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  #46  
Old 3 Jan 2013
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The Singapore Four

On Christmas Eve I set of for Laos again, I was planning to meet a friend and his 3 riding buddies who were coming up from Singapore to ride in Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, they had asked me a while back did I think it could be done, my reply was "I'm not sure but it sure would be an Adventure just trying", well they are all here now and the trip is on.

Meet The guys a first as far as I Know



Yempaul BMW GS1200



Umar BMW GS1200 Adventurer



Arris Yamaha Tenere 1200



Mahdi Truimph Explorer 1200



Your taking what down the trails!


I'm still on the LIfan.



And 6000k's later she is running well and gave a great account for it's self against the cream of Adventure bikes

The plan was to Join the HCMT west of Thakek near the Mu Gui pass and head south as far as we could in the given time which had been cut short. I'm not going to right the full RR on this one I think that should go to the boys, I will just give you a taster of it and let the boys tell tell you about the suffering involved....:rofl

We left on the 26th December and after the easy start we soon got into trouble on the rocky descents.





Beautiful trails



The pain started early.





It was not all pain, we had some fun at the local schools.













Then it got really hard, bikes in the river, sunk boats and a lot of sweat and laughter.









Then it got Dark, we ended up in guest house about 9.30 pm, the jungle is a scary place at night and navigation is even harder.









We rested the next day and did some sight seeing.









The Museum in Dong















Shot up Wat Ban Xepon





Bomb Craters.





And the mother..



Friendly locals.



A great day was had, the next day there was only 2 of us and we would take on a section of trail that is very difficult.

Good morning.











Would make it down this infamous part of the trail?













There is a whole lot more to this story and I cant wait for Umar to getting banging those keys

Thanks for inviting me along guys it was a pleasure...clap
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Last edited by Steve canyon; 8 Jan 2013 at 09:19. Reason: Fix Yems picture
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  #47  
Old 3 Jan 2013
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I'm thinking your bike choice is bang on

You'd have to be strong to man handle some of those other bikes.I will follow with interest.
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  #48  
Old 3 Jan 2013
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Light Bikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel900r View Post
You'd have to be strong to man handle some of those other bikes.I will follow with interest.
Your bang on the money Noel900r,the Lifan made light work of trails, I'm beginning to believe in it's ability to endure and just keep plodding along. The big bikes are to big and far to heavy..

I stripped the swing arm and shock linkage today, the bushes have lots of wear signs, so I cleaned, greased and reassembled it and man what a result it's moving beautifully I think now have a better bike than before ...

I washed it as well and it came up great, so tomorrow I will service it and lube it up ready for the next trip which will not be until the end of the month but I will be in Laos...

Cheap bike for touring Asia and 6000k's on Laos roads must be proof enough that it will do a job.



Love the Lifan
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  #49  
Old 3 Jan 2013
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Hey Chris
Happy New Year! I know where I'll be again in December 2013/Jan2014 and it won't be like the past 2 weeks, freezing my tits off riding around (pretty) Bulgaria and Turkey.



I'll be in touch later on to pick your brains ref Laos riding.

Super RR. Thanks!

Hang loose,
Chris
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  #50  
Old 4 Jan 2013
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Hey Chris
Happy New Year! I know where I'll be again in December 2013/Jan2014 and it won't be like the past 2 weeks, freezing my tits off riding around (pretty) Bulgaria and Turkey.



I'll be in touch later on to pick your brains ref Laos riding.

Super RR. Thanks!

Hang loose,
Chris
Thanks Chris....man that looks cold I'm glad I'm here...

Look forward to seeing you out here later in the year......we can have some fun...
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  #51  
Old 15 Jan 2013
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More from the four

The write up from Umar is brilliant (in italics) it was great to ride with people who share the same Passion for the HCMT as it's a fantastic piece of war time History that so few visit or even know about, and yes the Jungle is claiming it back. A lot of the war scrap on the trail is gone some of the trails have been graded and will be lost forever as new roads are being made and signs for tourists go up I will add a few photos a some words as we go along.



The picture of Umar below was taken 100 meters after the end of the trail in a Cafe in Ta Oi. Words cannot describe how hard we battled that day....1-2-3 push was used a lot that day. There where head in hands moments, how much farther is it moments and when will it end, all the same emotions I had when I first took it on.




This is basically the Northern section we rode on day one down From the Mu Gui pass to Dong.



