March 28th-30th, 2006
Not much going on, I did get a chance to dive the Yongala. The Yongala was a cargo ship that went down in a cyclone 80 years ago killing all 117 on board, plus some famous race horse. You can’t penetrate the wreck because the bodies were never recovered and it’s considered a living grave site. It can be somewhat of a challenging dive, not only is it a deep dive (almost 90 feet at the bottom) but the current is very strong, you have to hang onto a guide rope to the ship itself and once on the ship you have to stay as close to it as you can. We swam up the starboard side (right) against the current first, and came back on the port side. The swim back was more like a ride back, I felt like the sea turtles in the movie “Finding Nemo” The swim up took about 15 minutes the ride back took 35 seconds. The second dive to me was much more enjoyable; we stayed on the deck of the ship where most of the marine life is. I thought the dive was good but not what everyone made it out to be.
March 31st- April 4th, 2006
Winding down the trip, the riding is essentially over; it’s just getting from point A to point B, most of it on highways. I spent a few nights in a town called Mooloolaba. Nothing special about this town except it’s nice and peaceful, on the ocean and gave me one last chance to get a dive in. The government sunk the missile cruiser HMS Brisbane about 9 months ago and made it a dive site. Unlike the Yongala this one you could enter, they cut about 50 holes in the sides so no matter where you were in the boat you could always see a way out. On the second dive we entered the ship down the smoke stack into the engine room. We swam in the berthing area past the toilets (great photo opportunity if I had a camera) up into the fire control room. One of the things I found interesting was on the fire control panel the button to push to fire the missiles didn’t say FIRE; they said KILL, that kind of says it all. Brisbane is only an hour south of hear will be heading there to make arrangements to ship the bike and myself to Bali.
April 5th-10th, 2006
Major change in plans, the family is having a surprise 80th birthday party for my father I decided that I couldn’t miss this for any thing, also one of my best friends is having a major personal problem, and I needed to look him in the eyes to tell him every thing will work out and if he needed me I was there, I hope he knows that and that I love him like a brother. OK enough mussy crap, so instead of making plans to Bali I made plans to fly home for a few days. Other then that just did a little riding around Brisbane, nice town however too big for me; guess I’m just a small town boy at heart.
April 11th- 25th, 2006
The surprise party was a HUGE success; Pops couldn’t have been more surprise! We met at a golf course and played 9 holes then had a party at the club house. I can’t remember the last time all the Hutsons got together, Sad as it may be, I think it was my mom’s funeral back in 83, anyway it was great, good times, lots of laughs, a few tears and in the end I still got beat in golf by a 80 year old, blind in one eye (not really) old man!! Come to think of it he was riding with Aunt Pat I wonder who was keeping an eye on the both of them? Maybe I didn’t get beat, I just got out counted??? No, I suck at golf, bottom line a memory of a life time, and I only had to wear the pink panties once (long story).
I have to admit it was great to be back home, time went by way to fast I didn’t get all I needed to done or didn’t get to see half the people I wanted to, but I have to also admit I was itching to get back on the road.
April 26th, 2006
The flights went well, at least the flights from LA to Sydney and Sydney to Brisbane. The flight from Chicago to LA was the most uncomfortable flight I think I ever had! First of all I requested either a window seat or an end seat of course I got a middle seat. No one was sitting on either side of me so I figured “this won’t be too bad I’ll just move after we take off.” What I didn’t know was the flight was being held up waiting for plane that was delayed and had people making a connecting flight with our plane. Every one got on board and I said to myself, I had lucked out the last two empty seats were next to me, then I saw two VERY large woman walking sideways down the passageway, I just hoped I missed some empty seats somewhere but when they stopped at my row I knew I was in serous trouble, the look the flight attendant gave me behind there backs told me all I needed to know. Now I’m not the smallest person, I got out of my seat and the first one, after putting in a rather large bag of food, squeezed by lifting the arm rest, taking up a ¼ of my seat, I then sat down and the other one Plopped into the outside seat taking up another ¼ of my seat I had no were to place my arms because both armrest had to be up, they both needed seat belt extensions to buckle up and before the plane took off they broke out the feed bag. Between bites they were talking about how excited they were going to LA for a Bible Revival. Of course we are at O’Hare so there is a 20 minute delay the gateway and another 10 minutes before we took off. As soon as the Captain turned off the seatbelt sign I told the lady on the end I had to get up for the bathroom. She smacked her lips (I don’t know if it was from the chicken legs she was grazing on or out of discuses for me asking to get out. I thought she was going to pull the seat in front of her down on top of herself trying to pull herself up. The flight attendant saw her trying to get up and helped her out of her seat. When I got to the back of the plane, I told the flight attendants that I was going to stand in back for the