Around South America and beyond

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cejnys, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    After a little drama with my jacket back to the last adventure and my return from the Moyo island. (btw im still riding in my shirt, no jacket)

    It was a bit of challenge to get both big bikes on that small boat but we did it. It turned out that getting the bikes from the boat back to Sumbawa was much harder task then I could imagine.

    When we arrived to Sumbawa there was not any pier; it was just a small beach with few small boats around. I could see fairly big port about 2 km away but apparently the pier there was very high so it would not be any help to us.

    First the captain put the boat parallel to the beach and tried to install the long planks of wood we used to load the bikes. It looked promising at first but then two very small waves came and the boat rocked quite a bit from one side to another and the planks ended up in pretty deep water. It was very unpredictable and I could see that our bikes would easily end up under sea water.

    Then I asked people around whether there was a crane at the port. Everybody was assuring me that there was not one. In this part of the world you cannot believe what people tell you; you must go and find out yourself.

    I walked to a close shop, borrowed a small honda bike and rode to the port. One thing was obvious immediately, the pier was really high and we would not be able to use it with our small boat. The second thing was also very obvious, there was a huge crane that would easily pick our bikes up and move on the shore. The problem was to find somebody who can operate the crane. After about 20 min I was talking to a guy who knew a guy who can operate it. 10 min later we were to the square one because the guy already left the village and went home, which was about 100km away.

    Positive thing was that the guy I talked to offered a help with offloading of the bikes. He assured me that he could ask few friends who would help to take the bikes of the boat. We quickly agreed on the price and he instructed the captain to move the boat about 1 km down the beach. It was like an miracle, when we got there suddenly all the waves disappeared and the boat was rock solid. I was like wtf, in that conditions we would do it ourselves without their help. I guess, just the local knowledge was worthy the money we paid for their help; I would never guess.

    Securing the boat at this new beach went pretty well. Within 15 min both bikes were on the shore and everybody was happy. It actually looked like the captain was the happiest person there; he probably doubted that all would go smoothly as it actually went.

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    Straight after my bike made it on the beach I took it for a ride in the sand.....my rear tire was not biting much so I needed a bit of help; plus this volcanic ash is like powder which makes riding in it quite challenging

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    even getting the GS out of the boat was fast

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  2. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Nor me.


    This is great stuff. Just the type of information I'm looking for. Totally agree with the way you're thinking about jackets. Also interesting re your decision about boots.
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  3. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    I was very close to get this report up to date but combination of being very busy and lack of internet moved it a bit behind again. The next week should be very easy so I will try to put all the crazy things that happened in Indonesia. Get ready for more crazy stories; without much exaggeration this is one of the best country in Asia and maybe even on my trip.

    After we got out bikes from the small Indonesian boats I was quite relieved. This experience AGAIN proved that small bike is the right way to go for serious adventures. It would be much easier to get to the Moyo island and back and it would be much easier to move through the island jungle.

    It was quite late when we got to the bottom of Tambora volcano. Not many people know that this volcano has pretty interesting history; until 1815 this volcano was over 4000 meter high. Then it erupted in unprecedented style; in human history no volcano had as strong eruption as this one. It was so brutal it reduced its hight to current 2700 meters and caused a climate change around the whole world.

    I was curious close to the crater we can get. This is not touristy place, every year only handful of people visit the volcano. For that reason there is not much infrastructure.

    While going through a small village at the bottom of the volcano we were stopped by an even that was happening on a small field. I was curious to check it out. It was actually pretty interesting; two young guys got a bamboo stick and a shield, while being topless they were trying to hit each other as hard as they could. This type of fighting came to Sumbawa from Lombok, everyone liked it so much so they kept doing it until now

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    It was really good fun to watch this fight; it was actually pretty violent.....check out the video

  4. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile

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    I have a weekend ahead :clap

    A few days ago I saw a documentary explaining the heavy problems with food production and diseases all over the world caused by this eruption :grim
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  5. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    That night we started heading towards the Tombora volcano. Google as well as open street maps dont show much in this area so we asked locals which way to go. They showed us a dirt track that was going up between caffe plantations. It was pretty steep and very challenging for our bikes. Once again I was really wishing for a smaller bike. In the middle of this road we bumped into a local guy who was extremely communicative even though we could not understand his language and he was not speaking any English. He was just shouting at us and pointing up the road, we had no clue what he wanted to tell us. In about 300 meter from the meeting point we suddenly could see pretty cool resting place, just perfect for camping. Not sure how he knew that we were looking for a camp spot. Coffee plants were everywhere around us and the air was really nice and cold.

