Getting back to my drowning the KTM.....
I'd had a pretty decent, if tiring, ride out from Attapeu... The plan then was to do the southern loop to Pakse. It rained pretty heavily, as usual and the road out to the first river crossing was wet and sloppy in places
It pays to watch where you are going with the bridges. Its 20' down there...
and more here
These young guys tried to stay ahead of me and paid the price. They drowned it.
I showed them how to lift the bike up to drain the exhaust... and left them to sort out the rest of it
The rider was the small kid... second from the left.
First river crossing... now a couple of hundred meters from where it used to be
It wasn't looking good
That was the easy part. I diverted around some real sloppy bogs, but got to a creek where there were no other options. I made it most of the way over. Here's where the waterline ended up, which is apparently too high
For once, I would have been better on the Super Enduro. It'll take much deeper water in its stride.
I got it out of the stream, but she wasn't going anywhere.... until some local lads came along and helped me push her up through the mud to some flat ground.... which wasn't easy btw.
She'd gulped some but I drained the carb, cleaned out the airbox and got her where she'd almost keep running before the battery shit itself. I managed to fire her up properly with the kickstart... which wasn't doing my foot much good...
Dunno why it was hurting?
Anyhow, I pressed on, trying to reach the village... but dropped into another mudhole and stalled it. Some more locals came along on foot and helped me push her out again... and we decided to push to the village when I couldn't start it again.
That lasted for about 500 metres until it became a bad joke. I pulled the battery and left the bike on the track and we walked and waded the last few km to the village. The lads were carrying my gear at first, but ducked into the jungle and came out with a trolley
Plenty of this stuff on the way... with my boot flopping around. The "dry" bits meant I grew about 40mm in height with a layer of clay on the boots... which felt like they weighed half a tonne.
We went through two spots where the bike wouldn't have made it....
I'll admit to being knackered by the time I got to the village. This is where they lodged me... one of the little "shops" attached to a hut.
The locals were welcoming
Nothing like a bit of Giant Squirrel to pick things up again though...
All such protein gets a quick roasting to remove the fur or feathers.... creating quite a stink, before being gutted (and the nice bits, like the liver, being thrown in the fire and cooked. The meat goes into a stew or is roasted. Yep, we had squirrel, rat, bird and lots of jungle vegetation. My gut hasn't recovered yet.
Boots are fixed now and I've picked up another four rolls of masking tape to keep them together for a while longer
I had a really nice time in the village. Its dirt poor. Lots of naked kids wandering around... simply no clothes for them. My large breasted friend with the training bra simply had one shirt... and if it was being dried, she wandered around in that little bra. Lots of people came over to see the Farang. I counted 30+ people in the kitchen area of our hut at one stage.... and its about 4 metres square.... under the main hut. All the huts did their cooking on one of those simple log fires under the hut. Water out of a barrel.... either rainwater or fetched from the paddy field. I still dunno if or where the latrines were. I didn't see one anywhere... and I was told to pee in the bushes.
I entertained folks showing them some of my photos on the laptop. The only TV I saw was when a genset cranked up and a TV was on in another of the little shops, watching kickboxing for an hour.
Some random village shots
Her hubby slept just outside the shop in a hammock. Not sure if it was to make sure I didn't pilfer the stock... or to make sure I behaved with the locals?
Four or five rats, one squirrel
One guy wandered in and showed me some bullets he'd found
Getting out took some effort. I charged the battery off a solar panel. It was dead flat... 11.7 volts. I got it up to the proper 12.7... and then spent some hours assembling a team to get me and the gear back to the bike... leaving about 2pm, then the bike back to the deep creek... and then we carried it back across
Payoff time for the crew....
I was a happy chappie
I still had some trouble getting out. Here's me stuck in some bamboo that the locals could get under but I had to drag the bike back out and go through the slop instead.
I did a quick and dirty oil change.. sump plug and oil cooler only.
... and had a shitty ride back down the same road... now even sloppier after more rain... lots of bogged trucks and motorbike crash marks
Interesting fish traps on the paddy field outflows
Here's some photos from yesterday. The day started with another totally collapsed wheel bearing.
Luckily they had that size in Attapeu. I've got a spare set coming down from Vientiane now, along with brake pads, filter oil, some synthetic oil (5 litres... a change now, a litre to use and a change for the next drowning.... a new undersized knobby and tube (all I could get was an IRC 110/80/18) Unfortunately I couldn't source a new front sprocket. I had a horrible noise happening yesterday which seems to be the front sprocket. $300 for the bits.
I headed up the tar towards Pakse, with the thought in mind of doing the dirt track that branched off and headed to Paksong and then Pakse if it looked OK. I found that and slip slided my way along it for a while - it was quite slippery and I went down a fair bit on the rear tyre pressure. I found a dam construction site along the way
Not tall, but very wide
I started to get a bit suspicious when the only visible tracks were bikes....
I was having serious doubts when a bad graunching noise... metal on metal started..... that front sprocket.
There was a fabulous waterfall, visible by riding up onto the bank beside the road. It was a couple of hundred feet high at a guess... and absolutely thundering
It wasn't the safest perch up there though. These aren't rain ruts... its the start of a landslip.
It will go in the next big rain. I'd already found out why the trucks had stopped... landslides that had to be ridden over.
There's no getting a truck or 4WD over that... certainly not without some winching as just this little bit of it is about 15' up, very steep and soft and slippery, with a very nasty surprise off the edge if you make a mistake... you'd have a long time to consider your departure from the planet on the way down.
I had to dig a few trenches... about 12" deep by the time I'd chugged through
I got through the bad landslips and came back into an area with people
I headed into one of the little villages off the road to try and sort out what was going on with the graunching
It was all very National Geographic when I rode in, but I better not post those shots. The lads gave me a hand and a bit of sump oil on the chain quietened it down
I headed to Pakse, in a massive rain dump for 50km or so.... and met up with two fellow Aussies, Clarissa and Neil, who I'd met in Malaysia. They are on airhead BMWs - highly modified. A 1000cc and a 650cc.