Tanks, Tunnels and Thunder
Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
297Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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We got going on the main highway north, it's a busy road with lots of traffic and the larger vehicles think nothing of setting off into the oncoming 2 wheeled traffic and forcing them into the side. There is a very nice hard shoulder there, about the same size as our motorway hard shoulder, but it doesn’t means its clear – there could be people walking, dogs, buffalo, slow bicycles, buses letting people off….it’s not an easy road to go on.
The first 'sight’ we came across was a church that had been fought around for 81 days
We carried on up the road and found a bit of a ropey place for lunch just after we saw an old tank in the bushes by the side of the road. Tri gets up at 5am and goes running, so he likes to have his lunch about 11.30/12. The man at the place was clearly drunk and brought a massive plate of plain rice with some ‘morning glory’ and beef. It wasn’t very appetising, and I wasn’t very hungry. I went to use the bathroom – this turned out to be a hole in the ground up the garden. Nice.
Not far after the lunch stop we crossed the official North South dividing river which is commemorated with a huge stone statue and the original bridge is covered in flags.
All this occurred right by the main road, we turned off and headed East towards the Vinh Moc tunnels, a place where villagers spent 2 years digging more than 50 tunnels over 3 levels to shelter fro the constant air raids. The journey there was fabulous – we drove along the coast of white sands, blue sea and palm trees. The air was noticeably cooler as well, which was a huge relief
The next stop was due to me the Cemetry, and as we set off down the road towards it, the rain came, and not just little rain, enormous great splodges of rain, the sort that drowns 20 ants in one go. We were in an area that was flat and wooded, so we stopped super quick, dug out the waterproofs and quickly got into them, and lightning decided that this wooded area was a good place to strike it’s vengeance. I’ve never heard lightning/thunder that loud and close, and both me and Tri were hot footed about running away back down the road we came from, (all a bit Monty Python "Run Away! Run Away"). It wasn’t long before we'd driven out of the rain, and then continued south a bit further before turning west again, and effectively rode around the localised heavy rain. Quite an odd thing to do considering you can never escape the UK rain.
When we set off west towards Khe Sanh, I was allowed to ride, it was good to do, and I had to learn to avoid all the unexpected hard shoulder objects, and enjoy the views
When we arrived at the airbase, it had stopped raining, but the thunder was still rolling in the hills, which I suppose gave the effect of booming gunfire considering I was at a place where a fierce battle took place and there were bunkers and guns and helicopters, as well as various items in the museum. It added to the atmosphere I suppose.
We had dinner at 6 near the hotel, and I discovered that in just wearing a vest top and a thin shirt on top, I'd still got burnt on my shoulders, so I'm in need of a thicker shirt underneath.
I was pooped and fell asleep quite early after quite the long day.
Best: riding the bike
Worst: the rain!
Beautiful: the views around Khe Sanh