13 January 2017 - Mukdahan to Don Tan - 51 km - Dale left the tour today (busted I guess) He was struggling with the heat and didn't like eating in roadside shops. The remainder of the trip will be small villages, local foods and hopefully wonderful small resorts like the one we found today. We wished him the best as he set out for a grueling day doing 90 km down Hiway 212. Ted and I started out the day with Kai Grata and traditional Thai coffee at a street side shop followed by a 15km round trip ride to Immigration to get a reentry permit for Ted.
Mekong River 2017
12 January 2017 - That Phanom to Mukdahan - 58 km - breakfast at the Sisters coffee shop and a visit to Prathat Phanom, Chedi housing a piece of Buddha's breastbone. An important Thai Wat and very spiritual place. Then off to Mukdahan. We managed to avoid Hiway 212 for the whole day. What a relief. About 11 am we found a restaurant with fish on the grill and stopped for brunch - salt grilled Pla Nin wrapped in lettuce leaves with noodles and special sauce. Food at its best. We arrived in Mukdahan early afternoon and checked in at the Kiengpiman Hotel, a great place for 450 Baht.
11 January 2017 - 63km - Nakhon Phanom to That Phanom - Delayed start while Dale's rear wheel had a spoke replacement. Met James again on his way back into Laos. He pointed us to the Good Morning Vietnam coffee shop where we waited for the wheel work.
Nakhon Phanom would be a good layover city for future reference. Beautiful city, great bike route along the river, good.
10 January 2017 - Ban Phaeng to Nakhon Phanom - 101 km - great riding weather. About 30 km turned off Hiway 212 towards the river. Rode local roads near the river for about 20 km. Roads were meticulously paved and striped in villages but totally in a state of disrepair between. As Ted and I rode along a woman reached in a pot and pulled out a handful of noodles. We made uturn and went back for Khanom Chin for 10 Baht each. Riding the local roads is slower and rougher than Hiway 212, but so much more enjoyable.
9 January 2017 - Bueng Kan to Ban Phaeng - 85 km on Hiway 212. Some trees for shade, otherwise an uneventful ride down a Hiway. We started out before 7am to beat the heat. Arrived at our destination by 1pm. Stayed at JB Place Hotel. Clean place for 450 Baht per night. Asked for quiet rooms. We got the Mountain View annex. Only quirk, no windows to look at the mountains - people regularly using these rooms probably are not looking at the mountains.