The first time I read the quote I was immediately in agreement; and although to this day the author remains unknown, his words “Four wheels move the body, Two wheels move the soul” resonate deep with anyone who’s ever been in the saddle of a motorcycle. Days before heading out of Bangkok I was scouring the map of my ride, pre-planning a soul moving, motorcycle-infused PowerKicK.
While tearing up the turns on the ride from Mae Sot to Mae Hong Son I soon realized the roads were not the safest for a roadside PowerKicK shoot, and I became a bit concerned that if the twisty roads continued there was a chance I might finish the ride empty handed. Exiting Mae Sot I was loving the mountain roads, but secretly hoping there might be a brief break in ‘riders paradise’ to give me a chance to capture my needed PowerKicK photo.
After about an hour of riding, of what was supposed to be a 3 hour ride, I decided to pull over for a hearty breakfast. My thoughts were not only to quench my hunger, but also to load up on carbs and sugar to provide the proper level of energy I’d need to get ‘Thai-high’ when I finally did find a PowerKicK location. Chowing down on a plate of Krapao Moo Klop Kai Dao (spicy fried pork with rice and a fried egg) was exactly what I needed to fill me up and tide me over for the rest of the ride.
Spending the better part of the morning climbing through mountains, I was beginning to wonder if at some point the road would eventually reach a peak. Shortly after my breakfast the road crested a medium-sized rolling hill, certainly not a peak by any means, and dipped into an expansive valley revealing more towering mountains off in the distance. Kicking the bike into 5th gear, I raced through the valley ready to see what lay ahead.
My 5th gear, full speed momentum carried me only a short distance up the mountain before I had to downshift to accommodate the tight turns and switchbacks which wasted no time in saying hello. Climbing higher and higher, I passed a small construction area where the road leveled off and opened to an elevated plateau.
Marking the border of Mae Hong Son and Pai, the Doi Kiew Lom mountain peak stands roughly 1,615 meters high. From the summit, facing northeast, four additional peaks can be seen off in the distance on a clear day. Unfortunately, I was only privileged to a partial view due to the haze from the slashing and burning of the corn fields in the valley below. Realizing this was pretty much the only area with a roadside shoulder wide enough to safely accommodate myself, the bike and the tripod, I didn’t let the haze slow me down in searching for a PowerKicK spot.
Looking back to the west, high above the winding roads from which I had just come, was the stone sign marking the location of the Doi Kiew Lom peak. Parking the bike I began to set up the tripod. While affixing the camera to the tripod I noticed I’d attracted a group of about seven spectators, one of which who had her own camera and was photographing me getting situated.
With my stage set I focused the camera, ran over to my marked position and prepared to leap. Watching the blinking yellow light, I also saw the paparazzi focusing her camera on me and not on the spectacular view of the mountains. The wide-eyed and jaw dropping looks of their group confirmed my PowerKicK had caught them off guard, however, their smiles displayed their seal of approval. And who knows where that photo will ultimately end up, but perhaps I’ll be on a New Years card somewhere in Thailand next year.
Reviewing my first attempt, I decided it was not quite professional quality so I refocused the camera and stepped out for round two of my paparazzi PowerKicK. I botched the landing on my second attempt and slipped and fell to the ground. A little embarrassed, I dusted off my hands and went to review the shot. Adding insult to injury, looking at my poor form I immediately knew another attempt was needed.
Feeling the pressure from my spectators, I had to nail the shot. Making a final leap I had the feeling everything aligned as I landed. After the jump I learned that the name of this view point translates to the Mountain of Grabbing Wind, which I figured was partly responsible for grabbing me and lifting me in the air to capture a solid ‘Two Wheel, Soul Moving PowerKicK!’