Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Vietnam Tour: Day 13 (2nd Sept) Bao Loc to Ho Chi Min City!

On a roll!

Woke up real early, 430 am, prepared as per usual now, bike ready and suited up! Went to the counter but... The staff was sleeping.. Had no choice but to wake them up, somehow got a 10k discount and off i go!

But what the heck, I had to stop after 1 km... Had to don the poncho and rain cover, oh well. 

Then it stopped raining, just FYI, my poncho is polyester and there is zero vents. It gets H. O. T. T. HOT in a snap! So I took it off the moment I could.

Except that it would rain and stop and rain and stop another three more times before my bladder finally gave up from all that persuasion. :D

As expected, it was super cooling riding refreshingly early with little traffic. What came next was Resident Evil worthy:

I was to enter the ghost town... Just kidding.

Fog! Mist! What is this! Riding in the clouds woo hooo! So I thought as I ride I the visibility would stay constant like above right? Maybe keep to 10-20 metres? Boy was I wrong...

The mist was so thick that when I rode in, certain parts I couldn't even see the road. I was engulfed , I was literally riding on clouds! A truly surreal experience, riding like that make me happy beyond logic, perhaps it feels like a dream. Kinda similar like when a plane flys through a cloud.

Of course this meant the road is extremely dangerous, thankfully even the vehicles slowed to a crawl, including the kamikaze buses. I was feeling safer since traffic was pretty much at my pace now, I just enjoyed the cloud nine descent of some 10 km! I couldn't stop more since there was almost no shoulder and if I did stop, should any vehicle come, I would most certainly be knocked over... Check out the views: 

There after I wasn't so happy, the road condition worsened still without the shoulders, adding difficulty was hills... God damn rolling hills one after another, ouch. Even if there were road shoulders, they would be covered in gravel and the trucks would horn at you to veer into them so they could pass. It's like your boss, started ordering you around when you have 4 days back log of work on Monday, and then he comes back and said he needs an additional task by yesterday... Kidding, kidding! I guess I was pretty drained, tired, wet and not yet dry. So you kinda wish the conditions would improve, of course the exact opposite happens, it started raining.. I lost count.
Have you every had such thoughts when you see something along the road? What if at that exact moment I was riding past, it toppled over... Ahhhh Ride cautiously!

Push on, push on, pushing. When I had enough I stopped for lunch.

I took a longer break here, because I was dry! Food was pretty good and the mamasan (lady owner) very very graciously topped up my water constantly. I also took my bottles to refill. Super nice!

All to soon, I had to move on. I remember seeing the 130 km marker (still a long way, damn!) to Ho Chi Min City (HCMC) and hit highway 1A almost immediately. When I did hit the highway, HOLY MAMA. I think my ass was crying tears in joy, thanking the heavens, LEGIT smooth highway! I never thought they existed in the whole country. Amazingly the shoulders were actually smoother then the main road! Smoother! With that, tons of motivation and energy came up (maybe from my ass) and hunkered down to spin those wheels faster.

Traffic increased significantly as per usual when I approached cities, but HCMC must be pretty damn big! Still more then a century before I hit the city center! Lots of scooters, handful of bikes, I could pretty much draft the slower scooters and even accelerated past them onto faster scooters when I see one. Fun fun! The longer downhills, I actually started to overtake them past 36km/h and then crank the heck out of the bike back up the hills! Spin hard! Although there is not must scenery now, it was actually more of people watching, I watched the pillions riders as they came and they looked at me too.. I guess I was a rare sight? Crazy guy on a bicycle riding at scooter speeds looking wet and sorry. And just like that I kept going, I was kind of surprised it was already dark, push on I must! I think there were very few traffic lights and I took the opportunity to re-lube my chain thanks to the start-stop rain. I lubed twice, each time after the rain stopped, anyone counting how many times it rained now? Also at the traffic lights were children coming up to me to beg. Never saw that before, tough lives.

As I got nearer the city center, I got more excited and actually cycled faster, stopping once in a while to check the map as the intersections got more frequent and complicated. The nearer I got, it absolutely got more confusing, round-a-bouts, super heavy traffic, literally going around in circles. I finally found the hotel. Finally man. 

Warning graphic image of my foot.

After a shower and dry clothes, time for dinner, I searched TripAdvisor and wanted to eat sushi, but couldn't find the place. I was on the correct street but zero idea on which side. Crossing the street here is super stressful! With hunger levels at emergency, I settled for Kentucky.

Distance today: 199 km 
Distance to date: 1160 km
No. of punctures to date: 1

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vietnam Tour: Day 12 (1st Sept) Da Lat to Bao Loc

Short note: I should really finish up this Vietnam trip write up, it's been years.. Literally. year 2012. Still a trip of a life time!

Got a little lucky at breakfast!
The same great breakfast as yesterday!! Golfed down what I could and off we go! It was 10km of continues steep descent that Initial D fans would love.

I thanked many many many times that I had chosen hydraulic disc brakes for this trip and even more the front Ice tech rotor that were so strong with zero fading throughout! I was thinking if they would turn red hot! With the dry roads and strong brakes, I quickly got in tune and overtook everything in my path. Taking my time to overtake only when it was clear. Being a mountain road however, that was not much clear space, since every other turn is a blind corner! There was one bus and that was nerve wrecking, it was going so slow and it was so long! I had to decide when and if I should overtake. I finally found a little stretch and went for it! I had to make it before the next corner. Past more then half the bus, it was the point where braking and going back behind the bus would be quite impossible. Luckily I made it easily. Phew!
Looks like a dam, pretty cool!

One of the most proper toilets I think!
Super cool wind while going downhill was great, so great I missed a stop where there was a waterfall. I passed that and even contemplated going back. Me and my weakness to waterfalls! But of course, the hills that I had to climb to go back to the waterfall was definitely a no-no for me.

Some highway on the left, so bikes had this section of the road to ourselves!

I came to a point where that was a highway beside the road, looks like a toll-road. 

There was quite a bit of wind, if you could see from the flag..

Still very beautiful scenery as I ride along.
Looks like I'm going into a storm.. Hope for the best!
The road got worse.. At least I seem to be drafting the storm.. The wind pushes it further.
And then I came to this point in the road where I saw on the left and on the right:
Storm Storm!
It's sunshine!

Quite a plenty of hills before a got to Bao Loc though! I counted at least 7, the pain.. I had Pho somewhere in-between and checked into yet another random hotel, this time without any AC. 
Checked into the hotel and said goodbye to the storm clouds I narrowly missed.

Settled with Com dinner just outside the hotel and went to bed early as I had a lot of distance to cover tomorrow! Till the next post guys!

Distance today: 100 km 
Distance to date: 961 km
No. of punctures to date: 1