Tempted by a recent posting by cm_das, about the tightly packed dirt tracks north west of Samoeng, today I went to my favourite Kaow Ka Moo shop in Samoeng and then headed north.
At the main T junction entering the town, I turned right and headed for Kong Khak Nua.
When I arrived at this T junction, I recognised the road in front of me to be the same road that comes from the market area back in Samoeng. Last time I came along here, I had gone around to the left and therefore up towards Mae Sap. Today I took the fork on this bend in the road to the right.
A really nice view from the road that winds through the Samoeng River valley and although the road at times is shot to pieces, it is a nice ride.
Until that is, I meet this.
The wind is picking up today, here in the valley just north of Kong Khak Nua I am in the middle of a mini tornado and these leaves are being swirled around very fast and non stop, just held there in that spot. The seasons are really changing here now, the heat is on!
I continue up to Ban Pok and at the junction I turn right and towards Pong Krai. This was the temple junction mentioned by cm-das in their post so this next section will be why I came to this area.
This road climbs and climbs above Ban Pok and at the small side track up to the left I venture to see the view from the top & find a water tank receiving water being pumped from the village below.
At this track, the road seriously deteriorates and turns to the promised tightly packed brown dirt. In fact everything up here has a brown colour to it!
This is a fabulous experience for me riding on this track and it is great fun.
My second encounter today with road repairs, this time these folks are laying concrete on the packed soil.
The new surface is still smelling wet when I ride for about a kilometer and come up to this junction, the track returns to the brown stuff.
I carry on straight over the crest and after a while find concrete again, soil again and so on. Brilliant riding.
Like so many places along the journeys I make, I see a spot that is just relaxing and pleasant, demanding a little more time and of course what better place to sit & ponder the best 175baht I have spent in a long while!
This beautiful & tranquil spot currently has a massive population explosion going on. These little fella’s were everywhere and the further I walked, the more I saw. I know that had I trodden on at least a hundred, so I turned back (trod on the squashed ones again !) and stayed clear of their nursery area.
After a break I press on and enjoy the dirt a bit more, pass a song thaew whose driver was itching to speak English and before it reached me, was hanging out of the window shouting “Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai” pointing behind her, bless!
Earlier before Samoeng, a bird hopped briefly onto the road in front of me & I was pleased to have seen it. Now in this forest area, I saw another identical. It’s a White Rumped Sharma and is an excellent songster. This photo is all I could catch of him before he fled.
I was now approaching Pong Khrai and the sky was full of smoke. I found the culprit! I guess they feel they have to do it but it does seem a great shame, impacting so many people.
The road now changes to a good solid surface through Pong Khrai and all the way through to the 1096, the Samoeng Loop road at Pong Yang.
At the 1096, I turn left toward Mae Rim and stop in Pong Yang for a break & stock up on rice cakes & water and then take the next left (no photo ! – What was I thinking ?) up to Nong Hoi.
After the Royal Project on the crest, the road gets a little exciting for a while but then all hopes are dashed as you enter Nong Hoi.
School has just finished for the day and these youngsters have a long hard walk home.
At the view point I could see for ever, on a clear day.
The road winds around the ridge of this mountain and despite being very dusty, it’s not too bad to ride.
At Ban Nong Hoi Mai, the village washing spot is busy.
But then this barrier is across the road just after the village. I think it says no through road but I can’t read Thai and in any case, some bikes came up the mountain towards me saying it was ok.
I could see why the barrier was there ! So this is the 3rd road construction operation I have encountered today. This outfit are doing it very professionally, this lorry was delivering it’s load and I passed another couple further on my journey en-route.
Eventually this very loose, downhill gravel track opens out onto tarmac at Mae Khi where I turn right.
This road has some character. Mainly, that ever corner is a disaster area with many pot holes, some filled with soil and therefore a fine covering of loose on the good surface!
And then when I reach Tad Mork Falls, I encounter the 4th road repair operation.
After wondering what date it is, had I been here before and thinking “why me?” I press on and eventually reach the 1096 for the second this afternoon and again I turn left.
How could I pass the X-Centre without popping in for a coffee & a chat with Ian.
I found Ian cleaning his bike after his record breaking ride home from his trip south and also his young apprentices getting to grips with the machinery!
Sean then arrived on his new baby, just hours old, a black ER6n. A fine looking bike.