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Old 03-18-2012, 01:55 AM   #121
The Bigfella OP
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Here's a screen grap of my GPS track for this leg of the journey. I didn't have the GPS for the Australian leg or the Timor-Leste to Bali bit, because it'd broken on the second day.



The thick bit is today's wimpy run - from Bandan Lampung to the Way Kambas National Park... a paltry 107km.... but I was feeling the effects of yesterday. The next run north is another huge day and it wasn't going to be today.

I'm lazing around at the Satwa Sumatra Elephant Eco Lodge... home of "the best Asian night birding" - shh don't tell my missus. There's 4 species of Frogmouth, 4 Nightjars, 8 Owls, etc.

Oh yeah... its one of the last 3 areas in Sumatra with a decent population of wild Tigers, there's also a few dozen Red Sumatran Rhino's and 500 or so wild elephants... and Malaysian Tapirs and.... so on.

I'm almost tempted to stay another day, but there's some hard miles to do. Sumatra is bigger than you think - world's 6th largest island. A combination of great roads - over 150kph in places today... and then back to first gear for the most horrendous broken bits.

Here's the view from my room



This next one wasn't far from here. All the ladies in their best Sunday gear, heading home. They gave me a great wave and smiles



The traffic is certainly more gentle here than on Java



I passed this guy a bit further back towards Bandar Lampung. He wasn't exactly getting into it... this was at about 80kph... so I left him behind



Leaving the Marco Polo this morning was fun. I gathered a crowd of about a dozen as I loaded up - and even the gardener came over to get a phone camera photo.

I reckon I'm going to be bruised beyond belief by tomorrow. I ordered a massage when I got here. $5 (I think he'd have taken half that, but I didn't barter)... local guy from the village. All pressure point stuff... and he was a wiry old bastard. Had me jumping all over the place. Time will tell if he's loosened the right bits I guess.

OK... I'm off for a look around on an unloaded bike. I promise to not get recycled as tiger poop.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:25 AM   #122
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Nice boy



Bad boy



Bastard hurt me too - got me in the thigh with his right tusk, but didn't penetrate

Recovery took some effort.


I suppose I should point out... he tossed both me and the bike.... very easily I read his mind, but couldn't clear him - he had me and he wasn't letting me go. He's left a scrape up the left thigh... which hurts. He's a precocious 4 year old. My American vet friend here, who knows him, tells me that 4 year olds like to do head stands on people's chests.... and kill them.

She's politely read me the riot act... and shown me her Tiger scar.
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:17 PM   #123
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holy crap
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:50 PM   #124
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Good RR BF
what happened to the photos on page 8
more photos of Indon shellia's PLEASE
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:27 AM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefdog View Post
Good RR BF
what happened to the photos on page 8
more photos of Indon shellia's PLEASE
reef

Thanks mate. I noticed I didn't have all photos for a while too... but they are there now. Photobucket glitch perhaps?

Well, that bastard elephant killed my little S6100 Nikon. Busted the LCD on the back clean in half. I did mention he threw the bike and me, didn't I? Think pitchfork move.... with about 1/3 ton of us involved.

I'm glad I stopped here to smell the roses though. Apart from Brutus, I've had a great time here. Had a couple of really interesting chats with the visiting American professor... who, despite being quite photogenic, has asked me to not post her photo. She headed off for some more remote elephant camps this morning... and I did some bike maintenance.

I did a half day boat trip down the river and did some night bird spotting on the way back. Didn't see any big nasty puddy tats, but we were in active tiger country the whole time. I spotted a pair of bright yellow eyes just off the track on the way back tonight... then 1km later, we were 100 metres away from the car and into the jungle ourselves... taking photos of the large frogmouths. My guide had called them up on an iPod with speakers. Pitch black and rather weird.

I'll do photos later... but we saw some fabulous things. I was under-lensed.... I've only got a 200mm with me... and I was itching for the 400mm at home. My big Nikon, the new D7000 also disgraced itself at two crucial moments and I missed a couple of great shots. Every now and then it gives me a card error. I have to remove and replace the memory card to get it happening.... so. no shot of a Broadbill (a stunningly beautiful bird) exiting its nest... and no shots of the 4 Hornbills. Bugger.

So - what did we see? My guide's buggered off somewhere in the rain, so I'll see if I can start a list:

A Siamang - the largest gibbon here. I'm stoked about that one.
Macacques
Silver tailed monkeys (not sure that's the correct name)
2 Crocodiles
Monitor Lizard
Hornbills
4 Kingfishers, including the stunning Stork-billed K.
the Broadbills
Blue-tailed Beeaters
Imperial Pigeons
a smaller wild pigeon flock
Grey-headed Fish Eagles
Sunbird nest with babies
Large Frogmouths
some beautiful but unpronounceable bird - a coucal of some sort
long tailed Drongos
Babblers
Dollarbirds`
carnivorous plants

and so on. I'll try and grab the guide in the morning so that I can label up some photos. He's got a stunning collection of photos he's taken here... everything from a just-made tiger paw print in the mud, to King Cobras and some great bird shots.

