Oudom Xai to the turn off to Phongsali (2e) is a great road following the river most of the way. It has two points where the road has a 30cm rise almost vertical. When your heading up that way you see these coming, but on my return i had completly forgotten about them...which was fun! After the turn off (1b) you have 80kms of dirt road. some of it is great, easy dirt road to travel on. At points i passed places that were extermely muddy but has since dried up. Sometimes the road is pretty rought with large rocks on it. After 80km you arrive in Boun Tai - there are a couple of guest houses here - very nice village. The road impproves between Boun Tai and china turn off its a smooth dirt road. To Boun Neua(19) it is completly sealed. Another great road winding through the hills. There is a guest house here. From Boun Neua and Phongsali it is excatly 41kms. for the first 20kms it is sealed. Then you have 10km of dirt road then the last 11kms it is sealed again. This road snakes up the mountain to Phongsali. I was up in Phongsali for three days waiting for the weather to improve as it was foggy and only 4 deg c. I went down to Hat Sai to inquire about the boat to Muang Khua. But the locals wanted 1.2 millon kip for my own boat and driver. They said if any flangs want to go down the river then the price will drop to 3.5 x a person. ( i thought this was ok as my bike weights 130kg) As it turns out no flangs came so they wouldnt take me. I was still skeptical weither or not my bike would fit in the boat. The road between Phongsali and Hat Sai was by this time extemely muddy. the mud at points when 15cm deep. the track dried up as i got closer to Hat Sai. I then decided to ride my bike back out the way i had come. The 10km of dirt road between Phongsali and Boun Neua was sticky and slippery. The 80km of dirt road between Boun Tai and 2e juction was touch and go at times. There were 10km streaches at a time where you spent most of the time slidding on the mud. There where points where the mud was 30cm deep..(i managed to avoid those!) There were 15 trucks backed up that could not proceed further up the road. I would totaly recommend you do this trip. At this time of the year take warm clothes... but you can buy warm clothes at Phongsali and there are plently of noddle shops along the way to warm you up.