The Kawasaki KMX 200 before being prepped for possibly it’s last ride if it broke down in the jungles of Cambodia or Thailand, could not be repaired and had to be abandoned.
BAR FINED IN THE FIRST JUNGLE – Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Cult Bike “No Stranger To Danger Expedition” was sexed on Loi Kroh Street, brought to a short time sputtering stop.
On the eve of the planned departure the prepped Kawasaki KMX 200 was on a shakedown ride. A stop at BTS 2000 Travel office had the lady “Big Boss Boong” looking at the motorcycle and describing it as “sexy.” That was a new twist, a new description. To verify the description the bike was later parked on Loi Kroh where a flock of night doves swarmed around it.
I asked one of the professionals surrounding it if she thought it was sexy. Her name was Pee. She answered, “Yes, sexy, very sexy. You handsome man. Where you from? What your name?”
I answered, “My motorcycle is from Japan, the only one in Thailand. Me, I am from an Indian reservation in Montana, the only Big Indian Boom-Boom in Thailand. Do you want to go for a ride?”
She laughed, then answered, “I work now, you pay my bar fine?”
Laughing, I replied, “I no pay your bar fine. You pay bar fine for me.”
The whole covey of doves were now laughing. I saw that Pee was confused though. I tried to help her understand what I was proposing. I explained the Kawasaki KMX 200 was known as the “Cult Bike” around the town of Chiang Mai and to members of the inner circle of motorcycle reprobates riding out of the Bat Cave operated by Wrong Way Rob. I told her it had been meticulously prepared over the previous month for a long and arduous expedition into the jungles along the Thai and Cambodia borders. I carefully explained that if she wanted to go for a short time ride for a little fun, she would have to pay for the pleasure, starting with 400 Baht ($25.00 USD) for taking the Cult Bike out, the same as the bar fine would be to take her out of the bar for a short time. I tried to help her understand that like her rice canoe, there were only so many times or kilometers the unit could be used before it became worn out, that prepared as it was, it was now in its prime.
The rice canoe analogy she understood like all working professionals understand the letters A, T, and M. A deal was finally negotiated and the Cult Bike had the first of its many adventures, although it was more like a warm-up lap rather than a real race. As the Cult Bike was ridden out of the urban concrete jungle of Loi Kroh, it was followed by jealous cries from the tittering birds left behind.
The Expedition had started but a few hours later the 17 horsepower, high revolution engine sputtered and stopped, nearly out of gas. The Kawi, Pee and me were almost completely spent. Switching to stored power, a Reserve, we slowly came back to life. Limping to Loi Kroh and arriving at closing time the crowd cheered even though they could tell there was very little power and we were on the last dribbles of reserve. Good-byes were said and the 6:00 AM departure time next morning was rescheduled for several hours later.
ATTACKED IN THE NIGHT – Thailand Jungle
The first hours of riding next morning were uneventful, giving me time to reflect on the send-off I had received the night before. Fully loaded, the Kawasaki was happy at 90 kph, ripping along at 6,000-7,000 rpm. Every 80 k’s I would have to start looking for petrol because of the small gas tank but it would give me a nice break about once an hour. With six gears I was able to maintain my speed up hills and if I wanted to pass a truck or slower moving vehicle I could kick it down a cog and zip around. The 200-cc engine was performing flawlessly.
This photo was taken at the first gas stop out of Chiang Mai. The Cult Bike and I would be on the road for at least the next three weeks. While neither it or I were new, in the luggage I carried what I planned to need traveling solo, without the benefit of a chase truck, mechanic or Kawasaki repair shop for the nearly 4,000 kilometers. I also had a pretty good stash of medical supplies knowing that in Cambodia hospitals are where people go to die, not get repaired.
Forty kilometers after a 7/11 lunch and gas stop my gut started to rumble. My personal exhaust chute chugged and I knew things needed to be gotten rid of before I could reach the next pit stop. A tentative eruption from my bottom end caused me to pull off the road, barely get the side stand down and run for the bushes.
