Sorry for the delay but the internet has not been to kind to me in Laos, all night to upload 50 pictures and I have 100's.
I arrived here quiet early after a pretty uneventful ride but the plan was to get here as quickly as possible, so not much to see in the one stop I made, this young lady spoke great English and we spent some time chatting.
I rode into town and spotted this Hotel 130,000 kip for a brand new room with all the mod cons very nice to.
After check in it was time to have a look at the bike, I was thinking the Chinese had used elastic to make the chain as I only adjusted it a couple of days ago, I had thought at the time that the bolt seemed a bit suspect so I decided to remove the nut and check it...Oh dear
The guys must have cross threaded it when they changed the wheels, I'm in the crap now. I went for a wander around town and found a little engineering shop and asked the guy to do a repair for me, 20,000 kip later I have a new thread and nut, the nut was a bit small but I'm back on the road.
check out the new addition to the tool box, beer Laos better than WD40....
My mate in Chaing Mai Hass has ordered me another and will post it to Vientiane in the next few days, disaster averted I decide to go and check out the party town of Vang Viang. To my surprise it was very quiet as they have had a lot of problems with people doing crazy things on drugs and drink so the police have shut a lot of it down, they do have some nice views though.
All this is built next to an old run way, I have no idea when it was decommissioned.
So it's another early night and up early in the morning to get to Vientiane which was another pretty uneventful ride. I checked into the Villa Laos where I had a pal staying, a nice quiet place for 130,000 kip a night, little out of town but no problem on the bike.
It was nice to catch up with Don and his wife and we drunk a few bottle of wine and had some food, very nice evening, the next say was back to fixing the bike as the front suspension kept bottoming out and I want to change the rear shock, so bright an early i get up and head down to Fuark's garage to see what can be done, meet Fuark.
He's a pretty cool guy who suggested a fork oil change, but no shock.Lots of guys riding around the worls also turned up to fix there bike, fuark will let you use his premise and tools to fix your bike, as well as supplying the parts, if you get stuck in Laos he's your man.
Both these guys where on round the world trips, Natco and Julian.
Nice to meet you guys, the Lifan got some new fork oil and I removed the cat in the quest for more power, small improvement but every little helps.
turns out that they put to much oil in the forks so over the next few days I drained a bit at a time until I got what I wanted from the front, I'm a little happier, as for the back I need a new shock. I decided to stick around for a few days as the Aussies Chris & Dave had called me to say they where on the way down and wanted to go riding and would I wait for them, of course fellas. We hooked up the next evening and went on a bit of a bender, turns out Chris can sing real good and Dave can drink to match him we managed to get most of the bar singing American Pie, a great night with a head to match the next day.
The night market is a must.
Just when I thought it could not get any better they called me to say they had a spare room in their 400$ a night Hotel, hell I was there in a flash and very nice it was to, the Green Park Hotel VTE. We decided on a easy evening as we were going to get up early and head down to Thaket so we could ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail, well a part of it the guys were pumped and looking for wad to getting there but you know how it goes with a group to much messing around and the schedule was shot before we left so I planned a little detour.M Kamkuet and we would find a Hotel down there for the night. It had been a boring ride apart from Chris getting rear ended and hitting me after an old lady just walked out in front of me, damn Chris was real lucky, no real damage, we stopped for a while so Chris could collect his thoughts.
David thinking what could have been, a lucky escape and a good reason to keep alert in Laos.
We pushed on and we found this Gem, a reward for a hard days ride, the Limestone forest, another wonder of Laos.
Another Jaw dropping view.
That sort of view keep me going for a long time and we still had a way to go, I spotted a sign for a resort and asked the boys if they wanted to stop and it was a yes. It turned out a hard place to find but when we got there we were impressed, it's an Oasis in a beautiful setting and only 130,000 kip a night!!!. The main restaurant area.
The accommodation comes in the shape of Bungalows all with TV,Aircon,Hot showers and a view to die for, we were so happy it was better than the 400$ a night place.
I could stay at this place for Months so quiet and the real feeling of village life, we went up to the main building and ordered some food and to our surprise it was magnificent, some of the best food we had had on the trip so far we ordered lots of dishes Laos and European and it was all first class, we dined like kings and washed it down with beer Laos.
Make sure you visit.
Later on the owner came over and introduced himself. Mr Vongsamay Malibayphit very nice chap who had a wonderful story to tell, he had grown up in Savannakhet during the war and had been unable to go to school because of the bombing, he said if you didn't see the blast's you feel them!. He later got the chance to go to Cuba to get an education and spent 7 years there in school, when he returned he worked hard and saved his money and got the land to build his Hotel and live his dream, he also gives a lot back to his community working with the disabled and supplying school uniforms and other educational equipment to the local schools, great man.
Well we dined on into the evening and retired at a reasonable hour as tomorrow would be another big day down the route one which I'm told is a bit nasty with lots of broken tarmac and dust.
Once again the morning was lost in riding terms, I had got up at 5.30 to catch the sun rise, a beautiful morning.
The clouds falling down the mountain.
By 11Am I knew we would not make our destination by night fall to much messing around choosing underwear etc so we went to explore some caves instead and then go to Thaket and get closer to the Trails.
Big Chris broke the steps on the way up, whoops
Used to shelter from the bombing, lots of effort went into them, almost shrine like.
We went up to the house on the top to pay for the damage but they did not seem to understand but took the money, I guess they went and got some steak instead of these.
I'm sure the locals think we are mad!
Back on the road again the boys have charged of on their high powered KLX's leaving me behind so I'm going to get some photos and take my time .... still lots of UXO in Laos.
And the children always have a smile.
I like these views up the river into the jungle, my imagination just runs wild.
The children were very friendly and not scared of the power ranger even letting me take a few shots, why are the children so happy over here?
More great views along the way.
The guys were waiting for me here, a few photos and of to Thaket
We arrived in Thaket about 7 pm the roads here at night are very dangerous and I was happy to follow the boys lights into town, there is also some big things flying around at night that hit you like bullets, I road last year at night and said never again, I'm not doing it again and people ride with no lights on the wrong side of the rode as well as having cows walking about......danger.
We pulled into a new hotel called Vannida Hotel 130,000 kip a night, clean and tidy. I always find Thaket a hard place to be in so this Hotel was nice, we ate Vietnamese food which was really nice and got to bed early as we were going to have an early start this was the boys last chance to ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail before they had to leave for Thailand. Time to upload some more pictures...more tomorrow.