UK to NZ - Travelling Ent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by joshuwaa, May 9, 2017.

  1. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    He's back!

    Customs clearance went better than I expected and I picked him on Wednesday afternoon, I took the train to the agents office and they had the container sat by their warehouse ready to go. He was totally out of fuel so we had to use the spare they had lying around to get me to the petrol station but other than that he's all good!

    DSC02037.JPG Still upright! My strapping worked, against all the odds

    I don't have the final bill yet but it's working our at about 1400USD total, that's the very top end of my budget I planned for this shipping so not a huge surprise but I was hoping to keep it less. It was still the cheapest option to me. Flying from Kathmandu is cheaper, but only if you're planning ahead and not counting travel costs to get back there like I was.

    I rode around town with a big grin on my face after I picked him up. So happy to be back riding again, and Kuala Lumpur is a nice place to be doing it, cruising down the highway at 100kph not worrying about surprise pot holes or buses crossing the road with might of way. People keep flashing these orange blinking lights to, one on the left or one on the right to tell you which way they intend to go. They're super helpful.

    DSC02044.JPG

    Yesterday started the mechanical work, I got stopped by the police at a pop-up random stop point, on the way to garage. I wasn't worried until I realised i didn't have my license with me, then I thought I might hit an issue. They had a look at my passport instead and were chatting to each other, wondering what to do, then they saw the bike wasn't Malaysian registered and just waved me off, don't think they could be bothered with all that paperwork.

    I got a load done at the garage. I'm doing a lot of the work because the guy is so busy, it'll speed it up if I can prep everything for him. And to be honest I'd rather do all the work myself, I'm just not confident enough for some jobs like valves, or don't have the tools for the suspension, or the parts. The belly pan gave me some issues, it has saved my engine on this trip, there is no doubt, it would have many holes, but good god it doesn't half fall to bits. It took an hour to get off because the welding broke around the threaded section, so I ended up with a bolt secured through the whole with a round metal nut. It took an age to get a good enough grip for long enough to be able to turn the bolt out. I'm going to try and straighten it all back out, it's so incredibly fucked I'm not sure it can even be saved though. I'll take some photos today.

    Getting the rear shock out wasn't easy either. With the tyre off the bolts were all straight forward but the pre-load adjuster was designed before anyone thought this bike would have ABS. The ABS unit blocks you getting it out. I had to remove a load of bolts from surrounding parts to give enough play in the plastics to wedge it all out, no idea how I'm going to get it back in. He reckons the spring is probably what has gone, the pre-load still works so the gas is fine and the oil wouldn't cause it to be bottoming out like it is. Hopefully we'll be able to find a new, harder spring at a car mechanic he knows. Chuffed I got it out though. 2 Years ago I wouldn't have even considered trying that, I was only just starting to work on bikes and worrying about fairing plastic clips...

    DSC02060.JPG This is how I left him yesterday, ready for tyre change, suspension spring, valve check and new alternator gasket (to fix my bodge job back in Trivandrum)

    I'm going back in later today, hopefully the mechanic has had time to do some jobs so there's more for me to do, putting things back or prepping more.

    20180408_193711.jpg I'm really enjoying KL
    MrKiwi likes this.
  2. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
  3. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Another long break in updates, but honestly not a whole lot is happening, I'm still in Kuala Lumpur.

    The important thing is today marks 365 days on the road! A very surreal marker, I spent so long dreaming about the trip and never thinking I'd be one of those people that can say they've been on the road for a year. It doesn't feel all that long since I left home. But so much has happened that thinking back feels like way longer than a year. The strangest thing is it doesn't feel all that weird, each day is just as it comes, living "on the road" feels totally normal now. Setting down roots wherever I'm stopped, learning the local places and I'm settled. I expected, after a year, to feel like this intrepid adventurer, always on edge, living at the seams of civilization.

    The bike work has been a little topsy turvey. The alternator did get re-wound and installed again. The suspension however, proved harder. We failed to find a spring at all in KL of the right size. I started canvasing every suspension dealer in Asia and beyond with emails for options, stock levels and quotes. I eventually found a guy in Adelaide who reckoned he could get one in the post before the weekend (2 working days) fitted with whatever spring I liked! I bit the very expensive bullet and got him to fit me a 13kg spring to a HyperPro shock, and some emulators for the front forks while he was at it. He did indeed get it posted on that Friday (20th) but I haven't seen or heard anything of it yet. It's a public holiday here tomorrow so I'm fingers crossed for Wednesday.