I heard the Kawasaki fall over as I ran away but bowels moving were more important to me than turning around and picking it up. As I dashed into the bush I was pulling off my gloves, helmet, and trying to get out of my riding armor and my suspenders down. The twitches of my sphincter were seconds apart as I stumbled behind a tree, dropped my pants and squatted. I let go with a blast and groaned with relief. Then I felt something moving under my right boot. Wondering WTF? I looked down and saw my foot was on top of a snake that was withering, trying to get out from under my boot. I had pushed its head into the soft jungle. In my rush to get my colon cleared I had squatted before looking and now saw one meter of very mad Siamese or King Cobra inches from my exposed baby soft back end.
A bite from one of these snakes can kill an elephant. I thought about doing the tough-guy thing, like slowing lifting my foot, grabbing the cobra behind the head and throwing it as far as I could. I chose to do the other manly thing: I screamed as I jumped up and forward as far as I could. There was nothing pretty about my get-away. When I landed it was head first and my pants were still below my knees. Rolling and thrashing two or three times I got as far away as I could before worrying about what might make me a eunuch or using toilet paper. I stood, pulled my pants up and hustled back to the downed motorcycle, not looking back to see where Mr. Snake was, just wanting to be out of the jungle, his turf, and back on the pavement, my turf.
After using a hand full of cleansing wipes I got myself sanitized, then dressed. Picking up the motorcycle was my next chore. When I did I noticed there was no return spring pressure against the throttle. The plastic coupling to the carburetor and the oil injector had been jammed against the expansion chamber and melted. I was screwed.
It was nearly dark when I started to work on trying to make something to connect the cables. Darkness fell and I tried working while using my flashlight, but nothing I cobbled together would work. Depressed, with no water and a pissed off snake somewhere nearby, I decided to push the bike to an abandoned sala (bamboo rest stop/ shop area) across the road and sleep there for the night, try to think through a fix for the cable and deal with it at first light. At least I would be off the ground a foot or two, hopefully above all animals that slithered.
I slept in my clothes, wearing my helmet and gloves. It was cool where I was, somewhere above Phitsanulok. Sleep was fitful because I kept thinking about Mr./Mrs./Miss Pissed-off Cobra and whether they would cross the road looking for me or if it had friends on my side. Several times I heard animals moving through the bushes but when I turned on my flashlight I could see nothing and things would quiet down.
Around 2:00 AM I awoke when I heard the motorcycle fall over. Sitting up I turned on the light and saw 10-15 pair of eyes looking at me from near the motorcycle. It had been pushed over by a group of monkeys, white-handed gibbons. They were trying to tear open the tank bag where I had left some uneaten cookies and chips that I had planned to eat for breakfast.
I started to yell and run at the monkeys. They scattered, and then as I got closer to the motorcycle they started to circle me. I kicked at them, and they tried to grab me, hissing and yapping. Next we were in a pitched battle, them ducking in and out of my reach and me trying to kick them. They were quick little bastards, darting in and out, sometimes yanking at parts on the motorcycle, sometimes snatching at my pants. I finally connected with one of the slower ones and booted it about 10 meters away. As it flew, then landed it howled and screeched but stayed where it landed. The others backed away. I started to run at them and yell. It was a standoff. Finally they group melted into the bush and I was alone.
The motorcycle had suffered some damage. The windscreen was cracked and the gas line had been ripped off and was missing. In the morning I would use the breather hose off the battery to replace the missing gas line, glue the crack in the windscreen, and fashion a connector for the throttle cable out of a piece of a soda can. I was back on the road by 8:00 AM, but it had been an ugly 15 hours at that toilet stop. As I rode I remembered what Prince Charles once said when asked what he had learned in his many travels, “ Always use a toilet when you see one.” Had I done that at my last gas stop I would have never met Mr./Mrs./Miss Pissed-off Cobra and its friends, the Nasty Monkey Clan.
TIGER, HEINEKEN AND THE UGLY ROAD AHEAD
The Cult Bike was happily knocking down morning kilometers on Route 12 through The Thung Salaeng Luang National Park over the mountains when a tiger ran out of the jungle. It raced along the road parallel to me on my left side, then suddenly hooked a right and nearly ran into the motorcycle! As quickly as it had run out of the woods it zagged as I zigged the motorcycle. I think each of us surprised the other, and then it ran back into the woods, or lumbered. For a large animal it was surprisingly nimble. Seeing a Siberian Tiger that big, in the wilds of the Thai mountains, gave me thoughts of “ it is time to stop and give a little baht at the next temple,” or “make merit” as the Thais say. My guess was the beast weighed at least 100 kilograms.
