27 December 2011
Including the day I entered, I've now been on the bike for four days in Vietnam. It's rained for all of them.
Oddly, my two days off in Hue were dry. Well, it didn't rain, but it wasn't exactly dry. Overcast and damp. I've not seen the sky for days.
Hue was a little trying, but was a good refuelling stop after the five day ride over from Savannakhet. Pizza, burgers, curry and breakfasts all got a look in. My final night I ran into Chris and Joe, a couple of expat Brits, and we had a few beers. This morning started slowly.
Had the weather been better, today would have been a great ride. As it was, it was still acceptable, I guess in part because I'm getting used to getting wet and covered in muck.
Rather than ride the highway, I went east out of Hue on a minor road QL49B, which tracks right along the coast on a sandy island, sometimes within sight of the shore. The road is narrow, but traffic is almost non-existent, apart from bicycles and motorbikes. There are several small villages on the route, and a lot of Chinese-style tombs. The village houses were often quite ornate, done up to look like temples.
As I left the island by bridge, a mini bus was dropping off a bunch of Westerner bike tourists, who were presumably going to ride into Hue. They were unloaded, bus supported. I bet they're paying handsomely for that, but the rain's the same wet.
Another 10km or so and I was due to join QL1/AH1, aka the Reunification Highway. This fabled road is the subject of much debate amongst Vietnam cycle tourists: it's either the route of choice down the country, or something to be avoided at all costs, depending on who you ask. It gets a lot of traffic, and can be noisy and frantic. My section on it today went well, with reasonable traffic. I could easily see a long day on it getting tiresome - something I'll likely get a chance to test.
Last night Joe, who is a tour leader for Hoi An Motorbike Adventures, recommended I turn right upon reaching the Lang Co lagoon and lap around its west side to approach Lang Co from the south. Solid advice: quality surface, almost zero traffic, and great views across the lagoon. It also gave me a chance to scope out my way out of town tomorrow, which will take me up and over the Hai Van Pass to Danang and on to Hoi An.
97km, 22.2km/h, 4hr21min, 2824km