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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by KTMInduro, Jun 2, 2010.
I am sooooo IN!!!
...and 2500 km of Kalimantan wilderness along the Equator.
Ok, that got my attention!
Great picture of a Land rover
Kita sering tersesat !
The Fords carried fuel for the bikes in jerry cans for use in emergencies.
This is a scene from a gas station in one of the towns we passed through. The jerry cans are loaded onto the basket panniers of the moped and then distributed out into the hinterland.
The gas is then decanted out into glass litre bottles by small vendors on the side of the trail (hopefully without the addition of cooking oil or water).
We would fill up at every opportunity, when we came across fuel.
The quality was pretty dubious, and sometimes filthy. We would filter the gas through a cloth and then add octane booster & cleaner to it.
The Berg's FI never missed a beat even when run on this cocktail.
Great stuff so far, that's a ride I'd like to do!
Plantation Rimba to Sekadau
I wake up at 5am to get sorted for the days ride. My bloody feet are already in a bad way. They are really sore from yesterdays ride. Last night i could hardly walk when I took my boots off.
It's so hot I'm constantly sweating and combined with wet boots my feet resembled something off a horror movie.
I rub anti fungal powder and then vaseline into my feet to try to create a barrier before putting on new socks . I hope it works. If I get a serious problem with my feet i'm toast.
After taking what seems like 20 various pills for malaria and what not, I emerge out of my tent.
At 6am on the dot Samsyir gets on the PA on his jeep. it crackles to life and there a loud electronic "Whoop Whoop, Whoop" that echoes around our camp, followed by "Bangun, Bangun, Bangun, Wake Up , Wake Up, Wake Up. Briefing at 7. Convoy rolls at 8".
Sam's early morning call every day, is now embedded in my memory forever i think
Before breaking camp I stand in the slop and try to sort out my mismatched combination of Flexx bars and Fastway handguards.
It takes longer than I expect and I miss the briefing about todays ride.
By the time I'm done, the camp is rapidly dissapearing in front of me.
No leisurely breaking camp on this trip !! I rush around packing up my gear and getting it into the Ranger before it leaves. I also still have to prepare my camelbak for todays ride.
I'm finding already that I really have to have my shit together. The expedition is being run like a military operation - which considering what we are trying to achieve is probably a good thing. Its going to get some getting used to though.
One of the Rangers has a flat battery and has to be bump started.
Others are also having difficulty getting organised which makes me feel a bit better. Shannon in his UTV has mountains of gear and is struggling to get it packed up. We chat to Sam about todays ride whilst Shannon, drenched in sweat, finishes loading up. Sam also mentions that he's concerned the UTV may not make it as its too heavy.
Less really is more !!
We spent the morning riding easy sandy trails. Yesterdays rain meant fantastic traction and we all had a blast enjoying the conditions.
The track went in and out of palm plantations and areas where all the big timber had been removed a decade or so ago and some secondary forest had managed to re-establish itself. I guess it will not be long until these young forests are converted into plantations also.
Forestry and palm oil companies have devastated Kalimantan as we were to discover.
The trail came down and we hit one of Kalimantan's huge rivers. This one was the Kapuas.
A beautiful trail followed the bank of the river for about 12km before we joined a tarmac road which led us into the riverside town of Sanggau.
We fill up our fuel tanks and then ride around town and strike gold !
A really modern restaurant to eat brunch in.
Not wanting to bring in a mountain of dirt into the restaurant, we strip off our gear on the porch and wander into the place in bare feet and underwear. Luckily theres no other customers in there and we have the place to ourselves.
Brunch. After freeze dried chili con carne last night and freeze dried muesli early this morning it's fabulous !
Its amazing how a good meal lifts everyones spirits.
We join the 4x4's and whilst on the bridge spanning the river just outside town, I pass my GPS over to Riskey , who is in a Suzuki jeep. He was with us in Sulawesi 3 years ago, and he offers to download the route for the whole expedition onto my Garmin. How cool is that ! We could have done with that last night.
Soon we are back out in new palm plantations again. These trails are really high speed and I have a blast drifting the bike through the long corners on these roads.
I'm not happy with the Dunlop trials tyre on the rear though. I normally use a Michelin as they are very long lasting, but the one I ordered for this trip was stuck in customs and didn't turn up in time. The Dunlop is very soft and its not wearing very well.
It looks like a really cool MX track built out in the middle of nowhere. But in reality this is what massive deforestation and a new palm oil plantation looks like.
This huge fallen tree is all that remains to show what once grew here. Behind me as far as the eye can see, the forest has gone. Destroyed with everything that once lived in it.
Young palm oil plants being taken out to be planted.
Seeing the size of the areas of once virgin forest that have been lost to palm oil production is truly mind boggling.
Kalimantan, obviously has been and still is being raped.
wow this looks like an epic trip... going to enjoy reading the rest
We ride these plantation roads all afternoon. I'm still having a real blast 2 wheel drifting but I do start to wish I was on my GS not the Husaberg. These big wide gravel roads are really suited to a bigger bike and I vow to myself to come back and ride them again sometime soon - but on the Beemer !
