Day 16 - Mekong River or Bust Tour

18 January 2017 - Pakse to Paksong Laos - 100 m elevation to 1280 m in 50 km. We left our camping gear at the hotel and set out for the Bonlaven Plateau. The first indication that we were on a national hiway was the presence of cows on the road. Hiway 16 to Paksong is currently being widened and there are large clearings on either side of the road leaving dropoffs that make you pay attention to the edge of the pavement. Add large potholes every few hundred meters and this is a stay awake climb. Most of the traffic gives riders plenty of room, likely because of the number of motorcycles on the road. Paksong is a small village with one paved road, Hiway 16 which runs through town. The center for coffee production, but not somewhere to stay more than one night Stayed at the Wanchai Guest House directly across from the PTT station at the entrance to Paksong. 80,000 Kip per night, adequate room, railing on the back side suitable for drying clothes, slow WiFi Had coffee at Jhai Coffee Shop, (found through the thoughtful guidance of James who I ran into riding down the only paved road in town) HQ for a cooperative working with 63 small farmers to get their product suitable for the international market. Thao, the operator, prepared both Arabica Tipica and another full bodied Arabica the name of which I forgot. The Tipica was a fruity blend which needed to be savored like a fine tea to allow all the different tastes to emerge. The other Arabica was a full bodied coffee not to be missed. I wanted to buy multiple kilos of the second Arabica but he wasn't roasting until the next day and we would be off early to Sekong.