First Mud Of The Rainy Season. Savannakhet To Thalang(khammouane). June,2016.

Discussion in 'Mountain Biking - Road Trip Reports' started by Cycle Wallah, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Cycle Wallah

    Cycle Wallah Member

    Decided after being in Savannakhet for a week to go and find some dirt. Looked at the map and found some roads what I reckoned would be dirt.
    Rather boring ride along Road 9 towards Xeno where I would head north. At least there was a cycle/motorbike path which was a welcome change. Made Xeno in good time despite of lingering hangover and was soon on a dirt road(6304)heading north.

    Good to be back on dirt again after riding on tarmac in Thailand for a week. Very little traffic only a few motorbikes and fewer cars. Passing small villages and green paddy fields.

    Had done about 70 km so found a place just off the road to camp for the night. Had a few villagers visit me with some sticky rice. They were saying that rain was coming and mosquitoes also. I said I would be fine equipped with a tent and insect repellent. Then they asked for money for the sticky rice. I only had a mouthful to be polite so they got nothing and left.
    Woke early next day. Had breakfast and was soon on the way. I was still on Road(6304) heading towards the Nam Xe Noy which I had to cross at some point. The road was still dirt but flat. The day was overcast but no rain. The scenery was pretty much paddy fields again with trees dotted here and there. But so green after a little rain.
    Passing through a few more villages I made to the banks of the Nam Xe Noy. The GPS showed the track going across the river. But in reality there was no track. So I searched in vain for a way across. No bridge or ford to be found I continued towards Road 13S to pick up on a GPX track a friend had gave south of Thakek.
    Rode on R 13S for about 20 km and found the turn off. Not knowing what was ahead I stocked up on noodles and coffee and proceeded down another dirt track. This one with even less traffic and villages. Also not so flat but still no sign of mud. I had forgot to buy petol but was lucky to come across a small shop selling some. The old lady asked where I was going. I told her Nakai and shook her head and pointed the other way. I shook my head and pointed in the other direction. Then the old man agreed with me. Later another man when I asked at a fork in the track said no when i asked for Nakai so looked at track on phone and found the way. Still no sign of mud. Soon found a secluded spot of the road to camp. It was still hot so decided to sleep out side in my silk sleeping bag until it started raining around three.
    Woke up to the sound of rain so made myself coffee and some porridge for breakfast and waited for the rain to cease. Had a visitor. Some crazy looking guy who wouldn't go away. "You sleep here?" "Yes". "Lot tip(cycle in Lao)?" "Yes". I was waiting for him to go so I could get changed. He left eventually only to return half way through me changing. I said "By loi(go away)" and he did thankfully muttering to himself.
    By this time the rain had almost stopped so I packed up my gear and got back on the dirt. Enjoyed ups and downs in the track. No serious mud. Good fun. Then the heavens opened. By luck I was near a shelter.

    Waited for around a hour for the rain to ease before I could continue. By this time I was almost out of water but GPS said there was a village called Pakxong not far away. Could now see some karst outcrops in the distance.


    Arriving at Pakxong I was immediately the centre of attention. Found a local and asked for water and the way to Nakai. "Bor mee,nam nam." Was the answer. "Not possible, water water." I said "Bor penyang". "No problem". Found some drinking water and cycled off to the laughter of the villagers. Stopped at hospital to check GPS. The track had finished so looked on phone and was going right way.
    Continued on through some mud but nothing bad. This is OK I thought then rounded a corner and was confronted with this.


    Now I knew what they meant by water. It was up to my knees!
    Oh shit I thought. It could not go on for ever and going back to prove the villagers right was not an option. So on it was. Photo below shows my surprise.
    It continued like this for kilometres. About half mud and the other half water. Sometimes I could ride through all or some of the water. The water had been there a long time because some of it was green and stank. Having two punctures in the rain didn't help. Not easy to fix in the rain. My spare had a split in the vavle!
    Eventually the water disappeared.
    I posted this photo on facebook and a mate thought I was on a river.
    Water was replaced by unridable mud and dirt. Clogging my wheels up causing me to stop and find a mud removing stick every 100 metres or so.
    At one point I sat in a muddy clearing and really thought what the hell am I doing, am I getting to old to be doing this? This was the lowest point of the day but I was only 8 km from my goal so pulled myself together. Came to a river and washed myself and the bike. A local showed me the rest of the way and I could soon see the main road.
    Last 250 metres were sticky clay mud and I managed to get stuck 25 metres from the tarmac!
    All in all a great muddy,water experience. Mud and water:25km in total.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Amazing stuff.
    What time did you set off & what time did you arrive, because that's one hell of an advenure.
  4. Cycle Wallah

    Cycle Wallah Member

    Set off around eight but as you can see was hampered by mud,punctures ,rain and dispair! Arrived at the main road around three in the afternoon.
  5. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

    Got to say Wallah, you really are the action man.
    Great reading your wild adventure rides,... it seems there's no stopping you.
    Great stuff mate.

  6. Cycle Wallah

    Cycle Wallah Member

    Cheers Rex. This one was really a challenge both mentally and physically. I just didn't want to go back to prove the villagers right.
  7. Cycle Wallah

    Cycle Wallah Member

    Is there a lot of dirt in North Thailand? Heading there soon for a holiday.

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