Once again Rudy's front tyre gives him problems. Its becoming more and more difficult to plug the tyre each time.
We stop right opposite this half finished church. Missionaries are extremly active all over Kalimantan. The missionary business is nearly as big as the palm oil business here.
Rudy manages to fix the tyre once again and we saddle up and are on our way.
Not for long. Within 30 minutes we have just got onto a stretch of tarmac when we are forced to stop due to the tire again.
This time we find a village workshop and hopefully we can create a more permanent repair.
We had an avid audience who couldn't believe their luck or eyes that we had actually stopped at their house.
Whilst we sit around in the workshop, we discuss when we'll get off these big wide plantation roads and into some more technical riding, which is what we're all into.
Didi and Rudy actually start to complain and mention baling out of the trip if the route continues to be so un-challenging.
Little do we know we are going to get what we wish for.
And then some.
Next - Day 3....
Nice picture of the kids and their smiles.
This is the first time I'm manually subscribing to any thread in any forum. At first I was telling myself I want to do the same route until you said you wouldn't do it again.... I guess your photos and report will be good enough for me. Kudos to you and your buddies.
"Bangun, Bangun, Bangun, Wake Up , Wake Up, Wake Up. Briefing at 7. Convoy rolls at 8".
The word "Bangun" also means "wake up or get up" in cebuano, the language commonly spoken in Mindanao ang Visayas, Philippines.
That red mud/clay reminds me of home. I'm looking forward for the next installment.
Sekadau to Gunung Saran
Its clear that todays trail is not going to be the same as those in the past 2 days. Instead of wide dirt highways that are constantly graded and serviced by the logging and plantation companies, we are now on a muddy slippery back road that is only used by local villages.
I have a big scare early on. I look down at my bars and my GPS unit is not in its cradle. I turn back and within 500 metres there it is in the middle of the trail narrowly being missed by the 4x4's. It obviously bounces pretty well as its undamaged.
I also have my first get off. I'm going too fast into a slippery area of vehicle tracks and get cross rutted and high side over the bars. I'm a little shaken up , but luckly unhurt as all the mud brakes my fall.
Whilst I clean up and straighten my hand guards, Eca races up behind me and tells me he's lost his rain gear again, and is going back to look for it. I tell him I'll wait and sit under a tree and enjoy the solitude.
Whilst I wait these kids on the way back from school pass by. Its only about 10 am so I guess they start school really early around here.
After about 10 minutes Sovan pulls up with Eca's rain gear. I ask him why Eca isn't with him , and he sayse that Eca went roaring back down the trail and didn't stop when waved at. Damn !
Sovan leaves , and for the next 30 minutes I sit under my tree. All the 4x4's are now long gone, and I decide that Eca must soon arrive back at the trail head and realise that his gear is "lost", so I decide to ride on.
As the trail becomes more interesting so do the local people.
I ride alone for about an hour re-passing a few jeeps on the way. The trails are really good fun. Lots of ups and downs with some deep rain ruts to keep things interesting. At a fork in the trail I meet up with the other 3 and we sit in a hut and wait for Eca.
Whilst waiting we notice that there are wild bees everywhere and Didi is stung a couple of times by a particularly vicious one. They make the wait uncomfortable, and we frequently have to run outside arms waving like windmills to escape the bastards.
Eca finally turns up and is very relieved to find Sovan with his gear. Ecstatic is probably a better description. We're too early into this trip to be losing equipment, but we all seem to be trying pretty hard.
Love it, self-inflicted hell! Subscribed!!
We get our first views of distant mountains. Its looking good !
The trail we are on is an old logging road. It was once wide and graded I guess, but looking at the secondary forest, most of the tall timber must have been taken out of these hills about 15 years ago. The loggers built these bridges to span the deep gorges using massive logs. This bridge is half gone and shows how wide this road once was. It was the last intact bridge we would see for a few days.
The jungle squeezes the trail the further into the hills we go.
We come round a corner and the the whole convoy is stopped, snaking back for at least 100 metres. I don't know it now, but this is the last time I would see the whole convoy together for the whole duration of the expedition.
Its quite an easy crossing for the bikes. We can choose to get our feet wet or go over a rickety small foot bridge the locals use to pass this gorge.
Already on the far side, we watch as the jeeps have to slide slowly down a steep bank before fording the river. Sam in his Taft jeep makes it up the very steep bank after several attempts with a lot of wheel spin and using trees as winch points.
This is the first time I've seen 4x4's in action like this. They work together in a team to get the jeeps up out of the river. Its pretty impressive. We watch and listen to the winches scream on both vehicles as the cables take the full weight of the vehicles below. Sam helps Agus in his Land Cruiser get out of the river bed, who then helps winch out the Ford who is behind him.
Thanks for posting mate - great read and Pics...very enjoyable