I wanted to leave at 8am but it was pouring with rain so I ended up leaving at 10am. Not an ideal time because of the heat.
Before I left I got breakfast at the Sunshine Hostel which was weird. I have no idea what it was! There was some rice and some strange green things with a pancake type texture and no flavour, but the strangest thing had to be the green slimy things, they also had no flavour but the texture was not at all to my taste. The fruit was nice…
It was difficult being back on the bike after a week off. It took a lot of mental strength to find the will to keep going and push on. It was drizzling and I decided to wear my waterproof jacket. A questionable decision! It was so humid and of course I got very sweaty very quickly and ended up wet on the inside anyway.
The ride was beautiful, I passed rice paddy after rice paddy, moved through beautiful countryside and really felt like I was getting off the beaten track. Unfortunately I have very few photos to show because it was pouring with rain. It was dripping off the end of my helmet, spraying up from the road and coming in sideways from the passing traffic. When the wind picked up a bit the jacket did the job I was hoping it would and stopped me getting hypothermia. Ok, it wasn’t that cold, but it is easy to get a chill when you are soaked through.
I got to a point were the road was all dug up and after cruising downhill for a while there was no way I was going to turn around and go back up, so figuring that Indonesian road works aren’t anything like UK ones, I decided to just push the bike through mud.
One one hand it was a good decision. I had made it through and I was back on track, but on the other hand I now had sticky mud everywhere. It got all into my breaks and they were making a horrible scratchy noise. I was also covered in mud.
There appeared to be lots of ceremony’s going on today, and everyone was dressed up in their finest clothing while I passed by looking like a drowned rat.
I was following the directions of maps.me which had been fine, it had taken me off the main roads and down some pleasant back streets, but that changed when it took me down some badly paved, lumpy tracks. They were going slightly downhill and as I was rolling along very slowly praying I wouldn’t fall off, I thought I was happy to not have to come up them. I missed a few turnings because they didn’t look like turnings, one of them went down a really steep hill towards the river. When I got there the river was raging over the road. There was a small group of people there who, through some gesticulation, managed to get across the message that the river was over the knee and too dangerous to cross. It was flowing too fast for me anyway.
So I had to push the bike back up the steep hill and back over the rough roads which I had been happy to leave behind. I now had to find an alternative route around the river which took ages because I found myself on off road tracks. Priscilla is not built for off-road, and nor am I really. One of the tracks was made up of rocks and pebbles and it was impossible to cycle on and pretty hard to bush the bike over. I was really out in the sticks now. There were so many dogs and they all started barking madly as soon as they saw me. I got chased a few times, I really didn’t like that.
I came to a road which was closed for ceremony and a nice girl gave me an alternative route to get back to the main road and finally around the river. It was another broken up track, but I could see the main road ahead and a light at the end of the muddy tunnel. I had to use some of my drinking water to clean my brakes as I was having big problems with the mud and little stones in them.
It was great to be back on a paved road and it finally stopped raining. But the downside of being on the main road was that it was super busy. Lots of big trucks and clouds of pollution from their exhaust. The exhaust comes out of the right side of the trucks and I remember thinking that was good because it’s blowing away from me, but I forgot about he trucks coming the other way…
I felt disgusting. Humidity was at 100% and it was hot. I was dripping with sweat. covered in mud and grit and exhaust fumes.
I had to stop and get a Fanta and a bar of chocolate to replenish my energy levels. The road had hills but as with most major roads they are well graded and I didn’t have to get off. This time I was killing a lot more hills than killed me. I was staying in higher gears for longer than normal, and I was getting to the top without too much effort.
I had planned a big day of about 80km, which would have been fine if I hadn’t encountered swollen rivers and off road tracks, but it was getting on and I still had 30km to get to my destination. I was pretty tired, so when a man on a scooter waved at me and shouted if I needed a place to stay I screeched to a halt and said yeah why not!
It was another generous Australian, Ashley from Perth. He is married to Ayu and they have two lovely kids, Louis and Georgia. I got a much needed shower, I was sweating uncontrollably and I had to stand in front of the fan for a while until I cooled down. I played with Georgia while I got a steak cooked for me and then Ayu went to the local market and we had nasi goreng, satay and noodle soup for dinner. It was great. I got really lucky today!
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