the far bank and had to be pushed out, MM had a slip and dropped his.



This meant the XR400 needed to be turned upside down to get the water out

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Then easiest way to get it running again was to tow it

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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
When you get ants in your Arai XD helmet this is the easiest way to get rid of them


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Next water crossing - Steve already on board

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Tried to get a photo of the beautiful Laos girls but they ran off in shyness


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MM coming across

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Next small problem - the nut had come off one of my swing-arm bolts and the swing-arm bolt came out


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Steve manged to hold the bolt in against the frame with a piece of bamboo and some seizing wire.


Another water crossing!


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KTMphil

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Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
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The bathroom had 3 shower heads, after a few beer laos' it was tricky to solve which had the hot water


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The roads in Attapeu were now mostly sealed, Don said this has only been done in the last 2 years and was still and ongoing project

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There's even ATM's there now

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We bumped into the German and Swiss guys again in Attapeu on their touring bikes, they couldn't belive their luck bumping into Don with his immense Laos & trail knowledge


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Bridge across the river in Attapeu

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Fish farms on the river in Attapeu

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KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
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The guy thinks he can repair the thread and manages to do it, a much better solution


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Owner of the machine shop was a bit of a character and a little shy

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A quick trip out to Paam, about 30km NE of Attapeu for a Kodak moment with the Soviet built surface-to-air missile that couls shoot down B52 bombers in the Vietnam war


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Cluster bomb shells used as fence posts

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On the way back from Paam - Steve discovers his rear wheel bearings are shot from all the water crossings and we try find new ones in Attapeu

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No wheel bearings that fit in Attapeu, Steve arranges to have some flown down to Pakse and heads north back there with me. Getting fuel from a pump-up on R 11

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Great scenery on R11


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In Sexong trying to solve the wheel bearing logistics

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KTMphil

Senior member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Re-packing the rear bearings with grease 1/2 way to Pakse - a Laos lady most interested


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This is a huge coffee growing region - here drying the coffee beans in the sun

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A huge new coffee processing plant being built just south of Pakse

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Coffee beans drying

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