After that morning surprise the day was pretty boring. Every 80-100 kilometers I would stop, tank up and use the toilet. After four tanks of petrol I would unstrap my bags, pull off the seat and top off the oil tank for the two-stroke oil. My meals were 7/11 specials, whatever I could grab that was quick and filling at the pit stops.
A temple I stopped at to make my merit had two monks looking at the motorcycle intently when I came out. One spoke excellent English and was interested in my Expedition. We chatted for five-ten minutes. When I started to go he asked if I had any spare stickers like the ones on my windscreen. As I dug through my tank bag all I could find were a couple Motorcycle Sexpedition ones. I passed over them but as I did he saw them and said, “Can I have one of those?”
I hesitated, knowing some person might think there might be an out-of-balance-with-Buddha-cosmic repercussion if I gave the nice monk what he wanted. I asked, “ Are you sure you want one like this? “
He laughed, then answered, “I’m only doing my monk time for a month. When I get back to Bangkok I want to put a sticker on both my bikes.” I gave him two and saw him smiling a mile wide as I rode away. I was thinking, “Sure, Buddha was serious, but he must have also had a sense of humor, teaching followers not to look at the totality of life as all seriousness, that part of life included humor and fun.”
The Motorcycle Sexpedition sticker on the front of my motorcycle has also been seen on Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, BMW, and Indian motorcycles around the world. I have not seen one yet on a Harley-Davidson but that might be because they vibrate off. Above the sticker is the Cloaking Device. See below for more on how it works.
A text mail at my next stop from a fellow traveler on a 2005 BMW R1200 GS motorcycle suggested cold beer, a guesthouse and air con at the Thai/Cambodia border. He had just finished tagging every province in Thailand and was headed to Cambodia. I had Heineken on my mind. The suggestion of a beer, bed, shower and air conditioned room after my experience the night before with the monkeys and sleeping on bamboo slats in my clothes was like offering a shot of vodka to a repeat AA enrollee on the second day in his sixth 28-day program. My Beemer buddy texted he would find a guesthouse and save a beer for me if I could make it in by dark. I do not ride after dark but calculated if I had no break downs and kept at my splash-dash-toilet pace I could get there before the sun set.
I had been having a problem with the gear shifter. Over the years abusers of the lever, the guys that like to lift their foot and jamb it down into first, had stripped nearly all the teeth off the lever, the shift shaft being the stronger of the two when bolted on. I would have to break out my tool kit once or twice a day and to tighten the pinch bolt enough to keep it from the lever from slipping on the shaft when I shifted or I could not move from one gear to another. It was a nasty, dirty, hot repair that made a cold Heineken with a shower and air con the focus of my riding day.
Arriving in town at dusk I stopped at a petrol station to top off the tank, not wanting to have to waste time doing it in the morning. As I tried to leave the shift lever slipped again. While the sun set and street lights came on I was laying on my back getting my hands dirty with chain lube, trying to tighten the nearly stripped bolt in the lever. My mood was black, and I thought I could smell fecal matter on or in my riding pants. As I tried to locate the unsavory wafting I happily discovered it was soi dog droppings I had parked the bike on when I rolled it away from the pumps to work on it.
I became frustrated at having to get down and dirty at every gas stop. I started to carry the tools I needed to do the bolt tightening in my tank bag instead of my stored tool kit. That decision had a downside when they rattled enough against one of my cameras to crack the lens, making a near dark day foul-mood black. (Photo by Barry Prom).
Carefully shifting gears through town, trying to stay in second, I found the guesthouse and the Beemer rider, Barry BBQ. He must have had some premonition of my high stress level because he had booked me a room, paid for it, then gone inside and turned on the air conditioner. He had also made a serious dent in the cold Heinenken supply, eaten dinner, and made friends with the owner and her pretty daughter.
