Rest Days

The gym is closed today and tomorrow to celebrate Vietnam’s holidays.  Vietnam Re-unification Day and Labor Day are both celebrated this weekend.  As for us, after a tough week of training the two days is much needed.  The task of going to the grocery store, cooking some healthy meals and laying around in air conditioning just basically doing research.

We’ve been traveling around the world now for about 15 months and after a long break here in Vietnam, we are ready to plan ahead for our next explorations.  We certainly miss the mountains and we are going back in less than three months.  We also miss our mountain bikes and riding, big time.  Last year, we’ve dug up some information about cycling in Morocco but it didn’t quite work out with our schedule but this year it’s a destination in planning for the end of the year.  There is one trail running race we are focusing on but won’t register until we are absolutely sure.  The last time we signed up for a race to run around the volcano in Indonesia didn’t materialize due to a volcano eruption keeping us in Bali.  Also, the logistics was a nightmare we didn’t realize until we were there.  We could have done a better job at planning so as not to waste our money of registration but it is what it is.  

The race is in November so if we leave from France around mid-October, we’d have some time to cycling to the race.  Nothing set in stone yet and it’s still in the early stage of planning.  Morocco would allow us to stay 90 days in the country without the need for a visa.  If we do plan to stay longer, an option would be to fly back to the UK for a visa run theoretically.  

Cycling to Morocco would also mean camping with a few occasional stays in hotels, that’s the plan.  We are looking to head up to the Atlas ranges to get some high mountain riding and we are very excited about that.  Morocco is also a precursor to our spring destination, Kyrgyztan.

Doug have always dreamed of going  to Kyrgyztan and have been looking into it since last year.  90% of the country are high mountain ranges and it’s been a popular cycling destination.  In looking at the images, it reminded me of Ladakh, India vibe with yurts, horses more like Mongolia.  The place looks amazing from the inter webs that is and we can’t wait to explore the massive remote places on our mountain bike.  The best time of year to cycling in Kyrgyztan is July and August which is very similar to Ladakh, India.  The passes can have snow still.  I looked at the type of food in Morocco and Kyrgyztan, so wonderful.  Morocco has Mediterranian type of cuisine and Kyrgyztan is interestingly mixed Russian, Chinese and Kyrgyz.  Kyrgyz dumplings remind me of Momos.  Doug is already excited about the food, too.  A healthy dose of bread, olive oil, legumes like hummus and meat stews.

Just to give an idea of visa exempt duration for US Citizens, Kyrgyztan is 60 days and Morocco is 90 days.  Morocco is also non-Schrengen visa, meaning the 90 days are outside of the 90 days within the Schrengen countries like France.  We only get 90 days in France within 6 months so to go back to France, we’d have to stay out of the Schrengen countries for three months.  If we had a longer visa exempt in Europe (Schrengen countries, that is) then we would have done a longer bike tour in Europe.  

So, in a quick nutshell of our planning it would be from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam to France until mid-October that’s already solidified.  France to Morocco until January.  It’s too far out to say where we will be in February until late June, highly possible to come back to Ho Chi Minh City to train in the same gym.  July and August, definitely Kyrgyztan.  

Moving around the world can be a LOT of fun in terms of planning because we learn a lot by just researching.  It’s like reading a book of exploration, you just never know what the next page will bring or where the next destination would be.  We are open to anything specially to travel on our mountain bikes in high mountain ranges.  Rugged is awesome.

Here are some things we need to include in our planning for Morocco and Kyrgyztan:

1) Visa duration in each country.  This is important.

2) Terrain and logistics in moving via transportation and cycling. Airline charges for bikes.

3) Equipment and gears.

4) ATM access, Banks, Money exchange rates and financial regulations.

5) Connectivity and remoteness of cities or villages.

6) Plan B and Plan C.

7) Spot device is something we are thinking about since after the earthquake in Nepal.

8) Safety information of the country we are going to.

I am sure more will come up but if you have some input, please comment we’d love to hear and learn.

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