What a wonderful country. I really like this place.
|Travel From||–||Oudomxay, Laos|
|Ending Location||–||Luang Prabang, Laos|
|Miles Driven Today||–||120 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||13305 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos|
We had a short ride scheduled so we were able to start with a more relaxed time of 9:00 AM. We started out by having our picture taken by the hotel staff/owner. It seems that the people of Laos are really warm, and wonderful, and love having us in their hotel. The hotel was excellent, and the staff was wonderful.
I do have to say that the shower drain was not working, and there were not any electrical outlets near the desk, but when you’re greeted with a glass of lemongrass, and a cold towel, your perspective seems to change quickly.
I’ve been riding with the group of 6 that makes up the rear group, but I would sometimes run ahead, leaving the group, eager to get to the hotel, or to meet some goal in my head. This morning, I made a decision. I was going to stay with Phil and Charles, and enjoy their way of taking in this trip. They love to find interesting photo shots of people and children, so I tagged along, and was rewarded handsomely.
First of all, my entire mood changed. On this ride, I was going to be there to help my buddies out if anything happened, and to learn from them, as they captured some great moments.
And so it was. We stopped frequently, and we stopped at places that I would have simply ridden by. But, in every case, there was an interesting person, or shot that needed to be captured. In fact, I’ve put a few of these together, for you to see.
I’ve also taken a video of a couple of really cute Lao children.
VIDEO OF KIDS
While riding, we came upon a roadside market, selling fruits and melons. I purchased a cucumber, and a melon, and shared them with the group. I thought they were delicious, but we got mixed thoughts throughout our riders.
As we arrived at this market, we saw that there was a pig, crossing the road. So, for sure, that deserved a video.
As we were about to leave, Charles let me know that the Goats had taken a liking to my bike. So, I approached, but they are goats, and they were not interested in being interviewed.
Because of the way that we split off from the main group, we found ourselves eating lunch mostly alone. We had found the van along the road, so we met them in town, where they were just arriving, and pointed out the designated lunch spot. We order simple, quick foods, had a quick lunch, and were once again, on our way.
We started the afternoon ride with about 70 miles to go. Based on the pace we used in the morning, it would take quite some time to get to the hotel. But, we stepped it up a bit, and hit the road.
At about the 35 mile mark, we came upon some major construction. The video shows the huge pile of gravel that was being laid on the oncoming lane, and luckily, we were in the other lane. We followed this lane for a short distance, and then discovered that our lane was also laid with deep gravel. When I say deep gravel, I mean that it might be 2-3 feet deep of gravel, using large stones. This stuff is not impossible to cross, but it’s very difficult. As the video shows…
The Gravel and Haha Bear
We lost HaHa bear today. At first, we had a close call, having him fall out, but I noticed that he was flung from the bike. And then, some time later, and after retrieving him, we lost him for good. Sorry to see him go.
Maybe he’ll find another bike to ride on. All the best to you HaHa Bear. You were a good companion, and a brave and skilled passenger.
The nut that passed me on the left
These roads are full of ruts, and potholes. So, as we ride, we move the bikes around, avoiding these holes at all costs. Hitting one of these holes could easily bend or dent a rim, or cause a crash. So, it’s important to miss all of the potholes.
In this video, I’m riding standing up, giving me more visibility ahead, and better control around the obstacles. At the 12 second mark, you’ll see that the pickup truck is in the middle of passing me, but at that very same moment, I move left, in order to avoid the hole. This was another close call, and it makes me uncomfortable that, in Asia, regardless of how safely you ride, these situations come up a hundred times each day. When they come up, you must keep your wits, and use all of your skill to get yourself out of the jam you’re in.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were given lemon water, made from fresh lemons, along with a cold towel. The temperature during the ride reached a tepid 95 degrees F, so the cold towel was welcomed, and refreshing.
The rooms are quite nice, and I look forward to spending two days here.
Report from the road
What will tomorrow bring
Tomorrow is a day off for us. Some of the riders are going to a local orphanage to hand out gifts, and to donate money. I expect to visit some of the local sites, and enjoy a day in and near the hotel. Although, it’s possible that we’ll go to a set of waterfalls, located about 20 miles away.
Tomorrow night, we’re scheduled to have a group dinner in a French restaurant, which is supposed to be very good. So, consider that I’m now able to eat regular food, I’m very much looking forward to that.
Laos seems so “normal” compared to your last country visited which additionally would not be surprised at all if they had hacked your iPhone causing the photo and video downloading issue. Someone has to pay for those bed linens.
Mike, your post made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that. And you’re right. Someone is going to have to pay for those bed linens. LOL
On a related note, Laos is not only normal, but it’s wonderful I’ll write more in the upcoming posts.