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Old 11-29-2012, 05:23 AM   #11
Steve canyon OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: London
Oddometer: 70
Ho Chi Minh Trail

Man I miss the fast connection.......feel like I got to rush, sorry for the last double text..

I got the boys up real early and we were on the road by 6.30 AM another beautiful morning in the making.

Heading East from Thakhek it's about 60k's to the first stop of the day for breakfast and a quick look at an old SAM missile.

After our morning feed it's back on the road for another 30k's passed a bombed out bridge and then we turn right of onto the trails.

The Guys are really pumped about doing this part of the trail, the guy they hired the bikes of told them to stay away as they don't have the experience required to take it on, my thought where that I had done it solo last year and it was my first trail riding experience so if we stick together and take our time all will be fine.

Last year Laos had had a really long rainy season so it was muddy and wet, this year it was dry as a bone and the dust was thick. I set of and told them to give me a few minutes to let the dust settle and that they should do like wise or choke on the dust, if I was making a turn I would wait for them. This section of trail is about 30k's and brings you back out near the Mu Gai pass a nice little trail with no river crossings.

It was so much easier than last year, the river beds were dry and there was only a few rocky sections.

This is what I came for I'm not really interested in the tourist spots so I'm in my element just plodding along and keeping upright, after a while I stop to wait for Chris&David.

No problems apart from the dust we are having a ball so we press on. When I arrive at the next village which signals the end of that trail I pull over and wait again, it's a great spot.

Time for a rest and a cool down.

Village life, so peaceful

After about 20 mins I'm wondering where they are eventually they turn up smothered in dust, Dave had had a small of but he was fine, infarct he was delighted to have taken a tumble on the trail and lived to tell the tale. after a little break we head of again there is a couple of places I want to show them, one is an old choke point and the other is a small field of bomb craters, then onto a village to try and find some war scrap which was gone but it did turn up this little river crossing.

The local were enjoying the sun playing in the river, wish we joined them as the midday sun was very hot.

The boys crossing the bridge on the way out.

Time to leave the trail and find a lunch stop up near the pass, on the way we met a MAG team so we stopped to talk as this is part of the reason I'm here. Meet Dalawang she was in charge of this site which we could not walk down to.

The rest of the team where having a lunch break, look like they were laying cables to detonate what ever they had found.

A few pictures with the boss.

The bombing stats for Laos are incredible, it's hard to get your head around them especially as the war was in Vietnam!!

Lao PDR is the most heavily bombed country, per capita, in history
Approximately 25% of villages in Laos are contaminated with Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)
More than 580,000 bombing missions were conducted over Laos
Over 2 million tons of ordnance were dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973
Cluster sub munitions or ‘Bombies’ (as they are known locally) are the most common form of UXO remaining
More than 270 million bombies were dropped onto Laos
Up to 30% failed to detonate
Approximately 80 million unexploded bombies remained in Laos after the war
All 17 provinces of Laos suffer from UXO contamination
41 out of the 46 poorest districts in Laos have UXO contamination
Over 50,000 people have been killed or injured as a result of UXO accidents in the period 1964 -2008
Over 20,000 people have been killed or injured as a result of UXO accidents post war period, 1974-2008
UXO Lao works in the nine most heavily UXO contaminated provinces in the country.
UXO Lao needs on an average, US$6.5 million, for operations. It employs over 1,000 people

We said our goodbyes and headed of for lunch, we were all very hot and dusty.

A very happy but hot Chris

After lunch we headed for the Mu Gia pass to check out the views over Vietnam at the customs point.

The boys arriving at the summit.

It had been a great day and the boys were happy to have ridden a price of History, both vowing to return next year for more, we blasted back to Thakhek and enjoyed the last evening together before the boys went to Thailand, we ended up having chips for tea as that was all we could really find, a tiring but great day.

I enjoyed your company boys, the twist was I ended up going back to Thailand as well to sort the bike and myself out, just waiting on some paper work and I'm heading back to Laos
More here..

Steve canyon screwed with this post 11-29-2012 at 11:51 PM
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