Friday, November 21, 2008

Out of the mountains, into the valleys

Bor Nam Oon is certainly worth another night just to enjoy the serenity and beauty. Therefore it was with great reluctance that we had to set off, a little later. Breakfast of bacon, eggs and baguette was just too good to rush through and we took our time to enjoy it.

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.

However, that rhythm was broken many times with compulsory stops for photos. The green ricefields, sweeping valleys, blues skies, limestone mountains, flowing streams and signature ridges bathe in perfect morning light beckoned us to just take it all in.

Kasi, 20km away signalled the end of the mountainous part. We regrouped and had refreshments, and waited too long for Chris who was captivated with the landscape. His camera truly had an early morning full on aerobics workout. Typical of Lao hospitality, the friendly shopkeeper bantered with us and proudly showed off his gorgeous 2 yo grand-daughter.

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.

1 comment:

Michael Khor said...

Amazing isn't it? We ride the same road, but completely different experience.