One girl, one XT250, many kilometers from Australia to The Netherlands, Chick on the Chook Chaser

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Chick on the Chook, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. Chick on the Chook

    Chick on the Chook Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Hey fellow adventurers!

    Just over a year ago I started riding around Australia. This in itself was pretty awesome, but back then I had no idea this extended holiday would turn into the ride of a lifetime. When my time in Australia came to an end I decided to ride my Yamaha XT250 back to the Netherlands, where I’m from. One girl, 250CC, too much gear as always and a whole lot of kilometres to be covered. Now, 3 countries into the Asia leg of the adventure I realise there might be some riders out there very curious about my adventures.

    DSCF2666.JPG From now on you can read about my everyday life on the road here. So, to be entertained and inspired, keep an eye on this!


    Curious about my previous whereabouts and tales?

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chickonthechookchaser

    Website: chickonthechookchaser.com
    #1
    DutchOne, damasovi, MewZiKat and 22 others like this.
  2. Chick on the Chook

    Chick on the Chook Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Week number one, and many to come. I can't promise they will all be this detailed, but I hope you enjoy this :)

    Feb 12 2016

    Today I headed into the Malaysian mountains. After the last warm shower for a few days I strapped the panniers on, tied the drybag down and put the tank bag in place. Luckily the sun was shining so I could use my phone to navigate through downtown Kuala Lumpur. After only three wrong turns I made it to the north end of town. You have to know that roads in Kuala Lumpur weave around, under and over each other like spaghetti. Sometimes 6 different lanes go to six different directions. Google maps instructions to go “slightly left” aren’t very useful in this case! Once the green of the trees overpowered the grey of concrete my tightly clenched jaws loosened into a smile. Yes I was on the road again in a new county. The road started winding up and the view became better and better. I rode up a mountain called Bukit Fraser (Frasers Hill). Just as I reached the top the clouds closed in and raindrops came down. It was a shame because the view from here must have been spectacular. On the way down the sky cleared and I was treated to some breathtaking panoramas (unfortunately it was a narrow, one-way, strictly no stopping road, so no pictures). In the next town, Raub, a delicious rice, chicken and vegetable dinner costing one whole dollar supplied some extra energy for the last 50 kilometres to my riverside camp spot. Just when the tent was up the rain came down, I crawled in and grabbed my book. If it wasn’t for the smell of my bike boots infiltrating my nostrils from the front of the tent it would have been perfect!

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    Feb 13 2016

    The day started with a walk in the Malaysian forest. The rain that had fallen overnight started to evaporate and a mystical mist was rising up through the trees. I hung out my tent to dry and had a shower in the river. After lunch it was time to hit the road. A short day today, 150km to the Cameron highlands. I didn’t have much fuel left in the tank. But with Indonesia fresh in mind I didn’t worry (there, fuel is sold in plastic bottles on every corner of the street). 40 km past without a fuel station. My fuel light came on and it took another 20 nervous kilometres of palm plantations before I spotted the much needed pump. The rest of the ride was easy and pleasant. In the Cameron Highlands I visited a tea plantation, all the different shades of green, the patterns the bushes create, just beautiful! While being a real tourist, juggling multiple cameras and taking selfies between the aspiring Earl Grey I found out that my Dutch friends and fellow motorbike travellers were in the same town. We decided to meet up for dinner. They had exciting news. A German bike riding couple was on their way too. The rest of the night was spend in real overland travelling style. Drinking beers in a parking lot, pointing at various intricate features on each other’s bikes and sharing stories about border crossings.

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    Feb 14 2016

    After a night of heavy rain and leaking tents we decided to spend the morning where we left of yesterday. We had breakfast at an Indian place while continuing the stories about inhabitable lands and interesting traditions around the globe. After breakfast the tents were dry and ready to be packed. During this process we spotted some kittens with cat flu. The poor things couldn’t even open their eyes. So Coco, with her doctor skills, came to the rescue. Much later than planned, but with the satisfaction of helping the little balls of fur we split up and hit the road. During my short stop at a petrol station a group of Malaysian bikers was super curious about my travels. After having coffee with them, one offered to ride with me to Penang. Well, why not? So we set of together for the 160km ride. Within minutes the sky became darker and darker and the first drops came down. The rain became so heavy that at some point the only thing I could see was the tale light of my guide, cruising past all other traffic at a challenging speed giving the weather conditions. Luckily all went well and the sky cleared just in time to see the sun sinking behind Penang island. I thanked my guide and set off to meet up with the Dutch couple and two other riders. We all parked our bikes in the same spot, it was a serious gathering with two bigger bikes, an Africa twin and a KTM, two 250CC Honda’s and my little XT250 as the Benjamin of the family. We had another great night of sharing stories and beers in a makeshift bar.

