Lucinda thinks we’re good planners. Day’s nicely mapped out, destination lodgings known when needed and all the t’s crossed.

It’s a system from the moment we’re out of bed to when we crash for the night, refined and tweaked over the years. We spend a lot of time thinking about it, even the exact way the duffle is packed and unpacked. New ideas come along once in a while and that’s part of the pleasure of a long riding project. It’s a little crazy. I know a few other long distance riders who are like this. Dan T and Helge, for two.

But today’s going to be different. I’m running two sets of GPS maps on my unit. One, downloaded OSM tiles, and the other a local-knowledge enhanced version I got from a ride cafe in Chiang Mai on a card. I set out my route, tracked it on the laptop, transferred it to the unit and off went. But had screwed up.

Anyway, a nice start

These really good white-flowered bog plant beside the road in places

A great road

The usual villages

Gas in bottles. we haven’t seen this since Sumatra

Couldn’t be better

This orange inflorescence was 2 feet tall



Stopped to watch young guys loading heavy sacks onto a truck. Not a lot happening mostly in Laos so this seemed interesting enough

Two girls making a record of the weight of each sack

They’re these. not sure what they are, haven’t asked yet

Side street

Nice pond

Mom and kids carrying firewood. The first time we’ve seen kids this young do this
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The road turns to graded dirt

Through 1 of 3 slides today

Love these bridges

Into this village.

My GPS is telling me we’ve got 95 miles to go and the road is getting skinnier. While I have a bottle of water I do a quick check of the route. Hum, I think, we should be going south, not east by now. I haven’t been thinking about it, just riding and enjoying the surroundings. Scaling out on the unit, I see we’re on the wrong road! Never ever have I been so wrong for so long. But no biggee, I’ll see what the road looks like on the map.P1050209

Here’s the GPS track, dirt from here on.
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And here’s the map. You can see the yellow road just stops, cropped so you can see it in the same place as the GPS track above. Shows no road

But the road doesn’t stop, it just turns into a small dirt track that was on my other GPS file. We haven’t allowed for this and wouldn’t started earlier. So, what to do? Continue, not knowing what the conditions will be? Or turn around and start again tomorrow? it’s noon. In the worst case, if the track gets bad, and there’s no mud it’ll take 4 hours+. The GPS says sunset is at 5:40. No problem unless we get a shower and hit mud. So thinking about Rule #1, the one that’s got us this far, we turn back for Luang Prabang, not all all unhappy, we have the time (if not the tire rubber, post on this soon) and it was a great ride.

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