Sunday, January 31, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
We were in Luang Nam Tha for a couple of nights. It was the first place that we have stayed that had a TV. For the most part we have been staying in the least expensive places that we can find. Most consist of two or three beds and a fan. In most places there has been a communal bathroom outside of our room. But in Luang Nam Tha we had a shower with hot water and cable TV. We stayed up watching HBO on our first night and did not get onto our bikes until later in the day. We took it pretty easy all day and just rode around town and to a near by temple.
I found a new way to ride my bike with the Xtracycle on it, but I do not think it will be too efficient in the mountains.
I spotted a little walking trail down one of the banks near the temple that looked like it would be easy to ride down. I think the pictures turned out pretty good. The dirt here kind of reminds me of the dirt at Bootleg Canyon.
The second day we woke up ate some breakfast and rode out to a waterfall. The ride to the waterfall was more rewarding than the waterfall and we did not stay for long. The weather took a turn for the worst, I am pretty sure it was the first day of rain I have seen since I left Taiwan.
Our most strenuous day was the three hundred kilometre bus ride from Luang Nam Tha to Luang Pra Bang that took around ten hours. The road was pretty bad and the bus stopped every couple of kilometres to pick up or drop off a local. When we arrived we found the cheapest guest house we could find a hit the local market for dinner. This morning was spent looking for a better guest house, which we could not find for a decent price. We spent the rest of the day riding to the Phousy Market and in search of a waterfall, which we never found.
The ride in search of the waterfall was worth it. We passed two local boys who found an interesting way to bath in a road side creek. We also passed a woman working in a field with her transportation parked at the side of the road. I wonder if my Xtracycle could be attached to her bike?
We took a bunch of pictures today. I picked out the ones that I think turned out the best. We are heading to a waterfall tomorrow (if we can find it) that is supposed to be pretty amazing. It will be a 35 kilometre ride to get there. I am looking forward to getting back out onto the road. The plan is to hang out here for another day or two and then start the four hundred kilometre ride to Vientiane, with several stops along the way I am sure. Enjoy the pictures.
Rob, James, Morgan
Monday, January 25, 2010
Banshee even made an appearance with the Paradox! I'm not sure what they are talking about when they say, "the stiff 5-pound aluminum frame might be a bit on the harsh side for an all-day slog..." I'm curious how long they actually rode this bike for. I was on mine for 28 hours in a 54 hour period and all i could think was, "THIS BIKE ROCKS! so solid, ready to charge downhill and get into the tightest of lines, thanks to the ultra tight chainstay. and when you jump on the pedals going uphill, you know where your power is going. straight into the wheels turning over pushing you uphill."
If you haven't ridden one, just do it. I have a medium in glenwood springs colorado pimped and waiting for you to go ride it.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
As the title suggests, we got hit by a big storm this week! We spent most of the week over at Cob’s house, digging on the jumps. The storm kept messing up the surfaces of everything, so we mostly piled dirt for a new line. We put in a new underground drain and Cob worked his magic on the sixth hip landing. I’m getting super stoked on that place, and can see some crazy seshes going down in the spring! It’s a cool set up out there, with a dialed barn that you can chill in when the rain gets too gnarly. After a few days of straight digging everyone started to come up with new things to do. One was to drive around on the forest roads to check out the damage. There were quite a few fallen trees, with some downed power-lines to go with them! We found a muddy pull-off and Clay blasted through it in his truck! Still raining, we found some old snow saucers and took them to the abandoned quarry to do some sledding (which ultimately ended up as a sore next day)! Definitely some good times having fun in the rain though!
Towards the end of the week, the rain let up and Iggy and I set out to rip some muddy trails! We rode some sick all-mountain trails, with rad high speed sections and fast jumps! It was sick plowing through puddles and drifting wet corners! It felt great getting out for a ride after not doing so for a few days as well!
We left Chiang Rai Saturday morning with our bikes on top of a bus heading to the Thailand-Laos border.
We went through Thai border control and then had to load our bikes into a boat to cross the Mekong River.
On the other Laos side of the Mekong we went through passport control and started looking around the border town.
After riding around the town we started looking into prices for the bus and boat to Luang Nam Tha. The prices that we were quoted to us were drastically inflated so we decided to ride the nine kilometres to the bus station. It seems that every bus station in Laos is never very close to the city centre. I guess it benefits more people if the foreigners have to pay for a taxi to the bus station.
Starting out for the bus station we had to ride along the Mekong river. It was amazing the muddy brown waters and the bright blue sky was breathe taking.
After riding for a while we still had not found the local bus station. We stopped to buy some water and the lady running the shop informed us that we missed it a couple of kilometres back.
We decided that we would ride until dark and find a nice place to set up the tent. Every village that we passed the children would shout hello to us in English or Laos. The men and women would also say hello and ask us where we were going or where we are from. It made riding much easier to know that someone was waiting around every corner for us.
After the sun went down we were still riding. We wanted to find a place out of the mountains to avoid the cold weather.
As the night got darker the hills got steeper and steeper. We rode for hours listening to the sounds of our tires on the pavement and the sounds of animals in the bushes. We probably rode for thirty or forty kilometres in the dark.
We spent the night sleeping in the yard of a small village school at the base of what would turn out to be our most difficult climb to date.
We woke up in the cold before dawn, packed up our bikes and started riding in the dark. The mountain of death started shortly after we started riding.
For hours and hours we rode up hill turned a corner and rode up another hill. It was like this hour after hour. I tried to think of other things but all I could think of was the pain in my legs, the hungry in my belly and my dry mouth.
As the sun came up the small villages came alive and the locals started to greet us as we rode through. With all of the activity I was able to ignore the pain in my legs and enjoy the village life and the beautiful mountains of Laos.
We had not had very much to eat that morning and we were running out of water and village after village we could not find anything to eat or drink.
We finally found a village that had a small store where we could buy something to eat and drink. All of the locals from the village came to see what we were doing. We were met with a mixture of curiosity and fear. The children would come only close enough to see what we were doing.
Finally we decided to take a break near a small creek before riding to the next town, getting something to eat and finding a place to set up the tent. We do relaxing a lot better than we do riding up mountain roads.
And after riding for two days with out showering it was nice to take a bath in cold creek water.
We rode to the next town and the bus to Luang Nam Tha was waiting. We tossed the bikes on top of the bus and rode it the last sixty kilometres of the way.
We are going to do some day trips from here and then head to Luang Pra Bang. I am not sure how many more days like today I can take with out a big break in between.