    Feb 15 2016

    Following good traditions we all had breakfast at an Indian restaurant. After that I went hunting for a new chain and sprockets. The guys at Hot Bike, Penang, did their best to get me what I needed. After an hour of phoning back and forth to the warehouse a complete set of sprockets and chain found its way into my hands. At the hotel Simon, the Australian on the KTM, offered to give me a hand with changing them. We put the bike up on some bricks (it doesn’t have a centre stand) and I took the wheel out. Carefully I took the rear sprocket of the wheel. However, when I went to put the new one on it was way too big. It had the same amount of teeth, but the whole thing would have caused me to wheelie the entire trip to the Netherlands! Slightly disappointed we washed the grease of our hands. After dinner we went to a great little bar run by a Chinese family. It is not more than a few tables and chairs on the street in front of the liquor store, but it’s one of the greatest places in Penang to have a drink. Today especially, we were in for a treat. It was the ninth day of Chinese New Year, and apparently an important day to celebrate. At midnight they started of the celebrations with some serious fire crackers. In the next three hours we were treated to a continuous show of various fireworks, dragon dancing, a drink on the house and some mouth watering pork (there were two whole pigs on the table!). What a night, what a surprise!

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    Feb 16 2016

    A little tired and most of us hung over we gathered this morning to see of Leonie and Peter who left for Thailand. I then had to go and fix the situation with my chain and sprockets. The guys at Hot Bike were happy to see me but less happy with the reason I was there. They decided to take the sprockets of the bike, ride to the warehouse and check if there is anything that fits. Meanwhile I spend an hour in the bike shop, trying to decide what my next bike will be. (at the moment I’m leaning towards a Triumph Bonneville, but this is totally irrelevant for now). The mechanic returned from the warehouse with an apologetic look on his face. They didn’t have the sprockets, I only took the chain and decided to try my luck in the next city. My last night in Penang we decided to go for Chinese street food, and of course ended up at our favourite drinking establishment. A backpacker told us he had spotted a big bike, with cases and lots of flag stickers on the main street. This could only be one thing, another overlander! While the others busied themselves with the next round I decided to locate the motorbike. There it was, in the middle of the main street! Something must be wrong with our bike radars, we walked past here many times the last 2 days… I located the name of the bike’s owner and using the endless capabilities of Facebook. He sat down at our table half an hour later. As expected we had a few mutual friends, people we met or travelled with on the way and once again the world of overland travelling was so small!

    Feb 17 2016

    Today I was heading to Thailand. One last amazing breakfast at the Indian place, some packing and a few big bear hugs from the guys and I left Penang. The first 100 km of highway were pretty boring, but once I turned off the main road the scenery became better. It was for this reason that I decided to use a smaller border crossing, and the rice fields and hills lived up to the expectations. At the Malaysian Customs the lady insisted on taking a selfie with me before filling out my carnet. All went very smooth, on the Thai site there was a bit more paperwork but after an hour I was back on the windy road again. The Thai roads are even better than the Malaysian! Beautiful hills and nice villages went past while I flew over the velvety tarmac. To sleep I found an old resort in the middle of a renovation. They allowed me to put my tent on the grass and use the toilet for a few dollars. Today my cloth-and-aluminium-poles-home was pitched on the water’s edge under the palm trees. Nothing wrong with that!

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    Feb 18 2016

    Waking up at sunrise, the view from my tent was sublime. The sky an orange pink colour, my bike in front of the tent, palm trees behind it and the ocean off to the right. I started the day with some repairs and maintenance. Yesterday, while parking the bike in the rocky surroundings it fell over. Oops! Unfortunately my already fixed break lever decided this was too much and snapped in two. I replaced it with a spare one and then turned my attention to oiling the chain. At this point in time it was already too hot to be pleasant, sweat dripped down my forehead while packing at 9 AM. To ensure body temperatures would remain within acceptable limits I “showered” with my clothes on and then jumped on the bike. Thailand is such a pleasure to ride, the roads and the view, it’s all so nice and easy. It was a real thrill to see some amazingly colourful temples with 4 meter high Buddha statues. But the highlight was a truck full of real life elephants, I nearly crashed into an old lady on a bicycles as I was twisting my neck to stare at these impressive creatures. Today the trip included two short ferry rides to the island Koh Lanta. My maps send me straight to the hostel a fellow overlander had recommended. The owner was already informed of my arrival and even knew my name! What a lovely surprise! By the pool I relaxed, read a book and waited for the hottest part of the day to pass. A sunset stroll along the beach and an amazing 3 dollar curry sealed the deal, I’m in love with Thailand.

