On the second day of the ride we headed across the Ben En national park where we passed through jungle and round some huge lakes. By the reaction of the local people I don’t think many tourist make this journey we were getting some funny looks and the children would stop in their tracks and just point at us. The roads through the national park were dirt roads in terrible condition, they were heavy with clay and it had recently rained and then dried out by the sun so they were incredibly slippery. Inevitably it was on these roads I had my first and hopefully last accident.
Thanks to the ridiculous forty kilos of weight I have on the rear luggage rack of the bike the front wheel has little to no grip what so ever and on roads as smooth as glass its a fucking nightmare! So coming to a a hill where the road banks left I had to give the bike some gas to make it up the hill but as I went to turn the bike it just went straight. Straight into a sodding ditch. I was winded and scuffed my leg up a bit, apart from that I was OK. I was more concerned about the fact I was caught under the bike and the petrol was flowing from the top of the tank onto me! The bike itself had a broken clutch lever, bent the gear shifter and broken the front headlight. The bike was still rideable so when we eventually made it out of the national park and back into civilisation I found a mechanic and got the shifter and clutch lever replaced for the equivalent of £2.50. Later that night tired and exhausted we made it to Thanh Hoa found a hotel and chilled the fuck out.
In the morning we set off early for the city of Vinh city via Tam Coc. Tam Coc is a beautiful network of waterways that meander around limestone outcrops and rice paddies. We negotiated a cheap price with a local woman and she took us out on a small boat across the water and through some of the caves. There was no wind and the water was like a mirror producing some beautiful reflections. After an hour or so we made our way back to dry land hopped on the bikes and head down the dreaded highway 1 towards Vinh.
As predicted the roads were indeed full of trucks covering us in dust and diesel smoke. The trucks also have a habit of overtaking you at high speed and then slamming on their brakes because of a small pothole! This is what happened to Brok and resulting in him eating the back of a truck, luckily he was ok the bikes clutch lever broke and he lost an indicator. As we went to pull away my gear shifter would not click into first gear and on inspecting it it became apparent that the teeth on the shaft leading to the gearbox were non existent. We pushed the bikes for about 500 meters before finding a mechanic who replaced Broks clutch lever and welded my gear shifter in place. Trying to stay as far away from trucks as possible we continued on to Vinh.