7 January 2012
About 100km on the slate today, to the twin cities of Phan Rang-Thap Chiam. Bit of a dismal day all round, thanks partly to overcast, blustery weather.
Other than being generally tired and run down after a few nights' poor sleep, there are no big problems, but there are a string of minor upsets which don't help my outlook - the breakfast place was busy, it took a while to find a working ATM, I forgot to power up the hotel room before trying to top off my phone, my bike blew over in the wind, I had a lot of pannier unhitchings due to taking sudden bumps too fast, I rode over a discarded cigarette lighter that blew up, there was no rice for dinner.
But, all told a good day. The longest and fastest yet, if I'm not wrong. The first 41km were on the Nha Trang to Cam Ranh Airport road, which I'd expected to be good but busy. It was good but quiet. The kilometres fell away, with just the occasional two-stroke puttering past.
After that I rejoined QL1 for the usual slog. Boring, but as before, it's a generally good riding environment. The key point in the day came at 100km down, at my intended goal of Phan Rang. It had been blowing a tailwind gale, and I'd arrived there with plenty of time to spare. I was faced with the option of pressing on to reduce the 140+km planned for tomorrow. After all, why waste this tailwind?
Roadworks in Phan Rang made up my mind - rather than stop, uncertain of what construction obstacles I might face early tomorrow, I decided to get to work on them today. Fortunately, they petered out within a few kilometres, and normal QL1 service was resumed.
A place called Ca Na on the kilometre markers, but on my map as Lac Nghiep, had some nice looking places to stop, right on the shore. I was tempted, but realised that an additional 24km or so to Lien Hoang would reduce tomorrow's ride below 100km and make today's the longest yet. Again, why waste the tailwind?
I got a bit of a fright to arrive in Lien Hoang to find little more than an overgrown farm village. The sun was dropping lower, I had to find accommodation here. Or else! Pootling along I creep closer to the town centre, and things look up. The first place I stop is on the expensive side, but it ticks all the boxes, and I'm over the moon when I discover a cold Coke in the fridge.
Trying to find rice for dinner fails; I land up with rice noodles, which I find significantly less substantial. That said, I still have two baguettes and a decadently expensive packet of sliced chorizo I bought this morning.
With tomorrow's ride shortened significantly, the pressure's off and hopefully good sleep awaits.
155km, 27.3km/h, 5hr39min, 3583km