Talkingproud.us


The Ho Chi Minh trail. The stuff of legends. Veteran American soldiers still talk about this unimaginable maze that they were tasked to bomb during the Vietnam War. Some of their stories became international best sellers. In all their stories, they describe the the Ho Chi Minh trail as a perfectly engineered route that enable soldiers to move quickly and silently under the canopy of the dense jungle. These networks of paths have a life of its own, ever growing and expanding, faster than any Americans can map them out and destroy them. 6000km of backwater paths through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.



Trucks on the trail talkingproud.us


Four decades later, the war has ended and these trails have grown silent, but it was never once forgotten. The surroundings have recovered with time but bombs continue to lay hidden and have over time become part of the jungle. American and Russian tanks and planes lay scattered, down but not defeated, waiting eagerly to relive their missions. Bridges have been destroyed and reclaimed by the rivers, only part of their structure remains, a testament to the chaos at that time.



Great cover from the canopy


We came across the Ho Chi Minh trail by chance, while researching routes in Laos. Google search gave us Luang Prabang, Vientiene, elephant rides, Vang Viang, river cruises, buegette, pubs, massages and after another 30 sites of the same stuff, the Ho Chin Trail name pops up. There was no exact route or location, just an image of the map and the American bombing mission in southern Laos. The more we researched. The more intrigued we became....there is something special along those trails, one not seen or felt by many coming into Laos. We decided to take our bikes into Laos and journey through those hushed trails and come back to tell the tale.



Bombed out bridge and a new diversion quickly built




Before we even started, there were 2 worrying issues. First, there was little information on the exact location of these trails. Not the Internet, not anywhere! So we plotted according to the stories online, the pictures that we could gather and our imagination of what it could possibly be (as we later found out after the ride, our plotted route was so off the actual trail that it's embarrassing). The second worry was that no known bikes past the 400cc range has ever been recorded attempting to use this legendary trail. Those that has made it though on smaller bikes says that its a suicide mission. The bikes that we are on will never make it out in one piece. It will drown in the river, chocked in the trails by its own weight, our fancy rims will break unable to handle the stress of riding on the huge boulders and dry river beds, suspensions will fail and our bike parts will contribute to the existing war scraps. The trails have claimed many who thought that they were up for it, and we will not be the first nor will we be it's last. The message is clear; we were just fancy bike owners who bought the marketing sales pitch a little too well.





It must have been selective hearing and reading at its best (or worst) because all we heard was, Ho Chin Minh Trail....legend.....awesome....bikes....adventure. .. Spirit...bombs... Christmas...New Year...adventure....campfire marshmallows?

On the 26th of December 2012, four bikes reached southern Laos (Thakek) after making the journey 3000-4000km north from Singapore. These bikes 1200cc each, Yamaha S10, BMW GS, BMW GSA and Triumph Explorer have done their fair share of distance riding but not against legends such the HCMT. These bikes were shinny, farkled, fancy even, the pride of the fleet of adventure bikes (A KTM 990 was unable to come due to work commitments). As we reached Thakek, not one of us thought twice about going up against this legend..we were absolutely determined to take it on and survive to tell the tale... And so, the story between man and his machine against the perfectly engineered trails used in the Vietnam War begins....





Welcome to Laos boys, it was great seeing you rock up.

We took a gamble to enter via Frienship Bridge III of Nakhon Phanom - Thakek crossing after being denied at Muen Nguen. Long story there. The officials gave the go ahead but had a change of heart. Staying away from Huay Kon in the meantime till the situations is clearer.

At FBIII was a different story, they turned us away politely and suggested we load our bikes on a pick up. In the meantime, he called up his boss to seek clearance for us. With a stroke of luck, we were given the go ahead but we need to move quickly. All done in 10 minutes.





Fast forward to day one..all hell was breaking loose...we were questioning our sanity of being there in the first place.....There was absolutely no way we could have bashed through hundreds of kilometres of trails with our imaginary route. At this juncture, i would like to introduce the fifth rider who we are ever thankful for joining us. A little humble Lifan (China made motorcycle 200cc - rider named Chris). Chris and his Lifan remind me of Disney movies, the king’s soldiers in the dark forest on a noble quest guided by magical wisps and nymphs. We were the dumb soldiers; Chris was that magical wisps...guiding us along the relentless paths.. Ever so nimble, he is always in front of us, showing us the trail and helping us when needed..(Plus there's something about the way when he says doesn’t worry that makes it a bit comforting for us... Lols... What he actually meant was there were just 12 more rivers to cross with chest deep waters!)


