After my caffeine pick-me-up, I went past Ham Lon around to the back of this mountain I was looking for. A few wrong turns later I found my way to the road which, on Google's map, goes up where I had given up finding my way down the last time. The path heads straight for the mountain then turns and follows along the foot. I startled a lady walking a herd of cows down the path. Passed a hilltop with grass clipped short and a lot of zigzagging trenches, I wondered if it was to collect runoff water from mountain or for military training or what.
The path got muddy and suddenly I was in someone's back 40 compound, with shacks and chickens and pigs and three very professional dogs. (For those who don't know, vietnamese dogs do not say "woof woof" or "bow wow" they say "gâu gâu", which sounds like and means GO! GO!) I jumped off the bike so they could see I stood on my hind legs and tried to talk reason with the pack. GO! GO! GO! No luck. And no owner appeared to call them off, so we kept on negotiating. GO! GO! GO! The path kind of went down into the pigpen and I could see there was no trace of any route going up where I wanted to be. So I negotiated myself back the way I had came, gingerly, until the chief puppy was the only one left and was getting tired of yelling GO! GO! at me, so he gave me enough space to hop on the bike n put some distance between us.
On the way out I stopped to ask the cowherding lady if there were any paths up the mountain there, and found that she was mute, so I didn't get detailed directions, but she got the message across - go around the block. And by the way, herding cows in the fog at the bottom of a mountain seemed to suit her, she seemed pleased, somehow! So I went in a half circle to the next road heading into the mountain. I had kind of expected that first road to dead end, but I don't remember seeing that pack of dogs (or the tongue-lashing they gave me) on the map. I did look carefully at the map beforehand, and I knew my second option up was a steep climb. Where the road ended I went back through a meadow to where the steep bit started. Aside from there being no path here, this was far too steep to ride on, so it was a shockingly slow clambering ascent, dragging and heaving my bicycle along, to reach the top of this ridge.
With a certain degree of elation, and relief for the reputation of my map-reading skills, I eventually reached the top of the ridge to find an actual path following the ridge up into the forest. After I got up into the forest proper, the reputation of my map skills got all fuzzy again as I spent the next two or three hours quite lost.
Now it only took like 6 or 7 hours to do the ride, but three weeks for me to get around to posting the pictures and post-script on it... Too much to do!