Papua New Guinea To Kathmandu with Ural sidecar

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by bokad, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    Lovely Indonesian People
    ------------------------
    A note is needed about the Indonesian people we've met.

    They've been pretty damn wonderful. Helpful, kind, friendly, and honest beyond all my expectations. It extends from the security officer at the airport to people you ask for directions on the street. If we broke down or got lost I have NO doubt that help would come quickly and we'd get whatever we needed or a bed for the night.

    I have to take my tank bag off to fill the gas. I set it aside at a gas station and forgot to put it back on. It had about $800 of fancy camera, sunglasses, keys, cash, and other do dads in there. About 5km down the road two boys on a scooter passed us smiling, clutching our tank bag, and waved us over. I would have been really upset if we'd lost it and it may have been hours before I realized it was missing. They didn't just hold it for us at the station, they hopped on their bike and tracked us down. That's super!

    Numerous people who don't know us at all have volunteered their time, tools and garage to help with the bike.
    We've been treated like visiting dignitaries by damn near everyone.
    They've taken us out to dinner.

    If the bike is about to tip over on a hill (that was fun) or is stuck in the mud, people swarm in like magic to help.

    Someone drove us an hour to an ATM and back.

    Restaurant strangers often offer us their business card and say to call if we have any problems while we are here or need translation help.

    The people are so kind in fact that I sometimes feel guilty about accepting favours and not being able to repay them.

    All of our tour guides really go "above and beyond".

    If we have a low tire, dragging luggage, light left on, something left unlocked, or funny noise coming from our bike, someone will definitely let us know and offer to help.

    At least once a day I'm amazed and the kindness we receive.

    To be honest I'm sure some of this comes from travelling with a girl and an interesting bike. It makes us more approachable. But it seems there would be plenty of kindness for anyone that comes through.

    Basic English is fairly widespread. Far more so than anywhere else I was in South East Asia. On par with Malaysia at least. And they use the Latin alphabet so you can read the signs and menus and try some of their words pretty easily. The language (to me) seems grammatically simple so it's not hard to communciate with basic words. All these things make it much easier to relate and communicate with people.
    #41
  2. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    21 April 2012
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    Malang to Surabaya and back. (90km one way)

    I'm ashamed to say we hired a car and driver again. $50 for 12 hours. vs Driving 6 hours there and back myself, arriving grumpy, tired, and sweaty. + there's a mud volcao half way between that has really F'ed up the road and traffic. Seriously, a burping, blubbering, town burrying constant mud volcano. The biggest mud volcano in the world in fact. Predicted to keep oozing for the next 20 years. Lucky them. They've built a 30 foot retaining burm to keep it from spreading further.
    Anyway, we arrive clean and air conditioned.

    First stop is a Soviet built (50's or 60's) Indonesian submarine museum ship. Now mounted on land so you can see the whole shebang. You're free to touch, rotate, flip, or climb in just about everything. Including the torpedo tubes. Instrumentation is in a mix of Russian, English, and Indonesian. Great fun.

    Next up we visited the Sampoerna cigarette factory in Surabaya where they still hand roll and pack. The girls can roll 3 to 4 HUNDRED cigarettes per hour. Watching their hands move is amazing. Speed and precision. Exactly like watching a movie in fast forward. My head got a little dizzy if I watched them too long. You get to survey the whole factory floor from a second floor glass walled oberservatory. Photo/video not allowed but you can find it online.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxP3YYbYX3w
    90% of cigarretes sold in Indonesia are kretek (with cloves). It certainly smells like it here.

    After we got back to Malang we went clubbing (Hugo's) and they let us in for free as special guests. I don't mind. Good music and girls in skimpy outfits. Most westernised thing I've seen outside of Jakarta. Felt normal. Felt good.

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    Much bigger than my other sub experiences (WWII era)

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    Breaking up has never been easier or faster!

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    Floating capitalist pigs 2000 meters ahead! (because any submarine built in the USSR is communist, no matter which country it serves.)

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    Automated smoking machine. Quality Control I suppose. Poor robot.

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    Jawa motorcycle somehow related to company history
    #42
  3. Floridalawdog

    Floridalawdog Adventurer

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    Awesome report, looks like fun.
    #43
  4. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    22 April 2012
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    Paragliding at Batu (mountain resort near Malang).

