North Vietnam Motorbike Trip
The next day we hit fog so thick I had to stop every 10 minutes to clear my glasses. Then it was a long ride back to Mai Chau then on to Moc Chau where I was nearly killed by an over laden truck. We arrived in a cloud so dense I couldn't see more than 2 metres. We woke to a cold and very foggy day in Moc Chau so I never saw the beautiful scenery as we headed to Muang La. Spectacular mountain passes, wild cold weather until we ended up on another single track mountain road after dark with 40 kms to go in a complete whiteout. Son, used his indicators so I knew which way the track turned concerned that I might drive off the side of the mountain. We arrived at 8pm in Muang La cold, wet and very tired.
The next day was misty and cold as we set out for Lai Chau. The road followed the lake and was stunning and easy riding but that didn't last long. As we made our way in to the hills the thicker the fog, the colder it became and then it rained. We stopped in a village on the top of the mountain and sat with some villagers around a fire until we could feel out fingers and toes again. This was one of the hardest days capped off by a hotel with no hot water. I checked the weather forecast for the following day and it was grim. Rain, hail, fog and possible snow. Snow? In Vietnam? Yep, and lots of it. As we climbed up the mountains on the backside of Sapa it got colder until I drove around a bend into a blizzard of snow. The wind was howling and the wind chill was bitter and my 9 layers of makeshift warm clothing which included layers made up of garbage bags, wasn't coping well. We stopped to get some Dutch courage from a bottle of rice wine Son had in his saddle bag before tackling the ice and snow. I have only seen snow a few times, Son never had so he was loving it. I was just bloody cold. But we forged on and finally made through the roadblock of day trippers that had come to play in the snow, down the other side of the mountains, still in heavy rain to Lao Cai where we loaded our bikes on to the train for the journey back to Hanoi.
Overall we rode 1076kms from the 9th - 15th Dec 2013 and it was an amazingly tough journey but at the same token exactly the tonic I needed.