Today it took me 7 hours to travel 125 kilometers. Most of that time was spent going 50 kilometers on a single track road, ok, trail, throught the backcountry. It was the most challenging day I have ever had on a motorcycle in 15 years of riding and I’ve ridden cross country in the US twice and been as far as the end of the Pan Am in Panama.
Today’s ride had the best scenery I’ve seen on the entire trip. I was riding ridgelines, doing hill climbs and did more river crossings than you could shake a stick at. At one point, about 30 K in, I came to a river crossing that was proceeded by about 30 meters of bolder s doing downhill. It was very intimidating. I did not get any points for style, but I made it through!
If fact I was up to every challenge the route threw at me. If I had known how difficult that route would be, I would not have taken it. It was not any shorter and it did not save me any time, it just seemed more interesting and I’m so glad I did it!
I have a confession to make, I have very little experience riding off road and all of the off road riding I’ve done was on a BMW, K1100RS, a 120HP superbike designed for sport/touring. In 1995 I went on the BMW Paris, Paris to Panama, endurance rally. There were 120 riders and we had a fleet of Land Cruisers supporting us. Our route was scouted and mapped, our meals and accomidations were all arraned, and the off road riding we did was not that challenging.
There is a huge differece between riding a 120 HP motorcycle that weighs 300 kilos and a little 10 HP bike that weighs 120 kilos. You really do not want to stall on a hill climb on a slippery slope with that little bike. It just doesn’t have the torque to recover, especially while sliding downhill, backwards. But recover I did!
I highly recomend taking the scenic route from Vihn Quang to Ha Giang, but have a modicum of self preservation and do not do it alone! If you want the details of the route, leave me a comment or send me an email and I’ll get them to you.
It is hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment I reaped for today’s adventure! It has been quite some time since I have pushed my limits as far as I have today and it was a huge confidence builder. The great thing about accomplishment like this is that it increases overall confidence and builds self respect. I’m tired, sore and exausted. “Today I was a motorcycle god!”