Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 72 Tue 07/09 - Yen Bai to Pho Rang

Today Distance : 100.1 km    Total : 3869.3 km
Today Weather : 28 - 35 C   Sunny sweat like hell
Time on Bike : 5 hr 58 min
Ave Speed ; 16.7 kmh    Max : 62.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 3%    Max : 11%
Trip Altitude : 872 m    Max : 249 m
Today Spend : 217000vnd     Total : 8592000vnd

Not in my best form today as I struggled to reach Pho Rang. It was tough and energy sapping especially at the last 20 km stage, the rolling hills were steep and short, making it extremely difficult to rollover, although I am only riding at an average height of 100-250m. Adding misery to that, I am having a slight stomach trouble from yesterday and the head a little bit heavy. I knew I badly needed a longer rest to ease my body condition., so I stopped at a shaded area under some bamboo trees, put on the groundsheet and had a good nap of 40min. This really help as I continued the ride feeling much better to hit a century mark and arrived in Pho Rang 5.30pm. Checked in the hotel for 150000vnd. Hopefully tomorrow my condition will get better for the ride to Lao Cai 75km away.

Morning ride from Yen Bai

Vietnamese free green tea

Mother asking her child to test out my bike

Time to give the body and muscles a rest

Wood sawn into thin sheet

Drying under the sun

bamboo shade where I had a nap

Into Lao Cai Province

Hotel room in Pho Rang

Day 71 Mon 06/09 - Viet Tri to Yen Bai

Today Distance : 103.9 km     Total : 3769.2 km
Today Weather : 28 - 35C   Cloudy with improved haze
Time on Bike : 5 hr 14 min
Ave Speed : 19.8 kmh    Max ; 49.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 2%     Max : 9%
Trip Altitude : 549 m    Max : 189 m
Today Spend ; 148000vnd    Total : 8375000vnd

Started quite late at 9 am cos' slept well last night. Weather cloudy but haze has improved compared yesterday. On route QL2 , the next big town is Doan Hung 48 km away, and then a left turn leads you to another route QL70 all the way to Yen Bai. Today terrain saw some rolling hills but not too steep to climb. Arrived in Yen Bai train station at 3 pm with many hotels around. Checked in the cheapest hotel in Vietnam so far for 70000vnd, very basic room with just a small bed,a table , awall fan and shared bathe room. No internet around cos' the town center is still 1 km away. Had done a survey on a small route 151 to lao Cai along the Song Hong River,but the road condition is terrible. So tomorrow will have to back track 10 km back on QL70 and probably stay in Pho Rang, expecting another century ride again.

Leaving at the hotel in Viet Tri
Yen Bai Train Station
Song Hong River
Railway track at the front door
70000vnd the cheapest room in Yen Bai

Day 70 Sun 05/09 - Hanoi to Viet Tri

Today Distance : 105.7 km      Total : 3665.3 km
Today Weather : 28 - 38C    Hazzy all day
Time on Bike : 5 hr 36 min
Ave Speed : 18.8 kmh      Max : 45.0 kmh
Ave Climb : 1%      Max : 5%
Trip Altitude : 139 m       Max : 126 m
Today Spend : 235000vnd        Total : 8227000vnd

Yesterday's effort spend on surveying directions,pay off on this morning ride as I had it easy to reach the first town of Phung. Before that, a surprise pump into the Malaysian Embassy near Uncle Ho Chi Minh's Mouselum, being on Sunday the Embassy is closed as told by the Vietnamese guard. Back on the road QL32, the traffic was much smoother as you slowly out from the city limit, but the air quality was extremely low,blanketted by a thick layer of floating haze, especially worst in the afternoon with visibility level of about 100m. I has not been a drop of rain since I arrived in Hanoi on 30/8. My eyes were feeling uneasy and it hurts when sweat get into contact.Probably, the reason for missing a turning and ended up in Viet Tri, not my original plan to stay. Most hotels here are expensive in the range of 200000-350000vnd. I continue riding a little out from the town, the price dropped and for 160000vnd, I settled in Hung Long hotel. Too much staffs to wash and clean. So I stay onl;y in the room to cook my own dinner.
Uncle Ho's Mousellum
Guards changing shift
Malaysian Embassy in Hanoi
Scanvengers drying their collection on the roadside
Should had turn left here...

160000vnd room in Viet Tri
Drying the clothing with a full blast fan

Day 69 Sat 04/09 - Hanoi,sourcing for a new camera and identify ways out of the city

Today Distance : 50 km   Total : 3559.6 km
Today Weather :  25 - 33 C   Hazzy all day
Today Spend : 5952000 vnd     Total : 7992000 vnd

It was really a hell of a ride trying to find a way out of the city,even when you had a city map with you. There are simply too many lanes and junctions within the 15 km perimeter. Some lanes are one way ,and some are 2 ways, the worst when you comes to a big junction, often there are no less than 3-4 side roads and the small little blue signboard often hidden by trees. There is one section of the road about 3 km is in process of widening, it was so dusty and congested with heavy traffic. The dust is very fine and flying all around like you are in a desert facing a dust storm. I am following route QL32 to Son Tay. It took me riding 25km to finally see the kilometer stone. From here, I make a U-turn back to Hanoi. Next, is sourcing for a camera. A few shops I had enquired at last the good English speaking sale girl helped me to make up my mind on Canon Fx 120, 10 megapixels 10x optical zoom,look impressive to me for 298usd inclusive of tax,betteries and 2GB sd card.
Mad... mad.... traffic
Everyone is rushing for space to squeeze thru'
Very very dusty
This is where I make a U-turn back to Hanoi