There only little rivers.....

The battle between man and his machine with the legendary trails over the following 4days was epic. The first for these kinds of bikes in South East Asia. When trails proved too technical for the bikes, all 5 huffed and puffed to push and provide leverage and support. When rivers proved too mighty to cross, we combined our strength (literally) and use it to link the the bikes across. When darkness falls and the last remaining lights in the sky disappear, we relied on each other’s tail lights and feed on each other’s perseverance to get out of the trails. When we got separated and lost in the trails, not one man blamed the other; instead we ride harder and searched further. When one man fall, four will come to his aid; one to pick him, another to pick his morale and two others to muscle the bike up. We shall leave no man or bike behind, there will be no casualties on the HCMT. We may take all day and night but we will get out together.





This was a very difficult ride at night as the group kept getting split up and it was essential we all stayed together, the radios that the boys had carried along would serve us well. "Singapore Singapore" was the call sign and when the radio crackled back it felt great....we are still together..We also broke some new trails that night which in the day light would have been great, but at night we had no time to enjoy the discovery.




As I write this tale of ours, our bikes and us have survived the HCMT in one piece. Even though we covered the major routes, we barely scratched the surface of the 6000km long network of trails. The HCMT did not let us go easily. We left the trail with bruises on our arms and duct tapes and cable ties on our bikes. Each battle scar, a worthy story of their own. Even though over time, our bodies will heal and the bikes will be replaced, we want to let it be known that 4 beasts and a China made bike called Lifan (they say it won’t make it past the showroom) have survived the HCMT despite all the naysayers.





It is never about the bike make or model, it has always been the Rider that makes the story. For those brief intense moments, we called the Ho Chi Minh trail our own and this was our story.

Rider verdict:
Lifan - not a single fall or damage - full marks 10/10





GSA - made the mistake of hitting the trails with full 33l tank. Damaged panniers. Nearly sunk the boat during river crossing.




GS - Rider had super long legs. Can waddle out of sticky situations easily. Bottomed out forks. Hates soft sand trails



S10- Nearly became part of the river bank. Sank the boat completely. Rider was a survivor. Suggested camping out when it was dark and we were still in the trails with some 30km to go.. We got no tent and he got no sleeping bags



Triumph Explorer- Battle harden rider let down by his panniers. It did a huge full slow motion flip some 5 meters away when he bottomed out in a huge rut. He also claim he had the least no of falls among the beasts in the trails...


Battle damage and flying panniers with beautiful LED's at night, looked like a space ship.

[I]
Epic moment 1 - when we saw the ford that we were crossing was flooded waist deep. That means we either take the boat across or heave the almost 300kg bikes across. Wait where did Chris go... Oh he's already on the other side....



Epic moment 2 - When the S10 was firmly on the boat and we were about to leave the river bank and the boat starts taking in water.... The boatman frantically asked us to reverse the S10... We thought he was kidding... When we realised he wasn't and we were finding the reverse gear on the S10, the boat sank completely (hull touching the river bed 2 meters from the river bank). The S10 exhaust was barely above water. From there, we had to manhandle the 300kg machine out of the water and than get it back onto the dry bank.



Sunk! I was on the other bank laughing my head off 123 heave.....magical moment.


Epic moment 3 - The boatman smacks his head and bans all our bikes on his boat.



To heavy


Epic moment 4 - When the boatman strips his pants down.


No trousers.


And the relief on everyone’s face when all bikes got to the other side.



Made it



The deepest and longest (about 40m) river that I have ever rode my bike across. Looking easy and good when suddenly the water resistance overcame my bike (should have opened more) and I dropped my bike to the left. Chris nearly dropped his camera as he helped me lift the bike up. For the next 15 mins it would not start and we were going SHITE!!!!!...... word cannot describe our joy when the engine stuttered back to life with river water coming out of the exhaust… phew.. too close a call….



Check out the bow wave..

The bike just stopped dead an toppled over right in-front of me, we got it picked up in seconds but it would not start, we could not push it out we were stuck...plan b...she fired up and we got her up the slope which was no easy task.