I showered and while doing so washed some brown stuff out of the inside of my riding pants. Then I met him in the restaurant and helped him celebrate his being the first rider we knew who had ridden to all of the provinces in Thailand. Over beers we made plans to cross the border early in the morning. He wanted to join me on my Expedition and help with the research I was doing at the same time on the Sexpedition project.
When he asked how the Cult Bike was performing I extolled its agility to duck oncoming trucks and the Cloaking Device I had installed before leaving. I told him that as long as I had the device turned on he and I would be OK if he stayed close enough to my Kawasaki, that his Beemer would probably make it over the 50 kilometers of ugly road ahead after we crossed the border. I implied it had a range like WIFI, maybe a little less. He was intrigued because as a proud BMW motorcycle spender he had installed about every electronic device he could purchase on his motorcycle but had missed buying the secret Cloaking Device because he did not know about it.
As I stumbled into my room two-to-six Heinekens later I saw him fingering the mysterious device on the front of my Kawasaki headlight pod. I told him, “Hey, keep your fingers off that, it’s a sensitive unit.”
“So’s mine,” he answered, “but I keep mine hidden.”
I replied, “I don’t go fingering yours, so quit playing with mine.”
As I fell asleep I had a lingering thought that maybe his touching my unit might have taken some of my mojo, my Cult Bikes good joss, our Ying and Yang, and drained it to him and his BMW. That would be like some other non-Kawasaki owners I had met, jealous of the Cult Bike and our capabilities. We would see in the morning. The test would be getting into Cambodia, then down 50 kilometers of ugly washboard and pot-holed road while ducking oncoming cars, trucks and buses, and finally winding our way through the madness of Phnom Penh traffic and to walk about 100 meters from our hotel for a tiger, this one a beer and not one of the four-legged ones like I had nearly run into me that morning. What I had not considered as my brain shut down were the two-legged dears that come out at night and would be hunting my sexy bike and me after dark that night as we started for the Walk About Bar.
MOTORCYCLE SEXPEDITION – ABSOLUTE RIDING In Cambodia
Paper is the scourge of border crossings around the world. It is great to have a wad of it when you need to use one of the Immigration toilets but at pain in the ass to collect and pay for if exiting and entering many countries with a motor vehicle or just yourself.
The exit out of Thailand was eased for me by my having the Cloaking Device on the Cult Bike turned “On.” BBQ went with the “Dangling Buddha, Gold King and Wooden Penis” option, wearing a chain around his neck adorned with amulets and talisman, including a small carved male sexual image. We were out of Thailand and into Cambodia in 90 minutes.
Barry BBQs BMW paperwork out of Thailand was greased because the computer could find it and him from previous crossings. The Kawasaki Cult Bike gave the computer a bit more of a challenge. While it was Thai legal with plate and Green Book, it was not shown as a Kawasaki model in the computer. After the Customs Agent Inspector came out of his office and inspected it he and the computer decided it was a 1999 model and valued it at 200,000 baht or nearly $5,000.00 USD.
A month before I had been offering to sell the Kawasaki, with papers, to some Cheap Charlie’s for 50,000 baht or about $1,250.00 USD. Smart buyers of used motorcycles in Thailand knew the Green Book alone was worth 40,000-50,000 baht. The Cult Bike status to motorcycle collectors added even more value, and now with official paperwork in hand I saw the 200,000 figure. I realized I had wasted a lot of time trying to educate Cheap Charlie’s about the deal they were being offered to own the Cult Bike.
I began pacing myself as soon as we left the border, knowing that the next 15-18 hours could be dirty and arduous. I was also trying to pace the BMW GS knowing that if it raced to Phnom Penh at its full potential it might be spent before the time needed for our research.
The Cult Bike Expedition had been designed to research and debunk some rumors spread by numerous motorcycle owners in conjunction with a follow-up book I have been working on for some time to a first book titled MOTORCYCLE S** or FREUD WOULD NEVER UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ME AND MY MOTORCYCLE (First edition 1994). The book was a spoof on Freud and Freudian psychologists. Readers complained they wanted to read more about motorcycles and the three-letter word that started with “S” and ended with “X.” My publisher felt there was a market in the subject, so I have been gathering fodder for the best seller as I traveled by motorcycle around the world.
