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Finding Freedom...World Wide Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BcDano, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The rest of our week here was taken up with relaxing, snorkeling, and kayaking. Outside of the resorts the island are covered with plastic bottles thrown from boats or from the outer islands. They must buy all their drinking water and then they toss the bottles. Its horrible to see this when we were out kayaking from the resort. The next tiny island is just off shore and has a lot of monkeys and the shore is littered with garbage!

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    The snorkeling off the resort pier is pretty good with lots of fish and some live coral. We have had enough relaxing, but we still have a few days left to wait for the ferry. The hotel asked Dan to do a photo shoot for some promotional material for the spa.

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    This is the last night we will see the Swede as he will get the ferry tomorrow towards Bali and Java, while we will go to Sulawesi. This is goodbye for now after riding with him on 6 continents!

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan and SavannahCapt like this.
  2. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We have been told the ferry leaves every Tuesday a 1300 for Bira and that we should be at the terminal at 9 so we showed up at 830. It is a bit confusing, but there is a small sigh on the main road before the main terminal, which directs you right on a dirt road thru a construction site to the ASDP dock.

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    Here there are dozens of bikes parked, a few cars, and some small trucks. The ticket office is off to the right and we had scouted this out last week. We arrived and confirmed the boat is going today at 1300 and we can buy tickets at 10. You can not pre buy tickets at the terminal or on line. This is because the staff on the ferry actually come off and sell the tickets after they dock. There is some mayhem as the ferry to Bima leaves daily at 9 and most people are going there.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan and Smidty like this.
  3. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The Bira ferry docked at 930 and people poured off. The unloading took 2 hours as they would drive empty buses and small trucks onboard and load them with cargo from the deck. The vehicles came off packed to the rafters and with towers of stuff on the roofs.


    Jo a rider from Jakarta also showed up to get in line. He had hedged his bets as he was not sure he could bet a ticket and he left all his gear at his hostel.


    Finally at 10 they started selling tickets for the sailing. You have to buy 2 the first to Pulau Jampea and the second from there to Bira.



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    After the ticket sales started the foot passengers and moto-riders all went on board to claim their spot for the night. We had planned to ask the crew for a bunk room. We finally loaded after 1.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 2 others like this.
  4. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    They crammed all the vehicles into the rear of the ship. We were asked to park as close to the wall as possible and so close Sara had to put a piece of cardboard between her pannier and the wall. We did the tying down, but several crew members came to check on it.

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    SmilinJoe, Bunyip1260, MaNDan and 5 others like this.
  5. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Sara went upstairs to check on Jo (on the very top deck at a table under the shade cover) and see what was up (not a place we wanted to be as it was too exposed and would be the most sea sick inducing).

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    EVERY surface that was flat was covered with people and their luggage on the 2 upper decks and the tops of the main car deck cargo areas. There are several hundred humans on board and bunk beds for about 60. There are people lying on every floor surface except small walkways. It is insane with the screaming babies, load music, smoking, and roosters crowing. (They actually had cock fighting and gambling on deck in the middle of the night). The place is already a mess from the voyage over. The bathrooms however were quite clean as they are aqua toilets with bucket for flush. People actually were “showering” in here and so it was very wet, but clean. They also leave there shoes outside , which helps.

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    SmilinJoe, Bunyip1260, MaNDan and 4 others like this.
  6. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Sara managed to get one of the crew to rent us a 3 berth bunk room for the 26 hour trip (for way too much, but with very cent). This had clean linens and air con! But best of all did not smell like goat urine from the truck full of goats and was nearly silent except for mild engine noise. We even had a port hole.

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    It would have been a very difficult crossing if we had to sit on our chairs on the deck in the garbage and animal mess. In fact we had a pretty good night. We bought the usual instant noodles for lunch and watched the craziness going on around us.



    We were needless to say the only foreigners on board and quite a novelty. When Dan went up to the toilet the men in line for “showers” let him to the front of the line. We were up at 4 am when we docked at Pulau Jampea and Dan went out to buy some rice, noodles, and chicken in wax paper packs from one of the ladies that came on board to sell them. We also could get pretty good hot coffees. The sea was a bit rough on the way here and Sara did sleep well with some Gravol. We ate our meals after 9am and then relaxed in our sanctuary.

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    SmilinJoe, Bunyip1260, MaNDan and 9 others like this.
  7. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,755
    Location:
    NSW, far south coast.
    Oh yeah, how I remember those ferry's. :(
    Saralou likes this.
  8. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    At 3 our ship tied up beside another ship that was already docked at Bira and was almost fully loaded and all our foot passengers climbed off the upper deck onto the main dock itself.

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    We had to wait until this other ferry was loaded and left the only docking station. We finally were almost off after 26 hours, but the truck blocking us in was dead and they had to push it off.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 2 others like this.
  9. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Then we rode toward the main road to meet up with Jo for a photo and to say goodbye. We will stay here near Bira tonight and head west on the coastal route towards Makassar, while he will go up the east coast a bit today.

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    Our plan on Sulawesi


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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  10. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    Makassar is only 189 km from Bira, but google says it takes 5 hours….should be lots of traffic then? There are a lot more Muslims here so far than we have seen on Timor or Flores (where they were very sparse) and so a lot of Mosques. Arriving to the guest house we were already very hot after just 30 min in the suits. We had our cold water only shower and then walked down to the beach. Several people asked to have their photo taken with us?! The tide is out and all the boats are beached! The sand is white, but has a clay like feel. It is pretty humid here and so after a quick meal we retreated to our fan and air con.

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    We had a “halal” breakfast of deep fried plantains and donuts and coffee so strong it was thick with grounds we had to let them settle.
    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 3 others like this.
  11. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We set out a bit late at 9 and headed back to the road thru Bira the 189 km to Makassar.

