Rainy season has now finished, so off to Laos for the holidays. Roads that were impassible a couple of months ago should be ok now........ I was on my KTM 950, and my friend Joe was on his Africa Twin. Goal was to make it up to Lima Site 85 in the northeast corner of Laos. An interesting bit of history from the secret CIA war in Laos. Left Chiang Mai in the morning, then a fast and easy ride to the border town of Chiang Kong which is right on the Mekong River. A great Mexican dinner, a good nights rest at a pleasant hotel overlookng the Mekong, and then up early to be at the customs office at 8:00. Cleared there after some delays, then over to Huay Xay on the Laos side. Seems like the customs officials there were trying out some new scam of having a tourist office do all the clearing for a motor vehicle for a 2000 baht fee. I started laughing and said that was the job of customs, and it was time for them to get to work. They looked a bit sheepish and then quickly filled out the forms for a 200 baht fee. Ok, now typical border crossing bullshit is finished, time to ride !!! Finally got rolling about 12:30. First section is from Huay Xay over the mountains to Louang Nam Ta. Used to be a very pretty and somewhat challenging stretch of road. Now it is sort of a very long construction zone. Time to chill out a bit and wait. Notice the upside down truck in the background with the crane getting ready to lift it up. Easy stream crossing for Joe. Much trickier ones later on. Continued riding brought us to a lot of vehicles stopped in the road. Woven mats were laid out in the middle of the road, and people were cooking lunch over small fires. Thought to myself , this cannot be good. Slowly worked our way towards the front of the line of vehicles. Here is Joe trying to get around one of the stuck trucks in the REALLY soft mud along the side of the road. Had slow motion lay down of the bike. Of course, good riding buddy that I am, had to get a shot of it first before helping.......... Here is the center of the problem. This truck was stuck to the axles in mud, and the vehicles were backed up from either direction. We barely got around it. There were going to be a lot of people doing an unexpected campout on the mountain. Everyone was in great spirits with a smile on their faces and offering me rice whiskey as I passed by. As whiskey and mud are a bad combination , I had to politely decline. Just to show that contrary to popular opinion I am not afraid to get some mud on my shiny black bike.... Next day over to Luang Prabang. While rolling into town I met up with Ken. a friend of mine from Thailand on his GS. I have known him for 4 years. He knew I was going to be there at this time so it was sort of planned meeting. His bike is sort of rolling art with endless modifications. If you look carefully you can see pig horns at the top of the bike, and fangs with red tips just underneath the front fender. Needless to say the bike gets a lot of attention where ever he goes. A lot of head shaking and smiles !! Cool early morning departure from Luang Prabang to Sam Nua. Notice the stocking cap, not a standard Asian item.