Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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-   -   Papua New Guinea To Kathmandu by Ural sidecar (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ride-tales/papua-new-guinea-kathmandu-ural-64028)

bokad 2 May 2012 06:24

Papua New Guinea To Kathmandu by Ural sidecar
 
Wrong way to Kathmandu I should say.

Was sitting in a small town Florida bar, had a few too many (those old people mix em strong!), and that Bob Seger "Katmandu" song came on. Seemed like a great idea, just to say you've driven to Kathmandu. So...
We started the trip about a month ago to ride our Ural from Papua New Guinea to Kathmandu, Nepal.
That was the plan in general anyway. We've started in the wrong direction. Began in Indonesia and drove away from Nepal. But will still go to PNG then back across Indo to Nepal. The going has been slow. We may not make Nepal at all. Or we we may get there and decide to keep going all the way back to Russia. The only limitation is our patience and endurance.

It felt weak to post anything before we had some miles behind us. So it's been a month now and we've made it from Jakarta to Bali. We're slow travelers you see.

I write poorly and mostly for my own memory. Some thoughts may be unrefined, blunt, or offensive.

Encouragement, comments, and angry rants all welcome and appreciated.

I wanted to post something here because the HU website and videos have been such a big help to us. Will post updates here every so often but will be keeping the main thread at ADV rider.
Papua New Guinea To Kathmandu with Ural sidecar - ADVrider

Pictures
--------------------
Best Of:
Indonesia Bike Trip April 2012 - Best Of - lotsapics' Photos

Best Of Shown As Pins On A Map:
SmugMaps

All Photos (900 and counting!):
Indonesia Bike Trip April April 2012 - lotsapics' Photos

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/...-plan-v1-L.png
Proposed route with my excellent Microsoft Paint skills.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/...-to-ship-L.jpg
Boxed and ready to fly!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG0096-L.jpg
If you want to spend time with some pretty girl on your trip, it's safest bring your own!

markharf 2 May 2012 07:11

I don't mean to be glum.....but I see places on your map where there are no roads, and at least one route that no one, as far as I know, has succeeded in following.

OK, maybe I'm too glum. Do you have a plan? The fact that you're out traveling around with a beautiful woman while I'm sitting here at home suggests you're far more intelligent than I. So....what're you going to do when the Ural clutch fries (as it will)?

Great photos on the ADVrider link. Looking forward to seeing more familiar places.

Mark

pecha72 2 May 2012 10:16

Your plan looks interesting to say the least! I am personally gonna try to do some more travelling in that region, buy a local scooter and go (but when, is yet unclear..!!) For me, Indonesia was just fantastic, but I did not even get to see a lot. I think it´ll just get better and better, once you really get off the beaten track.

To Borneo and Sulawesi (especially thru Borneo, on a sidecar)... that is going to be adventurous for sure. But then from Timor to the Moluccas, to Irian Jaya, to PNG. Haven´t even heard of anyone doing that on a bike, nevermind on a sidecar! Would really be interesting to hear, how this turns out (boat connections, etc).

Thailand to Burma to India/Bangladesh, well that probably ain´t gonna happen on your own bike... (but I´m not saying you shouldn´t give it a go at the border!)

Going to be one hell of an adventure even if you could only do half of that route you´ve drawn! Good luck on your trip, and I surely hope your bush-mechanic skills are up to this :rofl:

bokad 2 May 2012 16:59

The paint map was just a dream. Enough to get started. We'll take the rest as it comes. Burma we'll do without the bike and ship it around to Bangladesh. In theory. Nothing's for sure until it's done.
The clutch we'll deal with when it comes. Locals are very resourceful. Who knows what they can fabricate and scavenge. Maybe from bamboo. ))

We look forward to visiting those places! Holed up in Bali now for a bit because it;s such a lovely place and there's things to take care of.

Quote:

Originally Posted by markharf (Post 377565)
I don't mean to be glum.....but I see places on your map where there are no roads, and at least one route that no one, as far as I know, has succeeded in following.

OK, maybe I'm too glum. Do you have a plan? The fact that you're out traveling around with a beautiful woman while I'm sitting here at home suggests you're far more intelligent than I. So....what're you going to do when the Ural clutch fries (as it will)?

Great photos on the ADVrider link. Looking forward to seeing more familiar places.

Mark


bokad 2 May 2012 17:07

Absolutely, scooter is the way to go here. It's the right size, price, and speed. I'm glad that we came in low season as we even have some of the "on the less travelled track but still touristed" places to ourselves.

Agree on Burma. Bummer but oh well.

