19-Feb-2010 -- Visit to Pleiku Confluence Point 108 E, 14 N.
Bob Helleman, Richard Palmer and Peter Booth have done a cycling tour of Vietnam from Hanoi around the north west and then south, mainly along the Ho Chi Minh highway, finishing in Vung Tau then by ferry to HCM city, (see sites.google.com/site/3skinybikers). Bob had heard of the Confluence Project and Richard and Bob, both being Surveyors, and having a GPS on Richard's bike, decided to visit Pleiku Confluence.
Day 19 out of Hanoi saw the 3 Skinny Bikers (3SBs) en route southwards from Kon Tum to Chu Se via Pleiku on Highway 14. Entering the outskirts of the city we went down a long hill and at the bottom seemed quite close to the Confluence,(about 400m according Richard's GPS). Bob and Richard then took a left turn and went north east down a small side street of houses, (Pete kept cycling - he's not a surveyor, and maybe he didn't hear us call out because he was in the lead; Bob SMSd him what was happening).
The side street(s) got the 2SBs closer to the Confluence but houses and a small valley with a creek were in the way. We followed the side streets this way and that until we could head in the direction of the Confluence. This time we passed through a gate, (private land?), and followed a path down past a house, over a narrow footbridge over a dam and rice paddies and then up a hill on the other side into a coffee plantation. (see photo 1) From here it became clear that the Confluence was further up the hill between the coffee bushes. So we dismounted our bikes and climbed the hill between the trees until we reached the point.
The Confluence was near a house and our arrival got the dogs barking. A man came out to see what was going on. It was pretty funny because we don't speak Vietnamese and he didn't speak English so we pointed a lot at our map and our compass and our GPS and our cameras and took a photo of him and after that he went back to the house. (see photo 7) Then we took the necessary pictures N, E, S, W and GPS display, (see photos 2-6). There wasn't much of a view from the actual point because of all the coffee bushes (see 4 x photos)
As we'd left the bikes unattended on the path and couldn't see them, and we could hear a lot of voices in the plantation we decided not to stay longer and went back to the bikes, (see photos 8-9). When we rode back across the bridge and up past the house we found the gate locked. A man came out and we greeted him and I guess he thought we were harmless because he unlocked the gate for us and let us out. We took the shortest route back to Highway 14 and came out at the top of the next hill from where we'd left the Highway. Then we lunched a street stall in Pleiku and pressed on to Chu Se.