flight. They said they felt bad for me and that all my drinks would be free, I said thanks but all I drink is coke, one of the attendants kind of chuckled and said “to bad” We started to joke around and I asked if it would be too obvious if I had my picture taken sitting in my seat with the two of them, they laughed at the idea but said they couldn’t take the picture, I’m sure they thought I was going to write the airlines or something. All went well for the first 3 hours then one of my fears came to light, the Captain turned on the seat belt sign! I walked up to my seat, both were sitting there reading their bible, they had settled down very nicely, so nicely that their arms were almost touching. I said sorry I had to sit back in my seat and again I got a dirty look, helped her out of her seat, sat down and again she stood next to her seat looked back and plopped into it. They then started to read the bible to me, I sat there very calm, didn’t make any smart ass remarks (I’m 35000 feet above ground in rough turbulence, I’m not going to take a chance and piss the big guy off. There was only 30 minutes left by the time the Captain turned the seat belt sign off so I just stayed scrunched in my seat until we landed. I had several people pat me on the back with their condolences as we walked out. All part of the trip!
April 27th- May 1st, 2006
When I got back to the hostel, the bike was right where I left it I lost a day, so the 28th all I did was rest because of jet lag. I spent the 29th and 30th cleaning the bike, I hadn’t heard of any quarantine inspection but I wasn’t going to take the chance. My plan was to go to the airport on the 1st and fly to Bali. WRONG, another FU*(*%*(Q(#*%_ing holiday! These Ausies have more holidays then any other county!
May 2nd, 2006
I got the bike to Hellmann Worldwide Logistics first thing in the morning; they had me take the bike to DGM (dangerous goods management). They weighted and measured the bike, asked how much gas was in it, and told me to go back to Hellmann’s. (At a cost of $110) The DG inspector told he would forward the dangerous goods bill to Hellmann. Back at Hellmann’s Sue told me every thing was done I could walk across the street to customs, have them stamp my Carnet and I could be on the way, All under an hour and a half. The total cost of shipping the bike was around $600 after all the BS fees. Again just about the same price as my ticket. Speaking of my ticket, I was forced to by a round trip ticket, seems they have the same rule as New Zealand; you have to have a ticket in and one out, after the BS in New Zealand I just paid for the round trip.
May 3rd, 2006
Both I and the bike made it to Indonesia in one piece. I met some guys on the plane who come to Bali all the time; they hooked me up with a hotel close to the airport. You pay $25 US for a 30 day visa right at the airport. I got to customs first thing in the morning. They sent me over to a company called KLM kargo, no one spoke English there but I got across to them I needed to pick up my bike. I could tell right away to no one moved very fast. The man got out a work sheet and started writing down all these numbers 900,000 “warehouse fees”, 700,000 “documentation fees”, 600,000 “unloading fee” 800,000 “other”, all in total there was about 3,000,000 in “fees”( this comes out to just over $300 US). When I questioned the “other fee” by pointing at them and shrugging my shoulders in better English then it should have been for not able to speak it he said “documentation fee”, I shook my head no and pointed to the “documentation fee” already listed. He then said (in good English) “warehouse fees”, again I pointed out the “warehouse fees” on the paper. Once he said “unloading fees”, I took the form he was filling out and the bill he was filling out and walked out the door with out saying a word. He tried to call me back but I just kept walking. I studied the form and it was pretty much like any standard Special Import form, fill in the blanks. I walked back over to customs and asked where the person in charge was. They pointed me over to a building about ½ block away, when I got there I asked to see the supervisor in charge, as it turns out it was the Region Captain or General or what ever title he holds. He spoke very good English and I explained to him I didn’t mind playing fees that were due and fair however I would like know what I’m paying for. He told he I could fill out the form myself, he even helped me telling me what went where. He also told me the warehouse fee should be around 600,000 and the documentation fee around 300,000 (both being just under $100). I walked back to the customs office with my paperwork all filled out, I was asked to sit that it would take a little while, I knew what game they were going to play, so I smiled, took my shoes off, got out my book, put my feet up and started to relax. Every now and then someone would walk by and give me the sign like “just a little while longer” I would just smile say “no problem” (every one knows what that means) and just kept reading. The guy from KLM walked in a few time, sure wish I knew what they were saying about me. I think what broke them is when I smiled at them and reached in a got out one of those just add water meals. All of a sudden they walked up and said “finished”, I put my meal away, paid my 900,000 what ever and pulled out of there with a huge smile on my face. I almost expected them to tear the bike apart inspecting it, but they didn’t even look at it. The funny thing is if they wouldn’t have gotten greedy with the “other fee” I would have paid the rest of them. Pretty much wasted the day so I spent the time riding around the town taking in the sights and sounds.