    We were not that high, probably around 900 meters above the sea level but the air temperature change was quite significant. During the night it was really cold which was nice change.

    In the morning we were woken up by the guy from the last night, and again he was talking a lot

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    Matthi preparing morning coffee. The guy brought a bag of local coffee and wanted to trade it for some pain killers. I did not have any with me but Matthi gave him some paracetamol

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    Recently I have been given few t-shirts so the clothes bag become quite big. I had to offload some so I gave the guy one Texas t-shirt. He did not look happy on this photo but he was very excited without a camera in front of him. For some reason local people totally change when you put a camera in front of them

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    While we were making our coffee few local workers stopped by; they were going up the volcano to look after the coffee plantations. I really loved their bikes. They totally stripped them down to be as light as possible. On the challenging roads around the volcano these bikes were excellent. These guys were flying up and down the road without any trouble.

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  6. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    :hmmmmm They pulled the gas tanks off and put tiny tanks under the seats?

    Looks that way from here. Also looks like they're either old bikes or old tech - i understand the advantages of being light and low to the ground but those shocks look like they don't provide much travel.

    It must not be too rough there seeing how their downswept unprotected exhaust tubes are intact. :lol3
  7. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    Its hard to identify the original bikes they used; all mods are done on VERY small budget so I guess the tanks under the seat was the original arrangement. That leads me to believe that the bikes were kind of scooter/bikes with bigger wheels. These guys have very little money. They probably make around 40usd per month. They are very fortunate to own bikes like this.

    I believe the original bikes looked something like the bike on the next photo; they are very common in Asia and many people modify them to fit their needs. They are like scooters but you have automatic clutch with 4 manual gears.

    I met this guy in Tawau; obviously he had much more money for his modifications. The bike looks pretty standard from outside until you start it. Then it makes pretty low and meaty sound, something you
    wouldn't expect from this kind of bike.

    The guy told me that he increased the engine size, and made many serious updated including change of the rear wheel to spokes (thats normally the first obvious indication the bike was modified). He even allowed me to try it out; it was seriously fast little bike, i pulled the throttle and the front wheel went up with an ease. The only trouble was a steering. For some reason it was really hard to turn with the handlebars; explanation was pretty interesting. Sometimes him and his friends are taking these bikes to Sepang Circuit to race them. Because they dont have enough money to buy a steering dumper they just make a hole in the steering bering to lock the position. Apparently it helps them fight the front wheel vibrations when they are reaching 170km/h. Just thinking about this feels seriously crazy

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  8. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Wow!
  9. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile

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    This spring, I visited Albania with my Africa Twin. On some remote places the inhabitants used scooters with semi-auto-clutch and made me look like a beginner.
    Their engines are Lifans which are cheap and reliable copies from China of a Honda CT110 engine (used for the Postie bikes in Australia).


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  10. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    Yeah most bikes in this region are from honda. I believe they are made in Indonesia; they are very reliable and go forever. The funny fact.....over here they call any motorcycle honda. It was quite funny when they called my 990 and Matthis GS also honda when they were talking about their size.
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  11. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile

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    :lol2

  12. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    After our breakfast we started riding around the volcano; it was very obvious that not many tourists come here. As soon as people saw us they started waving and were happy to see us. The road was totally empty with good mixture of gravel and broken asphalt; riding here was loads of fun with pretty amazing views

    It was hard to see the volcano due to low clouds; one point all cleared up and Tambora showed up. To be honest I was expecting it to look much taller. The highest point is around 2700meters; I was at the sea level but it just did not look that high

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    The beaches around the whole peninsula were black due to volcanic ashes; it was a nice change, I really liked it

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    At one point we were pretty hungry so we stopped for a snack at a small bar which. It was owned by a mechanic with a little shop right next to it and mainly he had a welding rig. I used our break time to fix my panniers rack after the accident at the Moyo island. To remove the snapped bolt he had to weld a piece of metal to the broken bolt and the screw it out. He knew what he was doing so 15 min later all was done

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    Young boys were really excited to see a big bike; they were just walking around it while studying every detail

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    After the successful job I tried local coffee with a cigaret from local tobacco (btw really strong shit). I really liked the Tambora area, even though people had very little money they were really nice and chilled

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    Another interesting thing was that the Tombora peninsula was extremely green on one side where all the coffee plantations were while the other side was totally dry. The distance between both parts was like 20km.