When offered a chance to join the current field research team on the Cult Bike Expedition some purported experts on the subject from a Thai based motorcycle group called the GT Riders came up with wildly creative reasons as to why they could not. Some of the excuses were: 1) I need to ride to Laos to look at some elephants, 2) I have got to go to a wedding, 3) I will be doing similar research on my own in the Muslim world, 4) I have got to get my motorcycle painted at that time, and 5) I think I have got to cigar smoke while selling my boat in Phuket. The most forthright excuse was “My wife would castrate me before I went.” Probably the motorcyclist with the best reasonable excuse was the one who said he would be there, helping to the degree he could, but had to be mindfully limited in advice and associate status because his lady friend would be joining him for a ride to tourist to the temples in the north of Cambodia.
With gasoline breath (from having to suck some petrol to wash parts) and body parts covered in mud, dust and diesel, Barry BBQ and I managed to arrive at the Flamingos Hotel and not get assigned the room where the previous manager (Frank) died. We knew some interviewees are highly superstitious and would not enter this room if we used it for interviews.
The famous Flamingos Hotel in Phnom Penh, the short-time home to hardened motorcycle travelers and hard punters. One of my research findings at this hotel was this was not where solo women travelers should stay, nor where married men or men with girl friends should bring their partners.
Our research began with happy hour in the hotel lobby while we mapped out the 100 meters to our first research station, then we were sucked into the vortex of Walk About after dark. Barry BBQ liked massages and was looking for a specialist for his BMW road weary muscles. Me, monk-like as I am, I began looking to strike up conversational intercourse with a friendly local about where I could get my lever fixed.
We had chosen Chinese New Year for our arrival. That was a mistake. The professionals we wanted to interview were mostly back in their villages, shops were closed and nearly all of the punters we had planned to rely upon for advice and information were too drunk or burned out to know much more than where to buy erectile enhancing drugs and cheap swill.
Personally I wanted to research a claim about a former girlfriend who, while in a committed relationship with me, reportedly gave a dose of the white drippy stuff to a Phnom Penh local bike guy some years earlier as she passed through town on her own ride while I was riding in Africa. He had either died or left town because all I could find out was “Oh yeah, we remember her.”
I also needed to spend time on my slippery lever, that eight-inch unit that helps me increase and decrease speed when riding. An afternoon of poking around town got the flopping thing tightened up for a most reasonable price, welded solid for less than a box of VeeTabs (India copies of Viagra for 1/10th the price).
After four nights in Phnom Penh, Barry BBQ and I had had enough. We decided to move on to Snookyville (Sihanoukville) to try some riding out of there. It was an easy day of driving our bikes. I kept the Cult Bike in the 90-100 kph range, helping Barry BBQ maintain his smoking habit by letting him stop every 80 kilometers for a cigarette while I made friends with the local petrol girls who pumped the gas at the gas stops. I was also saving Barry BBQ big money because at my speed he was getting nearly twice the mileage he had been running fast enough to use his top gear, the gear the Germans designed for autobahn driving, not the roads of 98% of the rest of the world.
Gas was sold by the liter out of 1, 1 & ½, or 2-liter soda bottles. I would tell the girl attendant how many liters I wanted. She would put a funnel in my gas tank, stretch a used tee-shirt or cloth over the top for a filter and pour in the number of liters I wanted. I could pay in US dollars, Thai baht or Cambodian money. Some times the gas would be hand pumped out of 50-gallon drums through a plastic hose into my tank. If I ordered eight liters and the tank would only need seven I would have to watch the pumping carefully or the last liter would be pumped in anyway and overflow onto the engine and the ground.
In Snookyville I needed to take time to top off the Cult Bike liquids and enter my research findings in my journal. At the Oceans Hotel where we stayed I found a Bible in my room, so felt a night of reading was needed to clear my mind of the horrors I had encountered in Phnom Penh. Barry BBQ, younger and spunkier, soldiered on with the field research while I stayed in my room, reading and postulating.