May 4th, 2006
Once on the road I headed south to circle Bali, I was surprised to see how good the roads were, they were a few spots that sucked but by the most part not to bad. Bali is very crowded, there are very few spots where the roads aren’t lined with road side shops, stores, or repair huts. They do make good use of space, I saw this in other counties and towns that have road side shops, you will come up on say 10-15 “shops” along side the road and they are all selling the same thing and only that item, it might be soccer balls, mufflers, plastic air toys (this is a biggie) just about any thing you can think of, I wondered how they ever sell any thing or make any money, granted their overhead isn’t that high but still you would think they would spread out a little or mix up their goods
Some of the shops sell homemade furniture, the craftsmanship is just unbelievable; I stopped and watched an old man chisel wooden statutes with laser precision, I don’t know who or what was older, the man or the wooden hammer and chisel he was using, a true craftsman at work.
I do believe in the power of the mind, jinx or something, it’s happened to me a few times on the road. You will be thinking of something, next thing you know its happening. For example I was thinking how good it felt to relax a little and not have to worry about something jumping out in front of me like in Australia, Wouldn’t you know it not 5 miles down the road I had a group of monkeys run right in front of me, I thought great now I have to look out for wild monkeys of all things. I didn’t see any in Brazil, but with-in an hour of riding in Bali I’m dodging them. Why can’t any of the “good” things I day dream about come true? (hehehe we won’t go into those) That brings up another thing I have been meaning to write about. Why it is when you’re riding down the road at a good pace, roads nice and flat haven’t seen a car for the past hour in either direction when you see a car in front of you. As you get ready to pass all of course there is now a car coming at you in the other lane, after that car passes you get ready to pass again when the road now starts a big curves, up hill down hill, any thing it takes to keep you from passing the car, once you do get around it, the road goes back nice and flat and no other cars going in the other direction, talk about messing up a good run! I made it to Gilimanuk where you catch the ferry over to Ketapang on the island of Java. The rooms are nothing to write home about (even thought that’s just what I’m doing) but they run about 5 bucks a night so I guess you get what you pay for.
Now is a good of time as any to talk about the bathrooms here. For a toilet, you have a porcelain hole in the ground and you straddle it and do your business. They don’t have TP but they do have a bucket of water with a little plastic pot that you use to “clean yourself” Glad I was a boy scout and always come prepared, thank god for “Blaze wipes” or as most of you know them as wet wipes. Because you know “if you take care of your ass it will take care of you” You don’t flush these toilets, there is a flapper valve that you pour water from the bucket until it gets enough weight to flush itself. Now can just imagine, the shape some of these bathrooms are in, woman if you think are aim is bad when men stand and pee........................ enough said about that. The “showers” are something else, in the corner they build a square tub that is 3 feet high and 2 feet on the sides, you fill this with water and using the same plastic pot you used to flush the toilet you shower yourself by pouring water over yourself. The floor has a drain and that’s how you shower. Nice cold water.
May 5th, 2006
I just feel like I’ve just gone ten rounds with Ali, I am wiped out! As every bit as good as the roads were in Bali they were that bad in Java. The hardest riding I have done to date. I did 250 miles in 11 hours, fighting for every inch of road, never getting into 5th gear, spending most of the day in 1st or 2nd. The temperature was about 100, with humidity to match. The roads are paved but so full of huge pot holes, large rocks, and just plain junk, that you can’t take your eye off it for a second. When they do “patch” a pot hole they have a 2 inch tolerance, meaning they have to get within 2 inches high or low of the original road. The patches are worst then the pot hole itself. I would say the ratio of scooters to cars is 1000 to 1, from trucks to cars, 100 to 1 and from buses to cars 20 to 1. Think of New York City, for every cab turn that into 20 scooters, with shitty roads, all trying to get nowhere fast They carry every thing on these scooters, one guy had 3 dead goats, another 4 fifty lbs. bags of something, wood stacked 5 feet high or sugar cane sticking out 4 feet on both sides, how they keep their balance is beyond me. Almost every scooter is loaded with stuff or people, the most people I saw on one were 6, two adults with 4 kids. If you try to leave a little space in front of you so you can see any potholes or junk it gets taken up by 4 scooters. You just have to do your best and try to avoid the big ones. Here are the “rules of the road” for Indonesia:
RULE 1: Bigger vehicle has the right-a-way
RULE 2: Person with the bigger balls has the right-a-way
RULE 3: See RULE 1, bigger vehicle always wins!
