Highland Adventure or Disaster Part 3

Shook Shook Shhok Tic…….. Shook Shook Shhok Tic… complained
the chain on my motorcycle as we left late for the second time. Oh!! Did I
forget to mention that while the motorcycle was being looked at, I decided to
make some adjustments to my chain.  This
is a big bike and there is no center stand to put it up on so the procedure is
different than on scooters. The so-called mechanic seeing me doing my own work
waved me away and had his child apprentice do the adjustment. I stood back and watched
as he began to spin the tlighteners without looking at the axle markings….. Oh
No!! I did not stop him fast enough and now not only am I leaving with my rear
braking system in a bag, but my rear tire is misaligned causing the chain to
make irritating noises. At least the bike was still safe to drive, but it was embarrassing
passing other vehicles with the irritating noise.

The plan had been for a short driving day and thankfully we
were able to overnight in Kom Tum instead of our original destination only 40
km further up the road. We spent the afternoon visiting an old wooden church,
sight seeing a beautiful lake, and then exploring an Ethnic Village
before checking into our hotel. Luckily, there was a Honda shop across the
street and with a little explanation, I was able to have them align my rear
wheel correctly. I did not even dare have them look at my rear brake. I
returned to our hotel in time to organize everybody to go for a local meal of
Goi Cuon. (One of the unique features of a tour guided by me is that we eat at
some very local and delicious (but safe) places where a visitor would never
dream of going themselves) Anyway……. The next morning we were off for a
beautiful day of driving into the high mountains. We stopped along the way at
numerous villages and hill tribes where Chris and John spent time mingling with
lovely fold that wanted them to hold babies and take photos. The day was a pleasant
one and we ended at the town of Kham Duc.
There was time to relax so while the others did so, I buzzed around town to get
a feel for the place. I love this town. The people were engaging and friendly. After
another unique meal Chris John and I went to a stadium I had found earlier in
the day to see a Lady Boy performance that was to start at 8pm. As the three of
us crossed the dark field towards the stage, we fell in a hole!! That’s right!
There was a trench about 2 feet deep that was directly after the gate entrance
that was impossible to see in the dark. Chris lost her glasses (she found them
later thankfully) and I was covered in mud. What really burned me was that at 9
pm the lady boys had still not arrived, se we went back to the hotel for an
early sleep. The next day we would leave a bit early for a busy day.

The next day it began to rain. We travelled through some

Coffee beans

amazingly beautiful country towards Danang….. in the rain. About three quarters
of the way to Danang, we turned south to Visit the My Son Ruins. The rain did
not stop and obviously it had been raining for some time. Besides the road
being very rough, there were many sections that were flooded. There were two
sections along the way where over muddy and gravel sections, we were forced to
drive through almost waist deep water at high speeds in order not to stall and
become flooded. Needless to say that Chris and I were drenched and covered with
mud. John and Tien were also a sight to see and battle weary, we finally found


better roads to take us to the ruins. The final hurdle was a river we had to
cross on a ferry that was so small, my motorcycles wheels protruded beyond the
sides of the craft. On the far side, we were asked to pay double because of my
bike, or perhaps because I was a foreigner. Along the way we stopped for lunch
in a place that charged us extra for foreigners…. As a matter of fact… The
closer we got to Hoi An, the higher prices were getting. It seems the area is
rich with people wanting to milk the foreigners for money. Perhaps they are
used to tourists not having any other options… I do not know, but the
overcharging was making me angry. The drive was beautiful though and after a rainy
visit to the ruins, we ended our Journey in Hoi An. Chris and John had settled

Rubber collection

on a hotel and after everything was unpacked came time to say goodbye…. We must
have had flashbacks of our 5 day journey and all the fun and hardship as saying
goodbye was a bit difficult and amongst the hugs and tears, we realized
customers had become friends.

Tien and I decided to drive the nasty highway 1 back to Nha
Trang and started back the same day. The pounding rains did not stop and
through flooded sections of roads and typhoon driven winds we travelled until
in Quang Ngai we found shelter for the night. The next morning we headed out
into the rain at 6 am and never got a break in the weather until about 2 pm……
Thankfully it was all over. We arrived in Nha Trang around 5 pm exhausted and
dirty from the long day. All in all, it was a good trip and we will do it
again. No doubt there are more adventurers out there who are interested.

The next morning I put my motorcycle up on stands and in 30
minutes had removed the new rear brake installed in Pleiku. In another 45
minutes I had reinstalled my original braking system, bled them myself and had
them fully operational.

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

9 thoughts on “Highland Adventure or Disaster Part 3

  1. Cant wait to read the next adventure and maybe be part of one in the new year . And you have to remember if you want anything done properly , do it yourself . David A

  2. That sounds like a very nice adventure Owen. I would enjoy that kind of trip very much! The weather and other misadventures make for a better trip and more to tell our grandchildren. Thank you for telling us about your adventures.

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