Leg 9: Buôn Ma Thuột-
This is undoubtedly the most scenic leg of the Xuyen Viet 09’ bike Ride. We got the chance to experience many different elevations of the Central Highlands on this leg. Starting at Buon Ma Thuot, we biked through Eatling, Dak Mil, Dak Song, and Gia Nghia. In Buon Ma Thuot, we started at an elevation 520 meters above sea level. Shortly after leaving Buon Ma Thuot, we descended a mountain to an elevation of 280 meters above sea level. The change in weather from this elevation is quite drastic. We began the day in relatively cool weather. As soon as we passed Eatling and descended the mountain, we move from an environment that is relatively cool, dense and lush in trees and vegetation to one that is hot with little vegetation. At the foothill, people cultivate rice paddies because the weather is hot enough to sustain the rice stalks. The foothills, however, is not flat. There are many undulating hills in this area. After the foothills are some small mountain climbs until Duc Manh. At Duc Manh, we begin a climb that took us 700 meters above sea level. Aware of the mountain climb, we took a lunch stop at Duc Manh before ascending the mountain.
A note of interest is at Duc Manh there are two routes to Dak Song, the town before Gia Nghia, our rest destination. The first route is Highway 14 (new) to Dak Song. This is a new road. The other route is Highway 14 (old). The new road we were told had many hills, wider, and longer 5 km. We chose the shorter route, narrower which is old Highway 14 but we still had to climb up and down to reach an elevation of 910 meters above sea level to the town of Dak Song. From Dak Song to Gia Nghia, the distance is approximately 40 km. The road into this town is challenging because the town is situated on a mountain. So, plan carefully for this leg as there are many up and down hills climbs to reach the final destination which is also situated on a mountain incline.