17 December 2013

Sand Angels

I'm unsure how to even start... having never suffered from triskaidekaphobia, I had to look up the spelling. After this past Friday, 13 December 2103, they may have a point.

After a very nice respite at the beach, we loaded up, headed out, and got about 10 feet... and very possibly less.

Annika, Philine and I had decided that the locals riding motos on the beach looked like something we'd enjoy, so we headed for the sand. Has anyone seen my common sense? I'm unsure where it is, but I know it's nowhere near me and apparently hasn't been since I arrived in Việt Nam.

As I've written previously, my Yamaha 125 is a nice little bike. Did I mention that it's little? Add me and my 40 kilos of gear, and I'm constantly reminded of the circus bear riding a tricycle. Even the bear would know better than to ride an overloaded bike into sand unless it's hard-packed—especially when it's running on street tires! My bike, obviously smarter than I, immediately decided to make a sand angel.

With my leg twisted underneath it. No worries, the only thing damaged was my dwindling pride.

The resort owner, trying very hard to keep a straight face, ran down to help me regain my feet and upright the bike. No harm, no foul, right? I immediately went back to hard scape, right?


If we've had more than a couple in-person conversations, you've heard me talk about the two things that both women and have and that men have too much of. Each of them is constantly trying to take us (men) off the planet. You maybe already guessed that I'm talking about Ego and Testosterone.

Since I didn't find my common sense while face down in the sand, ego said, "Minor set-back; no one got a photo; we're good." So my ego maneuvered the bike to a more firm (yet not FIRM like the sand at the water's edge) area to launch my beach ride... and I went down again... then a third time.

Had enough? Of course. Not.

By this time I'd made it to hard-pack and Annika and Philine were there also. Upright. So off we rode...

After about a kilometer or so, we were unable to find a route back to the road, so we turned around and got out of the sand 50 meters north of the resort—with the help of the owner AND after two final sand angels. The resort owner is probably still laughing...

Call me Charlie Brown... or is it Barney Fife?

Now that we're on asphalt, we can make up some time by taking a route that even Garmin did not know... And we did, until Philine noticed a slight wobble in Annika's rear wheel. Annika said that she had been feeling something recently, so we pulled over at the first mechanic's shop we saw… which was less than 100 yards away. My guess is that it would be hard to go 10 km here without seeing at least one sign advertising Honda motorbike repair. It's not necessarily that they need fixing a lot, it's that they are omnipresent. The bikes that the girls are riding were actually made in Việt Nam. The mechanics were at first skeptical, especially after they put Annika's bike up on the stand and try to wobble the wheel. When they found nothing loose, they dismissed us and went back to working on the bike that they been working on when we arrived.

It took some insistence and a phone call to Hung for some translation, but we finally got the mechanic to test-ride her bike. He didn't go 50 meters before he turned around, came back, and immediately started disassembling the rear wheel. In well under an hour, he had the wheel reassembled and the bike running just fine. Total cost for diagnosis and repair: US$3.50.

Even better, we found out from the locals that were about 16 km off the road we wanted to be on. We back-tracked and scurried for Đà Lạt. Click here for today's map, including the wrong turn.

The rest if the day's ride was pretty much a blur... and when we arrived in Đà Lạt, the first thing I wanted was a massage!

Unfortunately, as I write this almost 3 days later, I don't even remember if I got one...

Next stop, Buôn Ma Thuôt...

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