Eight at Eight, Duc + Lam, Easy Rider, part 1

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Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat
July 8th 2011
Published: August 22nd 2011
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It was simple. Wake up. Get dressed. Have breakfast. Come back to hotel. Get bags. Pay. Sit down and wait for the Easy Riders aka Duc + Lam, to arrive. So, what did happen? We woke up. Showered. Dressed. Packed. Got to the cafe (tin tin). Waited for the waiter. Waited for the food. Waited for the waiter to wait for the food. Waited some more. And some more. Ate our food. Ordered seconds. Waited for the waiter who waited for the second round of food. It neared 7:45 then 7:55, then... we were late. Walking back to the hotel, we spotted Duc + Lam, the bikes were ready, they were smiling and we were stuffed full of food and ready for the open road. "Sorry, guys," Shauna said, "it'll be like 5-minutes, just need to grab our bags and settle up." They laughed. Tapped their watches and laughed some more. I replied gently in their direction, "Women!" That made them nearly fall over. Then Shauna slugged me in the shoulder. "Why do you always say stuff like that?" "Well, its funny. I like to laugh. They like to laugh. They are married. They get it. They understand. Women. It's simple. Its short. Its --" "Fine already. Just stop with the explanation already." "You asked."

Into our room, we used the bathroom. Grabbed our bags and headed downstairs. At reception we ran into the Aussies again. Spoke to them about what was on their next segment of their trip. They were heading for Cat Tien National Park with Phat Tire adventures. I inquired how they found them? The internet. We just searched for a reputable group. They asked how we liked the canyoning. Shauna explained its better in Japan. But the whole no-safety sign liability form thing was a bit too much. We all laughed. Exchanged goodbyes and enjoy your trips then went outside with our puny bags. "Hey guys," I started, "Ready to ride?" "Yep, we just need to strap your bags on and we can go," Lam said. "How's Buddha big brother?" Duc inquired of me. "Duc, he said to me this morning. Drive careful. Drink plenty of floods. And remember to smile. You'll be on camera this whole trip!" He laughed. Then Lam asked Shauna, "Where are your other bags?" "What other bags?" "Aaron..." "Sorry Lam. I taught her to travel light. We both have just these bags." "Wow! This is crazy --" he started. "Be crazy --" I began the saying then Duc helped me emphasize the last part, "not lazy!" We all laughed. "Hop on," Lam instructed Shauna once we were packed and ready to go. I waited until Duc had removed the bike from the sidewalk before climbing on board. "You ready for this?" I stated patting my belly then the seat. "Get on big brotha," came the reply. And with that... I climbed onto the Easy Rider adventure tour...

Our tour itinerary was exiting Da Lat traveling a hundred and seventy-two kilometers (107 miles) across, around and through the central highland roadways into Dak Lak. Along the way we were stopping at a mushroom farm, silkworm factory, Tienkan minority village, and Elephant Falls before lunch at 1:30pm. After lunch we stopped briefly to learn about the silkworm at a local silkworm farm. Within ten minutes of leaving the farm, Duc + Lam pulled to the shoulder, retrieving rain gear for everyone. Donning on the gear just before a wicked rainstorm crashed the area. Thanks to the storm our travel speed went from 50 kmph (31 mph) to 15 kmph (9.32 mph). Drifting along on the 125cc Honda, our butts could only take so much road abuse. Every twenty-five to thirty-eight minutes Duc + Lam pulled off the road allowing us to stretch our long limbs or go for a short walk. In spite of these short periods off the bike our butt's never became use to the feeling. However Lam did teach us two terms recognized by all Easy Riders. The riders coined two terms Monkey Ass and Elephant Butt to describe the length of time on the road. Monkey Ass kicked in within the first 4 or 5 hours on the road. Followed by Elephant Butt in the preceding days to come. Nearly seven and a half hours later we arrived in Dak Lak. Originally, the plans were to do a home-stay in the minority village but due to the chance for rain they chose to set us up at Dak Lak Resort. We were happy with the comfortable room, its clean patio overlooking the lake and the peacefulness of the area. After tossing our bags down, we grabbed some beers and chilled out on the patio playing cards and talking about the trip. Around 6pm we all met
up in the restaurant. Inside Duc, Lam sat at a table on the patio with two other Easy Riders whom they introduced as "Eddie Murphy" and Junior. Eventually their Swedish clients arrived. We all sat at one long table talking over dinner. The only disappointment was the zero vegetarian options but we made due. As the evening wound down everyone headed back to their rooms to catch a much needed rest for tomorrow we faced the longest leg of our two-day trip, 249 kilometers (155 miles).

Additional photos below
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Rain Riders

Shauna + Lam

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