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    That evening we made it to Lucky beach which was on the other side of the island; its the most famous surf spot in Sumbawa. As soon as we stopped to ask for a cheap hotel few Australian guys were shouting at us "heeeey maaate". Even though the swell was not the best around that time, still there were many surfers hanging around.

    I tried surfing few times before and all the attempts ended up badly, so this time i just sticked to the things that I love and do well.....drink beer and watch guys that actually can surf

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    For the last week I did not have a proper bed and I needed to wash some of my stuff so I took few brakes from beer drinking to do some work

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    for $7 not bad place to stay

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  13. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    heeeey maaate! Another Rad post!

    So was the green/dry contrast due to irrigation, or due to such drastic climate differences over the short distance?
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  14. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    no irrigation there; defo different climates on each side of the volcano, i guess all humidity from the sea is stopped by the volcano
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  15. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    Two days on the Lucky beach was enough; we set of very early to catch 9am ferry to Flores island. I hate early mornings, it takes me a while to wake up; it was actually quite chilly that morning. The sunrise was really nice, finally I could warm up a bit

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    When we got to the port they told us that the ferry has not arrived yet, and was expected to be there at 4 pm. We took it easy and explored the surrounding area. We found this small shipyard where they were building new wooden boats. I was really impressed by the precision they were putting these boats together

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    At the end the ferry arrived at 3 and one hour later we were all loaded and ready to go

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    Because of the delay we arrived to Labuan Bajo at 3am; not far away from the port we found cosy place for camping. I just love my hammock; it takes me 5 min to set it up, and I am ready to snore in no time .

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    The next morning we went into the city to see how can we get to Komodo island. Between Sumbawa and Flores there are two big islands (Komodo and Rinca); both are national parks and only places on this planet where you can see the actual dragons.

    Shortly after we started asking around it become obvious that we have to take part in a tour otherwise the price was astronomical. They totally understand that the dragons cannot be seen anywhere else and that they can ask for decent $$$$ to take people there. That was unfortunate for us because we had to pay the price. We were lucky because the owner of an agency we visited was a biker so he made for us a really good deal.

    This was during the price negotiation; i wish i had a view like this from my next office window

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    it takes few hours to get to the Komodo island, for that reason all tours start around 5 am. The next morning we parked our bikes in front of the agent office and walked to the port. The boats they used were fairly small (similar to the boat we used to get to Moyo island few days back), noisy and quite fast. This was our captain

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    Our first stop was at Padar island; to get this cool view you have to hike for about 1 hour, it was totally worthy

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    The whole area was really beautiful

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    This was about half of the daily fleet that leaves Labuan Bajo; it was not that bad, I was expecting much more tourists.

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    The next stop was the Komodo island; the whole island is a national park. As soon as landed I could see small dragons running around. They are not restricted so they can move everywhere around the island as they want. Local authorities charge money for entrance; typical asian approach is here too. Locals pay small fraction of the foreigner entrance fee. After more than a year in Asia I still cannot get used to this.

    Anyway for the entrance fee our group was given a guide who showed us around. The tour was basically a 45 minutes walk through bushes to find some dragons. We were quite lucky and found few massive dragons and some small ones. These guys are pretty dangerous, they have deadly saliva and when they bite you have no chance to survive. Their hunting tactic is very simple; they hide in bushes right next to a path or a water hole and then wait for their prey. As soon as their victim is close they sprint to bite it (they can run really fast). One bite is enough, then they let their prey go and wait couple of days. A cocktail of 56 bacterias will do the job for them and kill the victim. Then they find the dead body and eat it. I believe they eat once a month.

