A person in the Thorntree forum did say,
"Very little first hand information seems to be available. Get a good suntan, grow a beard , dress like a local, talk with money to a truck driver and go and take your chances. "
I think this could be good advice. The Lonely Planet Thorntree can a pain in the butt. Lots of people hang around in the forum and make smart remarks that do not help anyone, and I believe they really just talk as an authority, but in reality they may just read a lot. I complained about the one person to the moderator, and he or she disappeared. Nice.