Biking Through Vietnam

March 8, 2012

Day 9 – To Da Nang (Last bike day)

Filed under: Uncategorized — scribblygum @ 11:01 am

Today is the final day of the bike tour. When we end some people head back to Oz, some head elsewhere, and Kay and I head to Halong Bay.

 

We started the final day with an early morning wander around Kham Duc.

But first a look out our hotel window at the building extension work.

Once again my structural engineer brain clicked into gear.

 

However, I turned it off and we hit the streets. Around the corner, bike shops.

 

 

 

 

And this young fella wanted his photo taken with his baby sister.

 

 

Over the road and this guy was loading up.

 

So I went over to get a closer look, and to see if he was going to get it sorted. – He did.

 

Once again, no ropes or tie downs. Just balance and experience.

 

 

After getting back to the hotel we found the crew at breakfast.

I thought we had everyone together for once, but Bao is missing.

At the end of the table is Eddie, that’s his nickname, almost universal in Vietnam. He chose it himself, after funny guy Eddie Murphy.

 

 

 

We were soon onto the bikes and off down the road.

Kham Duc is a large mining centre – gold and gems. Before long we came to this dam.

It’s now the centre of dispute on who gets how much water allocations, the mining or the rice paddies.

 

We left the river after a while and headed up into the hills. Steep hillsides and lots of waterfalls.

This place was especially interesting as the large parking area had large hoses with running water non stop.

It turned out the hoses came from pools at the top of the waterfalls, see them along the ground in front of Dave.

 

The water is used to refill the water tanks on the trucks for cooling their drum brakes on the steep hills.

Here’s the parking area, complete with water flowing over the concrete.

 

 

Here’s a shot of the hoses coming down from the waterfall.

Just as everything in Oz is held together with duct tape and cable ties, everything in Vietnam is held together by these strips of rubber.

 

Doctor and Mrs Shifty in romantic setting.

 

 

Heading to waterfall

 

 

Old bridge, new bridge.

 

 

Wood carving place.

This is in the same waterfall/truck cooling off place.

 

 

Magnificent table, one piece of timber. 8 inches thick, 4 feet wide, ten feet long.

 

From the other end.

 

 

The guide called it Butter Wood, but I can’t find out much info on it.

Everything in the place seemed to be made from it, including heavily carved single-piece chairs.

 

 

Back on the road and we had a mix of up into the hills and down following the river.

The road is good surface and full of twisties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famous crossing into Laos.

The Ho Chi Minh trail goes over the river here. Laos is 75kms to the west.

Commemoration gateways are everywhere over here.

 

 

 

All roads point to Golden Stig

 

Golden Stig treats all traffic signs with disdain.

 

Every vehicle type has its own speed limit.

 

 

We are leaving something, but I don’t know what.

 

 

Pit-stop at the pineapple farm roadside cafe.

We pulled up here for the most luscious pineapple imaginable.

 

 

 

They sliced up platefuls for us, serving it with the customary dish of chili/salt.

 

 

And tries to chat up one of the local lovelies.

 

The shop is only a part of the local industry.

 

We followed trucks loaded up with these bags further into the mountains. We were thankful they’d just filled their brake cooling tanks.

 

 

Final cafe stop.

This was our last experience of the wonderful Vietnam coffee at a local mountain cafe.

 

 

From here it was hit the road for the final run into Da Nang railway station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queens Palace and Kings Palace wedding and conference centre

 

The ‘For You Palace’ wedding and conference centre.

Blurry zoom shot. Sorry about that.

 

 

Marble carvings along the waterfront as we enter the city.

Da Nang has mountains made of marble around about it.

One mountain has been carved out into a giant Buddhist temple.

 

 

Before we get to the rail station it’s worth telling this story.

 

Eddie, our group guide, had got himself lost coming into the city. We were riding along the river so we pulled up underneath a major bridge crossing the river where there were some locals at a roadside stall. He asked directions and one man told him how to get there, drawing with his finger along the footpath and then standing up and pointing across the road.

 

At the same time, Nigel, the Cycle Torque photographer had his iPhone out and was checking the map for directions.

 

Once Eddie had got his info we headed off for about twenty feet, then indicated a left turn, across four or five lanes of city traffic (our side and then the other side), and then up the down ramp from the flyover. So in our final minutes of the trip we had the ‘fun’ of riding up the down ramp against all the ‘don’t go here’ signs. People coming down just opened up space for us, as normal.

 

Two or three turns and we were at the station. I don’t think Nigel’s maps would have taken us by such a short route. 🙂

 

 

At the station

 

We pulled up here so the bikes can be shipped back to Nha Trang for the next tour.

The tour leader went to the office and found that ‘the train is full’, even for the pre-booked bikes.

However, they negotiated a fee so that the train was not so full.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s our bike. It had 300 kms at the start and we put over a thousand k on it.

 

 

You can see all the action with the wooden frames, that’s the bike crating crew.

 

It was not long before they started crating up our bikes.

The guy in the white shirt is covering one with cardboard, ready for the timber.

 

 

And that is where we leave the bike tour. Some people were glad to be off the road with its chaotic traffic. Mrs Shifty and I were ready to keep riding north. We’d had a blast and enjoyed everything.

 

I’ll post another thread of our following few days, but there is no biking along mountain roads from here. We spend an afternoon in nearby Hoi An, the city of overnight tailoring, then fly to Hanoi and to an overnight Halong Bay cruise before returning home.

 

 

 

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