The trucks have the exhaust venting out the sides, about chest high, so if you get stuck next to a truck you have the hot, smelly exhaust blowing on you. I only made that mistake once! I talked about how much I enjoy the smells of riding, I didn’t much enjoy Java, you are either riding in exhaust or smoke from someone burning garage. They have no concept of garage collection, there is garage everywhere, and people just throw garbage on the ground and walk away. I ended up making a mask to breathe in. Between the dust, exhaust and smoke I looked like Al Jostens (I know that’s spelled wrong) I was filthy, and I all I had to look forward to was a nice porcine hole, no TP, and a cold shower!
May 6TH, 2006
I was looking forward to sleeping in today but was awoke at 4AM by Muslim chanting or pray, it sounded like the loud speakers were in the room, as it turns out the call to pray is played on loud speakers four times a day starting at 4AM. There is just no going back to sleep after getting awoke like that. I’m sure that’s the idea. I took my cold shower and headed out. I took the northern coast heading to Jakarta, so I can’t say anything about the southern coast except they can’t be any worse. Today was the same as yesterday, 200 miles in 11 hours, hot, humid, and smelly. I’m told they have a good Toll Road in Indonesia, I even saw it, however they don’t let motorcycles on it, I can’t much blame them, and some of these scooters would lose a race with their own shadow. I was told you can save over 8 hours using the toll roads. If only they could have known what I would have paid to use them, but as I keep telling myself “it’s all part of the journey” The roads and traffic didn’t get much better; the few times I did run into open road with little traffic the roads where so bad I still couldn’t get out of 4th gear. There was one stretch of road, no traffic, no pot holes, but the road was like a wash board and 45MPH was all I could do and still keep my teeth. Besides not spending any money on roads or road repairs they also don’t spend any money on road signs! I bet in the last 2 days I haven’t seen 10 road signs, and the ones I did see were pointing to nowhere. I saw a sign the had an arrow pointing to Jakarta, they put the sign up but didn’t bother having it any where near a road, I guess if you were a bird you would know what way to fly. One sign said Jakarta 87 kilometers; it was only off by 52 MILES! None of the towns were marked either, so when you did get to a town you had no way of knowing what town it was, they must expect people just to know. In one of these towns I was going a whooping 15 MPH when I noticed a scooter to the side of me, the passenger was trying to cut the straps of one of my bags. Lucky for me he ran into a parked car (he forgot RULE #3). I was right outside of Jakarta when it started to rain so hard I couldn’t see 3 feet in front of me, I found a place to sleep and called it a day. I got a bar of soap and shampoo and took a shower in the parking lot, I also washed my clothes, and I can just imagine what the locals were thinking and saying. I also saw this guy on a scooter hit another scooter with two adults and two kids, every one got up and seemed alright however it pissed the crowed off and they started to beat the guy that hit the family, I mean a good old fashion ass whipping, I’m not so sure he was going to make it, a police officer was there and just turned his back and walked away so I wasn’t going to do any thing about it either.
