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E-bike expedition part 4 Vietnam - Online diary 2016-2017

Drawbar crack

N 11°56'22.3'' E 108°08'16.7''
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    Day: 605


    Da Lat

    Mountain village

    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Daily kilometers:
    84 km

    Total kilometers:
    22,407 km

    As the crow flies:
    53 km

    Average speed:
    19.8 km/h

    Maximum speed:
    46.7 km/h

    Travel time:
    4:11 hrs.

    Soil condition:
    Asphalt / gravel

    Maximum height:
    1.020 m

    Total altitude meters:
    66.256 m

    Altitude meters for the day:
    1.256 m

    06:05 a.m.

    5:56 pm

    Temperature day max:

    8:00 a.m.

    Arrival time:
    3:00 p.m.

(Photos of the diary entry can be found at the end of the text).


After five days, we leave the government resort. Even though it is very run-down and would actually have to be demolished in order to offer visitors a reasonable standard, we quite liked it. It’s not always the appearance, the hui and great food that guarantees a good time, but often the feeling. Precisely because we were mostly the only guests in a semi-maintained tropical park with its numerous run-down bungalows, it was a quirky, idiosyncratic and certainly unforgettable stay. Above all, the encounter with the killer elephant, the conversation with the mahout and the newly acquired information about the pachyderms shaped our days here.

We head uphill in glorious sunshine. Our destination is Da Lat. A city that offers pleasant temperatures even in the Vietnamese summer due to its high altitude of 1,500 m and is therefore also known as the city of eternal spring and the city of artists.

Because of the beautiful landscape, the lack of traffic, a beautifully situated mountain lake with a floating fishing village on its smooth water surface, the many lush green rice fields, the cows and water buffaloes that cross our path, we experience another day that is worth living. “My battery’s flat!” Tanja’s call reaches my ears. I stop immediately. As usual, we swap Tanja’s and my batteries. Then we carry on. Around midday we reach a small roadside restaurant. We park our bikes in front of it and order a phở as usual. Just minutes later, the cook serves us the soup, which we gobble down ravenously. One of the van drivers sitting next to us gets up and climbs into his rusty vehicle. A cloud of diesel coughs out of the exhaust as he starts the engine. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch as he reverses the van. “He’s not going to? “Stop!” I yell as he touches Tanja’s trailer with the bumper. As if stung by a tarantula, we jump up and run to our bikes. It’s nothing short of a miracle that Tanja’s bike hasn’t fallen over, broken the kickstand or anything else. The driver stands next to us, grinning and apologizing. “It looks like nothing happened,” I say, relieved. “Lucky you,” says Tanja. The Vietnamese gets into his rust bucket and jets off. Tanja sits back down at the table to continue eating her soup while I give her bike and the trailer another thorough inspection. “I can’t believe it!” I exclaim, stunned. “What’s wrong?” asks Tanja, “Your drawbar’s been damaged.” “Oh no!” “Yes, it doesn’t look good.” Tanja comes running over immediately. “Look at the crack,” I say, pointing to the underside of the drawbar. “You couldn’t see it from above.” “And what do we do now?” “I’ll stabilize the drawbar with cable ties. I’m sure we’ll make it as far as Da Lat. But with this damage, I don’t think we can continue. It’s just too risky. If the thing breaks during a descent, you’ll look old.” “So you mean we have to get a new drawbar from Germany and wait for it in Da Lat?” “Yes.” “That could take some time again.” “Certainly, but I don’t see any other chance.” “Can’t the drawbar be welded?” “Possibly. If we can find someone in Da Lat who can weld aluminum, we might be in luck. It would be better not to have to wait days for the spare part because of our expiring visa.” “Okay, but to save time I will send an email to Weber immediately. If everything goes well, they can send us a new drawbar today,” Tanja considers. “Today is Friday. I can’t imagine that will work,” I doubt it. “Let’s see,” Tanja says confidently, goes into the small restaurant and asks if there is a WLAN connection. Before we can continue our journey, we receive a relieving reply. ‘We will send you a heavy-duty drawbar to Da Lat immediately. But as we have to produce it for you first, it won’t leave our premises until Monday at the earliest. “Wow, they are incredibly reliable,” says Tanja, “Fantastic. If the drawbar is dispatched on Monday, it might be in Da Lat next Friday. That would be perfect, as I still have a lot of work to do with my records anyway,” I say.

Although we are once again slowed down by technical damage, we are in high spirits thanks to the reliability of the Weber company and continue our ascent. Because of the many climbs, we decide to stay in a simple, shabby hotel room in a mountain village at an altitude of 1,250 m after just 84 kilometers. The comforter covers and towels are used. Tanja talks to the owner and organizes fresh covers which her six-year-old daughter puts on, dragging them up the stairs from the first floor to the second floor. “Freshly washed and slightly dirty,” I say with a laugh.

In the evening, we discuss the rest of the schedule in a soup stall. It is still about 700 km to the southern tip of Vietnam. Not a huge distance, but if we want to continue to report on the journey, it will be tight due to the unplanned waiting time for the drawbar and the writing stops. “If the spare part arrives at the end of the week, I don’t see any problems,” I say, leaning over the map. “Yes, we should be fine. Just don’t let anything unforeseen happen,” answers Tanja…

If you would like to find out more about our adventures, you can find our books under this link.

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