Post # 62 Cuc Phong

Day 74 1006 days to go. Distance: today 91km total 4355km. It’s 7pm Sunday 12/2/2012 Cuc Phuong National Park. I got here, I go here, I got here!!!!! Sooo happy. I made sure the spot tracker was on it’s full 20minutes so to share in this place. Getting here was a treat. Talk about riding blind. On route I was kinda wishing I had taken more notice of the ‘getting to/from” section when I checked Cuc Phuong National Park on the internet. Oh well! Lots of stopping and asking directions and distances which is always a good thing and fun and I’m here. It was still quite a way to go once I left the National highway on road 12B just after Tam Diep at 3pm, 33km to be precise. Not far in retrospect but when you have no idea of distances, terrain and time it’s a long 33ks. The people were fantastic but. Small small villages very welcoming with lots of waves, smiles and hellos. Their directions were great distances not so. The first fella said 5km to go and 5kms down the track the next fella said 15kms. Bugga oh well. He ended up being pretty spot on. The scenery was great, all karst country very remote with small villages dotted along the quiet road. I was picturing which house I would come back and ask if I could stay if the road didn’t end up popping me out at the park entrance and stocked up on some water at a tiny shop just in case. The old woman at the shop was under 4 feet tall hunched over all smiles and red stained teeth that I haven’t seen since laos. I wish now I had taken photos but I was pretty distracted and a bit anx about getting here before dark. The road spat me out at the park entrance at 5.15pm and I let out the biggest cheer it gave Rube a fright 🙂 The road t-junctioned with a major road that was sign posted Hanoi 120km so that’ll be the full days ride when I head that way. I had incidentally taken the back road here but now that I’ve arrived the ride in hindsight was just beautiful and such a stark contrast to the highway. The traffic continued to be nuts leading up to the turn off. I lost count of the amount of times I got pushed off the road by the trucks and buses. I didn’t know Rube knew such colorful language. I wonder who she learnt that from 🙂 Despite the traffic but it was a real interesting ride. Lots of rice fields as usual but the weather was really foggy with no rain in it yay so it gave the scenery a misty mountains feel. I stopped heaps for photos and just to take it all in which was great. Prior to the turn off we went through the start of limestone karst but the area was full on mining and again interesting to check out. I spotted this woman at one stage up high on this cleared area pulling out the roots and shrubbery before the dozers could get in to do their part. You could hardly see her and I only noticed her because of her movement against the stark hill. The roadside stalls alway reflect what’s being farmed or in this case mined. They were selling all shapes and sizes, polished and raw limestone rock. The towns between were full of such interesting french architecture that I got some good picks of. It was a real mixed and interesting day that I’ve enjoyed heaps and to end up here is a total icing. I didn’t expect to be here until tomorrow so It’ll be great to wake up and get into it. I’m camping in the grounds for $2 per night. I’ll probably stay 2 nights to enjoy the day tomorrow and head early Tuesday morn for Hanoi. What a contrast the city will be after a couple sleeps here. It’s so nice to be camping as opposed to a guest house. Ive missed it so much. Tomorrow I want to go check out the monkeys in care while they recoup from the hands of poachers. There’s also a 8km walk you can do to a 1000 yer old tree for flora junkies. That’s especially for my partner who loves trees. Apparently the parks great for cycling so Rube and I will enjoy having a look around at some stage. It’s just wonderful to be here, camping and amongst nature. I set up the tent and it was so musty I tried to recall when I last used it then remembered it was in Laos the night the police man put us back on the road for a midnight cycle to be ‘safe.’ That seems like forever ago so it’s about time it got aired and used again. What a beautiful place to do just that. Here’s hoping the rain stays away but we’ll see as odds aren’t in our favor. It’s bickies and pepsi for dinner after eating 2 fresh baguettes over the course of the day. We passed a supermarket early on and I stopped for some fresh bread and it was straight out of the oven crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside and just yum. Tonight I’ve popped up to the small cafe to do my post. It cost a million dollars for the soft drink but who cares. It’s a nice possy to post and I haven’t had a soft drink for yonks it’s a treat and delish. I’ve christened my new head torch tonight already setting up the tent. It’s terrific ma and pa thank you so much xx. There’s two pooches hanging around the cafe and they keep checking out my bickies when I grab one and the paper rustles. Reminds me of a certain two other pooches at home that have very keen ears for tasty snacks in crinkly foil. The folk inside the stall are playing a card game. Cards are so popular here. I often past roadside stalls or shops in towns or folk just sitting outside their homes playing cards in groups and right into it. I confess I’m not a cards fan but they seem to love it. They’re letting out allot of animated gasps and cheers in the background it’s a softer side to the abrupt mannerisms I usually see or on the receiving end of. It’s funny there’s just none of that harshness amongst country folk. Their manner is the total opposite gentle and friendly and open. The puppies keep staring at me!!!! I may have to share my last bicky with them. It’s a shame the fog was so heavy today because you could see the karst hills on the horizon but only just. It would be spectacular if clear but honestly I was just happy it wasn’t raining. That’s a good day. Still chilly but good cycling weather. The road conditions were very crap but given the volume of heavy vehicles traveling into and out of Hanoi it’s no wonder. I spent the majority of the day navigating through the potholes and gravel on the road fringes and that kept the brain turned on that’s for sure. It’s only 8.30pm and I’m already ready for bed. I love it-quiet, fresh country air it always makes me so sleepy. OK I’ve created puppy monsters this side of the world too. One bicky is never enough!!!!!! Well at least I have company until they realize the packets empty. Time for bed. Card are getting very colorful so I may leave them to it. It was a good day so good night fine folk. Talk soon x I had decided last night that a safe and sound day for Rube and I was a good day and anything else on top a bonus. It shifted my approach to the day thinking back on it now. A bit better perspective to relax into I think and that’s a good thing. Like my big sister said recently, ‘try not to let it get too under your skin, there’s still a long way to go!’ Pretty spot on I reckon, thanks Kit x

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About shecyclesolo

If you could dream up the most wildest adventure imaginable what would it be? Between jobs and craving new experience, I decided to indulge the challenge. This is what I conjoured with a promise to come home safe and smiling. I hope you enjoy the 1080 days of stories as much as I will sharing them. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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