May 7th, 2006
I don’t know if it’s because I’m an American, people don’t know how to read maps or what but I sure had a hard time finding the Harley dealer in Jakarta. I had a map and an address however when I showed the map or address no one knew where it was or pointed me in different directions. It only took me 3 hours to find it and that was only after I saw an A&W root beer stand and I wanted a cold drink, as it turned out it was only ½ block away from the dealer. Or at least the old dealership, they just built a new one and now this shop was just the mechanics shop. That was ok also I had to get some oil any way, as it turned out it was a blessing. I must say that this shop had to be one of the most professional shops I have ever been to. Very clean, well organized and knowledgeable. I was also surprised to see the number of Ultras they had there, seems like every one rides an Ultra here, god I feel sorry for them, it’s a big bike to ride here, I know after two days I was done in. All the front desk personal spoke above average English so I sat around bull shitting with them. I told them of my plans to have my bike serviced in Malaysia because it was the last Harley dealer for a while. They told me that dealership lost its franchise from Harley and was closed. I was thinking of having this shop do my service any way so I gave them the green light to service it. I think someone at the shop called the local HOG chapter (Harleys Owners Group, you might recall I met up with a bunch in Chile) and two of their members showed up to take me to lunch. Another piece of luck, I asked them to recommend a decent hotel near by when one of them offered me a private apartment, no charge, to stay in while the bike was being fixed. They also made some calls to the Road Captain for the group and set up a lunch meeting the next day to go over what would be the best way for me to go. We spent the day BS’ing, .and for the first time since being in Indonesia I relaxed. I called it a day. The apartment was very nice, a one room with a sit down toilet (OHHH YEAAAAAA), as it turned out the apartment was at a family’s business in a very secure compound and had its own 9 meter deep pool. But still had a cold shower, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the hot water heater on
May 8th, 2006
I met up with the road captain from the Jakarta HOG, he told me he spent the night making phone calls on road conditions on the island of Sumatra. I don’t know how they could be but he was telling me in some places they were worst then on Java. That I could handle but what he did find out is the ferries that connect Indonesia and Malaysia were not running out of Medan and that the ferries out of Dumai were questionable, seems like the two counties were having a pissing contest over some islands and every now and then they close the ferries down. One county will shut down one ferry; the other county will shut down the other one. So much for those plans, he advised me not to ride up to Dumai, they just couldn’t be certain when I got up there the ferries would be running. He did find a way around all this; I could take a ferry to Borneo (still a part of Indonesia, some might remember it from the first survivor series), cross over into Malaysia by land then fly from the Malaysia side of Borneo to mainland Malaysia. He said he set every thing up, even though it sounds confusing, it was the best and safest way to go. I figured it was their back yard so I best take his suggestion. I spent the day being shown around Jakarta. I tell you what, everyone has their hand out in Jakarta, and they have people at side streets that will stop traffic for you so you can get onto the main road, for a small fee. I asked who these people were and what happens if you don’t pay. I was told that the corners are controlled by gangs, they say who can work them and when, nothing happens if you don’t pay but if you take that way a lot they will remember you and it might take 30 minutes to make your turn. During rush hour (it was all rush hour to me) it might take you 3 hours to go 2 miles in a car.
One of the things I did notice though, of the very few cars I did see they were all top end cars, I didn’t see one beater or even a car over 5 years old, and I didn’t see any riding around with damage on them from wrecks. Not too many middle class in Java, either your very rich or your very poor. I also went to the Burma Embassy to apply for my visa for me and the bike. It looks like its going to take a bit of luck, from what I am told they don’t hand them out. I had to write a letter the Director of Defense explaining where I was going, where I was going enter and leave Burma, and what kind of bike I was ridding. I should know when I get to Bangkok.
Seeing Jakarta like this and meeting these people saved my experience of Indonesia, Bali was nice, if you’re going to come to Indonesia that’s the place to go.
May 9th, 2006
I was picked up in the morning and taken to the ferry in Serang, they had already made arrangements to have my bike there., By toll road it was only an hour away by motorcycle it was 3 ½ hours. As we pulled up to the entrance for the ferry a guy was waiting for us with all the paper work, all I had to do is hand him my ID and paperwork for the bike. Every thing else was taken care of. It took about an hour but the guy came back with my ID paperwork and tickets for the bike and me. When I asked how much I was told it was taken care of. I looked over to my new friends and they just shrugged their shoulders and gave me a smile. We ate lunch and they handed me a bag with bottled water, some dry tomato soup (they saw I kept some on my bike) and 8 servings of just add hot water chicken flavored noodles. They waited until I was safe on the ferry before taking off. I hope some day they come to the states so I can return their kindness. A special thanks to A. Pare, the first member of Jakarta HOG I met who showed me around town and took good care of me, Eka, whose apartment I stayed at and Syarif who made all the arrangements for me and the bike. He also gave me a contact number when I got near Kota Kinabalu or better know as KK. Also a special thanks to the whole Harley team at Jakarta shop, every time I saw my bike there were at least 2-3 guys working on it, they found a broken motor mount, replaced a few other small things and for the first time in a while I feel my bike is ready for its next leg of the journey.
