Once through the border (with our new 10 day visas), we headed on up the road, which was a very steep, but very well paved section of twisty road. I kept day dreaming about coming back in a sports car or on a fun bike... I had lots of time to day dream because I weigh 185lbs, my backpack weighed 100lbs, and my motorcycle had maybe
6hp. At sea level. In 1974. So I was not moving briskly. Think "jogging pace" and you've pretty much got the idea. To make matters worse, the other two Minsks had a definite horsepower advantage on mine. At first they were just a bit ahead of me, but after 15 or 20 minutes of relentless climbing, I couldn't even see them any more, plus I think my bike got slower once it got good and hot (overheated).
So it goes without saying that the first flat section of road that I saw, I thought "I'd better try to make up for some lost time!" Friends too far ahead to see, just heading into a small village of grass huts, and perhaps 1/8th mile of flat straight road ahead of me, I wound out first, second, then third gear, reaching speeds upwards of 30 mph! I was probably most of the way to 40 mph by the end of the straight. I was REALLY moving now, I'd catch those bastards in no time...
Approaching the corner at the end of the straightaway, I had good sight lines and plenty of time to assess: An uphill right-hander, good camber, not too tight, clean pavement. Go wide on entry, look for my apex. Lean in a bit, but not too much, and - SMASH!!
I low-sided the bike, but I hadn't leaned the thing over any farther than it would lean when parked on the side stand! I went down on my right shoulder, then the side of my face (I love my full face helmet!) As I was skidding to a stop on the pavement, I saw my pocket knife go bouncing off into the distance and I thought "Great, now how am I going to open beers". I stood up shook myself off, found my Chatterbox (which had come off my helmet, but wasn't broken!) and plugged it back in and sort of shouted "I'M DOWN!! STOP AND WAIT!"
It was at this point that I realized that my fantastic display of (30 mph) speed followed by a noisy crash had not gone unnoticed by the Mhong villagers. I looked around and there were people everywhere! I gave a wave, and they returned befuddled stares. I wandered around for a minute until I found my pocket knife, then picked up the Minsk, which was hemorrhaging fuel from the cap and the carb. I figured I would have a few more minutes of embarrassment while the bike would refuse to start, but it started on the first kick! Yeah, Minsk!!
I caught up with Aivars and Larisa a few hundred yards up the road, and we hung out by the side of the road for a while to make sure i didn't have any injuries, then got back on the road.
Larisa snapped this picture while waiting for me to catch up
Not finding any place to stay, we ended up riding until after dark that night, it was the first time we experienced Minsk headlights. You would probably be better off duct taping a Fig Newton to the handlebars and hoping the moonlight bounces off of it and onto the pavement...
We stopped for the night in Phonsavan, very tired from a long day, and planned to go out and see the Plain of Jars the next day.