HCMTrail Ride Still On

For anyone following this, I just wanted to give a quick update. As the heading says, as of 15 Mar, the ride is still on as scheduled. (Beware, the ides of March are upon us.) Nothing is going to change the plan unless some airline or government stops me from getting there.

I get email messages almost daily from the US embassies in Laos and Thailand warning about possible quarantine. HOWEVER, so far… both governments are only using “enhanced” screening at the airports. Anyone who arrives without a fever will be required to “self monitor” for 14 days. If you have a fever, you will be quarantined.

So… I am sequestering myself as of today. I can’t come down with the cootie bugs if I don’t get contact with cootie bugs. I’m not going out of the house until it’s time to get on the airplane.

So far, it does not seem like either the Thai or Laotian governments are going to close down the borders to foreign travellers. I am worried about some government (ours) in preventing me from coming back. For now, our government is only stopping foreign visitors from entering. I just hope it remains that way till I get back.

If, however, I get there and can’t come back for a while, Laos is the place to be. So far, no one there tested positive for the cootie bug. Laos hasn’t closed their borders, but that could happen. If I get stuck in Thailand, that would be ok too. If I had to self-quarantine there for 14 days, I would give them a massage parlor address for my self quarantine. After that, I would just rent a motorcycle and tour Thailand.

So, no matter what, I’m going if not prohibited. And no matter what, this will have a happy ending.

Follow the Great HCMTrail Ride

This post is to tell you how to follow along with the great HCMTrail Ride in “sorta real-time.” It’s sorta real-time because I don’t know how much I’ll be able to post while I’m in the jungles of Laos. I’m told there is reasonably good cell phone coverage throughout the country…  but I’m not sure there will be much at places like The Dogs Head, or the Chokes. So I’ll be posting when I can.

There are four main companies in Laos providing coverage. They sell sim cards with a data plan. But unlike most of the US unlimited data plans, their data plans are quantity restricted. So I’ll be getting buying a sim card that you get a specific amount of data. Then you refill the card as you go. I don’t know how well it will work out in “real-time,” but we’ll see.

I’m going to use a “multi-media” approach. I’ll be posting on YouTube, Facebook, and here on the website. Since I won’t have unlimited internet time, I won’t go around to the usual social media sites to notify everyone when I’ve posted something. So… if you want to follow along, you need to “subscribe” to the three places I’ll be posting.

I’m taking a GoPro and a drone for videos which I’ll post on YouTube. This will probably some of the best stuff from the HCMT. Go to YouTube to subscribe. When you get to YouTube, click on subscribe and the little bell that pops up next to it. You’ll get a notification every time I post a new video.

Click here to go to the Ho Chi Minh Trail Ride YouTube videos.
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Click on SUBSCRIBE and then the little bell that pops up

I’ll post pics and a little bit of story to telling you what’s going on the HCMTrailRide FaceBook page. Go there and click both the Follow and Like buttons so the Facebook stuff will pop up in your news feed.

Click here to go to the Ho Chi Minh Trail Ride FaceBook page
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Click Follow and Like to have the HCMTrail Ride show up in your news feed.
You can comment here too.

I’ll be posting the longer stories along with pics right here on this website. I intend to write about each day as I go along. I want to be sure to tell you about everything while it’s fresh in my mind. To get emails of each post, enter your email address it the little box under the top banner pic. Then click on subscribe.

I promise I won’t blast you with a bunch of junk mail or spam. You can always unsubscribe to any of the places you’ve subscribed to.

I have built-in lots of flexibility to the schedule. Except for the beginning and end dates, nothing is “cast in blood.” So… over the next few days (before I go), tell me what you want to see or know about. Leave me a note either on FaceBook or here.

Click here for the schedule

I also welcome your stories or comments about any of the places I’ll be going. I hope lots of folks will share stuff.  I’ll respond as I get a chance. If you’ve got a long story about a place I’m going, you are welcome to post it too. Keep in mind that this web site is moderated, so if you post a question, comment, or story here, it may not appear right away.

“Quickie” questions or comments will probably work best on FaceBook.

That’s all for now. I’ll “see ya” on “The Trail.”

Sidebar 8 – Great HCMT Ride Schedule

As mentioned elsewhere, this is not an absolute schedule. The only absolute dates will be the start (9 Nov) and end (23 Nov). The rest will be adjusted to suit our exploration and severity of our Monkey Butts. Continue reading

Places to go – Xepon Part 2

Xepon was another of those places where you might think saturation bombing would close it all down. It didn’t. As everywhere on the HCMT… all the war for that matter… the NVA used grit, determination, and resourcefulness to overcome airpower.

Another map showing all the roads, trails, bypasses, and alternates into and out of Xepon at the center of the map. This is a pic of a map at the Xepon War Museum.

Even before 1970, it became clear the interdiction effort was not working. In the early years, the goal had been to inflict enough damage to cause the North Vietnamese to give up. The thinkers in Washington, DC (I use the term “thinkers” loosely) believed that Continue reading

Places to go – Xepon Part 1

The town of Xepon appears in more after-action reports, CHECO, and Corona Harvest documentation about the war than any other place on the HCMT. So much went on at Xepon I’m dividing this into two or three parts. I’ll post the other parts in the next few days.

I discovered this song, Tchepone, on YouTube. The lyrics tell a lot about flying near Xepon and perhaps are a microcosm of the entire air war over the Ho CHi Minh Trail. Click on it and let it play as you continue on. (Click Here to read the LYRICS)

Xepon is another of the places Continue reading