We actually started in Jakarta and are in Bali now. We'll head across the bottom islands (Flores, etc...) as far as we can before boating to Papua. Not much for roads there so should be short. Then boat from there to Sulawesi. Sulawesi looks ok as far as driving. Then boat to Bornea which I;m not so sure about then Sumatra and up to Malaysia.

There seems to be regular car ferries to most places and where not I'm hoping to buy my way on to a cargo boat large or small. Can't wait till we get to that part of the trip!

Quote:

Originally Posted by pecha72 (Post 377580)
Your plan looks interesting to say the least! I am personally gonna try to do some more travelling in that region, buy a local scooter and go (but when, is yet unclear..!!) For me, Indonesia was just fantastic, but I did not even get to see a lot. I think it´ll just get better and better, once you really get off the beaten track.

To Borneo and Sulawesi (especially thru Borneo, on a sidecar)... that is going to be adventurous for sure. But then from Timor to the Moluccas, to Irian Jaya, to PNG. Haven´t even heard of anyone doing that on a bike, nevermind on a sidecar! Would really be interesting to hear, how this turns out (boat connections, etc).

Thailand to Burma to India/Bangladesh, well that probably ain´t gonna happen on your own bike... (but I´m not saying you shouldn´t give it a go at the border!)

Going to be one hell of an adventure even if you could only do half of that route you´ve drawn! Good luck on your trip, and I surely hope your bush-mechanic skills are up to this :rofl:


bokad 3 May 2012 16:01

Cross post about one of our best experiences.

--------24 April 2012----------------
Kalibaru to Sukamade.
90km - 6 hours.

Sukamade is a beach in some natioanal park. It's often called turtle beach. Reliably, year round, you can touch giant sea turtles, collect their eggs, and play with/release the freshly hatched 50 at time.

The guide books says the road is rough with many river crossings. My pride is still hurt from hiring the 4wd car for Bromo. I'm determined to make it in the Ural. The tour operator thinks we're idiots and trys to disaude me. I'm pretty stubbon. They agree (heads shaking) to let us try as long as they follow us in a 4wd. Anna rides in their Landrover and the guide hops in my hack to show us the way. He's noticably nervous with the oncoming traffic and lack of control. Sidecar is on the wrong side for Indonesia so he sees the oncoming first and gets the closest pass to busses and trucks. We stop by a lovely fishing village. Colorful dual outrigger canoes. Since we're going to the beach I didn't account for mountains. Figured it would be just flat and rocky. Wrong. Mountains right before the coast. Steep and rocky. This was never a real road. I don't know if the boulders we're driving on were placed or just what was left when the dirt eroded away. It gets very steep and very bumpy. We have to keep up speed or there's not enough torque in the Ural. A few times we stop on an incline and go (literally) flying to the right when I don't slip the clutch enough at 4k RPM to get moving again. A few times it feels like we might tip backwards over the rear tires. The road is scarily uneven in the worst places and there's some puckering "sidecar's gonna flip and crush us both" moments. Anna was in the sidecar for a bit but I make her get out and the guide back in. He's more replaceable. Even the Land Rover is in 4wd low and crawling along. Scooters loaded with illegally harvested bamboo ('cus it's a national park) easily pass us in both directions. They're small and light enough that they can avoid or slip between the worse spots.

Suprising everyone (myself included and especially the guide), we make it up and down the mountain. Ural and bones intact! Just 2km more to the beach. I feel like a hero. Anna agrees. The guide says he's never seen someone drive a full size bike there before.

Then there's the river crossing. There was a bridge there once but it washed away the night after it was inaugarated. And I give up. It seems that there's no way for the Ural to cross it without a snorkel, some pontoons, and a scuba mask for me. We park the Ural and all hop in the 4wd. So close...

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2165-L.jpg
He's faking that smile. He told me so.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2259-L.jpg
Starting to get further from the beaten track.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2208-L.jpg
Ural porn at the fishing village.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2237-L.jpg
Relaxing

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2285-L.jpg
Stopping here.

25 April 2012
--------------
Sukamade

This place was so freaking amazing that we decided to stay another night. I'd stay a week if we could. The accomodations are basic (no phone or internet, power part time, cold shower) and termites determinedly built penis like outcroppings from the wall over the second bed. Then it collapses to dust and they begin again. At least three times a day. Structural engineers they are not, but very determined. Judging by the the pile of dust they've been at this for some time. Who cares about termites, we're here for the turtles.

The beach is a paradise from the movies. Soft sand, waves rolling in, mountain jungle back drop, and not a soul but us. No other tourists, no guides, no locals. Just us and 2km of jaw dropping beautiful beach.

We return to the jungle and the forest rangers outpost. Get a bucket of 50 baby sea turtles to release back to the sea. There's a perfect time of afternoon to do it, when all their predators are busy with other things. Otherwise they have a terrible survival rate. Little turtles and turtle eggs are unfortunately delicious. Monkeys, boars, birds, dogs, everyone is willing to take a bite.

