TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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Bikes Cannot Ride On Rivers- DOH!!!

Posted by TravellingStrom on November 17, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

I was up early and after a basic breakfast of banana pancake I headed off on what I thought was going to be a long days riding through some rough territory, and the low cloud and mist did not help. The locals around here certainly have none of this ‘work place health and safety’ attitude!

As expected the road was crap from the first corner, a lot of roadworks and I found out further down the road, they were digging trenches and laying cables. No barriers, no traffic control, nothing. This section of road from Oudomxai to Pak Mong was atrocious. Slightly damp roads, potholes, plenty of actual road which used to be paved was missing, most of that was on corners. It was not a fun ride, but in the moments where I could spare a glance other than on the road, I could see that the scenery over there was great! Hopefully it will be fixed soon so it can be enjoyed more, rather than the chore it is.

One of the things you see plenty of here are branches, or banana leaves in the road, just spaced out every 10m or so. This generally means around the next corner will be a broken down truck, or where one used to be. The leftovers are just as bad, the big rocks usually get left in the road when they take off and there is usually a lot of oil as well, like this one!!!

There was another section a bit later where people were in the road, sweeping dirt from the edge to the middle, that was real strange!! But, then just around the corner I saw some family members picking up the piles of rice that had leaked from a sack along here. Also in this movie is shown the general conditions of riding along here
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There were numerous villages to ride through as usual which always slow you down, so every 5 minutes or so, this is what it is like.
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So, despite the technical part of the road as well as the animal hazards, there was some nice scenery to look at occasionally 🙂

2 hours later and I reached the T-junction at Pak Mong, only 80km away from my start point, as you can see from the previous movies, it was a very slow section. From here normally most people turn south and go direct to Luang Prabang, but I had seen on the map that a bit further on to the east was another green coloured line on the map indicating a scenic route also heading south, so I decided to take that one instead. I had plenty of time 🙂 On the map above, you can see the blue line going east after the T-junction, it then stops, the reason will become clear soon. This section of road was very scenic, following the river valley through bluffs and mountain crags, a very pleasant ride 🙂

Local kids fishing in the river near Pak Mong

After only 30km I arrived at my junction, this is it right here

Yep, it is a bloody river, the green line was scenic by boat only, doh!! 😳 Oh well, I decided as it was a nice spot I would find some food for an early lunch, to match up with my early breakfast. I found an Indian place and thought I would try something different, as long as it was not curry nor ‘ring of fire’ hot 🙂 This was the Deen Indian Restaurant[ N20.56956 E102.61722 ] and I can recommend it, I had the Chicken Biranyi but I had COKE, not what was on the bill OK!!! (that is $5 by the way)

During lunch I readjusted my strategy and checked the map as well as my GPS and worked out I would have to backtrack to Pak Mong. I could have continued east and done a big circle route but there was not much in the way of good roads out that way(scenic and twisty I mean), so I would continue to Luang Prabang the normal way, although I did enjoy the detour out here for the feed 🙂 So, I headed back past all the chilli peppers laid out to dry and thinking along the way, a bit of slash and burn along here could make the scenery that much easier to take photos of!

I was soon turning south, just a bit later than I expected. The ride down to Luang Prabang was just as much fun, with a few nice places to stop for photos. Then around 3pm I arrived in Luang Prabang and for some reason crossed the river by a bike only bridge, well, that is the way the GPS took me. It was a bit scary because the front tyre was very squirmy on the long planks, but once I dropped off onto the short ones, I was a lot more stable, although I was very close to the steelwork with my handlebars during the crossing, but I made it!

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I found the lodgings pretty easily, called the Villa Philaylack [ N19.88886 E102.13157 ] and booked in, but it seemed they were booked out the following night, so I would have to move tomorrow. This was not a big deal, as there were a ton of places around this neighbourhood to stay.

As I was here nice and early, I decided to go Geocaching as there were three of these in town, but rather than take my bike through the busy streets, I decided to hire a scoot. They are pretty cheap for 24 hours and I was soon scooting into the lowering sun to the one I had seen that really appealed to me called “Don’t Pat the Pussy Cat” This was all about an orphaned Tiger cub, you can read the description in the link to the left.

The cache was about 24km away and the old scoot was screaming doing just 70kmh, but I had the time to get there and back before dark 🙂

I was soon at the waterfall National Park and paying my 20,000kip entry fee($2.50) and off looking for the cache. I found the location but it was empty and deserted? I read the detailed description for the cache and realised I needed to ask a ranger type person for a ‘kong’ near the bear enclosure. I also read that the Tiger was dead, boohoo 😦 When I got to the bear enclosure, it was closed for the day and no bears nor rangers in sight, bummer, oh well, I might as well check out the waterfall 🙂

Oh well, off I go screaming back to town, and being very wary of the setting sun and these water buffalo, even on the big bike I would get trashed, on this thing with only a helmet, I would be toast!!

After parking the bike up I went down to the river restaurant and grabbed some beer and food 🙂

It was not a bad effort for the day 310km all up and as I was staying at least another night, I would have time to go see the other Geocaches as well.

Soakdee from Luang Prabang
TravellingStrom

4 Responses to “Bikes Cannot Ride On Rivers- DOH!!!”

  1. Hi Rich,
    We love Luang Phrabang,and managed to do the caches there,the food is great and if you want to chill out,if you look across the river there is a small temple that nobody goes to,great for a afternoon read,you probaly have left looking at the entry date!
    Is the bike all sorted now
    Cheers Clive

  2. Bob Sumner said

    I forgot about that cycle bridge in LP. Took me some consideration before crossing too. Loving the blogs!

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