May 10th, 11th, 2006
I’m on the ferry heading to Borneo; the water was like glass, not much happened. The ferry had open compartments with about 30 beds and a locker. My bed was right by the TV so I could lie in bed and watch TV. They had satellite TV with HBO and every thing. I did make a new friend, a little 8 year old boy I shared my food with, he had the greatest personality. I must say this about Indonesia people, they have the biggest smiles I have ever seen, especially the kids. Here they don’t have a pot to piss in, yet they seem more content with life. Another thing I noticed was even at 6 AM you could always find kids playing some game or another, soccer, baseball, kick ball, and didn’t matter they were out having fun. When was the last time you saw kids in the US playing like that? They are all to busy with their I PODS or X Box’s. Who has the right idea here? I wonder.....
May 12th, 2006
The ferry landed at 6AM in Pontianak Indonesia, no troubles with getting the bike, I noticed they also washed it, again thanks Jakarta Harley. I headed towards the border and Kuching Malaysia. The roads were good here (I was told they would be) and very little traffic, I actually got to look around while I rode, I took the coast road all the way up to Malaysia, well at least that was the game plan, when I got up there the road had been washed away by a flood a few days ago and they were still fixing it. I had to ride all the way back almost to Pontianak to hit the only other road that went to the only border crossing into Malaysia. I really didn’t mind, like I said the roads were good, the scenery was great and I was back enjoying riding. The crossing at the border was the quickest yet, under 15 minutes. The only bad mark on the day was, I stopped to get gas and while I was paying for it someone stole my Harley map off my bike. I used it since New Zealand and had a bunch of notes in it, bummer! While I was riding I also realized that the contact numbers Syarif had given me were inside the map, double bummer. Even with the detour I made it right outside of Kuching. The only damper of the day was I had no money! Malaysia went to an information chip on all their credit cards and ATM cards; with out the chip they can’t process the card. I guess these chips have all your information, banking, medical and personal, sounds like BIG BROTHER watching to me. Normally at the borders you can find someone to exchange money, you take a hit on the exchange rate but at least you have cash, I couldn’t find any one to exchange money. The few times I got gas I talked them into taking Indonesian money, again I’m sure I took a hit on the exchange but what are you going to do?
May 13th, 2006
What a great day of riding. I rode from Kuching to Bintulu, I took my time, and the countryside is beautiful. I realized today I was going to ride in a county not on my list. On the north end of Malaysia is a very small county called Brunei. Its claim to fame is all its oil and the sheik was once and still maybe the richest man in the world. (I wonder if I could get him to exchange some money for me)
May 14th, 2006
Another great day of riding. The roads are better then ever; the crossing from Malaysia into Brunei was a piece of cake, no more then 15 minutes. I rode to Muara in Brunei thinking I would take the ferry across over back into Malaysia, that would have worked except I missed the tide and at low tide they couldn’t unload my bike from the ferryon the other end. So I had to turn back and cross over by land. The only reason I didn’t want to do this was you have several boarder crossing; you start out in Brunei, cross over back into Malaysia, back to Brunei (for 18 miles) then back into Malaysia. I think this is one of the reasons they are so relaxed at the borders. I had a small problem at the last crossing. At each border you have to take a ferry across a small river, no biggie, however when I crossed over the last river I couldn’t tell and didn’t know it was a border, after the crossing I rode about 5 minutes. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some sign, my brain must have seen more then I realized because something told me to go back and read it again. When I went to read the sign again I noticed what looked like a immigration office, I stopped in with my passport and bike information, thinking it was the border crossing on the Malaysian side going into Brunei, The immigration guy kept telling me I was missing an exit stamp, I told him no, “I got one, it’s there somewhere” He then told me I was already on the Brunei side and was missing the exit stamp from Malaysia. Somehow I missed the Malaysian immigration and customs. I couldn’t see how, but I did, so I went back to the ferry, the guy kind of laughed and said “no exit stamp huh” I shook my head no. He told me I was going to have to go back to town, to get an exit stamp. I was thinking what town? The last town was pretty far back; sure enough I had to drive back 9 miles (I checked) for an exit stamp. I stopped some guy on a scooter and asked him where immigration was, he told me to follow him and took straight there, its a good thing he had me follow him it was tucked away in a strip mall, no signs, no flags, nothing. I got my exit stamp, went back across the ferry again, to Brunei immigration and on my way. There is no way any one would know to stop where for a exit stamp, I’m told they’re building a new immigration office right next to the Brunei one, didn’t help me, oh well just one of those things that make you laugh. The last border crossing went with out a problem, be sure I was looking for anything that looked like immigration. Syarif had given me a phone number to call when I got to the border of Malaysia, but of course that was with the map when it was stolen I just road into Kota Kinbalu (know as KK) I’m still running with no money what a bad feeling to have, I tried every ATM I saw, not knowing about the chip at the time, I was not very happy with my ATM people. So I will apologize for all the dirty names and nasty thoughts I had. Once in KK I found a hotel that would hold my US money until the morning and I could exchange it over. It was a good thing too, just as I reached KK it started to rain hard. I got good nights sleep knowing that in the morning I would have some money in my pocket