The plan is to do a morning bird tour around here, given its raining solidly now, then head north..... assuming I can pay the bill (I've got my room for half what the professor paid...)

Oops... just had a blackout. Lessee if this will post
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:51 AM   #126
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If u are near jogja let me know, let's have a dinner together
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:53 AM   #127
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Ough! Sumatera already huh x_x
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:40 AM   #128
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I loved Jogja, btw.

I've finally gotten over the visiting elephant specialist calling me the luckiest man alive. Definitely a lucky escape though. Here was me thinking it was the old bulls that were dangerous.

I had a fabulous experience this morning. We did a dawn walk back into the National Park... bird watching. Me still a tad nervous, as the spot we went was right past the most recent tiger sighting... but my guide didn't seem to care.

Only saw two interesting species of bird.... two types of spectacular Trogon

The coucal we saw yesterday was a Malkoha and the third species of monkey was a Silver Langur

What we did see today was a lot of fresh sign of wild elephants... holes in the jungle that they had crashed through last night or early today and footprints, crap, etc. At one stage the guide stopped suddenly - he thought they were coming, that he'd heard crashing sounds - turned out to be a Barking Deer.... for which we were thankful.

Then... Siamang - large gibbon - a whole family of them two large, two medium, one baby - about 50 metres from us. I'd have come here solely to hear them, let alone see them. It was absolutely brilliant. I think I only have blurry photos... as we were in jungle... and were watching through multiple branches. They make a 50' tall tree shake as they swing through. Amazing. As we came back, several groups of Siamang were communicating. Incredibly loud, soulful singing. Breathtaking stuff.


Here's the gibbon from yesterday - a youngish (smaller) one... This was late afternoon, taken at 200mm, from a moving boat.... but beggars can't be choosers. I'm stoked to have seen him - and then a full family of them today



While we were heading into the National Park, all the SRS staff came past - the Rhino rescue centre. I tried my hardest to get in... but there's some exciting stuff happening there that I'm sworn to secrecy on - and even a $50 offer didn't cut it. My American friend doesn't think the species will make it - there's only 250 left... but they are working on it.


This National Park is a place to come to for a week.... but, I'm back on the bike.... headed north. I didn't have a target for today. I had serious doubts that I'd make a town with a hotel... but once 4pm had come around, I stopped at the first one I saw and the second and the third.

I'm in a strange sort of town tonight... strikes me as a bit fundamentalist.... first two hotels didn't want me... didn't appear to be full, but claimed to be. Third one... a dive, was OK. I've got a few heavy days riding ahead of me if I'm going to get where I want to for a couple of days look around (Lake Toba)... and then out before my visa expires. The roads today were rugged in places and the main highway is peppered with 1' deep holes. Lots and lots of them, which adds a whole new level to the video game that is called driving/riding here. Not only do you watch your driving line, you watch it for the oncoming traffic which will swerve around a pothole as if you weren't there.

There's always the option of a visa run (a return flight to a nearby country to get a new visa on entry) if I don't get the miles done in time.

My little S6100 is only half dead. I can use it as is... but I can't change any settings, so I'm still getting shots while on the move.


OK - just had a play with some photos. I'll stick to time order if I can

Here's the only scar that I spotted on the bike. There's a gouge into the Safari tank (now there's an appropriate name) from one of the elephant's tusks... the left one, I think... because the right one ripped across my thigh. It goes up at an angle from the bottom of the tank and has taken the "O" out of the Doctor sticker.



I still don't know how he didn't penetrate my thigh when he tossed the bike and me.

For those who want to know what a small teak tree looks like in its natural habitat



OK... so it was off on a river cruise

This cost me about $95... although I could have taken others, if there'd been anyone else at the Lodge - the American lady had flown out, so it was just me.



These two guides, one Forestry and one National Parks supplied the boat... and my host at the Lodge came along with his bird book - this is the run back up the river after a few hours tootling downstream fairly slowly



This boat was close to where we left from. I asked about it... "for going to sea" whatever that's supposed to mean? There's also a full day trip, which goes the extra distance, to the sea. Whether that's the boat for that, or whether they meant something else????



One of the crew, up front, paddling us around. He was looking for the big crocodile we'd just seen.