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    #2
  3. Lenzwerf

    Lenzwerf Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Netherlands
    https://m.facebook.com/whereiswiljen/ is near you (I think), also driving to the land of cheese and weed. Maybe good to know.
    Groeten en veel plezier Lennert

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-T113 met Tapatalk
    #3
  4. chaos616

    chaos616 Sasquatch

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    162
    Location:
    Flyin and ridin
    I'm in, sounds like a fun ride home!
    #4
  5. Ruud109

    Ruud109 Dutch in Barcelona

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
    Good luck and safe travels. As a fellow Dutch I will be following. I am based in Barcelona, let me know if you happen to pass by on the way up!


    Ruud
    #5
  6. Chick on the Chook

    Chick on the Chook Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Thanks for all the positive replies! I'll keep posting and try to meet up with as many of you as possible on the way :)

    Happy riding!
    #6
    smilin jack likes this.
  7. Timpel

    Timpel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi! Very cool!! whats your route through India/Pakistan? I did a trip last year from Nepal to Netherlands. Please see website in signature. Voel je vrij om contact op te nemen. groetjes,
    Tim
    #7
  8. Crashes

    Crashes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Georgia
    This is shaping up to be a nice adventure. So I'm in for the deration. Please stay alert and stay safe.
    #8
  9. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    14,089
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Sounds wonderful. I'm in.
    #9
  10. MIOB

    MIOB Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    A cold, wet, flat place
    In!!!!
    #10
  11. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    Texas
    Following along.
    #11
  12. motomaverick

    motomaverick Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Cultus Lake, B.C.
    I'm in! Gotta love the little yammies!
    #12
  13. 10ecjed

    10ecjed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    Frederick, MD
    Cool. This sounds very interesting. I'm following your RR.
    #13
  14. heirhead

    heirhead worlds worst mechanic

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    859
    Location:
    On the water in SoCal
    Hello,

    IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And to think, some peeps trailer there XTs 200 miles.
    Happy riding,

    heirhead
    worlds worst mechanic
    #14
  15. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,805
    Location:
    vancouver bc
    good stuff! keep up the good work!
    #15
  16. Chick on the Chook

    Chick on the Chook Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    February 19-21 2016

    When I first left the ferry and entered the streets of Koh Lanta I was faced with many shirt-less, sunburned, helmet-less selfie taking individuals on scooters. But my initial “Ow no, what kind of tourist trap did I get myself into” thoughts were quickly replaced with the happy attitude that the convenience of tourism brings. Everything is so easy! Koh Lanta showed itself to be a little jewel of an island. I spend three days filled with beach, sun, amazing food and short rides to explore the outskirts of the island and its sometimes secluded beaches (once we were actually alone on the entire beach!). All of this was shared with backpackers from a wide range of countries. After Kuala Lumpur and Penang it felt so good to sit in the white sand, stare out over the ocean and watch the sunset. Man, I missed sunsets! The island was just touched enough by tourism to ensure the availability of quiet little beach bars, comfortable sunbeds and cheap restaurants. The hostel I stayed was recently opened by a German guy. He took a luxury villa and filled the thing with bunk beds, what a great concept!!! Everyone staying there loved it. The place came with a pool, ocean view, hammocks and an amazing, fully equipped kitchen. Although the food in Thailand is great and not expensive I miss cooking. So twice we cooked a French/Dutch/Thai hostel-family lunch. Unlike a real family everyone was eager to do their part and there were even several volunteers to do the dishes!

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    February 22 2016

    After some last minute updating of the website and the very last hostel-home-cooked breakfast it was time to pack. When all my belongings were on the bike I jumped in the shower fully clothed. Riding in Thailand is hot, one of these days I’ll buy a little thermometer to give you an idea of how hot, but it’s hot. So with my clothes soaked I set off. Two ferries back to the mainland were followed by a 100 kilometre ride to go to Krabi. Here I called Patrick a Dutch friend of Simon, the KTM Aussie I met in Penang. He was in the middle of a home renovation but curious about my trip so we sat and talked on his half-finished porch. Coincidence or not, he lives in the village next to the one I grew up in, drinks coffee at the café where I used to work and works at a motorcycle shop I definitely visited before. It’s such a small world! After dinner my tent was planted in the garden on the softest grass I’ve seen for years, not exaggerating, this must be what walking on a cloud feels like!

