3 April 2012
Mason Pine hotel to hospital place (Balai Kesehatan Saguling) by the lake and back.
5 hours. Not alot of km.
We woke up at the luxury hotel we had collapsed in to last night (the only hotel I could find on the map last night at midnight within a few hours drive). Nice views. Feeling renewd and confident. Sun is shining. Everything is green. I look over the map and find a bridge over a lake that may be interesting. Google says it's about 20km and 45 minutes. We set off at 1500. Plenty of time. The rain starts as we exit the parking lot. We follow an ever steeper and bumpier road.
I say road but what I mean is a road that was built (poorly) 50 years ago in a rural mountainous village and then left to the elements. Basically a steep incline and decline of washed out rubbled former asphalt with deep crevices and softball size rocks. Something that would be better if it was just dirt. + Rain. Driving on the dirt village path is faster than on this "road".
We start to have trouble going up hills. The Ural is hot and performing poorly. The gearing isn't low enough. We don't quite make it to the top of a hill. Run out of oomph. The surface is wet and stony. I stand on the brakes but we slide backwards. Finally come to a stop. Still half way up the hill. Have to smoke the clutch, rev to 4000 and let it slip to get enough torque to move up from this tilted stop. Let the clutch out too fast and the bike kicks like a horse, jumps feet to the right, almost throwing us in the ditch. Once you're going, can't slow down. Gotta keep the revs high. Thrown all over the place across the rough surface at speed.
The key it seems is to approach these hills at unsafe speed and never slow down. Sliding backwards down hills is scary. Front disc brake is useless when all the weight is leaning backwards. Rear drum brakes are always useless. Many hairy moments.
The road gets worse, the light gets dimmer. I think about some of the near cliffs we've edged down and realize that going back up seems very unlikely. Gotta press forward, hope for a main road somewhere. It's dark, there's no cell reception, we run out of gas, glad to have that spare 10l can under the trunk. It's not looking so good. We're thumbing through Lonely Planet vocab section to find out how we might ask a rice farmer if we can sleep on his floor and would he please save us stupid white people from ourselves.
We press and press. Finally cross a (Seemingly) huge, wide, smooth road. We take it. Not sure of the exact direction but this road is going somewhere! There's people, petrol, food, cell reception! Joy! Make our way back to the hotel. Dirty, wet, and laughing at our own stupidity.
p.s. Condensation, nature's way of getting water in to water proof places!
No real great pictures. The Ural almost tipping backwards over itself makes for a great photo op but bad time to be fumbling with the camera!
That hotel we found last night is pretty swank!
A rare flat spot and it's not dark yet!
Stopped for a much needed cigarette and coffee at the first post ordeal shop.
Night and home. We look alot better than I remember feeling!