May 15th, 2006
First thing I did this morning was cash in some of my US money for Malaysian money, oh what a good feeling to have money I could spend! I next found an internet cafe and emailed Sharif that I had lost the contact persons phone number, that I had made it to KK and where I was staying. Fortunately for me he wrote me right back and gave me the number. I told him that I would call the contact person as soon as I got back to the hotel. It took me 15 minutes to walk back and by the time I got there I saw a guy in a Harley shirt standing by my bike, as soon as he saw me he walked up and asked if I was Craig the “Chicago lone ranger”, I guess that’s what they had been calling me in all their emails and phone calls. He told me Syarif called him and told him where I was staying. He was telling me they had 3 guys itching to meet up with me at the border and ride into town with me. I explained that had I lost the contact numbers and had no way of letting him know when I was close. He told me every thing was ready to go to fly my bike out in the morning to Kuala Lumpur or better know as KL and that we had to run to the airport to drop off the bike and paperwork and then in the morning someone would pick me up and run me to the airport. Again like clock work when we got to the airport someone was waiting for us and did all the paper work, I got my plane ticket and was ready to head off in the morning. The cost of flying me and the bike to main land was under $300. After the airport we met up with some of the guys I was too met at the border, I have said it before bikers are the same no matter where you come from. That night w e went and had dinner Malaysian style pizza, with the guys and their families. It was a great time. One thing odd did happen, we were eating out side and right at dusk a million moths or something came out and started to fly around the lights, they got so bad we had to turn off all the lights outside, however in 15 minutes they were gone! I was told they come out every night at dusk for 15 minutes then leave. After that we didn’t see one. This is what the trip is all about!
May 16th, 2006
My ride showed up right on time, short trip to the airport. I flew AIR ASIA, it’s a no frills airline, no free service but you can buy something to eat and drink if you desire. One thing about AIR ASIA is they don’t assign seats, it’s a first come first serve sort of thing. You should have seen every one crowding to the door as they got ready to open up. I could tell by the size of the plane that there was going to be plenty of room so I just sat back and watched. When the open the door it was off to the races, I slowly got up and grabbed my bags, walked to the plane and got a row all to myself towards the back, as it turned out when we unloaded we unloaded from the back, hehehe remind you of he tortoise and the hare? When I got off and picked up my bag a guy in an orange Harley shirt walked up to me and asked if I was the Chicago lone ranger, I just smiled and shook my head yes. He told me he got a call from the KK HOG chapter and he was to pick me up at the airport take me to my bike and make sure I got on my way. Talk about service above and beyond the call of duty, what a network they have. It was a good thing he did pick me up as it turns out Air Asia had its own airport and the cargo airport was 65 kilometers away. Again as we pulled into customs someone was waiting at the gate for us with all the paper work, they walked us right in and in no time we were cleared by customs. He took me to my hotel and asked if there was any thing else he could do. He said that some of the guys wanted to meet for drinks later and they would be by around 7. Four guys showed up and we just went to a local pub and had a few drinks. They wanted to know if I needed someone to escort me out of the city in the morning I told them I should be fine I could see the only expressway from the hotel. At the end I couldn’t thank them enough for all their hospitality. I went to bed with a warm heart.
May 17th, 2006
I thought the roads over on Borneo were good; the roads on mainland were as good if not better then any road in the US. It’s a toll road but like in some of the other counties motorcycles don’t have to pay, in fact in areas that traffic really backs up they have special lanes just for motorcycles, how sweet is that. Also along the toll road under every overpass they have a shelter behind guardrails for motorcycles for when it rains. They have a sign with an umbrella and a motorcycle showing where they were. In a few spots where there were no overpasses they built shelters just for bikes. I made Hat Yai Thailand with no trouble. I am getting spoiled; again the crossing was under 30 minutes. It’s really not the rainy season here but it does rain at least once a day, like in Australia I don’t even bother to pull over or put on my rain suit I know I will be dry with in 30 minutes of it stopping.
