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Day 5 Da Lat to Nha Trang

Nha Trang, Vietnam


Hello All! Welcome to another day of traveling by a small motorbike in Vietnam. On today's route we will go from the mountains of Da Lat over a pass and then have a long, winding descent to a valley then to ocean. Heading ENE today.
After paying the inkeeper, Miss Chi, I took the bike out and checked the oil- I have a leak of about a teaspoon every 12 hours. It was on the bottom of the stick which is ok, but add terrritory. Last night I cut up a water bottle to make a funnel so I could neatly and easily oil up and today it worked like a charm as I added about .2 liters. Checked it again (yes I am on level ground with the bike level) and vowed to recheck after about 40 minutes on the road. I waved Goodbye to Miss Chi and hit the starter button- nothing happened. I figured the battery was probably dead from something I had left on so I kickstarted the bike. After remembering to turn the key on I kickstarted again and it immeadiately fired up and so did the wiring under the speedometer!!!
The wires were shorting out with smoke and the nasty smell of tortured insulation. I turned the key off and the smoke stopped. Inspectin the damage I could see where a black tapped wrapped bundle was the culprit. Miss Chi brought me a coffee cn of tools and I used some scissors to cut away the melted tap, Bare copper in some places and two wires with open ends, not attached to anything were discovered within.
Using my head I took a screw driver to the battery cover and removed the Positive terminal cable so I wouldn't shock myself, then I removed all of the tape and isolated the 5 wires inside. I bought electrical tape from Miss Chi and carefully wrapped each wire until there was no exposed cable and then wrapped a loose bundle to secure it.
Putting the battery cover back on I busted off part of the brittle plastic on the bottom of the securing bolt hole so I will need a washer down the road to make sure it stays secure.
Ok- good to go. Fired up the bike- of course I now have no horn. lights,turn signals, or electrical start, but who needs that stuff. I will get it fixed in Nha Trang. Off down the road to the gas station and then out of town and running into the usual road construction at the edge of a city. Just taking it slowly, and after about 40 minutes I pulled over and rechecked the oil- all good. Neat, small family houses were around and look much like Australian bush blocks, very self sufficent with tin roofs and simple, sturdy consruction of wood. The sun was out now, but there were dark clouds on the horizon- I have decided to ride in my rain pants all the time when I am on the road to keep my pants clean as well as dry, so I just had to pull on my jacket. As I climbed a winding mountain road I was downshifting all the way down to 2nd at times to cruise up the steep sections and then a light rain started followed by a downpour. I saw a sign for a village in 7 K and decided to get out of the rain there. What I found was barely a wide spot in the road with a small house and a covered front porch that held a small store and a table with four low plastic chairs and a teapot and cups. A youngish woman smiled at me and and I asked for "please a cup of coffee" apparently well enough for her to understand. One of the very cool, but strange things here is that when you order coffee they also pour you a cup of tea! It is very good green tea usually (I understand the best comes from the north) and I sipped my tea and dried off watching the dark skies dump. Very relaxing. So far today has been a good ride with my comfort level increasing all the time, but no drop in caution or awareness. There s no much traffic other than me headed in my direction so way fewer buses and trucks, which makes the riding fun.
While I was drinking tea I could hear and see the owners inside the house entertaining friends with their kids. One boy, about 4, poked his head out for a long look at me and when I smiled at him he turned and ran back to Mom. An older woman with a beautiful lined face and extremely relaxed composure sat with me. She was probably Grandma to the little boy and was dressed in a typical style of matching silk pants and top. She poured herelf a cup of tea and we sat in a peaceful ssilence and looked at the rain, which was stopping. When she finished her cupa she turned it upside down and set it on the tea tray. I decided it was time to get going and finished my tea and also turned my cup over onto the tray and I was rewarded with a smile and a nod. Wonderful communication!
Back on the bike I soon hit the top of the pass and after a short time the road opened up into an incredible vista of green pointy mountains wih cascades pouring off from hundreds of meters above me and turning into wa pterfalls. And deep below me was a valley that looked like it could have been "The Lost World" so riotously lush I could belive dinosaurs would thrive there!
The road turned into long sections of gentle descending curves and long straights which let me safely open the bike up and really get a cruising experience- so fun, worth the small troubles right there. I got to the valley floor too soon, but the rain had started again and it was ahalf hour to the next village where I stopped for lunch. At a table in front of the covered porch of one section were 6 teenage boys joking with the owners teenage daughter. The daughter saw me and as is typical, seated me 20 meters away in a different covered area where I was by myself. One of the boys must have teased the girl because they all started laughing and one boy was pointing at another as if to say, "he said it, not me". The teenage girl made a face back that only a teenage girl can make to express her displeasure and the boys just laughed harder. I ordered Pho soup, my go to meal, and a coke and while I waited a small, black bitch, maybe a terrier mix, who had just whelped came over and lay beside me. Kids and the dog! When I washed up before lunch I could see a couple of houses out back that were made out of cunningly interlaced thin slats of wood maybe 6 inches across woven like a basket. Never seen that before, it looked good!
Soup came and it was packed with noodles and some reddish mystery meat and a very good, rich broth. It is esy to enjoy soup on a rainy day when you're drenched so it was just right.
After lunch I had another 50k to my destination and it poured buckets the entire way. The road was very good, but I kept the speed down anyway and I had studied the route into town carefully at lunch so the only surprise was flooding as I got into the city. I was part of a line of cars, bike and buses making our way through water that hit the top of my footpeg and a little more at times. I was worried about stalling , but used the experience to practice the low speed handling skills you need in these cities. Still, it felt more like being in a motorboat than a bike sometimes with the wakes of the other riders washing over my feet. Boots and socks officially full of water!
I haad no idea of a place to stay so I rode the main highway in until I thought I was close to the beach and turnded down a side road looking for a guesthouse. I saw a nice high rise with lots of marble and a covered underground parking and went inside to check availability and as embarrased because of the water streaming off of me onto their nice marble floors- someone was going to need a mop! Three women of assorted ages greeted me at the desk. We quickly figured out this place was over my budget- they wanted 400,000 VND a night and didn't want to negotiate and I was back in the rain. I hah trouble getting the bike into Neutral when I had stopped and found it difficult to divide my attention from the road hazards while looking for hotels at the roadside so I decided to push the bike instead of riding it. The sight of a oriegner pushing a Honda Win must be typical in this popular beach town because other than a few honks, no one really paid anymore attention to me than usual. 15 minutes later I came to the the Hotel Ankhang and got a very nice 250,000 a night single with a very comfortable bed and A/C, cable TV, and western style toliet. Luxury!!!
Good WiFi as well. The owner made me a map to show me where the mechanic she recommended was and I turned in early beat to the bones. Tomorow is another day!


permalink written by  Mike_Veine on June 12, 2013 from Nha Trang, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Top Gear Adventure 2- Vietnam Boogaloo!
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permalink written by  Randy on June 14, 2013

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Previous: Da Lat Day 4- Walking aound town and doing chores Next: Day 6 Nha Trang & Day 7 to Song Cao

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