One night of Snookyness research or “Snooky-No-Looky-So-Good-Ville” and Barry BBQ and I voted 2-0 to “blow this town.” I voted for the gentle four-hour ferryboat trip to Koh Kong, needing the peaceful time aboard to meditate and reflect on the doves I had interviewed. Barry BBQ wanted to spend six hours riding over some of the same road we had already covered, then some under construction he had researched and concluded was “BMW 1200 GS dual-sport adventure bike” doable. I flipped my vote from R & R to take his option, knowing that if his Bavarian behemoth had any problems on his route choice he might need the Cult Bike to tow him into Thailand. As we left the hotel I was so lost in my reflections on my research findings and what we might find at our next destination of Pattaya I forgot to turn on the Cloaking Device to keep danger from finding us.
Barry BBQ enjoying an afternoon of fun riding before bad joss hit both of us.
The Cult Bike threw the drive chain by shaking loose the master link and also ate my registration plate after 10 kilometers of bonner-numbing, washboard-hammering on a new construction section of road. A half hour of roadside repairs using my spare master link and Barry BBQ excitedly using his Leatherman knife to whack-off my bent rear mud guard got us moving again.
Then the rain started, not on us, but on the bull dust in the new construction sections ahead. The bull dust became foot-deep brown spunk. Bulldozers were pulling cars and trucks up the hills. Barry BBQ was using his size 13 boots for outriggers to keep the Bavarian bulk upright and pointed uphill. His cigarette smoking, in-depth nocturnal sexpedition research and Anchor consumption could not overcome 350 kilos of German plastic and metal wanting to lay down like a pig in the mud one time. He’d made a valiant attempt to keep it from wallowing but my good karma on the Cult Bike was too far ahead of him and the Cloaking Device was “Off.”
We spent another half hour getting to the top of the KY Jelly-like hill, me carrying his broken saddle bag filled with something inside heavy as rocks, muttering “ferryboat, God told me last night when I was reading about Noah there is a reason for ferryboats.” Barry BBQ followed, using all of his off-road riding skills to muscle his dual-sport motorcycle sideways up the hill, trying to wipe his personal hard drive clean of those fraudulent photos created for BMW advertising pictures in motorcycle magazines about their off-pavement capabilities.
Notice the mud on the backside of Mr. BMW BBQ. Also note the saddlebag sitting on the ground by his helmet.
The Cult Bike did better in the mud than did the BMW GS. The $20.00 USD knobby tires I had chosen to make the trip were better than the $250.00 USD German ones on the BMW... until they packed up with mud. Then the front tire wanted to 'ski' instead of bite through the red snot.
Later, as we used the hotel garden hose to wash our riding gear off, we laughed at ourselves. I kept muttering “ferryboat, we should have taken the ferryboat, God came to me last night, pointed me right at the section in the Bible about the boat and I did not listen,” while Barry BBQ was saying, “I think I am going to hurt tomorrow.” We both knew we could have spent the day looking at elephants in Laos, or watching our bikes get painted back in Chiang Mai. Instead, we had had an absolutely tough riding day, beating up ourselves and our motorcycles. We were in no shape for research that night, other than to see how long cold beer would last in the small restaurant at the guesthouse. As for the sexpedition part of our day, I had bagged another day on the Cult Bike Expedition and both Barry BBQ and I had been f***** by the road.
RING JOB IN THE LAND OF SMILES – Back to Thailand
“Ring-ring-ring-ring-ring-ring” at 9,000 rpm, then “SCRUNCH!” Like an old farang (Western male tourist) experiencing coitus stop-us while mixing heart pills, Viagra, Mekong Whiskey and Chang beer with a 20-year old spinner on top, the Cult Bike’s heart stopped. The piston seized at 100 kph.
The fix-job I had done on the carburetor and oil feed cable in the jungle days before had come loose and the oil was not mixing with the gas. That is OK in a four stroke engine, but was death to my two stroke pumper.
My Zen could have been worse. The heart attack had happened 25 kilometers from Pattaya where Barry BBQ and I had booked rooms for the night. A friendly pick-up truck owner and his wife were happy to help me hump the Cult Bike into the back of their truck, carry us into town and drop us at the hotel.
