The Sepon group have been out and about again. This time six of us made a week long trip to Xamtai and back. Following the main roads to Huaphan via Luang Prabang, Nongkhiaw, Viengthong Xamnua, Viangxai - Na Meow border - Xamtai - "short cutting" back to Salouey on Route 6B via 120 km of dirt road - Namnoen - Muang Kham - Phonsavanh. Here we broke up into two groups. Me and Shorty back to Vte the usual route via Phou Khoun and "The Young Ones" going for Xaysomboun via Tha Viang. First they needed to see the jars. After the Jars they managed to drive 60 km in the wrong direction and had to come back the same way and stay overnight in Phonsavanh. To their dissapointment "The Hmong Club" was closed. Next day Ross and Troy head back to Vte the usual way - leaving Tumbleweed and Slangdon to try the Xaysomboun route. Slangdon noticed the military block before crossing the suspension bridge at Tha Viang but Tumbleweed failed to see it. After climbing up the mountain for 30 minutes road he finally noticed that he was alone and had to climb back down again which was probably harder than going up. From his account of the trip it's nothing I need to bother with on my Africa Twin. That's a relief. Back in Tha Viang they turn south to Paksan on a good road. Much if it was tarmac and then finally back to Vte where they arrive not long after Troy and Ross. There was a really fun dirt section that started at Nam Meow border opposite the customs house connecting up with the road to Xamtai after about 10 km. The road to Xamtai was a dream with fantastic views and nice fast corners. In Xamtai we stayed at a nice new guesthouse next to the market. In the evening a nice meal on roasted wild boar and deer mest served at the small restaurant opposite the guest house. But first we needed to relax with some Lao Hai. It's a rice wine fermented a closed claypot. After the lid is removed water is poured into the pot and you drink it through a long straw (more like a reed actually). The water is contatly topped up. The drink can be pretty potent depending on how long it's been fermenting. The challenge this time was the dirt road from Xamtai back to Route 6B. The turn off is 14 km north of Xamtai and the exit is about 42 km west of Xamnua or 52 km from Namnoen. It became an endurance event after 60 km and the last 30 km I at least was totally exhausted and managed to fall of the bike on a fairly easy section. Tip â€“ bring up to date travel documents. Three check points around the middle section that needs to be negotiated. Tumbleweed got his new name after going of the road after passing Phou Khoun toward Luang Prabang. He had some weak excuse like a car was cutting into his lane but we know it all comes down to bike handling skills. Going of the road he managed to hit a log and flew over the handle bars to a soft landing in some grassy spot. Luckliy there was no drop off at this place so neither bike or him had to be winched out. There will be photos coming but we are still in the selection process.