Feed on

The morning comes and everyone is raring to go. Literally. This town is such a dump (and we should know a dump when we sleep in one) that everyone is ready to go early. Bikes loaded, started (well most of them) and we’re off. At least some of us.

There are 4 ways out of this primitive crossroad hamlet: southeast (the way I came in), northeast (the way Clemo and the rest, minus Guv, came in, the northwest to Thailand and the southwest to Sihanoukville via some little hamlet that isn’t in any of the guides. Perfect. We’ll take the little hamlet that doesn’t register in any of the guides, is over 120 miles down a rutted, muddy jungle track and doesn’t appear to have any guesthouses. What could possibly go wrong? Continue Reading »

Last night we stopped in Battarbang at the north end of the largest lake in Asia, the Tonle Sap. We’ve been riding up the northeast side of the lake to Siem Reap and Angkor. In order to round the upper end of the lake, we continue northwest to the end of the lake and a bit farther to Battarbang.

Battarbang is not on anyone’s bucket list. Unless, of course, the bucket list includes “leaving Battarbang.” The road is hot, dusty and heavy with traffic. There are no dramas, hard as that is to believe. Battarbang is more or less a frontier town, crowded with buses, lorries and motorbikes. It is the last large city before leaving Cambodia for Thailand.

The next morning we leave for Veal Veng, the last redoubt of the Khmer Rouge as they were chased down by the Vietnamese army. There are two routes to Veal Veng. The one that I’m taking is down the main road toward Phnom Penh and the a right up toward the mountains.  Continue Reading »

We’ve booked a van, driver and guide for a visit to Angkor Wat. We hope to see the Angkor Wat temple itself, Ta Prouhn and Bayon. Out and in the van by 8 and on the road for the short ride to Angkor.

Along the way we pass an enormous Chinese hotel complex just a few kilometers from the entrance complex foe Angkor. The guide tells us that the hotel is partially owner by the Prime Minister of Cambodia. Apparently, he’s doing quite well. Trump would be jealous. Continue Reading »

Another day with the usual problems with assorted bikes

Our second group made it to Kampong Cham at just about sunset. They’d managed to see the Bamboo Bridge and make it to Kampong Thom with only one deluge slowing them. Quite an accomplishment.

Today, it’s more of the same. Up early with intentions of starting early. Then the day’s bike problems emerge and we’re off to find a repair shop. We finally get everyone going in assorted splinter groups on the road to Siem Reap, about 150 kms up the road. Continue Reading »

We leave the Mekong Hotel and while we’re getting the bikes loaded, Adrian shows up. He’d left Phnon Penh that morning having had his bike repaired the night before and ridden the distance this morning.

He tells us that though the plan for the second group was to start at 6AM, the bikes didn’t cooperate. It was now 9 AM and they still hadn’t left Phnom Penh. Hopefully, we’ll all meet up in Kampong Thom tonight though we have some doubts about that. Continue Reading »

Cambodia was changed for ever when the US invaded in May of 1970. The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army had been using Cambodia as a sanctuary while fighting the South Vietnamese and the US Army. The bombing and attacks by the US military gave the Cambodian communists the pretext they needed to rise up against the royal Cambodian government of Prince Sihanouk.

What no one was able to foresee was how different the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian communists, were from the Viet Cong and the Pathet Lao in Laos. Where the Lao and Vietnamese communists were basically nationalist movement that wanted to take power in their respective countries, the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, wanted to create a completely new agrarian, communist country that was cleansed of all traces of the modern world. Continue Reading »

It’s another day in paradise. Actually, cool with a high overcast. It’s supposed to be hot and dry. This is cool and humid. And that means rain in the afternoon.

As we get moving, late as usual, we start having the usual starter problems. That splits the group into at least 2 groups. We’re in the lead group and continue up the road.

The route today is to Phnom Penh. The distance from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh is just too long to ride in one day, especially with a couple of novice riders. Add in some bike breakdowns and stopping in Kampot is a smart move. Now all we have to do is make it to Phnom Penh. Continue Reading »

It’s a bright, clear day and everyone is up and ready to get the bikes. The bikes are at Andy’s which is a few hundred meters up the road. He arrives, gives some direction and starts ferrying people up the road. We start walking. We’ll be sitting for hours day after day. Might as well get some exercise while we can.

Up the main road, down an alley way, skirt a mud hole, take a left into a small compound with some small villas. Under a roof are there 9 bikes, in various states of “oldness” but all ride-able.

On these moped rallies, we usually buy the bikes from some expat who collects the for us, does some minor repairs (supposedly) and then sells them to us as a lot. That takes care of the documentation for the bikes which can be a problem when buying the bike off Craigslist from someone who is leaving and needs to get rid of the bike. Sometimes it even works that way. Continue Reading »

Last night, it was about 9:00 when we got everyone on the move. Out to a bar for a few rounds of beer and back to the hotel. I know most of the group: Clemo, Pinky, Tony Brimble, Paul Bradley. We have 4 new guys: Bruce (a previous Clemo victim), Adam, Ryan and Adrian. And myself and Guv (who, as is his way, is currently at parts unknown) make up the rest of the group. Continue Reading »

It’s the morning of the 30th and everyone is up and getting ready to go to school. Barbara, Ayron and the boys are going to drop me at the airport on the way to school. We all crowd into Barbara’s Fit and off we go.

There’s no traffic to speak of and we get to the airport with no dramas. Unload my gear. Give B a kiss and hug. Hug Ayron, Talyn and Mika. And they’re off again. Pick up my bag. Damn, this thing is heavy. (I’m carrying about 10 pounds extra weight in tools for repairs on the road.) Into the terminal. Continue Reading »

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