The Cult Bike gets a little rest the last kilometers into Pattaya.
I felt a bit like a Harley-Davidson owner, my bike being in the back of a pick-up truck. But in my case it was more like a triumphant success parade after a long ride because I was sitting on the Cult Bike, keeping it from falling over. As we passed buses filled with tourists, truck drivers and cars of curious onlookers they would wave and I would wave back. We arrived at the hotel just as Barry BBQ drove his bike into the parking lot, almost exactly at our proposed ETA of 17:00. As he unpacked his BMW, alone and unattended, I had a crowd made up of motorbike taxi drivers, my pick-up driver and his wife, and three or four bar girls helping me unload mine, all yak-yaking in Thai. Everyone laughed as I showed them how the piston stopped going up and down by using my index finger on one hand poking in and out through my circled thumb and index finger on the other hand. It was like a small party, a “Welcome Home! Job Well Done!” celebration.
Of all the places I had been stranded with broken motorcycles on the globe, one could say it could have been worse this time. On the flip side, I think the only place better would have been at the Kawasaki factory in Bangkok as the doors opened on Monday morning. Instead, I was broken down in what my Quaker relatives would surely call Hades. Those Quakers would probably think downtown Mexico City or Cairo would be better, but they had not been sleeping in jungles the last two weeks, attached by rabid monkeys, nearly run over by a tiger, hunted by two-legged dears or run off the road by numerous truck/bus/car drivers.
As I tried to get over my depression of being stranded with a broken bike by strolling down Walking Street I concluded the Pattaya-Hades was similarly hot and humid, almost torrid, but far better than Cairo or Mexico City. After looking into several oasis’s on the Walking Street I decided the Cult Bike had stopped me in Pattaya for a reason: I needed to research this town, make a long, arduous and deep comparative analysis between it and Salt Lake City, Utah; Omaha, Nebraska; Delhi, India; Newark, New Jersey; and my home town of Yellowtail, Montana.
Barry BBQ, like a good wingman, stayed to help me suffer through my funk. He found a quiet place near our hotel where I could seek solace for 50 baht ($1.30USD) an order. At 50 baht a cup he knew that I, as one of the three founding member of the North Thai Tea Drinking Society, one of the Drink Kings, could be consoled in this kind of setting.
The above logo is that of the North Thai Tea Drinking Society, a secret motorcycle society. The members do not drink much tea, if any.
Barry BBQ also knew that I needed to get my mind off the damaged melted rings, so started me thinking about a ring job. As I sat that first night, watching a live lesbian and body painting show, I could not get the horrors out of my mind. I knew I was in serious need of a ring job. I finally caved in into my needs and started asking around the bar if anyone knew where I could find someone one to do a ring job for me.
Thankfully Barry BBQ spoke some Thai and the boss lady spoke some English. For what I would have to pay 100’s of dollars for back in the United States I was able to get my ring job done for far less in Pattaya. I got things up and running most efficiently and professionally at Wat Service, 20/123 Soi 17, a service I can highly recommend. On the down side, to get the full service I needed it was going to take more than a couple of days.
Barry BBQ had to leave me getting my ring job and head for Chiang Mai. He had received notice that water was running out from under the locked door of his condo. As we stood in the hotel parking lot while he packed his BMW, I asked him how he was fixed for grays (1,000 baht notes), sensing the possibility that my ring job and the time needed for the associated work and research might leave me well spent before I could get out of town. Barry BBQ told me he had a few grays left, then said, “Dr. G, you’re a good GT Rider buddy, but remember what I wrote about money and people who borrow money on my blog (www.barrybbq.blogspot.com/2007/02/money.html) or did you forget already?”
Shamed lower than truck flattened dog dung, I bent my head and looked down at my motorcycle boots. As I stared at them I remembered I had a couple hundred dollars hidden in the lining, my emergency stash. Life began looking up. While Barry BBQ was leaving me broken on the beach, Wrong Way Rob and his brother Cigar Man Mark were coming into town, and Joe was already there. All three are entertaining guys of tastes for delights that run from carnal to cigars with motorcycles being the glue holding us together.