What a ride guys.
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  #52  
Old 21 Feb 2013
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Back on the road

As I mentioned before I spent the month of January taking my Mum and old lady places, mostly in Laos so I did virtually no riding so as you can Imagine I was itching to get going again. It was nice to see Laos on a different mode of transport, the flight from Phonsavan to Vientiane being the high light for me, the hills in Laos are spectacular from the air I could see all the trails and new I would be coming back to ride them some day, the wife had to leave early and go to Chaing Mai so Mum and eye carried on up to Luang Prabang which Mum fell in Love with, so peaceful.and happy....

We visited all the museums in VTE but I think Mum enjoyed the Plain of Jars the most, we took half a Bombie through customs each (not live) and laughed at our little caper, got really cold in Phonsavan, endured some terrible coach rides through stunning country and even made to it the Bridge over the River Kwhai....it was great to spend some time with my Mum helped me understand myself a bit better, I'm a chip of the old block and proud of it too. All us riders go of on our journeys with Mum and Dad and Family following us living the trip, so for Mum to see what I see first hand was special and something I could share, wish she rode a bike...

Here a few of my favorites from January.







The prediction of things that would fall from the sky I thought.




































Migs rotting on the runway





Craters from 40 years ago...



Holidays over and I arrived back in Laos Feb 1st the bike I had prepped before hand and made a smooth passage through customs ant Non Kahi/VTE but told I could only keep the bike there 14 days.....yeah no problem. into VTE for the night and a few people to see the next morning afternoon I set of For Ban Namasnam and the Sainamhai Resort which I arrived at early evening, had dinner and Beers with Vongs and his family and I gave him some money for School uniforms for the village school.

Next morning it's up real early and I'm heading for Expon and route 9 and as much trail as I can ride before I have to go to Luang Prabang some I'm getting a move on and make it back to Villaburi that evening, it had been a long hard day on fast gravel and then hit the trails but man I felt good. Found some cool stuff but the idea was to get to Xepon to meet up with a local and sort a few things out for the future.



Discharged fuel cells made into boats...fantastic idea.



Then I got up the road a bit a found an intact one..





Blasting down the 1E through the flooded area onto the trail.



Back into the little village trails.









Then it got harder there was a tree down and the villagers had mad a detour...so i went for a walk first.



With a bit of bashing we got through....

and straight into a little river.




Really was a good day and I arrived in day light...it had been a great day riding...clean up eat and of to bed as I'm going early again tomorrow.


Got up feeling sore from yesterday think I over did it a little but hey I'm nearly in Ban Xepon which I soon get to after breakfast spoke to the Local involved and my mission was complete, I have some where to stay and some local information to follow up. So I Decide to ride route 9 to Thaket, which might as well be off road, I thought I was going to be sitting down all day but spent most of standing as the road was so broken up, got the Lifan airborne and bottomed her out good and proper....did see some stuff on the way.





Further up the road I spotted some big artillery pieces off the road and went got some pictures, then the Army came running out saying stop no Picture.....I was getting ready to leave when more came and told me show the pictures, then sadly I had to delete them, I acted stupid and said my good byes, damn I should have been quicker...

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  #53  
Old 24 May 2013
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Been a while

I'm back in Blighty planning my escape back to Laos...

I will try to get this RR done..

Sorry for the slackness..



And the Lifan did make it!
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  #54  
Old 27 May 2013
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Great post. Loved it.
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  #55  
Old 27 May 2013
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Great RR. Get it finished!
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  #56  
Old 8 Jun 2013
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Finish it of....

Quote:
Originally Posted by venture View Post
Great post. Loved it.
Thanks Venture, glad your enjoying it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris View Post
Great RR. Get it finished!

Yes Sir..... I'm on it today....

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  #57  
Old 8 Jun 2013
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More from Laos

After the Army told me of I went to the UXO center in Dong for a look, nobody was around so I grabbed some pictures and left...







Passed some more bombed out bridges, the amount of UXO ornaments along this road is unbelievable, every where you look you see an old casing....



I arrived in Thaket and checked into a hotel, I was very tired and tomorrow was another big day, so food and early to bed for me..



Next Morning I'm going back to Namsanam for the night before heading up North, so I stop in at the MAG centre to say hello, all very friendly and some of them recognize me from the trials..



The Boss.






Afterwards it's back on the 1E and I'm going for a poke around near the Dam



Great views.




Nobody around


Except this Dude Andy who's riding the world..


Looks a bit spooky here..


