The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/186151429 (116km: total 5067km)
The chat: An unremarkable day all told, though we did cross the 5000km milestone sweeping through the jungle forests en route to Mai Malai. What should have been a leisurely ride – Mai Malai really has nothing to offer the tourist, save its strategic location as the junction town before the climb to (in)famous Pai starts – was a little pressured as we had to detour to Jacky’s Bikes in Chiang Mai. We had almost worn through our spare disc-brake pads on the wet and steep downhill from Mae Salong, and needed replacements for the famously tortuous Mae Hong Son loop we were embarking on the next day.We hoped we could sweeten this 70km errand by dropping off our front panniers, thereby saving us a few kilos for the hills to come.
We checked into the (optimistically named) Mai Malai Mansion and as designated bike expert I (Andrew) jumped on a minibus bound for Chiang Mai. (Fellow bike tourers note there is NOWHERE to stay in the nearby village of Mae Taneg; Mai Malai is a few kms further south (junction of 107/1095) and the MMM is on the right (west) side of the road). Brake pads were duly bought, and after a lot of patient smiling, positive body language and reassurance (no, the bags didn’t contain drugs/bomb making equipment/white rhino tusks) I handed over the panniers to a still suspicious shop manager for safe keeping.
Dinner was taken street-side, but none the worse for it – thai omlette, pad thai and laap – mmmm.
Sorry folks, no more photos – someone erased them from the memory card…