After being hold up in Luang Prabang during the big freeze..
It was time to break out. I did enjoy the time in LPQ..
Love going back.
But those 7c day time maximum temps and 3c 4c at night were too much..
Not to mention the cold rain…
Before the big blast of cold from China.. Went for a look along the Mekong to Muang Nan.
Now decided will go the more conventional way as there was a lot of rain and really wanted to be in Xanakham in the evening..
Wasn’t sure how muddy it would be..
Turned out to be a good plan as there was plenty of mud and roadworks heading down to Xanakham.
First a ride back up to the Kasi – Nan bypass.
Always enjoy a ride through here and the spectacular scenery.
Getting ready for the big climb up to the top – Going towards Kasi.
Looking back down to where I just took the previous picture.
At the road works view point before you drop down to Kasi
There is a little road works trail that goes off to the left.
The view from here looking down to the twisty road and the view point people stop at.
Then that magical bit of twisty road.. As you can see the weather is still a bit cloudy after the storm from China.
Looking back behind me to the the landslides.. Saw some pictures on our FB Laos Adventure riding group.. That had this road in much better condition in December.. Imagine how this will be when the rainy season comes!
Looking down in to the valley.
Reach Kasi and it was really warm.. Pealed off my rain jacket (Acting as wind breaker) plus another layer of clothes.
Approx 9 or 10 km south of Kasi you arrive at the turn off to Xanakham . A route Moto Rex showed me a few years back..
Well.. Sad to say.. The road works goes in from the Kasi end for approx 30 km.
There use to be a nice slippery twisty part through the mountains, with lots of lovely fresh jungle and cool air.
That is gone and wider now.
But you can crack on up to 100 kph in parts.
There appeared a new way not on the GPS.. I guess part of the road works and went and checked it out.
This fella appeared out of the bush below.. Smiled.. So I called him over for a pic..
Some fun muddy and slippery bits to navigate.
These Chinese trucks didn’t have a lot of choice. You can’t see it in the picture.
They can’t go the way I am going or they would take out the power lines so have to go this way and he was stuck and wheels spinning with his mate behind thinking.. His turn next..
I wanted to help him.. But really nothing I could do.. He gave a big smile as I took the picture 🙂
END OF THE ROAD – The road will be open at 5pm…
Well sorry.. But I can’t wait here until 5pm.. I won’t get to Xanakham until 9 or 10 PM..
I am only 30 km in to the ride down… Then the locals point to the rice paddies..
I look out and can see a couple of shacks with bikes out there.. But it doesn’t look possible to go all the way around..
OK.. Well the choices are.. Go back 30 KM and head to Vang Vieng for the night.. (Not keen for another modern town )
Lets take a look at the rice paddies – with out getting stuck!
Plenty of water in here.. I dismounted a few times to make sure I would not sink up to my arm pits.
I don’t think the locals on the road are going to walk out here 400 metres to help me dig out..
Looking back to where I started.
Went a few “wrong” ways
More water and check out how muddy and if I will get stuck.
Almost around the road works..
Looking back the way I had just ridden.
Then the road becomes good again….
No more road works all the way down to Xanakham – for now..
Gotta love how the locals get around.
No body armour, no boots, no trick mud tyres..
Just a good old scooter and the desire to get some where…
Still on the Super Highway…
More friendly locals..
Still a bit of water to get through.. The little creeks were up after all the rain from the big cold front that had hit earlier in the week..
Twenty KM from Xanakham. Getting dark. But I have to stop and take this picture..
Pull in to the guest house.. 100,000 kip. Clean tidy and wifi..
Just the right amount of mud.. Great day riding on the trail.
A great days ride to be followed up by a nice dinner on the Mekong over looking Chiang Khan.
Now the home stretch along the Mighty Mekong from Xanakham to Vientiane.
Approx 17 km of dirt before you reach the tarmac just near the Meung Feung turn off.
But first a stop for a coffee and enjoy the Mekong.
Stopped on the way down opposite Sangkhom and a look over the Mekong.
The locals invited me to play and didn’t do too bad.. But did politely decline the Lao Khao energy drink :p
Arrive VTE plenty of time and check in at the GH.
I needed to be in Vientiane as waiting on some paperwork for my new job.
Suppose to start in January but a screw up from the contract HR and we decided to put it back to the New Year with Christmas and New Year approaching.. So, Why not go back and chill in Laos.. Certainly worse places to wait for the holidays and paperwork to be sorted.
Work Permit issued yesterday.
Good call going to Laos. Ticked the LIMA Site 85 Box..
Had some free time in Vientiane and have made some good friends and certainly not bored hanging out in the capital .
First a visit to Fuark.. Always nice to catch up with Fuark.
When I turned up Ed was sitting there looking a bit down as his bike was getting pulled apart..
As his bike was going to out of action for a while.. We said. Why not join us for a beer or three.
Which then turned in to dinner at PDR pizza..
The best cold cuts around town….
Then off to Bopenyang Bar.
We also met another rider there from the US on a Viet bike..
Swapped some info and tracks as they wanted to go a nice way up to Luang Prabang.
My Birthday is Feb 2nd and this is Feb 1st..
But we ended up going on until 4 in the morning..
Sone must have seen I checked in to Borpennyeng bar and told her friends.
So when we went down to leave, a bunch of her friends insisted on taking us to the next after hours place…
What the hell… 8 people in a hatchback….
Russ leaned in to say he was going home..
I grabbed him and pulled him in.. The other two then grabbed him and pulled him the rest of the way in..
Only feet dangling.. Until the door was closed..
Totally immature we know.. Felt like I was 20 again LOL..
I remember walking out of this club miles from town.. Trying to follow Google Maps to go back to Vientiane..
Only to go back and forth and then one of Son’s friends pulled up and asked if I wanted to lift to town….
Needless to say, everyone was pretty wrecked the next day and I counted this as my Birthday drinks LOL.
The next day Brian from Sangkhom decided to visit and say hi.. Not a big drive, around 90 km.
Pictures taken at Highland Bar.
Off for a nice feed a little out of town on the dirt road..
Mainly locals in here and good food.
The next day I see Alex from the Pattaya Crew in Sputnik burger.
He said he was just about to message me as I walked in the door..
Adrian was also in town on business..
So we all caught up that evening.
To be followed by the two David’s..
Last but not least..
If you ever get in to an accident in VTE.. Call 1623 (Not 1624 – expensive commercial operation)
Volunteer service and you can make a donation for any help recieved.