Then the Dam, I had to park the bike, pity because there was no way i was walking the last k in this heat, what a beautiful area.








It's a beautiful ride to the dam, nobody around at all.






And finally back to Ban Namsanam.


A very tired man today...and tomorrow is a big one up to Phonsavan. wheres my bed.




I got up real early, I think this is day 4 on the road and I'm going to try route 10, my GPS is saying no but i'm told it's new tarmac all the way....so of I go..good morning.


I got the Video on and it's just bend after bend, up down like a roller coaster


Then I run into a rather large ford, check it out and in I go, the water is so strong is pushing me toward the edge of the ford then I get stuck...the bike will not move I think the clutch has just let go....:eek1

I'm stuck in the middle but spot a couple of workers and ask them to come over and help, we still cant push the bike....then one notices the chain is off, I hook her on push her back and bingo I'm saved, the force of the water must have derailed it.....got it all on video...thanks guys and I'm off again.



More great roads.




What a ride...


What a view


I arrived Phonsavan around 4pm booked into a Hotel, went for dinner and once again went to bed early...man I'm tired..

Next morning I'm getting up late and going to the tourist board to get some info and check a few things out, it's cold in Phonsavan, bring a jumper..

MAG centre.



Tourist information.


Lots of war scrap







Then it's back on the road, yesterday was good but today was mind blowing, the roads are good, the views are brilliant, route 7 to route 13 North, up and down all day, never have I ridden such stunning terrain....

This picture sums up the day, you can see where yu have just come from.



A magical day





I arrived in Luang Prabang exhausted, 1800k's had left me knackered, the Lifan was in need of some love. I was in LP to do some Teaching at the LEOT center....first I would rest though.

What a week....., I feel like I could ride forever.
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  #58  
Old 8 Jun 2013
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Luang Prabang...

LP

I stayed in Luang Prabang for 2 week....
I did it whilst in Luang Prabang



Sign is facing the wrong way...

Myself and HP2 set of from Leot School about 12 noon and headed out to his Village, Myself and Mr Alan had put an aid parcel together, exercise books, pens, pencils and other learning things as well as some medicines and some toys all bound for the school he works at.


Much needed things.

The Lifan was loaded to the hilt, 2 up she behaved well and got the job done.


The donkey.

It was only about 50ks most of it of road but no real problem just a lot of dust, we arrived about 1.30 and the drinking started...


Fresh batch of Moonshine.



Got to try it and I liked it

We had some food and found out that the School caretaker was not about so we would have to take the stuff bound for school on Monday, no problem so we set of for the cave of Teeth.

It's a nice ride up here, with some great views and soon we reached the place and waited for the man with the keys. Mr Alan had been up here a few weeks ago and told me of the place along with the stories. It was used as an air raid shelter in the War and after that they say it was used as a prison by that Pathet Loa to detain helpers of the Americans??, I don't know but there are thousands of Teeth in there some look human other are animal.....but why somebody would put them in cases?

First up you got to cross the bridge and walk the meadow to the cave...


The bridge with our guide and hp.





Nice bridge hold on tight.


It sways a bit.



Off goes our guide.


It's a beautiful spot.




Trail up to the Cave


The Jailer.


Inside the cave of Teeth.


The climb up is steep and hot but when you get in the cave it's even hotter, I was having problems trying to take pictures but I managed a few, the cabinets you see are full of teeth and Bone...


WOW


There is Teeth in there.


Cabinets of Teeth.


Lots of Teeth




Many questions to be answered.


There are many passages and tunnels, a caver needs to come here and check it all out, I didn't really enjoy being in there as I didn't want to get lost in the labyrinth of tunnels.


Spooky



Never know what you will find if you look.


Time for a scratch around on the floor to see what we can fine, I found what looks like and old webbing clip, very old and rusty and they guide said I could keep it so I will get it cleaned up and Mr Alan is going to get some proofing work done on some of the teeth to learn more about it, interesting stuff indeed there is no information on this cave apart from what your told....somebody knows!.


Webbing strap?


Any ideas welcome.



These looked Human.



More Cabinets.


Out alive.


There are 2 cave entrances and cabinets in both...time to make our way back down.


My friend.


My guide.

On the way back we stopped and said hello to the villagers who where preparing the paddy fields. That's hard work in this heat...


Paddy field.



Happy locals who where keen to talk to me.

Then it back across the bridge and of to see where Mr H lives...


Watch your step.