    Once I knew there would be a delay I wanted to put in a few days riding, sick of sitting around in KL eating mcdonalds and waiting. I put the bike back together as best I could, the mechanic came up with the idea of just using some big spacers to compress the worn spring so it was useful and stopped me bottoming out, at the expense of about a third of it's travel. I took off East and had the biggest smile on my face. Finally back riding after weeks of sitting around. The highway across the country was glorious too, winding through the mountains, everyone on the road was fast, sensible and courteous, a very welcome change from India. I rode for 2 days to get to Terengganu in the North east, pretty simple, uneventful days riding, just melting in the heat wearing all the gear. I was setting off late and stopping early, just a very chilled couple of days enjoying the riding more than anything.

    DSC02071.JPG

    The third day I headed to the Elephant Sanctuary by Lake Kenyir. One of the dreams of the trip fulfilled, getting up close with some elephants. I was wary of trying any of these elephant places in SE Asia for their reputation, but I spotted this accidentally on the map and it hit all the marks of somewhere that wasn't trying to make money. It was cheap, not tourist focused and well out of easy tourist range. It was a fantastic couple of hours, the little "educational" dance show was a bit depressing to watch, but feeding them, then meeting 2 babies and having a little ride on a huge fella was a treat. There's 35 staff at this place and only 18 elephants, and the kicker for me was that a bottle of water in the sanctuary cost less than most convenience stores, they're not doing a very good job of making money off Elephants.

    DSC02104.JPG Getting a few sloppy kisses in the show. the 30 school kids watching loved it. Mostly because I am literally taller than the elephant. (I'm 6'5)

    That afternoon was some of the best riding too, through Palm plantations and jungle, on very quiet twisty roads. Just sticking my music on and enjoying the riding was exactly what I was after. Bliss after weeks of being stuck in Chennai then KL. I had a good chat with a Pakistani guy I bumped into at a petrol station. He was thrilled to hear someone had been to his country, and enjoyed it. Heading into Taman Nagar national park was a little odd. I'd expected a dodgy road through the jungle, maybe a little too rough for Donkey without his bash plate on (that was waiting to be fixed back in KL). When I got there though it was a perfect ribbon of tarmac into the jungle with hardly anyone on it. I arrived into the tourist town in the centre at a very packed hostel and made some friends for the night with the other travellers. The next morning me and a Scottish lass were the only ones of our dinner group left so we went off for a hike through the jungle, not as adventurous as it sounds when it's all pretty well trodden. It got less and less trodden as we went along though and started to remind me of meandering through forests in the UK dog walking as a kid. Except this was set in a dreamlike thick, sticky, jungle that felt very much alive and moving around us. Monkeys scuttled out of sight, insects I'd never seen before, and some I never want to see again buzzed around constantly.

    DSC02152.JPG

    A night time ride back to KL wasn't my smartest idea ever with no working low beam headlights. I could have just stayed another night, but I was convinced that my shock should have arrived (or would have if I didn't leave) and I could crack on with the repairs. It was pretty torturous though, slower than I'd hoped and more dangerous, I couldn't use my visor because it's all scratched up and glares impossibly with any light shining on it. I had to keep flicking the full beam off if I was facing another car around a corner, for fear they'd hit me in blindness, plunging me into the dark, mid-corner for a second or so.

    Surprise surprise: The shock hadn't arrived, and still hasn't. So I'm still waiting. When I arrived back in KL I went straight to the Mechanic (S4M Motorsport) for some nice news, they're closing. In 4 days! Shit. They had some surprise news from the landlord and a cockup somewhere meant they had to leave a month earlier than planned. So I couldn't work there anymore, though they did let me work in a corner for another day while they dismantled the place around me.

