Thursday, Feb. 4th (Con Cuong to Ninh Binh)

  • I woke up early to fit in a workout before hitting the road.
  • We left by 9am and were in and out of the fine mist that seems to be a hallmark of the mountains here the whole way.
  • On our way out of Con Cuong, a random local on a scooter pulled alongside Cory and handed him a bag of food.
  • We hadn’t eaten breakfast yet so we stopped on the side of the road to check out the mystery bag.  It turned out to be several green jelly-like snack with bits of nuts inside, all wrapped in several layers of banana leaves.  Despite the weird consistency it actually tasted quite good and we each had a few of them before getting back on the bikes.
  • The rest of the 9 hour journey went smoothly along well paved roads with wide corners that we could easily take at full throttle.
  • One of our few breaks was at Ho Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage sight roughly 70km South of Ninh Binh city.  We spent a few minutes checking out the exhibit and biking through the ruined enclosure before continuing on our way.
  • Our other stops were due to mechanical issues: Cory’s chain fell off on a series of back streets that we were using to change highways.  Luckily it happened right in front of a mechanic shop.  The mechanic took two links out of Cory’s chain, adjusted the back tire slightly, charged us 50K VND ($2.25) for his services, then sent us on our way.
  • An hour later, on another back road that was supposed to lead us right into Ho Citadel, Cory’s throttle completely detached from the handle bar, leaving him powerless.  We thought we might be in serious trouble, but within 10 minutes of pushing the bikes down a deserted road we came across another mechanic shop.  A few minutes and 30K VND ($1.35) later and we were back on our way.
  • The final mechanical issue was a preventative chain tightening on my bike.  I had noticed the chain catching occasionally on the kickstand so we stopped and had it fixed at the next mechanic shop we passed, for 10K VND (45 cents).
  • Total cost for the day’s mechanical issues: 90K VND ($4).
  • We arrived at Kim Lien Guesthouse in Ninh Binh around 6pm.
  • We were chilled to the bone and immediately sought out Pho (Vietnamese soup) and hot tea at a local restaurant to help warm us up.
  • We returned to the guesthouse and spent the rest of the evening relaxing before calling it an early night.
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