Thành Viên Xuyên Việt
I came to U.S from Việt Nam when I was young, so a bike ride across Vietnam was a good way to see the country, revisit my heritage, and get to know the people. The thrill of biking was that unlike tourists who frequent touristy places and see other tourists, biking allows me to be in the network and corridors of ordinary Vietnamese citizens who go about their normal pace of life. The idea is to be with the people, interact with them, and share/exchange ideas with them on a personal level. I have been to Vietnam four times on the Hanoi-
I urge anyone interested to join "Xe Ðạp Xuyên Việt" for the 2005 trip. We will begin from the start of Highway 1 on the Vietnam-
Come join us and share the experience.
Lần đi đầu tiên tôi rất sợ nhắc đến tên Ðèo Hải Vân. Nghe nói nơi đó là cửa "Thiên Ðàng" của bao loại xe hơi, xe tải, xe bò...Nói chung, thì bất cứ loại nào mà sử dụng bánh xe tròn để lăn trên đường thì phải hết sức thận trọng. Buồn cười! Năm đó tôi vượt qua Hải Vân với biết bao lời xin xỏ các "thần" dọc đèo. Dười chân đèo thì tôi xin các thần cỏ, thần cây đừng có che khuất mắt mấy ông tài xế xe hơi đang đổ dốc, Tới lưng đèo thì tôi lại van xin thần "chuột" đừng để cặp giò tôi bị "chuột rút". Còn xuống đèo thì tôi xin mấy ông "thần" xe tải đừng có liều mạng mà đưa con về "niết bàng"...Khi vượt qua rồi thì mới thấy Ðèo Hải Vân không có kinh khủng như những huyền thoại truyền khẩu. Nói chung thì chỉ có Ðèo D'ran là làm cho tôi phải rụng rời tay chân. Ðèo đã quanh co nguy hiểm nhưng khi bò lên tới đỉnh thì còn cả mấy chục cây số đường dốc, đồi liên miên mới tới được trung tâm thành phố Ðà Lạt. Lết tới bên bờ Hồ Xuân Hương là rã rời cặp giò. Ðây là thú vị "nhớ đời" của hành trình xe đạp xuyên Việt đấy!!! Bạn hãy nếm thử mà xem...Tuyệt vời.
2003 was my second bike trip in Vietnam. After 2002 trip, I thought nothing could beat that ride. Boy!!! Was I in for a surprise. Although, like 2002, we took the same route from Hanoi to Saigon on Route 1A with a climb to Da Lat with the same itinerary (ie, same stops at same cities), the 2003 experience, however, had its own meaning, challenges, rigors, with differentiating colors/textures and nuances, however subtle they may be. Indeed, it can stand apart with its own identity. There is one common thread however, and that is I got to know myself a little better as I struggled my way up Da Lat and/or took in the picturesque country side and serene beauty of our motherland.
And here we are already planning yet another bike ride in 2005 that will literally span the length of the country from Lang Son or border with China to Ca Mau or southernmost tip of Viet Nam. I don't have to tell you the excitement that is growing inside me for this 2005 ride.
Come join us. Even if only for a part of the ride. Let us get to know one another as we watch each other's back (literally and figuratively) along the way. And may be you get to know yourself a little better too.
Regardless of your travel means through life, have a helluva ride.
Võ Kỳ quê quán tại thành phố Cà Mau. Ðịnh cư ỏ Hoa kỳ khi còn rất là bé. Du lịch xuyên Việt trên chiếc xe đạp là dịp tham quan, học hỏi, và tìm hiểu về quê hương, đất nước Việt Nam.
Yes, I did it! That was how I felt when we were heading into Ho Chi Minh city from Tan An City (Long An Province), finishing Xuyet-
Before the Xuyet-
First day. Leaving Ho Chi Minh City, I was fully exposed the heat in Vietnam. After biking for almost an hour, I felt thirsty. Afraid of dehydration, I kept sucking water out of my hydration pack. After a while, I felt my stomach full but how come I was still thirsty? Keeping drink. I did that. But then I gradually felt no energy to bike anymore. Good thing was that Minh and Hung were with me. I told them my condition. We stopped. Minh said that I would better chew on a Cliff bar. As I bit the first piece, an urge from my inner body came up right at my throat stopping me from swallowing. I made a very funny face. Hung looked at me and he knew something was not OK. The next thing I knew was all the liquid rushed out from my mouth uncontrollably. Yup, what was on the ground was all liquid because I did not eat anything that morning.
After taking a break, we continued biking to My Tho City, our first day’s destination. Right before we headed into My Tho, the group took another break. I thought if they had not stopped, I could have unwillingly stopped myself. My right calf felt sore. Oh no, I got muscle cramp! As I got off my bike, walking straight to a chair couple yards from me was not an easy thing to do. That was my first day of the trip.
Traffic in Vietnam was the worst. As a bike rider, you were often surpassed by big trucks. In a country running with diesel oil engines and having no smog-
On the second night at the dinner table, without looking at the menu, I already had a clear idea what we would have for dinner. Vietnamese sweet and sour soup, fish claypot, “rau muong” sautéed with garlic. Some other dishes could be added to the meal but these were always and “must have” on our table. They have become our Xuyet-
I don’t think Xuyet-
I think what makes the trip great is the company. In the beginning I was worried that having me, an inexperienced biker, was a drag for the whole group. But being in a laid-
Like other people who have passion for traveling, I went on this trip for the experience. Exploring the country and its people allows me to engage to something larger than myself. That feels great despite of the risk and hardship entailing in the trip. The way I see it is that my body functioned to its full potential rather than being abused (although we did abuse our bikes.) I remember a remark from a person, and in this particular case I felt it is true. The first-
Tour Guide No1: (về hưu-
Khởi đầu, anh Ðịnh Nguyễn trú tại Sài gòn, Việt Nam. Anh nhận làm "tour guide" cho các chuyến đi Xuyên Việt 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005. Chúng tôi rất vững tâm khi có anh hướng dẫn trên đường dài Xuyên Việt. Năm 2006 anh giã từ nghiệp dư "tour guide" cho Xe Ðạp Xuyên Việt vì gia đình anh được chấp thuận định cư tại Hoa Kỳ.
Tour Guide No 2: Nguyễn Hoàng Nam, Sài Gòn-
Hoàng Nam là một người hướng dẫn trẻ vì thế kinh nghiệm hướng dẫn cho Xe Ðạp Xuyên Việt trên các tuyến đường chưa được phong phú. Bạn nhận làm "tour guide" cho Xe Ðạp Xuyên Việt trong chuyến du lịch Xuyên Việt Ðồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long 2007. Mặc dầu tuyến đường Xuyên Việt Ðồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long khá rắc rối vì phải chuyển qua nhiều quốc lộ, tỉnh lộ, đò, phà, cộng thêm sự giao thông mạng nhện trên kênh nước, nhưng có bạn, Xuyên Việt 2007 được thuận bườm, xuôi gió-
Tour Guide No 3: Phạm Ngọc Hiệp, Bảo Lộc, Lâm Ðồng-
Tour Guide No 4: Phùng Tài, Tx Ngã Bảy, Hậu Giang-