I knew it was going to happen, you knew it was going to happen, we all knew it was going to happen…it was just a matter of when.
The crash happened on the road from Dalat to Mui Ne. It was myself and Karlee’s first long distance trip on our own (we stayed in Dalat longer than our English Stranger Friends so were lacking a biker gang) and for the most part it went quite smoothly. The drive was a pretty one, we made a “scenic” stop at some cricket farm, and we were doing pretty good for time. We figured that we might (gasp) actually make it to our destination before nightfall (no way, right?).
But then the rain came. And the fog. And the mud. We were scoot scooting through the mountains and it was getting rather difficult to see (due to said rain, fog, and the fact that my visor is a bitch to see through) when I turned a blind corner and encountered a mud slide. It all happened quite fast, but from what I gather, Hamish (my bike) went up onto a mound of mud, immediately slipping off of it. Hamish slid (more like flew) to the right and I slid (flew) to the left. Karlee tried to slow down to avoid hitting us but it became very clear that this was not going to happen in the midst of a mud slide. She bailed, throwing Bumblebee to one side and herself to the other.
I thought I’d died.
(Kidding. That was over dramatic).
But I thought I’d full-on maimed my back. It was the second worst pain I’ve ever been in. It was like when you hit your elbow really hard and the pain radiates and you can’t move it. Like that…but along my entire back. I whimpered…or howled…or made some other kind of wounded animal noise as Karlee army-crawled through the mud to save me (she had scratched up her leg but my animal howls were apparently worrisome). She went into Mama Karlee mode, soothing my pathetic self while a group of Vietnamese men appeared out of nowhere to help.
I feel that my Vietnamese Saviours had seen this happen before as they immediately presented me with muscle numbing cream, put our bikes back in order (they survived surprisingly well. Mostly superficial damages), and began chipping away at the mud slide to avoid additional accidents (we saw a Vietnamese guy almost biff it while we sat there, as well).
I need to give Karlee mad props for this day. Girl does great in a crisis. She rubbed the numbing cream on my injuries (including my tail bone…all up in there), presented me with the best of ibuprofens, and refrained from telling me I’d ripped my shorts beyond repair (I would be wearing the two lone expensive articles of clothing I own for this event).
In time, my injuries subsided to a mere tail bone ache and I was able to continue (though rather slowly) our drive to Mui Ne. I drove hunched in weird positions and had to pull over every time I hit a pot hole for a breather and a pep talk…but we made it.
Honestly, it could have been a lot worse. Motorbike accidents are super common among backpackers and you usually see pussing road rash and excessive bandaging wandering the hostel halls. An American Stranger Friend had received scrapes to the point of a knee cap showing just a few days prior. The fact that we crashed in the mud was a godsend. It allowed us to avoid the road rash.
In the end, Karlee ended up with a minor leg scrape and I ended up with a bruised tail bone. We were the lucky ones.
Unfortunately, my tail bone (and Karlee’s untimely case of the flu) kept us from enjoying Mui Ne. We spent our time rotating between lying in our bunk bed and eating our feelings at the restaurant next door (at least it was a good one…Joe’s Cafe. Mm). No sand dunes, no beach time, nothing. Oh well…maybe next time.
I still say my motorbike was worth it.