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I was in Vietnam last winter, and amongst other things did a day tour with a Minsk.



This company restores and uses these old Russian motorcycles, like Hammond used in the Top Gear special set in Vietnam. The Vietnamese themselves have abandoned them in droves for more modern Hondas, but they are an authentic taste of how the East bloc used to run.







They are simple, crude, and unreliable, sort of an old chain saw engine in an ancient frame. Oil in the gas two-stroke, so very smokey:







Kickstart only, on the opposite side to usual.







No instruments, signals or lights, the headlight is only there for show.







They weld on mine so I can use the rear brake, which is good because the front hardly works at all.



It's the authentic Russian experience.
 

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And off we headed, our guide (from New Zealand), and an American teaching in Shanghai with his son.



Like in Cambodia, we were mostly on narrow paddy roads, but here the Vietnamese had paved most of them, so it wasn't as dusty. They weaved around and around following the fields, no hope of finding the way without a guide.







Water crossings







Rice field after rice field







Stopped for lunch in a small cafe







As this was their off road tour, we headed up into the hills on some logging roads, which got a bit rougher











http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3whWSmQqMHI



Ended up doing 150 km that day, long but fun.



 

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The mud was quite a thing with street tires! The fellow in the video had never ridden offroad before, so he did pretty well. It just kept getting worse and worse as we got farther in the country but thankfully we hit pavement again after a while.



Riding that Minsk really made me realize how good the TW is.



In the paddy fields:







Old US bomb they were using as a bell:







Bullet holes from the war:







Graveyard. One of the reasons moving the S. Vietnamese into fortified villages was a problem was apparently because ancestor worship is a big thing for them.







More mud. We passed a logging crew up this road:



 

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Wow, now that's an adventure! Whew, glad it doesn't rain that much where I live!



Though I don't watch TV much, I did see the Top Gear episode when they went to Vietnam.



Thanks for sharing.
 
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