    DSC02205.JPG

    In the meantime the bike has developed another issue. Cutting out under load, sometimes, and seemingly only when it's hot. It's one of those magically issues that appears from nowhere, is super hard to reproduce and, I hope, will magically vanish. I spent 7 hours today stripping everything down, even getting the throttle bodies off to clean and check everything. Thankfully, I can do all this at Sunny's garage, they're happy to lend me space, tools and good advice so i'm not too worried about diving so deep, this is very complicated work for me. I couldn't find anything amiss though, I'm taking it for a test ride tomorrow to see if it still happens, it needs to get super hot so I have to ride for a while.... what a shame :)
    MrKiwi likes this.
  4. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    882
    Location:
    Tamaki Makarau, Aotearoa
    Congrats on keeping going for a year. Sounds like its not all plain sailing but perhaps thats what the trip is all about.

    From what very little i know about motors i would hazard a guess that intermittent misfire under load is more likely to be an electrical issue than a fuel issue. I'd start with the simple cheap things like plugs, caps, leads and such and see if that helps.

    Good luck with it anyway.

    Still enjoying seeing a vstrom on a rtw trip.
    MrKiwi likes this.
  5. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Well. After no updates because of nothing happening last time. Now I just got super busy. Riding almost everyday, barely time for facebook updates let alone nice long updates here.

    Here's a flash summary with links to facebook for more details and some photos. FYI You don't need a facebook login to see them, just dismiss it if it asks you, it's all public.

    The deadly problem of the bike cutting out simply vanished. After cleaning the intakes and injectors which weren't all that dirty, the problem never happened again. Just gone. I'll call it a win.
    The rear shock arrived from Aus and worked like a dream. My tushy is much more comfortable now.
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/962060803967854

    I headed into Thailand, met up with the NZ boys again and rode around for around a week. Up to the north for a little crash on the mud and back down again. Only around 2 weeks in total, i blitzed around.
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/966115720229029
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/973988566108411

    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/974023449438256

    Back down to KL and shipped out to Borneo, Kota Kinabalu. Hung around waiting for the bike a little, then shot off for some orangutans and camping!
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/983041598536441
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/983052635202004

    Then a massive ride, from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching in 3 days. Passing through Brunei (Country 28)
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/986659891507945

    A day off fixing some very dodgy stuff on the bike, a bolt rattling around the alternator!
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/987469981426936

    Then glued myself to the seat for more monster riding into Indonesia! Down to Pontianak, then to Kumai for the boat to Java. Unfortunately Eid meant there were no boats. Jumped on the bike again for a 2 day ride to Banjarmasin to try for a ferry there.
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/988214678019133

    Had a nice crash on the way there, fucked up my foot a bit but nothing broken. A moped decided to overtake even though I was right in front of him. We swiped right sides, he went flying, I stayed on.
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/986378001536134

    Finally getting the ferry from Borneo to Java, 22 hours of sitting in a vommit, cigarette smoke filled room. Then riding to Bali in a long day. And the fun of my gear lever end falling off. I went to change up overtaking and there was nothing there! I ended up gorilla taping an Allen key to the lever just for some purchase on it. It worked enough to get here at least.
    https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/991363117704289

    So nice to finally be in Bali. It's another one of those places that's been a mark on my map for years that seemed like a far away place. Now I'm here, on my own bike. I didn't get to see much yet though, it was dark when I got off the ferry and it's rained all day today. I was hoping to leave tomorrow but I still have some stuff to sort. Maybe one more day. That's how it all starts...

    My plan for the next for weeks is pretty straightforward. Get the chuff to Australia! My carnet expires in just over 4 weeks, my visa for indonesia in less than 3 and my bank account is showing signs of aging... it's almost dead. I'll cross Lombok and Sumbawa in around 3 or 4 days. Then to Flores for the Komodo Dragons! Some nice riding over to Ende where hopefully no ferry's will be delayed, I can exit Indonesia in around 2 weeks and spend a little time in Timor Leste. Indonesia feels like a place I can come back to very easily and it'll be exactly as I left it. Timor Leste sounds like a place that needs to be tackled by bike, so I'm prioritising it for now.

    I'm still going to be riding a lot, and wont' have much time for updates until Timor, when I'll probably be hanging around for weeks waiting for Donkey to be shipped to Darwin. If anyone has any idea what I can do to kill a few weeks waiting for that instead of paying a ton to live in Darwin I'm all ears!
    MrKiwi and oldbeer like this.
  6. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    London, UK
    Well I made it East! Finally over on Timor, my last Island in Indonesia.