    When they are laying like this they look clumsy

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    when taking this shot I was at top of my focus, every little move of the dragon and I was ready to move fast. There was a guy from Singapore who was bitten by a dragon and he did not make it. They moved him very fast back to Singapore but the bacterias were stronger than all medications available

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  16. TodayAdventure

    TodayAdventure n00b

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    The cheapest new bike that one can buy around here is the Honda Revo (it's fuel injection, now). It's by far the most common bike in this region. They are 110 cc(s). And yes, the tank is under the seat. The mods are probably done over this model.

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    José.
  17. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    Yeah, so many of these bikes here, and to be totally honest I would not mind using one of them around here, they go pretty fast.
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  18. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    After surviving Komodo dragons and getting back to the boat the captain took us around small islands. Apparently there were few spots where mantras can be seen. With Matthias we were on watch to see whether we spot some. We had snorkeling kit ready to jump in if we see some.

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    That day we were unlucky, no mantra showed up; we were left with bunch of dolphins playing around and few big turtles. The whole area was extremely beautiful. It was just relaxing to sit on the boat and enjoy the ride

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    When we made it back to Labuan Bajo it was already getting a bit late

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    The next day we packed our stuff and headed into Flores island. The main road going through the island is really nice with good surface and many turns. It was great fun to cruise through Flores. It has been few days since we had a shower so we looked at a map whether we can find a lake for good wash. Close to Wae Sano we could see pretty big lake which was only about 120km from Labuan Bajo. The last part of the road was a bit tough but nothing that our bikes can deal with.

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    When we made it to the lake I was was really looking forward to have a swim in fresh water. We found a small spot where we could access the lake. When parking my bike I slowly realized that we would not be swimming in that lake.

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    We were so close to wash ourselves still very far. The whole lake was somehow connected to a volcano so water in the lake had really high content of sulfides. Shortly after our arrival few local guys showed up; we asked them whether they swim in the lake, their response was pretty clear, no swimming in this lake.

    From the lake we took back roads which were quite challenging sometimes, on the other side we were awarded by nice views

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    Flores is mostly catholic, it was interesting to see how each Indonesian island has different religion dominating

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  19. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Dragon bite doesn't sound like a pleasant way to go!

    As for the view in front of the office window, keep seeking. :D
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  20. cejnys

    cejnys Been here awhile

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    That evening we found pretty cool place for a night; a small hut on a hill overlooking rice fields.

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    It was around 2 am when I was woken up by a strong cramp in my stomach. I did not pay much attention to it, drank some water and managed to sleep again. In the morning we were woken up by guys building a road not far away. They walked inside of the hut with their machetes ready to fight. They definitely did not expected us to be there. When I saw them I just try to smile as much as I could and show them that both of my hands were empty. Surprisingly it worked; since that point they started to worm up and did not feel any thread from us.

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    When I got up I did not feel well; I could function but I just was very weak. We packed our stuff and went to check spider rice fields.

    Couple of photos later we were back on the road.

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    It was really nice road through the island with many turns and hills; unfortunately I could not enjoy it. With time on my bike I was getting weaker and weaker. One point I felt really bad and asked Matthias to stop. As soon as I got off the bike I crushed on the floor, closed my eyes and tried to cope with the whole situation. I could not move, I was extremely weak.

    Matthias got me some water and tea which helped a bit, but I was not able to keep riding.

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    We were in the middle of nowhere, there were just few houses around.

    From nowhere an older guy on vespa showed up. He could speak a bit of english so Matthi talked to him about our trips etc. Few minutes later he invited us to his house for me to have some rest and get better. It turned out that he was hosting two vespa riders from Jakarta the same day.

    When we got to his house there were already two guys on vespas waiting.

    At that point I had pretty high fever so they showed me a place where I could crush and sleep. I was gone, all body was hurting like hell, I did not enjoy that evening. They were ready to take me to a hospital if the fever stays until the next morning.

    One point when I woke up I found few buddies crashing the same bed as I was

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    The next morning I felt a bit better; I still had a mild fever but I felt a bit hungry which was a good sign. I joined everyone for breakfast and managed to eat some rice and veggies

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    Even though I had a fever I needed to get a shower; it has been over a week since my last one. This is how is done in most places including hotels

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    After the shower and breakfast I started to feel much better so we decided to hit the road again.

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    Its good to see them starting young

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