Fantastic.


A quick ride to the next village and welcome to Hp's home..


Home is where the Heart is right?


He welcomed me in.


The Kitchen.


This guy lives here and teaches at the school as part of his training, he receives no money for his toil, but still he smiles...as do all the children.


Happy sister.


So happy.

These people live simple lives and are a joy to be around, we head back to his family house stopping to buy fish for supper. Hp is making BBQ fish.


Getting the fish


Dinner.



Shop owner.


She wants to see the pictures.

We head back to House get the BBQ going with a few s and this is where I start to have a few moments of reflection on my life, I have Money, family, gadgets,love but I'm wondering who's the lucky one!.


Get cooking H.


I helped by drinking.

Hp is busy prepping the fish with Bamboo skewers each done with precision and care, so I'm left alone with my thoughts. There are people coming over to shower at the communal wash room this makes me a little uncomfortable at first I don't know where to look when the ladies start stripping off, so I position myself so I cant see, I don't think they even saw me, other elders came over looked at me and the bike and just walked on by....


Haven't done this for a long time.


Lady from the shop bringing cold over.

Darkness is falling and we are chatting away and then HP starts to sing, sounds a little sad and pulls on my Heart strings a little, once again I'm thinking who's the lucky one?, this boy has nothing but is full of life and committed to getting a good job to support his family, he tells me the whole story and Jesus I got a tear in my eye, he is smiling all the time....an inspiration.


HP happy as ever.


Dusk is coming.


Ahan sep Lie.

I had not felt this free for a long time and was humbled by the whole experience, such great people and his family were so well mannered it took me back...his brother spoke great English and we enjoyed the Laos, you know these people don't seem to dream of better but rather be happy with what they have!.


Our home for the night.



More fish more .

Eventually we all went inside and eat& drunk until late in the evening, I had a great time and those memories will stay with me forever, and I'm happy to share them with you. We all slept on the floor of the little house and I slept well.....thank you HP2 and your family....still cant work out who's the lucky one, me or them!

In the morning we were woken by the animals, it was like the animals where all saying good morning to each other, the village was alive and it was time to get up...


Good Morning.


HP's Sister in Law


Grandmother.



Brother.


Me having a go.

We said our goodbyes and headed back to Luang Prabang where I met his sister who supports HP schooling.....a beautiful lady who lives to help her family....

So who is the lucky one, us with our money and nice houses etc, or HP and his family who all look out and care for one and other, share everything and smile all the time....


Bopen yang.(your welcome)







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  #59  
Old 8 Jun 2013
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Luang Prabang to Phonsavan

After my teaching spell at Leot I was ready for some riding, I was hard to leave Luang Prabang as I made so many new friends and really enjoyed teaching there, a big thanks to Alan and the Leot team for making me feel so welcome. The Children just want to learn it's inspirational.

I decided to take the off road route to Phonsavan which became a bit of a dash as I dropped in on some friends to say goodbye, it was a day of river crossings, wet feet and wobbly boats along with savvy Children trying to exploit the stranded farang.

The House I stayed in last weekend was torn apart for for an extension to be built for the new baby, the whole village was there lending a hand, the ladies laid on the food whilst the men done the construction, it was like clock work everybody knew their place.



Extension going up.


I said my goodbyes and headed up to see HP2 and say good bye to him, then I headed for the hills.


Fast graded roads.


It was about 150ks with lots of rivers, fast gravel and bone shaking wash board mud and heaps of dust, with my late departure it became a race against time as I did not want to ride at night.


Check out the trail.


But the views are stunning so I find myself stopping a lot to take it in...


Wow.

Little villages in the valleys.

Then the rivers started, I could not cross it was to deep, but a little further upstream where some boats manned by Children, we basically dragged the bike on board an set of across the river the boat was wobbling and I thought we were going in so I closed my eyes and put my head on the handlebars and prayed we would make it.....we did, the the little people wanted 500,000 kip for their trouble I got them down to 50,000 which is a good for 15 minutes work, meanwhile I was left exhausted from the bike dragging in that heat, no pictures for a while as its river after river crossing, some long some deep all slippery and I hate having wet feet.



River crossing.


Then I get to a section that's being upgraded and have to wait whilst the plant operators make me a ramp.

these boys work these like their hands.

Cleared that then I get this section.....man I tired.

Not easy riding.

This turning out to be a hard day for me, but then it just all opens up...flat ground in great big valley.

