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Old 09-04-2009, 08:10 PM   #61
suffering somewhere
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: "X" cramento
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This is a superb RR. Thank you for providing such an informative and insightful narrative to go with the photos. I also very much appreciate the ADVrider responses from those that served during this time. Thank you all.
Adventure begins when your plan falls apart.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:27 PM   #62
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Location: Tokyo
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You guys are hardcore! You should write a book about this experience....
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:40 PM   #63
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Awesome report.
'15 RX-3 CSC Cyclone (I'm getting the 1st one!)
'06 KLR 650 (Red...the fast one...)
'10 California Scooter (my Baja Blaster!)
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:08 PM   #64
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: DFW Area, TX
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Amazing ride report!!! A true adventure!
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:36 AM   #65
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Oviedo, España
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Please tell me there is more!
Dreaming of Dakar
Everyone has a max speed, 90% of that max speed is much safer and easier, and if that 90% speed isn't fast enough at Dakar, you enter the snowball. - neduro
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Old 09-05-2009, 01:45 PM   #66
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Location: Sonthofen, Germany
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An extremely adventures!

Thank you very much for sharing with us!

Best greatings from Germany
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:25 PM   #67
Suqsuda OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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Thanks to all of you for your feedback, I really appreciate it; I agree with IceCreamSoldier that the fellow inmate replies really help make the RR. And Bluebull, sorry to say that this RR is near its end. In fact that night in Saravane we started our end-of trip celebration a little early and some of us hit the whiskey after a good meal of steak-frites in a Vietnamese-run cafe. One of us who will remain nameless, who rode through some of the most challenging stretches without even putting a foot down, hit the pavement and crashed hard while walking back to the hotel from the restaurant. The next morning the old ladies who ran the hotel, who had seen the whole thing, pantomimed us staggering back while holding each other up; they used a plastic water bottle as a prop for our whiskey bottle, which they passed back and forth and guzzled from. They were bent double laughing and had us laughing, too. They kept saying 'Mao Lao," which I take it means 'drunk in Laos.' A big steaming bowl of spicy pho soup and noodles with some king of beef knuckle bone the size of a fist helped some of us over hangovers.

Items picked up on the trail:

This rocket launcher was an American weapon, according to its markings. We Googled the serial number but didn't come up with anything. I had to wonder about its story -- dropped by some Special Forces team in a desperate engagement? It seems to me to be the type of weapon you would choose to ambush trucks on the trail.

We had an easy ride on paved road that day to Attepu. I rode out ahead and had a kind of unnerving experience that falls into the "strangest things you've ever hit" category . I was riding at about 110 km/hr, perfectly clear, no traffic, and I saw a dark cloud hanging over the highway. As I closed on it, I could see that it was undulating, and also pulsing -- expanding and contracting. It was right at my level and stretched across both lanes -- no going around it. I was closing on it more quickly than I was thinking -- I thought, "Must be gnats, I'll ride through 'em" then I hit it and it was like being pelted with handfuls of gravel -- it was a swarm of bees. I hit about 20 of them -- they bounced off my helmet, my body -- I was just wearing two t-shirts -- one hit the lens of my goggles. Then I was through. I saw about a half dozen of then stuck to my shirt, which I frantically brushed off with my left hand. Brought to mind the scene in the novel "Setting Free the Bears."

The next day we rode some twisties and hairpin turns to the Tri-Border area where the trail exits Laos at the Vietnam/Cambodia border.

The mountaintop in the background was Leghorn base, an impregnable U.S. Special Forces base and lookout that they reached only by helicopter. A couple years ago local villagers found a way up, cleared out old Claymore mines and barbed wire and scavenged it for scrap metal. I hear you can hike up there, although we didn't do it.

Our last day we rode up and over the Bolovens Plateau to Pakse on a dirt road. We found this waterfall at the end of an unmarked little dirt side trail. A beautiful country:

Past the waterfall we found ourselves racing against the setting sun once again on a deeply potholed red dirt road as we headed for Pakse, our final destination. This time, we won, arriving at dusk. We parked the bikes and Digby bought a round of beers with which we toasted one another. He said, "Gentlemen, that was quite some ride."

I'm thankful to my co-riders -- Digby for leading the way and charting the course and having the guts to push forward; Steph for bringing up the rear, making sure nobody was left behind, and for his riding pointers and tips; Ray for all his help -- and his cooking. And all of them for their cameraderie and good spirits.

Thanks to you ADV members who read this report, and a special thanks to those of you who commented.
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Old 09-07-2009, 05:33 PM   #68
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Minnesota
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Love your Ride Report and photos, great shots of the jungle and rivers. Saludos y feliz viaje amigos
Four Wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul

Escape the Tundra: Tenth winter in Mexico and Guatemala 2009/2010
Minnesota to Guatemala 2008/2009
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:37 PM   #69
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well done looks amazing can't wait to go there some day
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:53 PM   #70
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Oviedo, España
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Brilliant!! Im sorry it ended so soon, what a great report.

I especially enjoyed the finish where you guys couldn't walk home after the evening out.
Dreaming of Dakar
Everyone has a max speed, 90% of that max speed is much safer and easier, and if that 90% speed isn't fast enough at Dakar, you enter the snowball. - neduro
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:03 AM   #71
Andy G
2wheeled alpinist
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
Oddometer: 551
wow, what a ride! Thanks!

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:27 AM   #72
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: The Willamette Valley, Oregon
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So well written and well Photographed

For those of us for whom the Viet Nam War was so much of our lives I thank you. Such a beautiful Part of the world It is so good to see that life after the war has brought some peace to these very hard working People.

Really this is a moving report. Thank you again
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:50 PM   #73
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: New York Capitol Region
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Awesome report!

I only wish it was longer! The steep trails in "the Crux" look really challenging in photos, so I'm sure they were even more intimidating in person.
Why THUNK? Because we think, so you don't have to.
In order of ownership:
1993 Honda CB250 (sold)--1989 Honda NX250 (sold)--1975 Honda CB360T (sold, sadly, to help pay for..)--1999 BMW F650 Classic (sold, never gelled with that bike)--2002 Ninja 250 (totaled, frame cracked on a pothole, rode it home)--2012 Yamaha XT 250
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:43 PM   #74
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Location: NoVA... Again.
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Amazing Report! First Class!
"...he wondered if a God subtle enough to invent quantum mechanics would really be intrested in having people deliver rote prayers and swing incense pots in His direction." - Jack McDevitt
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:13 PM   #75
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Banana Republic of Black Gold
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That's one hell of a ride report from a part of the world we don't see often around here.
5 Stars!
SS. '98 BMW F650 / '06 WR250F / '07 KTM 990 Adv
Caracas, Venezuela
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