An early capitulation

Trip Start May 13, 2013
Trip End Jun 01, 2013

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Monday, May 20, 2013

Rob and I set off on the first real leg of our cycle trip about 7.30 the next morning. Within two k's I was in extreme granny gear. The bike handles so much differently with a lot of weight at the back. Things were looking ominous. Eventually the terrain levelled and we pressed on. We started to climb about 20k's in and by kilometre 26 I had probably walked about 1k. It was actually quicker than riding. Rob was forging ahead but some of the grades were outrageous. Eventually by about k30 I was gone. Fortunately I flagged a passing bus and loaded the bike onto the roof and climbed up with it, up there with my new friends Donis, Petra and Herri (Harry Potter). We eventually caught Rob and over took him. About one kilometre on the road seemed to peak at the village of Melo. I jumped off the bus just over the rise at a roadside vendor and demolished a mizone. I phoned rob to tell him were I was, he was off the bike too, and walking but not that far away, he soon appeared over the rise and we rested for a while. I was not in a good frame of mind. We set off again with more riding,walking,riding till about kilometre 40 when my speedo told me we had climbed about 1200metres. We then encountered the mother of all descents. My speedo maxed about 60k/hr. we were overtaking vehicles. The road surface was pretty good although there was no such thing as a warning if there was a bit rough surface ahead so we had to watch out.
At 2pm we entered the town of Lembur where we were told there was a guest house. We couldn't find it and the town itself had a very unpleasant feel about it. Kids were driving us nuts, eventually we called in to the police station and asked if they knew where the guest house was. The policeman gave us an escort to the guest house but I was already forming an escape plan in my head to get us to Ruteng the next town where Lonely Planet said there was reasonable accommodation. We looked at the guest house agreed to load our bikes on the next bus that came along. We were informed however that that maybe another hour or two. We rode to main section of the town but the crowd was really annoying so we decided to ride on to the edge of town in the hope that they would leave us alone. No such luck. Eventually we haggled with a small truck driver to takes us to Ruteng, he wasn't real keen on the idea but I think the money persuaded him to take us. We set off but every little bus that was oncoming he would flag down and have a conversation with. I wasn't sure what was going on and it was starting to rain and rob was in the back. Eventually it dawned on me that he was trying to pass us off. Finally he persuaded a beemo driver to turn around and take us the 50 or so k's to Ruteng. This was a much better option as after we squeezed the bikes inside the bus and we got in we were dry.
The trip took and eternity and I wasn't in a good place mentally. I was feeling an early capitulation coming on, perhaps I am too old for this stuff now. We arrived in Ruteng about 5.30 in a fairly dishevelled state, I was feeling sorry for the kid who was sitting next to me on the beemo as I must have stunk of sweat. We found a hotel and I decided I needed a days rest as the road ahead was not looking good. I was entertaining thoughts of turning around and going back to the harbour by bus and head back to Bali and fly to Dili. I was not going to well.
We both crashed about 8pm and surfaced at 6 for a nice leisurely breakfast. LP had recommended some local sites including the famous hobbit cave which was nearby. The guy at the hotel fixed us up with a driver and by eight we were touring around in the "white lion". The art of car decoration is a local passion here and the white lion boasted several rear view mirrors a very loud sound system, all sorts of soft accoutrements gracing the dashboard, and a chain smoking driver who had no English. The drivers here revel in the most clever way they can obscure their vision. My personal favourite so far has been a completely uncluttered windscreen except for a huge spider web painted over where the driver would be looking. We toured until early afternoon (just have had a blackout) with the hobbit cave being really exciting. We ran into two of boat tour group there, one of whom was an Austrian archeologist who was really in her element. (Power has been restored). I was in a better frame of mind today especially after we discussed missing the first climb tomorrow by taking the bus to start of what we hope is descent to the coast. Not sure where were we will end up tomorrow but hopefully somewhere flat.
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denise on

hi Geoff and Rob
really enjoying the blog-sounds like a real adventure! An amazing climb so hope the rest is downhill!

bobkatabroad on

You are NOT too old for this! This is so incredible what you guys are doing! You should both be so so proud! Keep pushing!

Lots of cold beer, western food and smoothies will greet you in Dili!! And there's a pub which plays replays of AFL games so you can be like me and watch an exciting replay of the Richmond vs melbourne Game!

bobkatabroad on

PS do not bag out the DAWES Karra Kum

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