    I spent a day off in Bali getting the gear lever fixed, first trying to find someone to weld it (it's aluminium) then giving in and drilling the end and screwing a bolt in there. It woks really well, it's longer than the old one so it's actually easier for me. I got the right side foot peg fixed too, the plate itself and the extender plate were both bent out of shape, but a vice and several heavy things fixed that.

    I managed to break my phone again getting caught in a massive downpoor, but it had been slowly dying on me for the last couple of months. So I grabbed a new one for cheap (a Xiaomi M1 A1 I'm quite chuffed with!) changed a load of my emergency dollars because I don't have a credit card anymore then shot off. I got the ferry to Lombok and arrived in the dark, struggled to find a hotel for a little while. It was a big dusty town with not much going on but I was just passing through. The next day I rode across in one constant traffic jam to get the boat to Sumbawa. These boats were pretty full too, but only a few hours for the crossings so it didn't matter so much. Sitting on the topdeck was nice, just watching one island disappear and another appear.

    [​IMG]

    Sumbawa didn't really have much going on, it was so dry, I was expecting tropical jungle and got something more like South India in dry season. I got to the east port town of Sape in the evening and tried to get some info on the boat the next day. It left when I'd heard, at 10am and I could get a ticket at 8am. There was sod all in this crappy town, I got a room right next to the port, had some cold rice and egg for dinner and tried to sleep with the bed bugs.

    [​IMG]

    An 8 hour ferry the next day was pretty torturous for the first 4 hours, until I realised there were 6 or so foreigners sitting on the top deck too, they'd caught a bus from Lombok all the way through to get to Flores the same as me.

    Labuan Bajo is the port town for west flores and it's pretty crappy, with a few amazing exceptions, a nice western cafe, some restaurants, and beer!

    I had a day off the next day, just catching up with the planning and blogging, eating some good food again and booking a tour for the Komodo dragons! It was a bit disappointing though, the rough seas meant we couldn't make to Komodo Island and had to settle for Rinca where we only saw about 4 Komodos. One of them did get in a fight with a tree full of monkeys though so there's that.

    [​IMG]

    Then I headed off east to Ende in one very long day, bumping in to some very random English guys making there way west in a taxi in the middle of nowhere. Ende itself was pretty crappy and I didn't hang around. I intended to go visit the colourful lakes on Kelimutu volcano, but when I got close I realised it'd been raining all night and was still super cloudy. The main road was all muddy, let alone the mountain road which I'd already heard was rough, so I passed it by. Then I intended to find a nice beach hut or something for the night, arriving at 2pm thinking of a nice afternoon lazing on the beach. They were all either super expensive or super crappy though so I just gunned it onwards to Larantuka. Yet another crappy port town. There was sod all to do here too, but with the world cup and the motogp on TV I had a good laugh with the hotel owner and all his friends.

    Flores itself is absolutely beautiful. Those 2 days riding across were some of the most gobsmacking of the trip, the views never stopped, the tarmac was great and never stopped twisting.
    Some photos here: https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/1003780006462600
    [​IMG]

    I got a ticket and onto the ferry to Kupang 4 hours before it even set off from Larantuka, that's how eager I was not to miss it. The next one is in 5 days and I can't afford that kind of waste of time these days. 18 hours later I arrived in Kupang at 2am. It might be my most brazen arrival yet, I'm usually an overplanner and overthinker, being very careful. Now I'd just arrived in a town at 2am, with nowhere lined up to stay, riding in my shorts and t-shirt with a rucksack over my front because there's no room for it on the bike. It worked out though, I pulled up at a hostel recommendation and not only were they open, there was a bunch of welcoming foreigners outside watching the football!

    I've been sat here all day today, barely leaving the hostel the owner cooks a mean omlette and the coffee is great, my application for the Timor Leste visa is in and I should receive it tomorrow, and I'll be heading straight off in the afternoon to make some ground toward Dili. I'm keen to get there and start organising the shipping, I've no idea when it can happen, how long it will take, or how much it will cost yet, and I'm pretty stuck without it.
    MrKiwi likes this.
  7. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    882
    Location:
    Tamaki Makarau, Aotearoa
    Hey Josh......what happened?