We spotted a Sunbird nest



with a couple of babies. I can't claim credit for this dodgy shot btw... I handed him my small camera and said "not so close"... yeah, right



More carnivorous plants... very similar to the ones we saw on Cape York



Now some dodgy, trimmed down, long distance shots. Grey headed Fish Eagle. We saw one of these up very close, about 20' away, but he took off into the jungle to avoid us



Same again



Pretty sure this was one of the Malkoha

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Old 03-20-2012, 08:44 AM   #129
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It really was quite pretty on the river



Blue rumped Beeater (or Blue Tailed...)




About a 4' to 5' monitor lizard pretending we couldn't see him



I tried to crop this shot in a bit, but may have stuffed it. What I thought were two Silver Langurs... check next to the one on the right... there's a baby there



A nice grown crook that the guys back at the Ranger station were making to fit a boat repair by the look of it



We waited for dusk and did a bit of night bird spotting on the way back. We found a pair of Large Frogmouths (much bigger than the ones we get in Australia... these are 40cm) - got them to call by playing some of their calls on an iPod with speakers





We had to sneak into the jungle to get those shots.... and as I mentioned, I'd just seen a large pair of yellow eyes off the road a bit about 1km earlier. My guide hadn't seen them, but said "deer or cat". Sheet.... cat's eyes a metre off the ground... and we're walking around out here? I was damn glad to get back in the car



OK, so this morning, it was up at dawn and we did a 90 minute walk to do some bird spotting.... back down the track and past the spot where the most recent Tiger was sighted. My guide didn't seem concerned. Spotted plenty of big bastard spiders. These buggers eat birds



Found plenty of spots where the wild elephants had come through last night



The guide is pointing at a toe mark here. The whole footprint is about 12" across (hmmm a footprint that's a foot across)



Yep, it stinks too



We spotted two species of Trogon, but the buggers were hard to get a shot of



And after another fabulous encounter with the gibbons, a family of five... two adults, two adolescents and a baby, we headed back... accompanied by their incredible singing. Truly amazing. I'd seen gibbons in a rescue centre in Vietnam two years ago and had always wanted to see them in the wild, with their amaziningly long arms and legs. They are incredible to watch.

So, I finally settled the bill up... got my room for half what the American paid... she paid $50 a night, he asked $30 when I arrived, but I told him he was expensive, "OK $25"... and hit the road at 10am... much later than I'd wanted

Got some good roads for a while.. sat on 120 - 140 (there's no speed limit here)... then it got crappy after I turned onto a more minor road







You can almost guarantee in situations like that... the bigger vehicle will claim that little bit of smoother road... no matter which side its on. On my night ride three nights or so back, I had a wide road... and got run off it by a 4WD who came across three lanes to get a slightly smoother run.... both of us climbing up and down "potholes" in first gear. I thumped his back door with my fist. Prick.

I finally gave someone the two fingers today. I'm doing 140kph and he pulls out to overtake when he's 100 metres away.. and kept coming when he saw me. Prick

OK.... who goes where?



I was in a petrol queue when these guys filled up too. They stopped for a friendly hello. 7 of them squeezed in there - or was it 8?



On the issue of petrol queues. Hoarding has started and everyone is filling up ahead of the price rise on April 1. Its going from 45c to 60c a litre. The government spends over a third of its budget subsidising fuel. Its going to hurt the locals though.

The schoolgirls were friendly too



Nice little sampan heading up river



This guy was a classic... two double bed mattresses and two single mattresses. Not bad on a scooter



I think I got a shot tonight of a minivan with a refrigerator tie upright to its roof. Sheesh

Gee, every town has to have a monument

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Old 03-21-2012, 03:07 PM   #130
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If you want an adventure... buy a Garmin. You could end up anywhere. After 10+ hours at it yesterday, 9 1/2 in the saddle... I'm in Bengkulu, Sumatra. Why? I dunno.... my Garmin thought it'd be an interesting way to go. It isn't on the main road to Padang, which is what I had plugged in. Still, it looks an interesting way to go... up the coast, presumably. The road's plenty rugged... but then again, so was the main road. I jut hope there's fuel. The queues at the service stations are getting huge.... over 500 metres long. I pulled up at one that had 100 or so bikes in the bike queue... and got waved to the front. I'd refused that at a previous stop, but took this offer up. I only took 15 litres, less than $6.... but gave the attendant $20, so he could fill the next dozen or so scooters up on me - yeah, I made sure they saw it too, so he didn't just call it a tip.

I saw the deepest ever potholes yesterday - unmarked of course... apart from collapsed roads... and there were plenty of them too.... and earthquake damaged roads. The general run of the mill potholes which pepper the road are about 12" deep. The big ones are fully 2' deep. Despite it being the main arterial road up the island, there's been no attempt to repair them. Once the Garmin went "lets get interesting" the road narrowed, but the potholes stayed consistent.