The No Stranger To Danger Ride had been a successful research project. As I monkishly shuffled back to the oasis Barry BBQ had found for me, the Oasis Go-Go, I reflected on the last weeks of being bar fined, nearly knocked off the Cult Bike by a tiger, in a fight with a gang of small gorillas, attacked by several flocks of doves, and here I was finishing up with a first for me, an extended ring job in Pattaya.
The Cult Bike and I would soon be united and back on the road again. We would be doing more research for my new book, MOTORCYCLE SEXPEDITIONS – ABSOLUTE RIDING. Maybe the Cult Bike and I might even find a couple of adventuresome volunteer researchers along the way that do not prefer to look at elephants, paint their motorcycle, go to weddings or sail boats.
(Photo by Barry Prom)
July 27, 2000, Going Out Again - 'Round The World
October 4, 2000, Why Another Long Ride, The Plan, and Mr. Fish
October 10, 2000, the beginning, in America on an Indian
November 6, 2000, AMAZONAS-Tamed By Beasts in Brazil
November 22, 2000, Monster Cow, Wolpertinger and Autobahn Crawling Across Europe
December 22, 2000, Enfield 500 Bullet, India Motorcycle Dementia, Ozoned Harley-Davidsons and Gold Wings
December 25, 2000, Yeti on a Harley-Davidson, Nepal By Enfield, No Carnet Sexpedition
January 1, 2001, Haunting Yeti
January 25, 2001, Monkey Soccer, Asian Feet, Air 'em Up: Bhutan and Sikkim
February 12, 2001, Midgets, Carnetless, Steve McQueen on Enfield, Bangladesh
February 20, 2001, Higgledypiggledy, Salacity, and Zymurgy - India
March 20, 2001, Road warriors, sand, oil leaks - meditating out of India
April 8, 2001, Bike Cops, Elephants, and Same-Same - Thailand
May 1, 2001, Little Bikes, Millions of Bikes, Island Riding - Taiwan
May 15, 2001, Harley-Davidson, Mother Road and Super Slabs - America
June 8 , 2001, Crossing The Crazy Woman With A Harley-Davidson, Indian, BMW, Amazonas, Enfield, Hartford, SYM, Honda
January 1, 2002, Donged, Bonged, and Gonged - Burma
January 20, 2002, Secrets of The Golden Triangle - Thailand
March 31, 2002, Bear Wakes, Aims Green Machine Around The World
April 10, 2002, Moto Cuba - Crashes, Customs and El Jefe (Fidel)
May 20, 2002, Europe and The Roads South to Africa
June 10, 2002, Morocco Motorcycling, Thieves and Good Roads
July 30, 2002, Russia – Hard and Soft, By Motorcycle
August 30, 2002, USA – American Roadkill, Shipping Bikes and BIG DOGS
September 30, 2002, Good Times Roll Home, Riding With Clothes On, Team Green - USA
November, 2002, Mexico By Motorcycle - Gringos, Little Norman Bad Cock, and Bandits
March 2003, Laos by motorcycle - Guerrillas, Mekong Beering, and Plain of Coffins
July, 2003, Alaska by motorcycle – Deadhorse, Fish Story and Alaskan Bush
January 2004, Angkor, Bombed Out Roads and Dog Eaters - Cambodia
April, 2004, Minsking, Uncle Ho and Snake Wine
August 2004, Around The World Again, 1st Tag Deadhorse
February 2005, Colombia To The End Of The Earth - South America
January 2006, My Marriage, Long Strange Ride, Montana Nights
May 2006, Cherry Girls, Rebels, Crash and Volcano - Philippines
September 2006, Break Bike Mountain Ride – United States
March 2007, Kawasaki Cult Bike “No Stranger To Danger Expedition” - Thailand and Cambodia
November 2007, Lone Wolf Wanders: Bears, Moose, Buffalo, Fish
April 2009, Global Adventure Roaming: Burma through the USA to headhunters on Borneo
February 2010, Adventure Motorcycle Travel: Expedition to Alaska, then Java
May 2013, The World Motorcycle Adventure Continues
Copyright © Dr. Gregory W. Frazier. 1999- All Rights Reserved.
Thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author,
and not necessarily Horizons Unlimited