    Another biker dude we met a few nights ago was in to paragliding and invited us to go. Said we'd think about it but had some other plans. He was pretty persistent. We often do things we don't really want because the asker is persistent and we're just people pleasers and confrontation avoiders. Gotta work on that. Anyway, it was only 8,000 Rupiah (like $0.90).
    Paragliding is always fun. Beautiful view, peaceful. Or you can make it a cork screw vertical descent. Amazing that you can actually GAIN altitude without any propulsion. Just thermals and wind. The best part is always running over the cliff in to the winding. Trusting in your (whatever that thing is) to fill and hold you. Now 8k Rupiah seemed pretty cheap to me but I figured he was just being a friend and we were paying some registration or insurance fee. After all, there's not any fuel or consumable costs. After we landed, Anna gave him 10k and he stufed it back in to my pocket saying "I can't take a tip". Dude, that's not a tip, that's the payment. Some back and forth. Clarification and understanding. Numbers written down on paper. Oh, 800,000 Rupiah ($90). That's quite a difference. We pay it and leave. Bad taste in my mouth bothers me all the way back to the city. Number mistakes happen often between laguages. Did he say thirteen or thirty? But eight thousand to eight hundred thousand is a damn large gap. Was it a pronunciation mistake or a scam. Even if it was an honest mistake and he had meant to cummincate the true price all along, it's a big number for here and the feeling of meeting a passionate, interesting young friend turned in to a feeling of being picked up by a salesman. Need to remember to have a friend call back there to see what the real price is.

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    Dude's bike

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    I love stickers, patches, and other flair

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    Anna gets airborne

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    We gain altitude after the jump
    #44
  5. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    ---------23 April 2012----------
    Malang to Kalibaru - 240km (+ geting lost)

    We leave early. The roads treat us well.

    We see all sorts of things on scooters. A pet stores worth of fish in swinging bags. A motels worth of bed frames.
    Google tries to take us across a bridge that washed out twenty years ago. Now only passable to scooters. Looks cool though. Pretty detour.
    There's a train car sized pile of coconuts on the side of the road and they split a few open for us to eat and drink for free.

    We arrive before darkness.

    It's been a good day.

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    Good roads

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    Bags of swinging fish on scooter.

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    2 of 6. Must have been a club. Or bare bones rv'ing.

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    It's been a long time since this was a real bridge.

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    I think I could just about make it. Just damn that skinny part in the center.

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    Free coconuts are the tastiest.
    #45
  6. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    --------24 April 2012----------------
    Kalibaru to Sukamade.
    90km - 6 hours.

    Sukamade is a beach in some natioanal park. It's often called turtle beach. Reliably, year round, you can touch giant sea turtles, collect their eggs, and play with/release the freshly hatched 50 at time.

    The guide books says the road is rough with many river crossings. My pride is still hurt from hiring the 4wd car for Bromo. I'm determined to make it in the Ural. The tour operator thinks we're idiots and trys to disaude me. I'm pretty stubbon. They agree (heads shaking) to let us try as long as they follow us in a 4wd. Anna rides in their Landrover and the guide hops in my hack to show us the way. He's noticably nervous with the oncoming traffic and lack of control. Sidecar is on the wrong side for Indonesia so he sees the oncoming first and gets the closest pass to busses and trucks. We stop by a lovely fishing village. Colorful dual outrigger canoes. Since we're going to the beach I didn't account for mountains. Figured it would be just flat and rocky. Wrong. Mountains right before the coast. Steep and rocky. This was never a real road. I don't know if the boulders we're driving on were placed or just what was left when the dirt eroded away. It gets very steep and very bumpy. We have to keep up speed or there's not enough torque in the Ural. A few times we stop on an incline and go (literally) flying to the right when I don't slip the clutch enough at 4k RPM to get moving again. A few times it feels like we might tip backwards over the rear tires. The road is scarily uneven in the worst places and there's some puckering "sidecar's gonna flip and crush us both" moments. Anna was in the sidecar for a bit but I make her get out and the guide back in. He's more replaceable. Even the Land Rover is in 4wd low and crawling along. Scooters loaded with illegally harvested bamboo ('cus it's a national park) easily pass us in both directions. They're small and light enough that they can avoid or slip between the worse spots.

    Suprising everyone (myself included and especially the guide), we make it up and down the mountain. Ural and bones intact! Just 2km more to the beach. I feel like a hero. Anna agrees. The guide says he's never seen someone drive a full size bike there before.

    Then there's the river crossing. There was a bridge there once but it washed away the night after it was inaugarated. And I give up. It seems that there's no way for the Ural to cross it without a snorkel, some pontoons, and a scuba mask for me. We park the Ural and all hop in the 4wd. So close...

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    He's faking that smile. He told me so.

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    Starting to get further from the beaten track.

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    Ural porn at the fishing village.

