From Lampang, we headed to Chiang Mai.
Avoiding the main highways, we plotted a course utilizing the secondary roads.
The point of this road trip was not about sightseeing but adventure seeking —- to check out Northwest Thailand.
The point was not to hang around with the crowd of domesticated men and their ball busting wives at the pre-packaged tourist destinations (usually advertised in the in-flight magazine) where the men spend their time making up some lame lie to slip their leash for a few hours in the afternoon to slime down to the local massage parlor for a happy ending.
Watching married couples on vacations makes you wonder about the institution of marriage sometimes.
The point was not to be herded around like sheep by Thai and farang tour guides shilling for a tip and being expertly maneuvered away from danger, trouble, and everything and anything even remotely interesting while being taken to some made up “artificial wonder” where you are expected to be an anonymous voice in the oohing and aahing chorus.
And besides, the main highway is pretty bland. It’s possible to get all the way from Lampang to Ching Mai and subsist solely on KFC and Diet Coke.
We mapped a route that would be on mostly secondary roads and one long stretch on dirt roads running through the mountains.
Better to take “the road less traveled” as Robert Frost would say.
This is approximately where these pictures were taken.
The great thing about a secondary road where a main road exists between the same two points is all commercial and through traffic is on the main road.
Besides the locals making short trips, the road is mostly deserted.
Combine the lack of traffic with the lack of traffic enforcement and you have enthusiast driving or riding nirvana.
Nowadays, there are manned speed cameras on the highway from Bangkok to Pattaya, but on every other Thai road there is no western style speed enforcement.
Once in awhile, you’ll encounter a road block but in Northeast Thailand none of the road blocks I passed wanted money for bogus made up infractions. Maybe its because the traffic is all locals with few tourists to fleece, but the police and soldiers manning the roadblocks were more concerned with workers coming in from Myanmar and, possibly, drugs and other contraband.
In Los Angeles. motorcycle riders head to the Crest or Mullholland to unwind their sportbikes.
These roads are covered by police looking to hand out tickets and wet blanket the fun—especially on Saturday and Sunday.
Anyone who regularly rides these roads will eventually end up with a wallet full of tickets, a suspended license, and a huge insurance bill.
Put any L.A. sport bike rider on the Thai secondary roads depicted here and tell them that there are no traffic police and no speed enforcement and they’ll cream their pants.
Of course, bending your bike around any of these corners doing anywhere near or over a ton is dangerous as hell but when was it written that the funnest things in the world were safe, sanitized, and pre-packaged?
Category: Into the Heart of Issan Version 2.0