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    Initially there was little traffic and we headed north west and along the sea. There is a history of boat building here and there are quite a few on the shore between the garbage!

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    There is a lot of traffic and almost constant urbanization and a stream of traffic. Several of the villages had roadside hand pumps with regular benzene. We also passed many villages drying the seaweed from the nearby beaches. We also passed the greenest rice fields we have seen yet.



    This 39 km to the main road at Jalan Poros took 90 minutes. This included 30 minutes at the gas station waiting in line at the 2 pumps that were in use. We passed other stations during the day and though not as bad all had lines. There is no gas in Bira except from water bottles on the side of the road.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  12. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    On the main road the traffic was almost constant, but mostly moving. The flow is hampered by cars driving for some reason at 20 km per hour that need passing, but there is an oncoming stream of vehicles as well. There are slow moving scooters and tug tug and horse drawn cars as well. Add to this scooter boys who think they are in the moto GP in passing close to you in both directions and the cars oncoming who are often half in your lane. We have an aggressively defensive style that serves us well in this situation and though intense we survived unscathed. We passed huge salt farms as well.

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    We stopped at 1300 after 4 hours and only 90 km for lunch of fried chicken! The guys there wanted a photo Op.

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    The traffic after entering the city was actually much better as there were finally 2 lanes. Because of Ramadan the hotels are empty and we could get a room at the 4 points Sheraton for 45$. We paid more for the sketch cold shower no flush toilet place in Bira. They have a nice pool area on the 9 th floor and even their own mosque. We had a simple dinner in the hotel restaurant.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 3 others like this.
  13. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We had been contacted by a local rider Aditya, who had seen our friend Jo’s post on What’s app Overland Indonesia thread. Jo was letting people know to watch out for us. Actually Orvar is on this stream and so even he was sending us messages about this guy looking for us.



    We had only planned one night here, but we could not miss the opportunity to join in the annual Hari Lebaran celebration to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. On the first day of Lebaran you go from house to house of the senior relatives.



    We had a convoy of 10 vehicles. Aditya with his wife Isti, and the very cute Mika chauffeured us all day. You greet everyone with “Selamat Aidil Fitri”. We were warmly welcomed by the entire family and fed very well at each of the 6 stops. This was a very special day for us to experience!

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    We did not eat dinner of course, but met up with Aditya, Isti, and Mika for breakfast. Well at least we ate as they are parents and up at 630 so have eaten, plus it is day 2 of Lebaran and they have a lot of food to get thru again today! He also took us to a station that sold 98 octane and also on th route out of town.


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    SmilinJoe, Bunyip1260, MaNDan and 8 others like this.
  14. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    24,292
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    wow. overwhelming hospitality!

    thanks for sharing.
    Saralou likes this.
  15. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.

    Amazing!! We were very warmly welcomed!
  16. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We are headed north, but by the central route that is supposed to have less traffic and also leads us to the Toraja region with its unique culture. The plan it to get 193 km to the lake at Singkang.


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    We set out on the main road north in fairly light traffic. The turn off is about 28 km from the hotel.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  17. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The traffic here in the countryside is worse actually and this was accentuated when we hit the curvy tight road up over the mountains. There are swarms of scooters who pass dangerously and we are stuck behind a line of 10 cars behind an old man driving the corners at 16 km per hour. It took over 20 minutes for us to get past him.

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    SmilinJoe, MaNDan, Saso and 1 other person like this.
  18. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    The rest of the day at least we made 45-50 km/hr. The middle section of the road is more sweeping curves, but the last is much straighter and we made better time. We stopped after 2 1/2 hours and 90 km for a drink and then made the last 90 km in 1 1/2 hours.

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    We arrived to the town and there was quite a bit of traffic jam. The first hotel we tried was sold out, but luckily the second had a room left. It is petty intense riding with all the noise and honking and people parked in the middle of the road and the scooters whizzing past. We did not get lunch and both the restaurants near by are closed due to the holiday. In the end it was ramen in the room and a roll of Oreos. There was some riveting TV!

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  19. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We had breakfast at the hotel and there were actually other foreigners, which we have not seen in ages. Today we are going to the culturally unique Torajan Area.



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    The first order of business for the day was to find the ATM type that works for our card and this was easy as we passed one after 5 minutes. Then to buy gas. This was easy, but they only had 88 octane “premium” and no pertomax or max turbo (92 or 95). It was ok as we have a half tank of turbo. The first 64 km to Rupang took 3 hours as it was a continuous line of traffic and was exhausting.

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    We stopped here for a cold drink and then headed north with much less traffic and especially very few scooter maniacs. The road condition is pretty good in most places except in the towns. This is a mostly Christian area and there are a lot of churches.


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    SmilinJoe, Bunyip1260, MaNDan and 3 others like this.
  20. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,932
    Location:
    July 22, 2012 start RTW from Vancouver, B.C.
    We entered the Toraja region and the traffic was thicker again. We had booked into a home stay in a traditional Torajan house, but found that her google listing, her bookings listing, and maps.me are all incorrect. After 45 min of driving around very hot, tired and extremely frustrated we finally called her for instructions.

    These were go south to the Catholic church and turn right and go across the bridge and then turn left and then turn past the restaurant. This was all good until the turn left… this leads down a one lane road to nowhere and then deteriorated and we turned back.


    Another call to the owner and a “meet us at the bridge”. She rode up on a scooter “a right turn” off the bridge. Seriously we are pissed and hot and tired. Luckily for her she is a very nice woman and the house is very cool. She must know her listings are wrong since she gave us the GPS coord some other travelers gave her, but a bit late now. That said she served us tea and sesame cookies and then we had a nap before dinner. This was a very nice home cooked meal on our patio.

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