Bicycle.Punk Rock.Action

No Coasting on the Viet Nam Coast...

Posted April 13, 2003 @ 6:06am | by Hurl

Xin Chao, Since I can only update once a week or so, I apologize for the truancy. Here's a brief recount of where we've been, what we've been up to: From Saigon we took a 17 hour train ride to Hue, along the central coast of Viet Nam. Spent 3 days in Hoi An, a beautiful, cultural city with great art galleries and restaurants. Left Hoi An last Monday, 7 April. Lots of saddle time, I promise you. 6 consecutive days, 550 km, 3 mountain passes, HEAT, Murder City Headwinds everyday, and suddenly we find ourselves in Nha Trang. The guidebooks say this is the place to hang in Viet Nam, but we've seen some rather tranquil, quiet, deserted beaches on this stretch that would have me arguing that statement, (and if you ask nicely, I may even tell you where they are.) Rolling out of Hoi An on Monday morning was bittersweet, as it truly has the mellow qualities that we were looking for, and as Mac sez, it's a tourist town "done right." But roll out we did, thru lush fields and villages before rejoining National Highway 1 and 130 km to Quang Ngai. Thankfully, it was a mostly flat route, and when we arrived in Q. Ngai, we saluted our own solid effort with cold Saigon bia at the Mimosa Cafe. Day 2, Quang Ngai to Sa Huynh was "just" 66 km, but the route was a barrage of roadworks and more mad headwinds, and finished with a slight climb to Sa Huynh Hotel which Lonely Planet called "sad and sorry." Well someone must have pissed in LP's porridge, because aside from our half-missing, cracked toilet seat, so that you had to sit on a jagged crescent moon, or the fact that we didn't have running water in our room until several hours after checking in, we had no complaints having the deserted, white sand beach to ourselves, and cooled off from the ride by bodysurfing in the South China Sea. Sa Huynh - Qui Nhon 100k of fun. I saw a two chickens doggin' a dog, pecking at his head. Qui Nhon supposedly has rude, unfriendly locals but we found a hotel right off the highway that was decent, and when I asked for a "bia lanh" (cold beer) I was hustled across the street to another hotel where I thought the beer was. But all of a sudden I was being shown more rooms. I thought perhaps they were splitting us up into separate rooms, but apparently the first hotel didn't have beer and so we wheeled across the street where the owners served us cold Saigon bia, and cooked us fried rice with vegetables. My plate also had some meat on it, which I didn't eat much of; pork, chicken, and a suspicious looking oval piece, which I'm convinced was a testicle... Qui Nhon - Tuy Hoa 103k GOD DAMN HEADWINDS continue. Mornings are certainly our favorite time to ride, but the heat is still oppressive by 7:30. More climbing today over Cu Mong Pass, not as difficult as Hai Van, but still enough to make the lungs shake and wheeze. At the top, a truck driver washing his truck gave us a spray from his hose. The scenery today very lush, and green, and after being slightly inland the last two days, we're back along the coast near Song Cau. Stopped for lunch and then immediately had another lovely climb to contend with. Not too steep, but roadworks going on meant only one lane open, and a hot, greasy, tar-covered one at that, which when we tried to ride felt like molasses. Another road worker gave us a quick push as we rode past in blast furnace heat. The final 30km into Tuy Hoa had a distinct lack of nuoc mia (sugar cane) vendors and we really wanted bia anyway so it was straight away to a joint advertising Bia Toi Saigon, for a pitcher for 10,000 vnd, and a visit with the locals. Tuy Hoa -Doc Let Beach 103k Headwinds, Heat, Sweat, the bottom of our feet and bums feel as though someone has been repeatedly smashing them with 2x4's. Another huge climb and long stretches with no trees. Throw in a sagauro cactus and I'd swear I was riding through Arizona. 35km from Nha Trang we sidetracked off of Hghway 1 for 16km to Doc Let Beach. We expected to find a quiet beach and bungalows for $7; instead we found Doc Let Resort, fully occupied by executives from Hyundai. No way do we want to return the 16km to the main road, + 33k into Nha Trang, and on second look, the reception informs us that she will have just one room available for $10, "at 5 o'clock." Park the bikes, hit the beach, and get tubed in the swells... Doc Let - Nha Trang. 50k You could say that today was a short ride, but you'd be dead wrong. Still oppressively hot, and the final push into Nha Trang is a 3.5km STEEP climb, but the twisting descent was pretty groovy and here we are. Having a day off the bikes feels exquisite, and look over there, across the street at Crazy Kim's Bar: Happy Hour began at 10 a.m..... cheers, Hurl & Mac ===== Hurl Everstone bicycle.punkrock.action. on tap since 1994
XML Sitemap