Days 5-7: Riding, Riding and More Riding

me-and-josh

Days 5 through 7 have been very heavy riding days where we really only stopped when we needed a place to sleep. Over the past three days, we have ridden over 200 miles.

I’m finding that these long rides are a great time to think and I couldn’t help but start to contemplate how much this journey is making me appreciate things that I have always taken for granted at home. For example, I am extremely thankful for traffic cones and the fact that when I’m driving down a major interstate, cars don’t start driving down it the opposite way without any warning. Or, the fact that I don’t have to worry about a flock of goats roaming around on the highway on the backside of a blind corner. We really take these things for granted!

We are very quickly learning that there really are no rules to the road other than don’t hit someone else. Driving down the wrong side of the road is common, stop lights and signs, when they exist, are just suggestions and if all else fails, just close your eyes and beep your horn and everything will be okay. Here are some stories and pictures from our last three days of riding:

 

Mui Ne to Phan Rang

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This ride was pretty simple until we ran into some sketchy characters towards the end of our ride. 80 miles of nicely paved roads, good weather and little traffic made for a comfortable ride until later in the day. The clouds started rolling in and we hit a stretch of newly built winding roads that took us through recently blasted red cliffs. Josh couldn’t help but point out that the area looked similar to the movie The Hills Have Eyes. After that, I was just waiting to come around a corner, hit a trip wire and get abducted by monsters.

After already being a little wigged out about that, we soon encountered a few people stopped at a viewpoint that succeeded in scaring me even further. An innocent-seeming guy came up to Josh while he was taking out his camera to snap a few pictures and was pointing at his tattoo and trying to pull it off (very common occurrence here lol). Once Josh stepped away, the guy came over to our bikes where he was eyeing them and playing around with things on Josh’s bike. I had an eye on him and he seemed innocent, but another couple that was there kept saying something to us, which we could not figure out for the life of us what it was at first, but we realised he was telling us to watch out. He proceeded to tell us in very broken English that he thought someone was following us and that we need to be careful. Already freaked out about the eeriness of our environment, I was then having an internal panic attack. Obviously Josh thought nothing of it and could care less about the warning. Either way, you never want to be told that you’re being followed on a somewhat deserted road in a random foreign country. Very sketchy. We eventually made it unscathed to Phan Rang where we stayed for the night.

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The sketchy man checking out our bikes…

Camping in Cam Ranh

After our brief stay in Phan Rang, we cruised another 40 miles up the coast to Cam Ranh where we camped for the night. This ride was a bit more eventful than the previous day’s because Josh decided to take me on my first detour down a dirt path that only dirt bikes should be riding down. For those of you that have followed Josh on a moped before, you know these roads all too well. They are usually full of deep sand and huge rocks that require both feet to be on the ground at all times. This is easy for Josh considering he’s over 6 feet tall, but I’m just able to put my feet down flat, and it’s a bit more difficult to ride over terrain like this. It ends up bruising the crap out of my legs. Lovely. We ended up going down a path in search of a beach that turned out to be too difficult to get down and we headed back towards our original destination. Fail, but somewhat fun I guess!

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Our failed attempt at getting to that beautiful water in the background.

Eventually we made it to the tiny town of Cam Ranh where we paid to pitch a tent for the night on a local family’s property. The views were stunning and it was awesome to have our own little piece of paradise where we could enjoy watching the sunrise. The highlight of our evening was a $3 bottle of Dalat wine expertly paired with individually packaged choco pies. They complement each other quite nicely incase you were wondering.

Cheap wine and Choco Pies.

Cheap wine and Choco Pies.

Sunrise at our camp sight.

Sunrise at our camp sight.

 

Cam Ranh to Da Lat

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After watching the sunrise in the morning, we headed right out of Cam Ranh and made our way towards Da Lat, one of Vietnam’s bigger and more popular cities. This has been our longest ride so far: 90 miles and 6 hours. I was actually really excited for this part of our journey because we were told that this road is fun to ride up as it winds all the way up to the top and offers stunning views of the valley below.

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The winding mountain roads in the distance.

Going up the mountain was as fun as I expected, but going down was another story. Despite our map app attempting to tell us to take a different route than the one Josh wanted to go down, we manually changed it to let us take the other road. Bad move. We ended up on a decaying paved road that was clearly amidst some major construction, where every 50 feet or so the terrain changed to either gravel, sand, or huge chunky rocks. While going down a mountain around blind hairpin turns, sandy corners is just a death wish, especially for someone with little experience on a bike. Luckily, there were no spills, but our 1.5 hour decent very quickly turned into 3, making our total ride for the day about 6 hours.

 

After a few days of quite a bit of riding, we have settled down for a few nights in the City of Da Lat where we will be doing some more of our usual sightseeing. Stay tuned for pictures and stories from there!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

MM

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