Thursday 6th December. Villabouri to Sainamhai Resort 282k's
Today would be another big day I was heading up towards the Nape pass via a small resort so it meant a bit of back tracking but I have time so what the hell. I set the GPS to get me up to route 12 and would make the rest of the plan from there. After yesterday's trip I was up for an easier day but the route had different plans for me, once again the drift captured it all.
It's a 6.30am start and within 20 minutes I'm back on the trails in remote places which I had not seen before but all saved on my GPS. Already I can see that the day is not going to be easy as the first 2 river crossings were difficult and deep, slippery stones,broken logs and mud. Passed through some really old villages and often had to double backup to find the right trail as they seemed to be many new ones, a good test of my resolve and I was enjoying a different challenge today.
After a while I arrive at the massive opening as the trail stops, it's a dried paddy field with the Normal borders around them and the trail has stopped but I can see other tracks so I have a little scout about but there is nothing going in my direction so I just follow where the track should have been, straight across the fields as far as the eye can see.
Time for a quick stop to hydrate then it,s full steam ahead as my notions of an easy day have gone and I'm starting to enjoy this rather hard one, I have to back track a few times, move logs negotiate ditches all in the blistering heat. The Paddy fields prove hard as the small walls are to high and the bike keeps getting beached.
I have to say this today would be one of my favorite rides ever, after a couple of hrs I come out onto a road and I,m back on track again.
The road is dusty but fast, no traffic and eventually I arrive at route 12 stop for some lunch about 20k's from route 8B which took me past Nam Theun power station and up an amazing twisty climb to about 700 meters then it flattened out, after the climb the road became graded and fast lots of building work and people around, lots of money.
As I press on the land opens up into what I can only describe as as a sea with trees as far as the eye can see, was this a result of the power station flooding the area? I have no idea but what I saw was amazing and it went on for miles and miles, it's a protected area and I had the place to myself, 70k's an hr with a plume of dust following me, this is another must ride with some great little places to stay and great views.
It's beautiful up here!
More wet Forrest.
Brilliant trails and no traffic at all.
The last 20k's was back into the jungle which is also being fixed up road wise a great track and I stop to talk to the work guys who spoke great English and was excited to meet the little farang and find out were I came from.
Moving the dirt.
Heading back into the bush.
The trail went back into the bush and after a bit there was a break in the bush and I realize there is a valley the size of London the other side of the trees, another wow moment and this ride keep getting better and better.
The Children in this house have a View to die for.
Lucky people waking up to that everyday.
I exit the 8B and head West on route 8 this is were I have to back track toward the limestone Forrest, the sun is going down at this point and I want to make it to the view point before it sets so I'm in a hurry, I stop along the way to get some other shots but I'm chasing the sun.
This shot remind me of ET for some reason.
I don't think I will make it, but gods loves a trier
This is the spot I was chasing. Only just made it.
I make just before it sets then I head for the resort where I have a meeting about some school uniforms I'm supplying. The resort is beautiful and I have a wonderful evening with the owner and his family and a few beer Laos and a large steak cooked by his daughter who is a Chef in training, she going to be good!.... then it's of to bed to ready myself for an early start up to the Nape pass. I have to say that to date has been the fun ride I have ever undertaken in Laos and would do it again anytime.
Friday 7th December Sainamhai Resort to The Nape pass and onto Vientiane 478k's
Morning arrives and I'm up early say my good byes and head of, today would be a long day 476 k's and my broken skin on my backside and hands is giving me Hell, my right index finger is badly swollen but I have to press on, I took a detour but got stopped because of a drainage ditch which was being made so I had to turn back but this is what it looked like....
I'm coming back to finish this ride.
I will return to that story when I complete it. Back to the route to VTE. And this is how the morning had started.
Amazing view, looks like somebody painted those mountains.
As I rode up to the pass it was raining and bloody cold, no turning back so when I reached the top I took a couple of snaps and headed back down and dried out and warmed up.
Now I will set the GPS for Vientiane switch my brain of and endure a long ride with only views for company, back passed the limestone Forrest again up to route 13.
I arrive at Vientiane about 7 that evening and find a hotel in town, clean up and eat as it had been a long day, I would leave for Thailand in the morning and was back home about 2pm looking the worst for wear, my mission had been a success apart from one thing which I will return to soon.
This ride as a blast, I saw many new things and experienced some wonderful moments that I can carry forever, the Lifan has paid for itself. The bike did not miss a beat and got through all the hard terrain without falling apart, think I'll give her a service when we get back and a night in the Kitchen as way of a thank you.
I'm back of up to Chaing Mai with my Mum until the 20th then I'm heading back for another 6 day blast to see things on the ever growing list.
Love the Lifan.