We rode out of Đồng Lệ under another grey, drizzly sky for a 92 kilometer cycle to Đồng Hới.
The first couple of hours took us through the incredible landscape of Quảng Binh province, where bright rice paddies fan out until they hit majestic limestone karsts.
I also noticed a few reminders that this part of the country was heavily bombed during the American War – water-filled craters in rice paddies, and a few SUVs from the Mine Action Group, an organization that works to remove unexploded ordinance (UXO).
Few people talk about the war here, but there are still ongoing problems related to it.
We carried on through rapidly changing weather, where one stretch of road would be dry, only to run into light rain around the next corner.
We stopped for lunch at a town before turning onto Highway 1 for the last 40km.
This meant plenty of close encounters with psychotic bus and trucks drivers, but the smooth surface combined with a tailwind meant we smashed the distance.
Đồng Hới is a sizeable city, and we took advantage of this by stocking up on snacks at a supermarket and eating our first Western food since beginning the journey.
The next day, the tenth of the ride, was 100km to Cam Lộ, all on the Hồ Chi Minh Highway.
This turned into the most miserable day we had experienced yet.
After days of threatening rain the skies finally opened up, and steady rain fell for several hours.
The terrain wasn’t difficult, but the rain and chill that accompanied it were terrible.
Then there were the two idiots on a motorbike who tried to scare a number of us.
Trying to warm up on the way to Cam Lộ
I was riding on my own when I noticed a motor coming towards me at high speed in my lane.
The driver swerved within two feet of me while he and his moronic friend on the back screamed something, laughing all the while.
I was more angry than scared, and all I could think for a while after that was how badly I wanted to smash a blunt object into their faces.
I don’t get why people think it’s funny to do things like that to people on bicycles.
I soon found out that they had done the same thing several other riders.
On this particular day there was very little in the way of civilization along our route, and we weren’t able to stop for lunch until we were 70km in.
We took turns crowding into the kitchen in an attempt to warm up, as the rain still hadn’t stopped.
It finally slacked off just as we reached Cam Lộ, an awful little town that is nothing more than an intersection where two highways meet.
A few local kids
We stayed at the only hotel in the place, where plenty of questionable stains on the bedsheets greeted us.
Day 11 would bring us to Huế, where we would have our first rest day.
We couldn’t wait to have almost 48 cycling-free hours, though we were even more excited to eat Indian food.
The 80km ride was almost entirely on Highway 1, which meant no scenery worth mentioning and plenty of cursing at bus drivers who nearly ran us over.
We regrouped outside of the Imperial Citadel and headed to our hotel.
We would be riding into the mountains immediately after leaving Huế, but for now we were focused on food and the opportunity to sleep in the following morning.