Todays ride started well. Checked out of the hotel and the same receptionist didn’t try to pick me up… Headed out for breakfast that ended up being the baguette lady on the street corner. Vietnamese do a damn good street baguette I must say, got some pork going in there with some veggies. Sucked down a coffee and a dart then headed off. Google maps says Khe Sanh to Phong Nha is 3.5hrs, google maps is full of shit. I would say that ride should take more like 4.5-5hrs. It took me 7 but that’s because around every corner Vietnam tosses out another view worth stopping for. Again the jungles are extremely aggressive and stunning at the same time. The road (Ho Chi Minh Tây) was in great shape and gets a 8.9 on Pks shit road index. Only bad thing was old checkpoint stops (like for train crossings to give you a visual) that for some reason hung extremely low, and I mean low enough to take your head off if you aren’t paying attention. Three times I had to hug the gas tank to avoid knocking some sense into me. Besides hanging guards the road really couldn’t be better; I ended up only passing 3 cars and a few trucks the whole day. The rains came early though, which caused a fully day of riding wet. Again the storms are aggressive and cause one to ponder running for cover. The weather changes so fast from hot to wet that the roads are steaming during and after the clouds have emptied their tanks. During the latter end of the storm I came upon a few valleys that were breathtaking. Took my time in one particular town just to soak in the views, fresh air, play with a puppy, and get some rocket fuel.
Heading out of town through the steam filled roads an interesting thing happened. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of butterflies filled the road for what felt like 100kilometers. It wasn’t just one type, big, small, blue, black, yellow, tons of them. At one point I had to stop and take some pictures it was so magnificent. Phong Nha town isn’t much but the park is worth a visit. Apparently there are some caves you can sail around in but I don’t know about you but I’m good on caves. With all todays brilliance I did miss on the hotel but for $8 I’m ok using a bucket to shower with since the showerhead is broken. They were nice enough to provide two buckets though incase the other one ran off. Lovely.