03/08/2014 – 247 days/22472 miles

Today had to be my most physically exhausting day so far.
It involved good asphalt, crap asphalt, gravel covered asphalt, hard packed dirt, loose gravel, looser gravel, washboards, rocks, ruts, sketchy bridges, steep hills, sand, silt, river crossings, and falling.
I loved it.I love the fact that I did it, and that I am now drinking beer instead of riding.
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03/07/2014 – 246 days/22224 miles

Turns out Ban Nahin is on the northern portion of “The Loop” in Laos. Although I didn’t feel like riding the whole loop, I figured I’d make my trip from Ban Nahin to Pakse a little longer and ride the north, east, and south portions, rather than just taking the west side, which would’ve been much faster. The west side also was on the most major road, which I’ve already spent plenty of time on, and will continue on as I head to the south, so I figured this route would be the most interesting.
As I’d mentioned before, getting off the main roads subjects one to dirt roads (and sometimes pretty shitty dirt roads) pretty quickly.

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03/05/2014 – 244 days/21885 miles

From Phonsavan, I had a long day of riding to get to Ban Nahin, which is near the Kong Lo cave (Tham Kong Lo)
I’m starting to find that as soon as you get off the few main roads in Laos, long stretches of dirt become fairly common.
I’m also starting to find that I’m getting more tired with each day…lots of hours on rough roads are starting to take their toll. And for anyone out there who thinks riding a motorcycle can’t be that physical, try it out.
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02/18/2014 – 229 days/20637 miles

Crossing into Laos was fairly simple, other than the fact I had to wait in line in the heat for a couple hours to get my visa.
I immediately noticed a fairly different feel to the traffic and roads. The roads were decent quality, but definitely not what you get in Thailand. And the traffic was a bit more unruly…it reminded me a little bit of India, though still not to that extreme. Cars swerved between lanes quite a lot, and it wasn’t uncommon to see someone driving up the wrong side of the road.
On top of all that, I was back on the right hand side of the road for the first time in over two months. I never thought I’d say it, but it really felt weird to have to swap over to driving on the right. Luckily, it came back quick, but I definitely had to think about it for the first little while.

Here’s the view from Thailand, looking over the Mekong to Laos, with the Friendship bridge barely visible in the background.
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