Thursday, January 30, 2014

River crossings by motorcycle in Asia

There is a lot of ways to get across the rivers here in Asia.
Even when they have bridges, they can be very sketchy and you have to walk across them just to test if they will hold the weight of you and your bike.
Sometimes you are just better off riding across.
Rivers need to be walked to check the depth or you can watch some one else and decide how to go about crossing. Locals usually know the best way.
Sometimes you can find a good makeshift ferry to carry your bike across.
But most of the time it is just an ordinary boat. Basically an over sized canoe that is used to carry people across.
There are no docks and the boats can't pull up onto the beach. You usually have to bring the bikes into the water to load and unload them but that is just one obstacle.
The beaches have soft sand which you have to cross to get to and from the boats and it doesn't stop there.
Most beaches are below steep hills or even cliffs that you must get up and down.
Basically you just have to be prepared to get a little dirty like in all good adventures!
Here is a video where I had a little fun with a bridge crossing.......

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Custom Choppers in Asia

Being in the middle of my 3 month motorcycle tour in Asia, I have had my eyes opened to a lot of cultural differences. Many countries like the one I started my adventure in, Vietnam, have strict cc limits for motorcycles. The limit is generally 250cc but it is near impossible to get a license to ride anything bigger then a 165cc. Pretty much all these are mopeds and scooters by our definition. If you have a 50cc or less, you don't need any license. For this reason many get 50cc bikes and put a bigger motor in them. Some of the new motors are 2 strokes too like this one making a real screamer out of them. This one had clip on bars and a racing front end.
Other then changing the motors, almost all the bikes that I seen in Vietnam remained very stock appearing with no care given to make them stand out in a crowd other than washing them.
My bike stood out in Vietnam with the custom rattle can purple paint job and the prismatique stickers I applied.

But all that changed when I crossed the border to Laos especially in the western towns that border Thailand. Everywhere I looked cars and bikes and all kinds of custom trinkets.
Another thing I found in Laos was many of the back yard type shops carried custom rims with anodized colors mag and extra spoked spoke wheels too.

Many of them looked like they had used a gift card from J.C. Whitney to decorate their rides but still, they were obviously about fashion and not just function. I even saw some bikes with neon riding at night but I refuse to take pictures of that. But the best came as I was traveling down the highway south towards the Cambodia border. I saw my first chopper. Yes, it was so cool I had to turn around and got back just in time to catch some photos of the bike and it's creator/owner ride off from the store he was shopping at.
The owner was super cool. Although he spoke not one word of English, He knew that his bike was getting attention and rolled the bike out and posed for this photo shoot while all the passerby's  watched the fun.
Looking closely you can see that he has slid the fork tubes out of the top triple tree and all the way down to the bottom tree to make them longer. He has also removed the front brake caliber, rotor and brake lines. His intake, carb and filter setup is also homemade and radical even by our standards.
It has been an eye opening experience to say the least but I am not even half over with this trip. After entering Cambodia I plan on riding west into Thailand and then decide to head south to Malaysia or north west to Myanmar and  Bangladesh. Watch My Facebook page- Everything Bean're for daily updates.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Phong Nha Cave in Vietnam

   Staying in a small town near the Phong Nha National Park proved to be just the place to see the sights. I am not a cave guy but when I heard you ride a boat through the cave, I was all in.
The boat ride to the cave was cool just seeing all the sights along the way even without the cave tour. The  fee was 15 dollars for the boat ride but that was divided up between the number of passengers ( up to 14)
They had hundreds of these tour boats. They looked like old wooden boats when in fact they were all made out of steel but dressed up with colorful painted wood accents.
They were very similar to these stripped down models that they used for ferrying people, bicycles and even motorcycles.
Anticipation mounted as we approached the cave entrance.
There is easily enough room for boats to pass the entire length of the tour
Once inside the cave you could see it was a large chamber with very high ceilings and seeing the dock to the side, one would think this is where the boat stops but if you look ahead you see the opening that is just barely high enough for these boats to fit through.
This is a blurry picture but this is what the opening looks like right before you go through the 50 foot long  but only a few feet high opening.

Once through though and the ceiling immediately opens up with high ceilings and spectacular beauty everywhere.
They also rolled the top of the boats roof back so you can see the ceilings too
I know nothing about caves but these pictures show you just some of the beauty that I saw that day.

Everywhere you looked including the ceilings.....
Then they pull up to one one the beaches inside ( there are several sand beaches) and let you walk you way out through a part that isn't on the water.
On the beach with Joe Sparrow,  myself  and other tourists from America, Germany and Denmark. O have seen tourists from all around the world here.
You could really get up close and personal with everything
I was disappointed when I realized I had walked back to the entrance and the tour was about over. I didn't want it to end....
But then we did have the scenic boat ride back into town
 Here is a small video of the tour that I took.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years Day at China Beach in DaNang, Vietnam

I always jump at every chance for an adventure. The past two weeks have been an adventure too but I think now it may get a little tougher as I enter into North Vietnam. Already I have noticed the peoples attitudes changing in respects to Americans. I am also having problems getting Facebook due to the fact that I am so close to China and the Chinese government blocks Facebook. It will only get worse as I get closer to the Chinese border.
It will also be getting colder as I go north and get into the higher elevations. I decided to start my New Year on China Beach and see the sights for the day before beginning the next phase- North Vietnam.
There is no mistaking that I am Asia when you look at all the architecture.
On the Son Tra Peninsula in DaNang stands a 67 meter statue of the Bodhisattva of Mercy. The statue construction has been recognized as the highest Bodhisattva of Mercy statue nationwide. It is 17 meters in diameter and has 17 floors. Each floor worships a different Buddha. The 17th floor has a flight of stairs leading to the statue’s head. It was completed in August 2010. If you look closely you can see men hanging from ropes as they are putting another coat of paint on it.
They have 17 of these hand carved marble statues there. This was my favorite. To me it says " Anger awaits if you keep poking the tiger."
This glass covered statue sits on Son Tra Peninsula with the view in the background of DeNang.
 I love the view through this archway.
 The stair rails are the best. I seen many sets of stairs with dragons for railing.
 This the the north side of the Son Tra Peninsula. It has several private resorts with their own private beach for 100 dollars and up a night. Now this my sound dirt cheap to you but the hotel that I am staying at just blocks from the beach is $12.50 a night for a single room.
Resting at the harbor after a long day sight seeing and a feast on some fresh seafood. Wondering what the meal looked like? Just watch this video.
This is just one day in a 3 month Asian adventure. Make sure to read about the entire adventure in my next up coming book coming out this Summer.
And as always, I'll be taking the road less traveled!