Monday, 27 July 2015

Road trip


So the other weekend I went with the brother in law and some of his friends for a trip to the west coast of Java and to the area know as Tanjung Lesung, which according to Google maps is around 180km from my house and would take about 5.5 hours. As we were all riding, there was the talk of staying over for the night and then returning the next day because the trip was a long one.

After being told to be ready at 3.15am, I was and so we headed to meet the friends and spent 20 minutes sat about outside a 711 and then we moved on again through the city to a petrol filling station where we sat about waining for an hour for the other riders to appear because they overslept. so by 5ish we were on our way. It being the week of Idul Fitry we did not anticipate too much traffic on the way or the way back but never discussed what it would be like at the coast.


Map of trip down to Tanjung Lesung.

We rode out of Jakarta, into Tangerang and kept going as the sun came up and headed into Serang which is around halfway to Merak, the port for ferries to Sumatra and then headed south. We came to a railway crossing and sat there eating Indomie and drinking coffee for a while until it was time to move off again. This was around 7.30.

From there we went through hills and valleys and just kept going stopping for fuel once until we could see the sea. Happily I thought we were heading straight to the main beaches of Tanjung Lesung and so I never noticed when everyone turned left and headed up a hill. It took my brother in law 20 minutes to catch up with me and turn around. He was going to see a friend up in the mountains somewhere. This took about 30 minutes or 20km going up and it got hotter and hotter. Once we were in no where, we sat outside someones house and drank some water. I was entertained by fighting off the ants that seemed happy enough to crawl on me and then bite me. Having sat there for about 45 minutes, we left. His friend was not there. So back down the mountain we went. By now everyone except me wanted to go Carita because the beaches are better. So I never saw Tanjung Lesung or the sea. We stopped at a restaurant for overpriced BBQ chicken and rice and then headed off again. 

Then we met traffic. Jakarta style in the rain at 6pm Friday night traffic. Everything had ground to a stop. We inched forward for about an hour getting no where fast until we stopped to decide what to do. It was decided to find somewhere to stay (there was me thinking that was sorted already) and so we ended up at some dodgy hotel where they wanted 480,000 for a single room with AC and 280 for a single room with fan, so 3 rooms for a million, which no one really wanted to pay as that was expensive. 
So again, everyone agreed that we should keep looking. It was 3pm by now. We had stopped to bitten by ants and to eat once. No time on the beach, nothing. I said we should give up and go home. This seemed to be met with approval and so we stopped for more fuel and headed towards Anyer to get the bigger roads home. 

However, this was met with even more traffic and after one hour we really were not any further on. Then to our delight (!) the police had shut the road and sent us up a tsunami escape route, which was a narrow broken road chock a block with cars and again at a complete standstill. Someone, I presume to be a local rode his bike around a house, to which every bike waiting did the same and this little path took us to a 60cm drop where we had to lift down the bikes to get back to another broken road. Carrying on up into the hills, we then met by more traffic snarl ups and so the bikes were directed through a load of banana trees for a while until we hit a T junction.


Slightly longer with more twists and turns on the way home

From there it was  a matter of riding over a few mountains, and keeping up with the brother in law who deemed it necessary to go a little quicker through the s bends and pot holed road. Happily by 5.45pm we were in Serang, drinking water and eating. That was one hell of a journey from the sea.

The next part of the trip home involved riding in the dark one a 2 way hole filled road being shaken and shook by the sheer bumpiness of it all until we reached a good road near somewhere called Balaraja where you could see the airplanes coming to land at Jakarta airport, however, we were still another 2 hours from home and it was 7pm by now.  The last part of the journey was far nicer because we reached streetlamps and big and in comparison well maintained roads going into Jakarta. Being more familiar with these we sped up and by 9pm, covered in soot, dirt, sweat and very hungry I arrived home. 

It was a long day. It was a long trip. It was a trip to the coast that never allowed me to see the sea, sit by it or even take a photo. It was a road trip. I spent at least 12 hours riding through the day. The bike seemed to cope OK and only used 9 litres of fuel for the 400km or so trip we did and only now does it need a service as it is making some noises. Friday will sort that out. 

Would I do it again? Yes but with somewhere booked first so that I could relax and explore while there and take it easier on the way home. But as bike trips go, it was great. 






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