So here’s some news.
I had an email chat with Min Min and we added a week to the schedule. I wanted to go further afield than the approved Myanmar route and see what others riders hadn’t seen so far, and I wanted an extra day at Inle Lake and Bagan.
So we headed east. You can access the destination, Loikaw, from the south, but not anywhere near this valley
Up a series of mountains and down a bit to a plateau
Here’s the novelty: We’re only the second foreign rider/bike to take this route since it re-closed in 1988, and possibly no-one before that since 1964. The first was a journalist who’d been reporting from Myanmar for 5 years, lived here, and did it with a local group 3 years ago. This section between the blue dots has been in constant civil unrest until 90 days ago
We arrive at the first checkpoint
Soe and MKK complete the forms
The Pa’O people’s militia, the Pa’O National Army, 500 to 700 soldiers, administer 3 townships ahead, one of which we’ll be passing through
Very small villages as we climbed over the first hills
Here’s what the ride was like. Nearly 80 miles of this middle section alone
A single lane wide, almost alone on the road, blissfully unrelenting for hours. Only the sound of the world’s most clunky and agricultural gearbox (which I like a lot)
I’ve started a video course. It may be awhile before they amount to much. I used the same mount above I used in Latin America above, it’s too low. I’m experimenting with 3 others.
The view from the western rim of the valley
A view down from another ridge. the government has been trying unsuccessfully to clear the opium fields since 2015. The Pa’O have been fighting to stop other drug smuggling through this area, is the foggy story we’re getting
The new lake at the bottom, flooded for a dam in 2013
Which makes this new waterfront
Limestone formations for a 10 mile section
Last checkpoint, where I waited for the others
I have 3 pages of notes on the freebie notepad from Boomerang Carnets, the details of the civil war and civil wars, but it’s complicated. When I can make sense of it these posts will be a bit more informative.
Big Bug at the hotel in Loikaw