The Garmin struggled in other ways today too. Its produced four separate tracks for the day. They don't add up to what I reckon I did either... by more than 100km, going on my speedo recollection. Also, with sunset nearing, and me at Bengkulu, I plugged in "hotels" and got offered only two. I chased one down... and it doesn't exist, but I found one that doesn't, according to Garmin. Going on the volume of our friendly mosque singer doing the 4:30am shift, its right next door to the mosque. Lucky me. I went for a quick ride last night - and found about 10 I hadn't seen as I tried following the Garmin and not getting wiped out. I might as well toss it.

It was mayhem on the roads too. I had a close call with an idiot 4WD who apexed a corner on my side of the road. I had to slam on the brakes in the corner again... a risky manouevre.... but better odds than the alternative. I stopped at a fatal accident too. Don't know how many killed... probably two... it was a truck that went over a mountain - it went about 50 metres straight down. No chance.... poor buggers.

Here's a typical example of how you get treated by cars - trucks and buses are worse



On a better note, its been brilliant scenery and I've met some lovely people.... but its much slower going than hoped for. I'd hoped to make Padang yesterday... but it'll be another full day's ride to get there. A visa run via Malaysia is looking very likely at this stage. I do want to see Lake Toba.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:36 PM   #131
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Hey, I have an Aussie mate who runs a fine surf charter op off Padang out in the Telo Is. Well worth the side trip. Checking to see if he's around.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:07 PM   #132
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Your encounters with traffic are very familiar. I wouldn't expect any change all the way up through Malaysia. I was run off the road between Raub and Lipis by a truck. Came to face down in a ditch beside a palm oil plantation, surrounded by the occupants of the truck. They were surprised to see that I was alive - after all "same thing happen two weeks ago, but that guy he dead". It's the reason I also stopped riding over Cameron Highlands too. WAY too many encounters with cars and trucks on the wrong side of the road coming around blind corners, or just swerving into my path because their side of the road was potholed.

On a side note. There is a KTM dealer in Penang if you need to pick up some spares/tyres etc on your way through. There is a German guy there (Phillip) who was brought in to sort out their workshop. I can pass on his contact details if you'd like.
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:25 AM   #133
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Nah, wrong. He's home in Bali at the moment. But for ref's sake it's http://resortlatitudezero.com/. Spent a week with Toddy on his perahu Nomad and a boatload of extremely unhinged W. Australians. I'm the worst surfer ever and had a legendary time. Food amazing, beer included, waves big and empty, speed boats to take you to 5-6 diff breaks per day and all in wildest Sumatra's western-most mostly unpopulated islands.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:31 AM   #134
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It sounds interesting... I'll be deciding my schedule a bit tomorrow. Too knackered now. 11 1/2 hours in the saddle from Bengkulu to Padang... and I'm knackered..... finished in the dark again Everything from 1st gear diversions onto the beach due to washed out roads to 160+kmh blast through a jungle-lined road but more crappy stuff than good. Really crappy stuff. About 600 km all up. I got run off the road 3 times today... but I don't call those close calls... just "Plan B" in action. Last one was a bus at night that put me in a grass ditch - but hey, I had about 10' to spare by the time I got off the tar. I thought I'd go down, but really, the Super Enduro is the perfect bike for here... just went 3 wide most of the time - but those three times, I needed more than 1" of space.

That said.... I lost all but one bolt holding my rack on yesterday on the rough roads... but the seat keeps it all together - but I need to take a look at it. I also destroyed my eyeglasses tonight... trying to find a hotel after Mr Garmin sent me in concentric circles. Solved the problem by pulling out the Lonely Planet, showing it to a random local and waving $2 around. Problem fixed.

I've got a visa that expires on 28th and a flight from KL on the 8th, As long as I can work around those dates, I'm fine. There's a bunch of surfer dudes out front now 11:30pm... trying to get a boat to the islands here. I'm half tempted to fly to KL on a visa run.... take in the GP and spend more time here.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:50 AM   #135
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OK, I've sorted out the visa issue, I hope. I'm on a flight to KL, Malaysia at sparrow fart tomorrow. I'm serving penance in this seat on Sunday. Apparently there's some sort of show on there.



I'll be there with my eldest son in the seat next to me... and I'm back here with a fresh visa on entry on Monday morning. My son, Peter, headed up the university race car team in the Formula SAE competition a year or so back... so he didn't take much arm twisting when I rang him and told him to book a ticket. All I need now is a room. It seems that rooms are a tad hard to get near the circuit... but we'll sort something out.
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