    February 23 2016

    At 6 AM a massive rooster positioned himself right next to my tent, doing what roosters do at the top of his lungs. After one of his outcries he looked at me (only the mash inner tent was hanging from the poles), tilted his head slightly to the side as if he tried to say “What are you still doing in there” and then continued his song. We left to go to town early. After dropping Patrick’s son at school we had breakfast at a Dutch bakery. Kroket op bruin brood, croquette on brown bread, I was over the moon! Now the more challenging task of finding parts for my bike. Since the last hunt in Penang left me with only the chain I needed some sprockets. Patrick’s knowledge of both the local language and bike shops came in very handy. It seems like finding parts in foreign countries is like playing monopoly, you build your wealth slowly. So today only a rear sprocket was added to my assets. To celebrate this addition we spoiled ourselves with a dip in the clear blue Thai ocean. The late afternoon and evening were spend washing the chain grease out of my pants and skyping with mum and catching up on my writing.

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    Februari 24 2014

    Today I celebrate my one week in Thailand anniversary. In the morning the tent was a lot more wet than anticipated so instead of leaving at 8 I left at 9.30. But this meant there was time for a good breakfast, coffee and an oil check on the bike. I was headed to Bangkok, about 800 kilometres from Krabi. Too much for one day, but I managed to do just over half of the total distance. On the way there were many palm plantations, typically Thai rock formations rising vertically from between the palms and massive golden Buddhas sitting on top of various hills. It was like riding in a tourism advertisement, until the truck in front of me hit a bird in mid flight, the feathers flying all over and into my open face helmet. And while I was recovering from this unexpected event a car decided to drive the wrong way in the fast lane of the highway while traffic was moving at a 100 odd kilometres per hour. Well we’re in Thailand after all! To recover from these events I decided on a terrific roadside lunch; a fresh coconut, first drinking the water and then eating the flesh, yummy! Then somewhere along the way I noticed a big Yamaha dealer, pulled the breaks and tried my luck for a sprocket aided by google translate. They were super friendly, and when one mechanic rushed off pulling his scooter into a wheelie on highway number one, the others sat me down and gave me water. When, after twenty minutes this daredevil returned he was surprised to see me sitting there and even more surprised at the look of six of his colleagues awaiting him. While it was assumed by everyone that his speedy disappearance after examining my sprocket was because he was getting the part somewhere, he himself was totally unaware of this supposed mission. So empty handed, but with a stomach full of cold water I got back on the road. It was going to be dark soon when I noticed a point on the map where you could camp. Great, that will do me for the night. I found the spot, it was a small resort with little bungalows. The camping area was basically anywhere with grass and not directly under the window of one of the bungalows. Once the tent was up, within 5 minutes it was raining. I hid in the common area, got served amazing home cooked food as a surprise and socialized with some long term Thailand goers.

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    Feb 25 2016


    In the morning I first went for a sunrise run along the beach. This time of day is so beautiful and quiet. Then after breakfast, making the best of the available wifi I filled out the application for the visa for India and posted another blog. One of the people in the resort stated he knew a good mechanic who might be able to get me a fitting sprocket. But when we were about to set off the little town was visited by a lot of rain. I mean, a lot, it rained heavily for two hours straight. So the best we could do was wait and eat more amazing home cooked food. Then when it cleared he took me to the mechanic. No luck with the sprocket, but the mechanic was friendly enough to oil the chain for me. The rest of the day being too short to cover any reasonable distance it was decided to stay another night in the friendly little town of Bankrut. I spend the afternoon being a proper tourist and visited a glittering temple and massive Buddha on the hill just out of town. Wow, really beautiful and very impressive, the temple had so much detail and so much gold. And then the big golden Buddha, looking out over the sea. The whole environment was so peaceful and inspiring. Fulfilled I went back to the resort, only stopped at the local market on the way to pick up some fruit and vegetables. When I arrived back the kitchen was already busy with a lovely bunch of Thai ladies. I joined them and they showed me how to use some of the spices and condiments. Not much later we all sat down to another beautiful meal. The mother of the house, I guess she must be in her 70ies, was very impressed with my roast pumpkin salad, she said I could stay as long as I wanted. Tonight I pitched my tent under a little bamboo roof to ensure a more speedy (non-tent-drying) departure tomorrow.

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    #16
  17. * SHAG *

    * SHAG * Unstable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Oddometer:
    4,857
    Location:
    Bradford, Pa
    Subscribed :super
    #17
  18. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    418
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Fantastic - I'm along for the trip
    #18
  19. tbird649

    tbird649 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    219
    Location:
    West Sussex, UK
    I like your writing style, and looking forward to the rest of your trip.
    #19
  20. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,473
    Location:
    Out There Somewhere
    :thumb
    #20