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Old 10-23-2013, 02:42 AM   #61
RDT953 OP
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PB gets some TLC

The motor had been getting a bit noisier and I suspected it was due for a valve adjustment so booked the bike into Bajawa Honda for a full service, check up and tune and a new back tyre. All work completed promptly including new rear brake shoes and only $35 total.



After returning to Bajawa Honda with all luggage on-board for some photos I headed north for Riung. The road winds up into the mountain spine that runs all the way down Flores and the engine now tuned and serviced was running both quieter and smoother and the new brakes and tyre were welcome additions on the downhill runs. The road is pretty beat up for much of the way so the bus and truck operators choose a longer route.

I went past groups of men carrying spears, some walking and others on motorbikes, all heading in the same direction towards Riung. Later I came across another group stopped on the side of the road with a bike leaking fuel from a split tank. They were trying to patch it with soap without any success. I remembered that I had some JB Weld two part epoxy in my kit and in a few minutes it was all repaired.

Biker in need of help photo R_JBWELDTOTHERESCUE.jpg

I stopped to buy water and a snack from a small village shop and noticed this church.

 photo 8edfa54d-4f89-4453-9e82-a5e5a4995677.jpg

No matter how humble the dwellings in these tiny villages there is invariably a grand house of worship for whichever branch of the faithful holds sway.

I pushed on until I caught sight of the north coast and then stopped for a break in the shade.

Riung from mountain pass photo R_RIUNGCOAST.jpg

Biscuit break photo R_TEABREAK.jpg

Made my way down the road which was very steep now; at times it's more of a controlled fall off a cliff than a ride down a road and found the Liqueen Cafe for a late lunch of Spanish Omelette and coffee, delicious and just $2.20.

Lunch at Liqueen photo R_LIQUEENLUNCH.jpg

The owners kid was bugging the hell out of me, climbing on the table and jabbering away so I put Nemo on and set the laptop on another table.

Watching Nemo photo R_LIQUEENKID.jpg

Looked around for a place to stay and found Tamri Homestay, an absolute bargain at just $8.50 a night.

Tamri Beach Homestay Riung photo R_HOMESTAYTAMRIBEACH.jpg

Lounge photo R_TAMRIBEACHHOMESTAYLOUNGE.jpg

Bedroom at Timur Beach homestay photo R_TAMRIBEACHHOMESTAYBR.jpg

Used the rest of the day to edit photos and to catch up on the RR.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:05 AM   #62
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Absorbed

Rob, This is one of the best journey reports I've followed for a long time. Not only covering your PB progress but keeping us entertained with some great pictures of local people as well as the scenery. Your descriptive meal stops make Nathans constant biscuit remarks in his book make it appear that you both travelled in different places. When do you find the time to do the updates?
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:38 AM   #63
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Well thank you

Glad you're enjoying the RR Tony San and thanks for the feedback. As you rightly guessed it's very time consuming and quiet a bit of work so it's good to know that it's being well received.

Where does the time come from? Well I had a bit of a rest day in Riung so used that for some catching up and today has been pretty easy as well, just an hours ride this morning and then a couple of hours chasing the possibility of getting my visa extended here in Labuan Bajo and choosing a tour to go and see dragons. I've done some editing of pics today and currently in restaurant with free wifi to upload pics and video.
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Old 10-25-2013, 02:39 AM   #64
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Laugh The Road Less Travelled

On leaving Riung, regardless of the destination the advice is to head east and then south to Ende to get back to the good road the easiest way possible. I considered that option for a split second but quickly concluded that it wouldn't be in the spirit of "Following the Front Wheel" and besides I'm on a Postie Bike so rough roads hold no fear for us.

Bayu (owner of the homestay I was in) told me that on the road to the west along the north coast, the first 30km were very bad but after that it was good road. So west it is then. I'm so glad I decided to go that way, I had a fantastic day, and here's why.