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    Relaxing

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    Stopping here.
    #46
  7. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    25 April 2012
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    Sukamade

    This place was so freaking amazing that we decided to stay another night. I'd stay a week if we could. The accomodations are basic (no phone or internet, power part time, cold shower) and termites determinedly built penis like outcroppings from the wall over the second bed. Then it collapses to dust and they begin again. At least three times a day. Structural engineers they are not, but very determined. Judging by the the pile of dust they've been at this for some time. Who cares about termites, we're here for the turtles.

    The beach is a paradise from the movies. Soft sand, waves rolling in, mountain jungle back drop, and not a soul but us. No other tourists, no guides, no locals. Just us and 2km of jaw dropping beautiful beach.

    We return to the jungle and the forest rangers outpost. Get a bucket of 50 baby sea turtles to release back to the sea. There's a perfect time of afternoon to do it, when all their predators are busy with other things. Otherwise they have a terrible survival rate. Little turtles and turtle eggs are unfortunately delicious. Monkeys, boars, birds, dogs, everyone is willing to take a bite.

    All the little ones are squirming on top of each other in the bucket. Writhing and eager to go home. They know they are close. They know which way the sea is. They can't see it but they feel it. We release them one at a time first. Incredibly quick and cute, flippering themselves to the waves. Face them the wrong way, behind a tree, under a log, they never hesitate about which direction to go. I set themon the sand by the handful. So damn cute! Decide to race two of them at once but they refuse to cooperate and take opposite paths.

    It's been a fabulous day. Will rest for a few hours before the night time search for giant turtles.

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    This beach is ours.

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    Private beach.

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    So so so so cute!

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    Bucket of turtle fun!

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    Anna surveys her good work.

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    These dudes are on a mission!

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    Almost home.
    #47
  8. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    25 April 2012
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    Sukamade - Night
    There's bars on the windows of our room to keep the monkeys out. They loiter around the camp buildings. Eating fruit and chasing each other. Crashing through the trees. We' ll go down to the beach after dark to search for giant sea turtles laying eggs. Lights disturb them so you search in the dark. Looking for their tractor like flipper tracks coming from the ocean or scanning the sand for their dark, slow moving, 200kg (400lbs) hulks. They appear as a LARGE black spot against slight less black sand. When you find them you wait patiently. It can take hours for them to lay and cover their eggs. Over 100 little white ping pong balls at a time. Then you collect so they can hatch months later in safety. Momma turtle not so smart, you can grabs the eggs as they drop from her (uhhh whatever) and she doesn't notice. She'll cover the empty hole all the same. After the stress of birth giving is past you can touch, and flashlight and photo before they slip back in to the sea.

    When you're tired from searching (it is a dark 2km beach) you can sleep on the sand. Sky full of stars and waves rolling in.


    It's an amazing experience. Remote, off the beaten track, hard to get to (uhhh, repeat much?). Not many people go. But it's worth it. High season for tourists is the summer months. Go outside of then and you can have the place to yourself.

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    Sadly, riding is not permitted.

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    Turtle farm where they plant the eggs!

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    Turtle tracks in the day time.

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    That's alot of eggs.

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    Fly dude fly!

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    Careful!

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    Like participating in animal planet!
    #48
  9. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    26 April 2012
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    Sukamade to Ubud,Bali - 240km

    I don't miss phone and internet at all. Food and conditions are basic, but life is very very good. I'd love to spend a week here. But I NEED to keep moving. It's a problem of the nomadic lifestyle. You feel restless and not good when you stay too long in one place. And I'm eager to leave Java, close that chapter. Get on a a boat to another island. Feel like we're really going somewhere. So to Bali it is.

    We have to go back over the mountains to get out of the national park. I knock off the exhaust on a huge rock but it's an easy fix and smooth sailing from then on. Reach the port, roll on the boat, eat some noodles, roll off. Kids jump in the water to swim beside an iron beast a million times their size. Seems dumb. Or maybe they're really LIVING life and I'm too cautious. Urals first boat trip but many to come. Very relaxing experience. There's nothing to do but wait and enjoy the views. You can't speed anything up. No vehicles to pass. No phone to play with. Nowhere to go. Forced relaxation. Great! The roads on Bali are magnitudes better than Java. We reach Ubud late.

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    Daylight begins early and there's alot of noises at night. Ginger coffee can help.

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    Everyone wants to help with the exhaust.

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    Ports are always an interesting place.

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    With interesting people.
    #49
  10. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    27 April 2012
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    Ubud, Bali

    Bali is a Hindu island in the Muslim sea of Indonesia. Doesn that sound cliche? Anyway, it's true. It feels like a completely different country. More colorful. More lively. There is always a dance, festival, procession, or ceremony going on somewhere here. Art is everywhere. Seemigly every house has a lovely temple.

