Sunday, Feb. 28th (Muang Sing to Long)

  • Very frustrating day. 
  • Started with a couple of complimentary instant coffees at our guesthouse, Danneau 2, then hit the road. 
  • Our plan was to head South towards the Burmese border to the city of Long. From there we would turn East towards Vieng Phou Kha. This way we would avoid backtracking along roads we had already seen and get to explore much more of Nam Ha National Park, one of the most biodiverse jungles in all of Asia. 
  • The plan hinged on the road from Long to Vieng Phou Kha being navigable by our Honda Win motorbikes, which are not exactly built for trail riding. 
  • Unfortunately, this is exactly what we encountered: steep, rocky trails with wide fissures and deep puddles. We made it 10km of 80km total before turning back. 
  • We were on the road back to Muang Sing, hoping to at least make some progress towards Luang Namtha before losing the light, when something snapped within my engine and I lost all power. 
  • We busted out the tow rope, which we had thankfully purchased in Saigon before starting this whole crazy journey, and tied one end to the base of Cory’s luggage rack and the other end to my steering column. 
  • Cory drove, pulling my bike along in neutral, and playing a delicate throttle game to keep us moving while under control. I sat on my bike, trying to keep a straight line behind Cory while maintaining steady tension on the line. 
  • Even with this teamwork, the line snapped several times, and we ended up with many more knots and roughly half the length we started with by the time we rolled into Long. 
  • We pulled in at the first mechanic shop and I watched the father-son team work on my bike while Cory scoped out guesthouses. 
  • It ended up costing 40K Kip ($5) to reattach the broken part in the engine, though I am very suspicious that it was just a quick fix and that the chances of the problem arising again are high. 
  • As we were re-oiling the chain, my bag caused the motorbike’s balance to be thrown off and it toppled over on its side. This snapped the front brake handle, completely disabling it. 
  • Neither I nor the mechanic was in the mood to go through another fix, so I cut my losses and drove the motorbike a few paces away to the guesthouse that Cory had arranged. 
  • We went for a dinner of rice, mixed vegetables, and egg at a local restaurant, then bought a few snacks and candies from a Chinese supermarket in an attempt to eat away the frustration. 
  • We returned to our room and had a low key night before retiring to bed.

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