The road starts out pretty bad but gets worse soon enough.

 photo R_CRAPPYROAD.jpg

Long downhill washed out sections of dirt and equally long washed out uphill sections.

 photo R_BARRENHILLS.jpg

Bits where the road has collapsed.

 photo R_WASHOUT.jpg

But rewarded with incredible views of calm shallow bays that are fished by man and monkey alike. I was never quick enough with the camera to catch any monkey action, they are hunted for the table in these parts so understandably are a might skittish.

 photo R_SHALLOWBAY.jpg

I came to a village not more than 8km out of Riung and saw this lady weaving under the house. I signaled that I'd like to come over for a look and was invited in. After getting permission I took some pics and video.

 photo R_WEAVER.jpg

The weaver near Riung Flores from Robin Thomas on Vimeo.



Then produced a print for her which had the usual effect of spinning her and her friends out completely. She started yelling instructions at one of the younger girls who raced up the steps, inside and then came out with an A4 size card with these pics on it.

 photo R_PICFORWEAVER.jpg

She was clearly pleading with me to make a print of this card which of course I did. I have no idea of the importance of that card but she was overjoyed to have a copy.

I continued on up the road stopping for pics and to rest the body from time to time.

A gratuitous shot of PB

 photo R_PBOVERBAY.jpg

Followed by a shot of engineering excellence.

 photo R_ENGINEEREDSOLUTION.jpg

About half way along the dirt section I came upon a tourist "Eco Lodge" which was fortuitous as it's Flores Coffee time.

 photo R_4POHONCOFFEE.jpg

A nice place run by the lady in the pic above and owned by her and her French husband. Seems he's in France drumming up business and she's holding the fort. It's a nice place, very remote though and a bugger of a drive to get to it.

 photo R_4POHON.jpg

The road now was good gravel and I was making good time getting all the way up to 40kph at times. And then almost at the 30km mark exactly.

 photo R_SEALED.jpg

White lines and everything and all to myself. I was fairly flying along now and making good time. Look at that road and the views and NO TRAFFIC, this is bike heaven

 photo R_ABANDONEDROAD.jpg

Riding over a bridge a splash of bright colours caught my eye, laundry day by the river.

 photo R_LAUNDRYDAY.jpg

Passed through a number of villages where the materials used in house construction are a blend of traditional and modern.

 photo R_MIXEDSTYLES.jpg

Continued on a similar vein until the small town of Reo and then the road heads inland along a river where all sorts of activity are on the go.

 photo R_BRICKFACTORY.jpg

The road stayed in remarkably good shape apart from a few small sections where the tarmac had broken up or been destroyed by land slips. I was now climbing some serious hills again with several first gear sections. There are masses of terraced mountain sides for rice production. I've put pics of this in on other days so will leave them out here.

It was getting on for lunch time and apart from the fried banana breakfast I'd not eaten so stopped at this mobile Bakso Kitchen for a fortifying soup. Great value, a beef stock with noodles, beencurd some veg and two boiled eggs. I don't like the beef balls they put in so opted for the extra egg. A good feed for $1

 photo R_BAKSOSTOP.jpg

Mobile Bakso Kitchen from Robin Thomas on Vimeo.


After this the road enters a high altitude valley completely given over to rice production and harvest was in full swing. By this time I was in light rain so sorry but no pics. The rain got heavier so the wet weather gear came out for another test. It's a suit I picked up at Biker7 in Japan and it's very good. The jacket is a nice bright Honda red; with that and my white beard the kids along the sides of the road must have thought Christmas had arrived early.

I get all sorts of reactions on this trip, mostly it's a friendly "hello mister" yelled by one and all and a big wave. Sometimes it's a shocked "whoa" but on a couple of occasions I've had kids turn on their heels and bolt as fast as their spindly little legs will carry them. Not sure what that's about but Simon, whom I met on the ferry to Larantuka did say he had at first thought I was a priest!