One minute in the hills the next open spaces.

I pass an old Air America site, it's beautiful up here and the road is fast...

Control tower.


So it's flat out here and I'm not thinking about my wet feet anymore.


Great place for an airfield.

I'm not slowing down for anything and the Lifan is taking a real pounding.

Army bridge.

It's a great spot up here and something catches my eye of to the left...Horses , first one I have seen since I arrived.


Horses??


Yes it's a Horse


Back onto the Tarmac and Phonsavan is close, the war scrap is everywhere.

Russian Tank?

I arrive in Phonsavan just as it gets dark and once again it's bloody cold, I find a little guest house for 50,000 kip a night, eat the food joy had prepared me that morning, drunk an energy milkshake and fell asleep in my riding gear......boots where left outside along with the socks.

That was one hard day and tomorrow was going into the unknown with an early start. sweet dreams.

Right through the middle.

I checked the bike in the morning and every spoke was loose, the wheel had been hitting the swing arm...
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Old 23 Jun 2013
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Ls36

LS36 (Lima Site)was and American Airbase in the Secret war in Laos...

You may have already guessed but I have a fascination with the Vietnam war, although until a few years back I had never heard of the Secret War in Laos I knew a bit about the War in Vietnam, my curiosity has turned into a passion and being able to visit these famous places is priceless, to read about them is one thing, to visit them is another.


How it looked back in the day (photo Talkingproud)





So after a pretty hard day the day before I wake up still in my body Armour brush my teeth, quick coffee and I'm off, 130k's of I don't know what lay in front of me. Stock up on food and water and it's a slow start as it's bloody cold, the Lifan seems to be moving around a lot but I put it down to the worn Knobbly Tyre...first find of the day..


Booster from a Sam Missile


Guess that's Russia


The first part of the ride is nice, great views and graded roads...


Stunning


So many different landscapes in Laos


That's the way we are going

The wide open spaces soon give way to Jungle tracks and soon enough there's a river with a brand new bridge which I pay 20,000 kip to cross, no wet feet and I'm asked to sign the bridge and Invited in for dinner.


No wet feet.


Pay or get wet.


First Farang he told me.

Dinner looks a little scary so I have a drink and then set of again, the trail gets harder and harder, deep ruts and sheer drops winding up and down through the valleys, lots of flowers up here.


What sort of flower is this.

Some of the open sections where really nice to ride but it was always back into the jungle.


Great riding.




Beautiful.

I keep pressing on and then 5ks from where I'm going a sign


You have to ride 120 k's to see this sign.

The last part of the trail was nasty which always seems the way in Laos, I cant imagine trying to walk here, some of the log bridges where wheel eaters so it was full gas over them and hope for the best.


Great track


And finally after 4 hrs I'm here, beautiful sign....128ks of standing up....my legs hurt.



Getting ready for the tourists.


This is the site that greeted me after passing through the village of Ban Nakhang.


The entrance is gated.



LS36 is in there.



Another stunning area.


Not much to see for 4 hrs riding so I go for a poke around and things start coming together.


Fuel tanks.


Not much good now.


Guidance

Ok so I have my bearings I'm the little arrow head and the black strip is the run way...lets go have a look.


Left behind equipment.




40 years on




Grader.



How did that end up this way up?


Reelects of war.



Then it's onto the runway...dead ahead


Compass bearings.



Run way.


Looking at it from the other end.


Compass bearings.


Run Way


Looking down the runway.


By this time it was nearly 2pm so I went of to have a look around the village which has used all the old scrap fuel drums as fencing.


Barrel fencing.


Nothing goes to waste.

More war scrap.


Great condition after 40 years



Bombie casing


Locals working away on their weaving machines.




Lots of signs in this Ban




A simple life.


The way out.

No it's time to head back, I know what to expect so I'm not hanging around.


Lets go.


The bike looks so small in this landscape.



Stunning Laos.


I rode home as fast as I could not wanting to ride at night and had a rare delight of the sun behind me and the moon in front, sounds like and old Irish blessing.


Sun and Moon.


I spotted a Bombie casing on the back of this cart, 4 decades later they are still digging them up.

Scrap metal hunters.

It was a tough 250ks, my plan was to head north tomorrow, but biggus reminded me that February only has 28 day...shit I'm heading south tomorrow instead......

Read more about Ls36 here..

Talking Proud Home
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