The few weeks before this trip I was so busy with work that I could not maintain my promised training routine. The concept was simple: to head out into the countryside around Vientiane every Monday to get my legs and knees working again and to test Charlene, oil her and change her gears. In the end, I was only able to go out one Monday and parking the truck in a monastery, set out for about 30 km. Very few hills, easy going, but I could tell I was hopelessly unprepared for the kind of tribulations the mountains of Houaphan were going to offer me.
Also, Charlene’s brakes seemed to work just fine. But I am getting ahead of myself.
One of the miracles of living in Vientiane is the ease with which you can leave the city and quickly be in another world.
When I got back to the capital I went to change Charlene’s tires so as to avoid a slipping mishap like I had on my last trip. Unfortunately, the famous Willy had changed locations and I could not find him and had to thus entrust Charlene to another’s care, which she did not appreciate.