Day 1. Ron came over to Chiang Saen from Chiang Mai on his new Honda CRF and we set off for Laos early the next morning. We were off on an 8 day dirt bike trip to find some green scenery in remote areas. One of the last times we'll get to cross the Khong on the ferry. At the police station in Chiang Khong, we were told the new bridge will be open by about July next year. Getting bikes and us across the river through the bureaucracy took about 2 1/2 hours and we're off on our adventure. Nice pink thing............ but I'll stick with the KLX, thank you. Smooth swoopy sports bike road all the way to China. But watch out for the trucks trying to force you off the road The coal mine near Vieng Phukha. We saw lots of full trucks of coal heading back to Thailand. Stopped at Bahn Fa cultural village. There's a weaving loom under every house. Into the SaiNamJud GH in Vieng Phukha. Not a lot of choice here and this is the only place in town with hot water. It's right by the bridge and for 50K Kip (193 Baht) you get the hardest bed you've slept on for some time........ sorted my backache out though. Reasonable restaurant on the opposite side of the road. Easy first day, get bureaucracy out the way. 196 klms.