The last 18km downhill ride continued much to my delight and some 10' degree slopes saw the Surly hit 55.5kmh. Its ultra long wheelbase made it absolutely stable.
The 60km ride to Vien Vang was flattish and a bit boring compared to what we have rode through. Down to only 300m above sea level, we were getting fried by the blazing sun. Many parts of the road here in Route 13 were broken and spoilt.
Gravel, sand and dust were the order of the day. All the rough and hard riding took its toil on rider and machine. Any fillings in our teeth were well and truly shaken out and my bike panniers came loose through a screw that fell off no thanks to all the poundings. Our Belgians friends unfortunately lost their handlebar mounted camera in this stage too. 3 weeks of photos all gone and it was most tragic. But I will always remember the kindness of a little girl selling fruit at one rest point. I must have looked pretty pathetic, and she came over shyly to give me a refreshing Mandarin Orange. I was touched!
Reaching Vien Vang was a relief and we felt like dusty cowboys on horses at the end of a long trail. We checked into Mekong View Guesthouse (our friend Michelle Dodd stayed here 6 months ago) tired and dirty.
The magnificient view of the mountain ridges and Nam Ou River from the 2nd floor balcony, spacious and clean rooms and location away from the noisy centre of town, made this a most suitable abode for our next two days in the valley.