Nut and I took a couple of day trips to see how the Phantom would work for the coming trip. For our first trip we drove north for about 30 miles to the lovely Mae Rim Valley. We saw elephants in the road, some lovely waterfalls, and beautiful forests. Compared to my time here last year, during the dry season, Thailand is green and lush now. Flowers abound and the air is tinged with delicate fragrances. Below is a view from the road side high above the Mae Rim valley.
We drank some iced coffee near the above spot and as we were gazing down at the view we noticed a lovely floral aroma. There were some tall yellow flowers nearby. They reminded me a bit of sunflowers or huge daisies. Sure enough, that's where the smell was coming from.
On the way back we saw elephants trekking along the roadside. There are tourist spots where you can see elephants working, and even ride one, but I typically avoid such attractions. Still, in Alaska where moose in the road can present a big problem, especially at night in a winter snow storm, imagine running into one of these guys. Just about at this point it started raining. We ran for cover and just in time, found some under a veranda in a small village. The rain came down in buckets but as is typical in the tropics, it was over in about 10 minutes. We left the veranda a bit too quickly and soon caught up with the trailing edge of the squall. We got slightly wet but the water was so warm it was refreshing rather than life threatening as it could have been in Alaska under similar circumstances.
Nut and I at Doi Inthanon
As the sun tried to poke its way through the mist I took a bunch of photos in an effort to get the effect of air and cloud that was so lovely to see with the eye but so difficult to catch with a camera. Below is my best effort. I did a bunch of Photoshopping on this particular shot to bring out the cloud detail but it's close to what I remember seeing.
Below is a road scene from the trip home. Again, because it's just after the rainy season, everything is in bloom -- even trees -- it was mighty fine motorcycling in the shade of the trees that lined the parkway.
Yesterday we took another ride, this one to the west of town, up to Doi Pui. We wanted to visit the Hmong village up there and got lost on a muddy road before finding it. Later I learned that we stopped just short of the Maesa Elephant Camp. Had I known that we might've persevered and driven there but the mud was scary and difficult to ride through. The hills around here are full of coffee plantations and the cup of locally grown Arabica was the best coffee I've had in Thailand so far.
It's getting late and we start out on our 3 or possibly 4-day ride to Udon early tomorrow so I'm just going to load the photos from our visit to Doi Pui. There were some gorgeous flowers and some great food to go along with the colorfully dressed Hmong people. This is a popular tourist destination so we had to pay 10 baht (30 cents) to get into the town's lovely Waterfall Garden.
This little 7-year old girl approached us while we were eating lunch. She was a trip. She was quite a talker and spoke fluent Thai as well as Hmong. She and Nut chatted away while I shot photos of her and her 8 month old brother. Usually she charges 10 baht for a photo (remember, this is a tourist spot) but we gave her a persimmon we had bought for 20 baht and was seemed satisfied with the trade. What a beautiful and smart little girl. I was very impressed.
I have photos of the moo gra~ta scene in Chiang Ma that I wanted to include here but it's late and a certain exotic Asian woman is distracting me so I'll close for now. Catch you later....