Take it easy

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Flag of Vietnam  , Lai Châu,
Saturday, August 21, 2010

I packed up and left Moc Chau about 7am and made my way west, there wasn't much traffic and the road was pretty good, so I made good progress. The road wound along a valley floor, which meant the drive was flat, but there weren't amazing vistas, just alot of little huts and rice paddies. The scenery was pretty enough, nothing terribly exciting, I think I was spoiled by all the amazing scenery elsewhere. There were lots of ethnic minorities walking around, its great to see the different clothing they wear. I got to Son La and took a break, grabbed a snack, and walked around the market to stretch my legs.

I pulled over just outside Son La to set my GPS, and who should appear, but the two italian guys from yesterday, so we rode off together. The road was pretty bad leaving Son La for a few miles as it was under renovation, but then it got better, much better. After the small town of Chieng Pac the road started winding up into the hills, Traffic dropped off to almost nothing and the road was PERFECT, they must have just blasted it thru in the last year or two, to replace the old, beat up, terrible track we caught glimpses of. The road wound up and up, but not too steep, and we got some great views of these massive green valleys, there weren't any striking peaks or features, but what caught your eye was how GREEN everything was, just big fertile valleys with every shade of green, everything was GREEN. After that first layer of hills we came down into the valley and into the town of Tuan Giao and JUST as we got to the main intersection of town one of the italian guys clutch cable broke. At least we were in the middle of town, so we just pulled over, grabbed some cold drinks, took the old cable off, walked down the street until we found a new cable, and installed it.

We turned off Hwy 6 and onto Hwy279 and set off for the last 80km to Dien Bien Phu. The road stayed perfect, infact, it was better than perfect, it was an immaculate piece of engineering and road building. Traffic was virtually non existent, the road wound around and around up a bit, down a bit. It was FUN, no potholes to worry about, no trucks, no buses, just a fantastic piece of road, probably THE best road I have driven on in vietnam, sure other roads have had better views, or not as many switchbacks, but no road has been in such pristine condition with such a lack of traffic, with enough curves to be interesting and the hills weren't steep, they had blasted some big cuts to wind the road back and forth up the hills. It was Beautiful, it was perfect. It's like man and machine were as one unit, working together to follow this perfect ribbon of asphalt into the wild green yonder. It wasn't a ride from point A to point B it was an experience in itself, I haven't enjoyed riding this much since I left Dalat. Usually I enjoy the scenery, or the adventure of finding new places, but this was all about the RIDE. It was a great ride, a thrill to drive on, rarely have I seen such a fantastic piece of blacktop. Of course all good things must come to an end, and before we knew it we had made it to Dien Bien Phu. Yes, THAT Dien Bien Phu, where the adventure will continue.
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MOM on

I finally got caught up with your blog....Geez Jer, I'm really glad you are all right!
Bummer to loose your bike in the hills, but , it sounded like it was giving you a bit of trouble. ... besides the GPS. What gives? How did 'the guy' expect you to get through that mountain pass, eh?

wilkingsworld on

The bike wasn't the problem

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