I thought I might make it all the way to Labuan Bajo and probably could/should have but I saw and decided to stop at this homestay about an hour before and in the mountains above the city. Note to self, avoid like the plague any homestay with a 2 year old. The kid cried all bloody night.

 photo R_HOMESTAY.jpg


So now kicking back on the deck of a restaurant overlooking the rocky islands dotting the shores of western Flores Island. tomorrow I go to those islands because, there be dragons.
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RDT953 screwed with this post 10-25-2013 at 04:28 AM Reason: Add video
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:11 AM   #65
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Don't leave them out. I somehow never tire of seeing the terraced
rice paddies and it's been over 50 years since I saw my last.

Keep it coming. I'm really enjoying the tour, and the food. It's
almost like watching Anthony Bourdain.
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:09 AM   #66
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Respect for what you are doing, and even more for how you are doing it.

Involvement with locals (as one of them, not as an air-conditioned tourist)
can be hard for paranoid westerners like me to achieve.
Your approach shows it is possible, and the benefits of blending in.

There was a comment about the slowness of the Postie, but that is one of its advantages - time to watch that
lizard crossing the road, and see all the other little details that the 1200cc gang ride past (or over).

Ride slow - see it all.


Cheers,
Bernard
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:47 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus121 View Post

There was a comment about the slowness of the Postie, but that is one of its advantages - time to watch that
lizard crossing the road, and see all the other little details that the 1200cc gang ride past (or over).

Ride slow - see it all.


Cheers,
Bernard
Really, that says it all. Keep going mate, us armchair-adventurer wannabes are savouring every moment.....I wonder what happened to the midwives?
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:38 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus121 View Post
to watch that
lizard crossing the road, and see all the other little details that the 1200cc gang ride past (or over).

Ride slow - see it all.


Cheers,
Bernard
Last time on my trans-sumatran trip I lost my ATM so I'm kinda short of money. Thank goodness in Indonesia there are roadkills everywhere to survive.
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:38 AM   #69
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Dragons

Dragons you say. I see one every day, one of the disadvantages of living with the MIL. Rob, if you don't see one, you can have her with pleasure.
Your pannier bags look quite substantial, where did you get them Rob?
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Old 10-27-2013, 04:11 AM   #70
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really enjoying the full reports mate! keep em coming please!
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:31 AM   #71
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Totally agree!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus121 View Post
Respect for what you are doing, and even more for how you are doing it.

Involvement with locals (as one of them, not as an air-conditioned tourist)
can be hard for paranoid westerners like me to achieve.
Your approach shows it is possible, and the benefits of blending in.

There was a comment about the slowness of the Postie, but that is one of its advantages - time to watch that
lizard crossing the road, and see all the other little details that the 1200cc gang ride past (or over).

Ride slow - see it all.


Cheers,
Bernard
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Quote:
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.... I get bored going in a straight line.
I see a curve in the road..... I get excited. I might even turn around and go through it again.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:48 PM   #72
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Alive and well in Sumbawa

Thanks for the words of encouragement and the feedback. I have a more substantial update pending but need faster internet speeds to upload pictures to the bucket.
Arrived in port after a brilliant ferry crossing and booked into a cheap hotel. Then got a call from a member of the Honda Tiger Club in Bima asking if I'd come up to Bima so a quick change of plans and off to Bima. The hotel refunded most of my $$ so no problem.
More to follow.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:12 AM   #73
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Thanks for the words of encouragement and the feedback. I have a more substantial update pending but need faster internet speeds to upload pictures to the bucket.
I'm really enjoying hitching along with your ride - subscribed.
I know it's a lot of work generating a report like this, but your pain is our gain.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:14 AM   #74
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Here be Dragons

