Day 6 of the Cambodia Ruin Raiders – Spice Traders – Single Slayers Expedition…
Big riding day today. 350 kms. Lots of dirt running south to Steung Altai Reservoir. Fun obstacles along the way that seemed to justify riding across balance logs at RawHyde Adventures and the GS Trophy. Hours of standing in the footpegs brappping today. Fortunately the weld job held up and the Baja250 rallied on..
I decided to push for distance at the Chinese hydroelectric plant. Rather than an early afternoon arrival into Koh Kong, I decided to rally on the butter smooth asphalt to Otres Beach near Sihanoukville. 220 kms of smooth rapped out 250cc Honda got me to the beach, beer and swim by sunset. (Otres is striking similar in vibe to Canoa, Ecuador, just way smaller.)
Had fish Amok for the first time last night… incredible. Pietro, from Sardinia, was sitting at a table next to me at dinner. Headphones in, eating in ‘his space’. He made eye contact with me, removed the headphones and proceeded to engage me in a very animated narrative about the special’ness of Otres. He was awesome. Very much insisted on being Sardinian and not Italian. Man his English was terrible and when he didn’t know a word he would just twist up his mouth and shrug like, “eh i don’t know da word… forget about it.” He had me laughing to tears, jumping out of his seat grabbing at his chest, for his heart illustrating the love he has for the local people here. Pietro… rock on dude! Pra Muoy!
Day 5 brings us to the spice growing Cardamom Mountains in Southwest Cambodia. Rumor had it that everything has been paved in process of building a hydroelectric dam. I searched my two paper maps, googlemaps, and maps.me with the idea of finding the smallest road that I could connect through to the village of Pra Muoy past the reservoir to Koh Kong Beach, at the coast.
Romping the harsh roads resulted in breaking the subframe of the Honda Baja and the luggage rack as well. Luckily I noticed it in Pra Muoy before pushing on into the late afternoon and the remotest part of the range.
Fortunately I’d stopped right across from a tiny village moto repair shop. In 30 minutes my bike was unloaded, dismantled, welded, reassembled and loaded again, all for 20,000 Cambodian Riel; $5USD. Rather than push on for Koh Kong, I stayed in the dusty crossroads town and drank beer at a shack on the roundabout while watching kids play in the afternoon sunshine and dust.
As luck would have it, I was slowed down by the journey and likely avoided a terrible night of dark and rain. A torrential downpour kicked in just after dark for a couple of hours… glad to be inside a dry cool guesthouse… in the middle of nowhere… where no one speaks my language… stoked.
Siem Reap -> Battambang
Short day ride turns into multi-hour after dark epic adventure. In search of the famous bats of the region that exit their cave in such numbers just after sunset, that it is likened to a river current through the dusk sky. Instead… I found a thorn and spiderweb filled singletrack up the wrong mountain. No bats.
Lost for an hour after dark trying to make it back to Battambang. Rewarded with another epic bowl of Khmer style noodle soup, this time with pork heart, intestine, and tendon.
And met Pip Sopheap So and her friend Sotara, both Cambodian descent Kiwi/Australian ladies, who were born to parents fleeing Cambodia taking refuge from the Khmer Rouge genocide. They’ve been meeting up with family who stayed behind in the country.
Good times. Tomorrow… BRING ON THE CARDAMOM MOUNTAINS!
Ruin Raiders – Spice Traders – Singletrack Slayers Expedition 2016 continues… Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom Archeological Complex.
I was told that 3 days is the bare minimum… It could take a lifetime. I crushed through and got the most I could ever imagine out of one day. Singletrack ripping through the jungle only to stumble upon ancient smiling gates leading to even more singletrack. Ice cold coconuts in between raiding sessions. Oh and there are some ruins here too.
By far though, it is the Cambodian people who are winning my heart every day.
Cambodia Moto Day 2 – Ruin Raiding… Koah Ker ruins and sunset at Angkor Wat. “It’s hot fool! What were you born in the jungle? It’s hot! Damn hot.” -Adrian Cronauer
Day 1 on the Honda takes me from Phnom Penh to Sambour Prey Kuk, and then on to Krong Preah Vihear (Tbaeng Mean Chey) arriving 45 minutes after dark. Found a guest house with great room and headed out to the Kingdom of Cambodia – Kingdom of Northeastern Thailand Cooperative Fair. Incredible to be the only Caucasian traveler amongst a thousand celebrating South East Asians!
Arrived in Cambodia after nearly 30 hours of constant travel. Pushed my luggage cart past all of the “official” airport taxis and tuk tuks to catch a street tuktuk (trailer that can seat four or me plus luggage, pulled by a 125-250cc motorbike). Rendezvous at Cyclo Hotel with Frank Voellm, long time traveler and friend that I met on motorcycles in Patagonia 2011. This photo was snapped from the back of the TukTuk of a common family scene in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Sky harbor => San Francisco => Bejing => Bangkok => Phnom Penh.
4 countries, 4 flights and 26hr 17min without a bed = 1 weary traveller.
Can’t wait to explore the ruins of Cambodia….On Moto!