Pleiku
June 12, 2015 - 02:15 PM

Yesterday, we started north again from Buon Ma Thuot to Kontum. Before we set out, we tried the coffee for which the region was known for (it was pretty good). Then we went back to the (abandoned) hotel to get our bikes and get on our way. But when we did,we noticed Ben's bone was leaking fuel from the tank. We left and found a mechanic, but by then, the leaking had stopped, so we chose to carry on.

After about 30 km of riding, however, Ben ran into a tractor crossing the street. His bike flipped up into it scraping his arm and hurting his hand (we need to check if it is broken). We spent the next two hours at the mechanic on the side if the road where it happened. His bike ended up having the front tire twisted and needed to be replaced as well as one if the suspension arms in the front. They also noticed the leaking from the tank and patched it up with some epoxy. Afterward, we were pampered for another hour by a housewife who fed us and offered us a place to sleep. We had to refuse the nap as we were already way behind schedule and so we continued on again.

An hour or two later, the roads were becoming worse and worse. There was one wrong turn we made down a road of red dirt that led into desert occupied only by a couple of cows. We turned around and took the correct road which wasn't any better. A few more kilometers up the road, we were stopped by a policeman in a house on the side of the road. He didn't speak any English and had to call hours friend who told us he wanted to check some official documents and told us to wait there until he arrived. Assuming they wanted to make some money off us, we fled. We continued down the crater filed road until we reached another official, who must have been the person on the phone. He told us he was a border guard and wanted to see our passports. Still believing this to be a shake up as we were no where close to Cambodia, we were hesitant to give over our passports. We told him where we were going and he explained that the road we were using was closed to foreigners. We checked the map to show him that we needed to continue on to get north, and as it happened, the road we were on led to Cambodia! He jotted down our passport numbers on his hand and told us to follow him as he escorted us to a fork in the road. He pointed us down the road which was presumably toward the north and away from the border and let us go.

Finding ourselves on a desolate road north on the Vietnam-Cambodia border, we pushed on. The road was filled with potholes some as deep as two feet and many hiding in the shadows of the surrounding shrubbery. It wasn't long before I managed to hit one on the side causing me to slip and fall sliding ten to twenty feet on the red gravel. Fortunately I was only scraped and badly shocked and my bike okay aside from the key snapping in half in the ignition (thankfully I had a second one). After gathering my wits, I got back up to get on with this dreadful road.

At this point, we had finished the water we had and used the reserve gas. Unfortunately, we were beginning to become dehydrated and neither of us had much fuel left. Signs on the side of the road indicated that the next village or town was still 60km away. About 20 km up the road, we were lucky enough to find a few shacks where a man was watering the road with his son. Ben bought 2 L of gas from him for a couple dollars and we agreed that if I ran out of gas, he would go ahead to the next station and bring me some.