May 18th, 19th, 20th, 2006
Made Phuket nice and wet, come to find out some typhoon has been hanging around China dumping tons of rain, just my luck. I hung around Phuket a few days and got some diving in, we saw and dove near “Bond Island” as it’s called. That’s where they filmed one of the James Bond movies. The hot spot in Phuket is Patong beach, tons of things to see and do. It’s sinfully cheep to stay in Thailand. You can get a one room beach hut with a fan for about $6 US a night. Meals are just as cheep and the food is very good. There are 100’s of cart food stands and the food is excellent, not really sure what I’m eating I just keep telling myself it’s beef. So far so good as to getting any kind of stomach problems, with the toilets they have here it’s a good thing! Weather still isn’t that great so I am going to head north to the east side of Thailand,
May 21st, 22nd 2006
Rode up to Chumphon, the roads are still great and the scenery is beautiful. I never realized how many waterfalls and caves Thailand had, I checked out most of the falls and explored some caves on the way up to Chumphon. Weather still sucks, what’s left of that typhoon just won’t go away. I hung around Chumphon for two days hoping for a break in the weather so I can get some diving in, again I’m around some of the best diving in the world and can’t get out, and that’s life!
May 23rd, 2006
Welcome to Bankok! There is so much to see and do here and again so cheep. I found a great room for 8 bucks a night, I know I’m splurging, I could have taken the one for 5 bucks a night but I have my own private bathroom PLUS a hot shower. The reason I picked this place was it has great secure biking for the bike, its right in the middle of the Banglamphu district. I will have to explore more of it in the morning.
May 24th, 2006
There really isn’t a way to describe Bankok, its one of those places you have to experience! Every where you go someone is trying to sell you something. You can pick up anything you want, up and including the kitchen sink! It’s the only place I know that out on a curb side store you will find a star war action figure next to phallic looking vibrator. The traffic is bad but not as bad as I thought it would be, but I still parked the bike; between he busses, taxis and Tuk-Tuk’s (3 wheel motorcycles with a large double bench for passengers that sound like a power saw) getting around is no problem. The problem comes from deciding where to go and what to see first. I hire a Tuk-Tuk to drive me around for the day ($5). The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is an architectural wonder! The craftsmanship that went into it is just mind boggling.
May 25th, 2006
Not a good day! I spent all day at the Burma embassy, they granted me my visa, but declined the visa for my bike. The bitch of it is they first approved it then disapproved it, don’t ask me why, maybe they really didn’t and they just said that to fuck with me, doesn’t really matter the bottom line is I have to come up with a way around Burma. FU&^&&%(K!! To top it all off I thought I friend my computer tonight but as it turned out it looks like I only fried my sound card. I was trying to plug in my headphones so I could play some music while I typed when I missed the headphone jack and touched the USB port jack. The screen when black, and wouldn’t turn back on. I let it sit for 30 minutes and the computer came on but went I went to play a song it says “can not open output device” when I went and looked for my sound information I couldn’t find it. So if any of you guys reading this is a computer expert and you have an idea what I can do or check please email me. I treated myself to a Thai massage tonight, and clean up those thoughts there was no happy ending :) It was very professional and damn did it feel good. You get an hour for about $4.00.
May 26th, 2006
Another wasted day. I spent the day at the airport trying to find a broker to ship my bike to India. When I went on horizons web site no one had posted a trip from Bangkok to India just India to Bangkok. Just before 6 I found someone that might be able to help me I have to fax them the bike information and the size.
My game plan is to fly into India, ride around there to Nepal, then ship my bike to Turkey avoiding all the middle east, I found one way I could ride it but even that way is a tad risky, to me its not worth it so I will just go over.
May 27th, 2006
I spent the whole day at the weekend market. WOW, they have over 15,000 stalls. I wish I knew what to look for they prices were great and the quality looked excellent. I just have no room for any thing. It was fun walking around watching people and looking at everything for sale. I did wonder what was fake and what was real. Some of art work on the carvings was just amazing. I saw a ton of stuff I like but in the end I didn’t buy anything. I was tempted with some of the jade. But again how could I tell if it was real.
Posted by Craig Hutson at May 28, 2006 11:11 AM GMT