    Ubud is in the center of Bali, the jungle, the mountains. It doesn't have the beaches like Bali's other famous places, but it has character and culture. Interesting people, buildings, and objects at every turn. Flooded with European AND Indonesian artistes. Your choice of live music venues any night of the week. Do you want to learn to paint? Or carve or dance or sing or yoga or construct from bamboo? You can do all of that here. Also Julia Roberts was here in some film about a selfish girl that wrote a book.

    Day one we visit the "Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary" $2 entrance and every bit as fabulous as it sounds. Filled with playful monkeys and moss covered temples under a canopy of trees. It's very Indiana Jones. Monkeys steal my bananas and play on my head and I love every moment of it.



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    Monkey king

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    Monkey family

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    Monkey sleep

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    Head Monkeys

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    Monkey monument
    #50
  11. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    3 May 2012
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    Ubud, Bali (still)

    Been encamped here for a week. Not doing much. Sorting pictures. Ordering Parts. Half heartadly digging in to past due taxes from a time when I still had income to pay taxes on. At night; dinner, drinks, and live music.

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    Supremely beautiful hotel

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    Kites.
    #51
  12. rtwdoug

    rtwdoug prominent underachiever

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    Kris & Anna,
    it was great to meet you guys in Florida. I love the trip so far, & awesome pictures. South Asia is definately on my 'must see' list.

    Have a safe & fun trip!

    Doug
    #52
  13. Coots

    Coots That's what she said

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    Great Pics, love this one as well, you got my vote for the front page with this one.:clap
    #53
  14. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    I'm enjoying the report, so far. Keep it coming!
    #54
  15. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Great! :clap

    I'm loving the relaxed lifestyle, and the wonderful scenery.

    Some day, when I need to reset my life, I'll do something similar.

    In the meantime, I'll watch you guys...
    Thanks for the new perspective.

    Q~
    #55
  16. Thermos

    Thermos Been here awhile

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    Loving the ride report!

    -T
    #56
  17. SpeedyBella

    SpeedyBella n00b

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    Texas for the moment
    Loving the report! Completely inspiring trip. I especially love your notes about how amazing the people are. And also love the sea turtle bit - we did that in Costa Rica. Keep it coming!
    #57
  18. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

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    Wow - just amazing guys!
    #58
  19. bokad

    bokad Difficult Child

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    4 May 2012
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    Ubud, Bali (yes, still)

    My final drive has taken it's final drive.

    I was feeling REALLY optimistic at the beginning of today. I said to Anna, "I want to finish this trip, drive it all the way home to Russia". Everything was feeling so warm, green, sunny, and good. I imagined the homecoming when we rolled up, dusty, to her parents Siberian home. Maybe there would even be press!

    Silly boy.

    Sadly there is now a folder on my desktop called "broken final drive". The Ural has a shaft drive with a ring and pinion gear at the back. For some reason, after only 6500km, it decided to eat it's own teeth. We were on a relaxing drive around Gunung Batur (volcano and lake in North Bali), halfway up a steep hill there was a clunk and that was it. Some locals offered to help. Some offered to sell us things. We managed to find a truck. Hand lift the entire bike in to the back (for no one here ever has any boards or ramps) and get it home. Dissasembly of the final drive provides expected results. Ural will ship us a replacement (still under warranty) but shipping will take a week and $400. So, here we sit. I wasn't quite ready to move on anyway.

    Other great events from today:
    I have the repair manual for the Ural and paid a company to scan it in to electronic format so it is always on my phone and iPad. When I went to read the section on the final drive there was a scan of half a crumpled page. Then next page in the file was 10 pages later in the manual (( Missing exactly what I need!

    When we did finally get home I found that Mr Giant Ceiling Gecko had taken a giant gecko crap on our floor. I threw things at the ceiling till he was scared away. He returned at 3am to startle us awake with terrible noises. Little bastards make huge sound!

    Can't wait for today to end.

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    My teeth are so tasty that I ate them!

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    It'd be alot easier to get that rear tire out if they made the stand just a weeee bit taller!
    #59
  20. deaninkl

    deaninkl Been here awhile

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    KL, Malaysia
    Only a crazy Russian could attempt this trip, and I take my hat off to you both. A GS would be easy. Haven spent 9 years riding the streets of Indonesia on two wheels I can say its not so bad, having a side car on the wrong side does not help things. But out of the big cities and especially out of Java it should be a little easier in that the roads will be quieter.

    One great thing about Indonesia is that they can fix anything, even a Ural' I'd guess.

    Good luck with the trip, look me up when you get to KL.

    Take care and enjoy it one day at a time.
    #60