24 Mar The long ride to Nha Trang
The weather is perfect for cycling when we leave Dalat: sunshine, but not scalding hot. Thanks to being up on the high plateau in the Central Highlands, we are safe from the tropical heat which usually rules in Southern Vietnam.
Once we make it out of town, the traffic is dying down considerably and we almost have the road to ourselves. There are many more rolling hills as our route continues along the high plateau. We only encounter a couple of small villages, but nowhere to buy any real food or where we could stay the night.
All we find is a small place that sells cold sodas and snacks, which we of course take full advantage of, and a couple of tribal looking, long houses, and plenty of beautiful scenery, Although the sky is blue, we encounter some headwind, which combined with the many rollers is slowly but surely tiring out our legs. Luckily, there are plenty of woods to take short breaks, so we can refuel with some cheese and crackers on this long riding day.
Unfortunately, the perfectly blue sky is slowly giving way to grey clouds. Also, we notice more and more scooter drivers coming at us with their rain gear on and before we know it we find out why. As we start descending off the plateau we get engulfed with misty, foggy, clouds. The temperature is plummeting and we get soaked and cold quickly. We pull over to put on our rain gear. Unfortunately, we are already wet and freeze our butts off by this time and it happens to get late in the day.
Since there is nowhere to seek shelter, we have no other choice but to continue our ride off the mountain. We ride past several cliffs, big rocks and waterfalls that partly spill over the road and we are certain that the scenery must be spectacular coming down. Unfortunately, we do not get to see much of it. Not only are we riding through a foggy soup, but it is also getting dark by the time we are making it half way down.Eventually, we reach an outside restaurant in the small village at the bottom of the mountain. We stop for dinner and ask how far it is to the next guesthouse.
According to the owner it is about 30-some more kilometers away..since it is late and dark it is not exactly the answer we were looking for. While, we eat, we notice a few hammocks along the side of the restaurant and jokingly gesture that we could sleep in them. To our surprise the owner says ok. Since it is still cold, we think sleeping in our tent would be a better idea. We show him a picture of our tents and point to a little patch of dirt next to the restaurant. He shakes his head and points to the back of his business, then he starts moving a few tables and chairs and motions us to bring our bikes in and set up our tents under the roof in his restaurant. He even brings over a night light and makes sure that the big light above our tents is shut off so we can sleep. So we set up our tent among the tables and order a couple of drinks before we crawl into our sleeping bags and listen to the raindrops hit the tin roof.
In the morning, we give our host a little bit more business. After packing up we order breakfast and watch the owner make straw brooms before continuing our ride to Nha Trang.
Today’s ride is much more enjoyable, it’s still windy and cloudy, but for the most part it is a flat ride to the seaside town of Nha Trang.