Going to continue VN posts here rather than rolling thread. Previous day, riding to Sapa. Left Tuan Giao reasonably early, knowing that the first part of the day we would lose the highway. With my newfound surviving-mudpuddle-falls skills, I wasn't worried. On the way out of town waved to all the friendly girls in funny hats. The road stayed beautiful and the rain wasn't bad, so an hour into the trip we thought we were making great progress, had completed the first half of supposedly a four hour stretch. Road started getting rougher and the rain more intense (theme: rain.) while we got deeper into the mountains. Stop under a tree for a few minutes to wait out most of the rain. I went down twice, and Matt once. He had some bad luck though, broke a brake line at the top of the mountain. Made for an exciting trip down, for sure.
Lunch and mechanic in Lai Chau. Turns out it was a good thing that we didn't make it the night before, because there was definitely no where to stay and the food was pretty terrible. At least the waiter didn't tell us his name...
Long run from there to Sapa. Rained off and on, then the mountains started to get big. I had my run in from the car crash thread, so was going through mild PTSD for a good hundred kms. Mountains got really big, enough to understand why the French named them after the Alps. Then we turned the corner at the top of the highest pass in Vietnam, and summer turned to winter. Pouring rain, thick fog, and dropped 10 degrees C in a second. Oh, and the smooth roads we had enjoyed for a few hours disappeared into gravelly goodness. At least we both had brakes this time! An eternity later we see a sign that says welcome to Sapa...and about three houses on the side of the road. Not exactly the expected resort community. Another hour later we finally find a decent hotel, bargain them down to $60 a night, and completely crash (after a couple of drunken posts. It wasn't taking much to knock me out at that point)
More to come!