All the little ones are squirming on top of each other in the bucket. Writhing and eager to go home. They know they are close. They know which way the sea is. They can't see it but they feel it. We release them one at a time first. Incredibly quick and cute, flippering themselves to the waves. Face them the wrong way, behind a tree, under a log, they never hesitate about which direction to go. I set themon the sand by the handful. So damn cute! Decide to race two of them at once but they refuse to cooperate and take opposite paths.

It's been a fabulous day. Will rest for a few hours before the night time search for giant turtles.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2475-L.jpg
This beach is ours.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2404-L.jpg
Private beach.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2293-L.jpg
So so so so cute!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2335-L.jpg
Bucket of turtle fun!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2353-L.jpg
Anna surveys her good work.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2355-L.jpg
These dudes are on a mission!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2375-L.jpg
Almost home.


25 April 2012
--------------
Sukamade - Night
There's bars on the windows of our room to keep the monkeys out. They loiter around the camp buildings. Eating fruit and chasing each other. Crashing through the trees. We' ll go down to the beach after dark to search for giant sea turtles laying eggs. Lights disturb them so you search in the dark. Looking for their tractor like flipper tracks coming from the ocean or scanning the sand for their dark, slow moving, 200kg (400lbs) hulks. They appear as a LARGE black spot against slight less black sand. When you find them you wait patiently. It can take hours for them to lay and cover their eggs. Over 100 little white ping pong balls at a time. Then you collect so they can hatch months later in safety. Momma turtle not so smart, you can grabs the eggs as they drop from her (uhhh whatever) and she doesn't notice. She'll cover the empty hole all the same. After the stress of birth giving is past you can touch, and flashlight and photo before they slip back in to the sea.

When you're tired from searching (it is a dark 2km beach) you can sleep on the sand. Sky full of stars and waves rolling in.


It's an amazing experience. Remote, off the beaten track, hard to get to (uhhh, repeat much?). Not many people go. But it's worth it. High season for tourists is the summer months. Go outside of then and you can have the place to yourself.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2443-L.jpg
Sadly, riding is not permitted.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2555-L.jpg
Turtle farm where they plant the eggs!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2504-L.jpg
Turtle tracks in the day time.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2608-L.jpg
That's alot of eggs.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2578-L.jpg
Fly dude fly!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG2430-L.jpg
Careful!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/...IMG2435-XL.jpg
Like participating in animal planet!

RTWbyBIKE.com 4 May 2012 02:40

Great keep on riding! :thumbup1:

bokad 26 Jun 2012 08:10

The roads on Flores, Indonesia are sublime!

From:
Wrong Way To Kathmandu - A Sidecar Misadventure - Part 2 - Indonesian Island Hopping - ADVrider

The Roads on Flores Post
-------------------------------
I'm getting ahead of myself here. We've reached Larantuka, the end of Flores. We only felt the need for the truck from Bajawa to Ende and the rest was a smiling sidecar slide.

As I may have mentioned once or thrice, driving on Java was a special sort of hell. Most likely designed by the dark lord to punish you eternally for past vehicular sins.

Flores roads though have been a dream. There is one great 800km highway that snakes from one end of the island (Labuan Bajo) to the other (Larantuka). It's fresh smooth blacktop courtesy of an Australian aid project. A dream ride. Curvy, empty, and with amazing scenery. Winding along the sunset coast with it's sweeping views and crashing waves, through forests of coconut and palm, and a cool breezes in your face as you pass towering volcanos. The road is almost empty, you see a small bus or truck maybe once a day and even cars are 15 minutes or more apart. No horses or peddle carts. None of the monolithic mega trucks and busses that try to lumber over you on Java. An occasional wild monkey. These are some of the best bike roads I've ever seen. All elements in place.
It reminds me why I ride and what I love. Any day on these roads would be a good one.

The two best sections were Ende to Maumere and Maumere to Larantuka.

Ende to Maumere is very curvy, taking you up and around the mountains.
Maumere to Laurantuka is straighter with long sweeping curves as it rushes along the coast. I even sustained 90km/h for a bit. That's a first for us in Indonesia!
The driving was so good, the scenerey so beautiful, the entire experience so pleasant, that I didn't want to stop for gas or pictures.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/...-roads-3-L.jpg
Around Bajawa. There be curves!

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG4063-L.jpg
A less curvy section.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG4537-L.jpg
Amazing views.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG4505-L.jpg
A rest stop.

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG4526-L.jpg
Maumere to Larantuka

http://lotsapics.smugmug.com/Travel/.../IMG4531-L.jpg
Maumere to Larantuka


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