Day Two: Some velvet morning. In daylight, we saw our surroundings for the first time:
We stayed in these huts:
We relaxed in the morning:
The inn is situated on a river:
I lingered after breakfast:
Steph worked on his bike:
We rode back across the rice paddies and up the road to Kong Lor cave:
Kong Lor cave is 7.5 kilometers long with a river running through it and under a mountain. I'm told it's under consideration to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The dirt road leading there is bound to be paved and there will be bus loads of tourists visiting; but not when we were there.
Guides took us in shallow-draft wooden canoes that they hauled with ropes through rapids to the mouth of the cave.
You could possibly load a motorcycle into one of these canoes and resume your ride on the other end of the cave on the other side. I don't know whether anyone has ever done that.
We had to get out a few times to pull the canoes over sand bars. The cave has high vaulted ceilings and there were massive log jams wedged into rock outcroppings on the roof. For the water to be high enough to do this, it must come out of the mouth of the cave like a fire hose sometimes.
We returned along Route 8 heading for Tha Ket, a provincial capital on the banks of the Mekong. Digby flatted a rear tire on a curve while crossing the mountain pass. I didnít see it but Ian, who was behind him, later said he didnít understand how Digby possibly kept the bike upright. There was an oncoming truck and he likely would have gone under its wheels if he had gone down. You could ride for an hour on that road without passing an oncoming vehicle but there it was, bearing down on him like a bad date just when his tire punctured.
Notice the helmets set on the ground? Flat repaired, we took off again but just down the road Ian braked to a stop, tore off his helmet and started swatting at his head. Turns out an army of miniature red biting ants had crawled into his helmet while it sat on the ground.
I never left mine on the ground again.
We got into Tha Ket just at sundown -- another old French colonial-era city on the banks of the Mekong. Dinner that night was a Lao barbeque. The metal cone fits over a stone bucket of embers that sits in a hole in the table. You barbeque beef and chicken on the dome and pour broth into the trough to boil greens, vegetables and eggs.
Day Three: Up early with plans to ride to the Vietnamese border where the main Ho Chin Minh Trail enters Laos.
We stopped on the way out of town so Ian could get a new front brake rotor (I get the feeling that ADV readers like to see pics of repairs).
I like the small Buddhist shrine in the garage, which I like to think is meant to bless your ride.
Teaser: maybe Ian should have paid obeisance or left an offering.