Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Today was a lesson in what happens when 'shit happens' on a road trip and also what the best bike for such a trip is.
We started off in Attapeu and decided to take road 18 to get back to Pakse and avoid having to backtrack via the Bolavean Plateau.
Before starting the trip however we tried to fix a broken rear light on the Honda Click but after even the local Honda dealer said they don't have the part (although they could change the full dashboard on the Honda Wave in no time), we decided to just get it fixed in Pakse.
Road 18 is supposed to be quite a difficult and bad road in Laos where a few people struggled with. Having been on many bad roads and roads that were supposed to be bad but turned out to be just a bit bumpy, I didn't worry much.
The beginning of road 18 is not great and very bumpy with lots of small stones on it but if you drive fast enough over it it's actually pretty easy.
We made it without issues to Sanamxai, where we stopped for coffee and met the very cool owner who gave us a tip for a interesting new road to Paksong.
After enjoying our coffee and a small detour, where we were doing slaloms around big and small puddles, we were heading to Ban Mai. This is where things started to get a bit difficult.
Due to the heavy rain last night parts of the road were flooded, the first section was no problem for the Wave or the Click, it was the 2nd section that meant our journey ended sooner than expected. The Click fell in the water and refused to start up again.
After pushing the Click with the Wave to the next village and being rejected by the only mechanic since he couldn't fix it, we found some people with a truck to drive the Click back to Sanamxai and get it fixed there.
Before the locals agreed to take the bike however some money and some Lao Lao had to be exchanged. They would also only take the Click and I had to drive my Wave back to Sanamxai.
So back through the flooded sections without any problems and arriving in Sanamxai, the local mechanic was at least confident he could fix the Click.
About 2h later and after taking the whole bike apart they figured the piston was bent and they needed a new part but the nearest place to get a new part was Pakse and it would take 2 days.
Some negotiations later, they agreed to have a friend pick up the part in the morning and drive it to Sanamxai so they could have the bike fixed by tomorrow afternoon.
Without anything else left to do, we decided to take the Wave and go back to Attapeu for the night with the knowledge that no matter how new or good the bike is, if you can't get parts for it you're stranded when 'shit happens'. This is why for these kind of trips a Wave is prefect since everybody can fix it and they have parts available in every village but definitely every city.
There is a reason you mostly see Honda Waves in small villages and rural areas.