Got into Labuan Bajo (LB) and found a hotel that had secure parking for PB and was far enough away from any mosque that I wouldn’t be hearing the call to prayer at all hours, at $25 a night it was more than I wanted to pay but I figured it was worth it to keep the bike secure and to get some sleep.
The waterfront of LB is a tourist strip with shops and food outlets catering to western tastes. It’s also a popular dive destination so it has plenty on offer for big boat tours of 2 or more days. I didn’t like the feel of the place but it does have lots of free wifi. 
With some help from locals I found the immigration office and collected all the documents but couldn’t find any agent who could act as a sponsor for the extension. The visa I have is a “Social and Cultural Visa” good the first time for 30 days but with 4 x 30 day extensions that can be applied for in country. At Kupang there was an agent who for a small fee would have orgsnised it all for me but during my time in Kupang it was Muslim holidays and the immigration office was closed.
Went shopping for a tour to see the dragons and found that Rinca Island tours were being pushed rather than Komodo. Rinca is closer and safer to get to in the small boats and is an easy day trip. Later at the hotel I was chatting to some radio technicians who service the national park radios and they reckoned Rinca was a better option as well. One of the technicians took a real liking to PB and asked if he could sit on it and get a photo taken. Of course he wanted to buy PB as well so I took a pic and joked with him that if the bike was gone when I returned from the island that his pic was going to the police.
 photo R_PBADMIRER.jpg
It pays to shop around for these tours; I was quoted 650,000rp, 750,000rp and finally 250,000rp. Everyone is selling essentially the same tour where the passengers pay their own park entrance fees etc. I was sharing my boat with a couple from Germany who were good company so all in all it was a good day.
Approach to Rinca Island
Arriving Rinca photo R_RINCAAPPROACH.jpg
Crocodiles this far west?
Croc Country photo R_CROCSTHISFARWEST.jpg
The entry gate to the park.
PIC OF GATE
We had been assigned our guide and protector back at the pier and after paying all the fees at the office we were on our trek. The 3 of us had decided we were more interested in the trek on the island than the opportunity for a swim and snorkel on the way back so we opted for the longer of the two treks on offer. Our guide was excellent with good knowledge of the dragons as well as the other fauna and flora in the park and a good sense of humour. The German bloke was asking all sorts of serious questions about the growth rates and the survival rates of the young dragons and other really sensible stuff. I asked the guide how old they were before they grew their dragon wings and learnt to fly. At first he just looked at me and then he went into some detail about these being Komodo Dragons and they don’t grow wings. I persisted and asked if we would see any that breath fire then; no sir these are Komodo Dragons, not that sort of dragon. Then he caught on that I was taking the piss and had a good laugh.
Anyway we had a good trek, saw some dragons and a massive beehive swinging from a tree branch.
Dragon in the wild photo R_WILDDRAGON.jpg
Beehive swinging photo R_BEEHIVE.jpg
Also saw some dragon food. Apparently the dragons sneak up behind the poor beasts and bite them in the marriage tackle with their foul poisonous bite. They then wait for the buff to die of the infection and then home in for the feast.
Dragon Food photo R_DRAGONFOOD.jpg
I gave the tour guide a hefty tip as did the German couple for putting in the extra effort and we were back to the boat for the swimming, lunch and trip back to LB.
 photo R_GUIDEANDPROTECTOR.jpg
Took in the sunset over a lovely avocado milkshake at one of the free wifi places and then off to a warung for dinner of chicken, potato and rice.34000rp
 photo R_WARUNGDINNER.jpg
Still a bit peckish so down to the next warung for a chocolate and condensed milk pancake 8000rp
Pancake cooking photo R_PANCAKECOOKING.jpg
Pancake cooked photo R_PANCAKERTE.jpg
Early to bed, tomorrow I take the ferry to Sumbawa Island to meet up with a motorcycle club and to see where the front wheel takes me.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:30 PM   #75
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Andy Strapz

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammutetzsidecar View Post
Dragons you say. I see one every day, one of the disadvantages of living with the MIL. Rob, if you don't see one, you can have her with pleasure.
Your pannier bags look quite substantial, where did you get them Rob?
Got them sent over to Kobe from Andy Strapz in Australia. He's got a website.
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