Day 383 Bukittinggi – Sungai Penuh (Indonesia) / motorbike GS Dakar RTW overland adventure traveller

  • Left – 8.30am
  • 23rd April 2015
  • Miles rode – 192 (307km)

What a waste of time it was setting the alarm for 6.30am as the mosque over the road started the ‘call to prayer’ at about 5am and woke me up! New rule to myself – don’t stay at any hotels that are within 100 metres of a mosque anymore. When I travelled through the Middle East and Pakistan I didn’t feel this way, I think the tones, awful noises and close proximity I find myself to them here in Indonesia are the reason. There have been occasions when the call to pray was enjoyable when the Muezzin (person who recites the Adhan) had a pleasant voice.

After suffering the torturous noises coming from the minaret for what seemed like an eternity I eventually got up and prepared for another day riding south. The problem this morning was that none of my riding clothes were dry so I had to suffer riding in them until the morning sun dried them out. Wet clothes, coffee and tightened the main bolts on my bike. 

Before we left and as has happened every morning here in Indonesia the hotel guests and random people all want their photo taken with us so another 10 minutes delay in getting away, do they think I’m famous or a freak (no comments needed)!

I was in a great mood this morning as we pulled away, even though it had been a tough and long two days riding I was really looking forward to the mountains. Earphones in and the Stone Roses…

We took local roads again and soon found ourselves riding around another massive lake, beautiful with jungle clinging onto the surrounding mountains. As the previous day’s riding was tough we decided to not push it today and arrive at our destination mid afternoon, well that was before Lyndon decided to hang a left as the road was at a higher elevation, the road was narrow and we wound our way up to 1,600 metres passing many villages. 

The heavens opened at midday and for 45 minutes it rained very hard, I did the sensible thing today and put my wet weather gear on. The rain was so heavy in places the mountain side had been washed onto the narrow road which made dealing with the many twist and turns a challenge. The skies cleared and once dry’ish we stopped for lunch in the middle of nowhere. As we put our helmets on to leave it started raining again.

All afternoon we were in the mountains again with even more switchbacks than the morning, we were surrounded by jungle and tea plantations and the rain came down on and off until we arrived in Sungai Penuh at about 5.30pm, a long day. The rain didn’t detract from what has been a great few days riding. My boots are still soaking.

Like everywhere we’ve been there are no tourists and very poor hotels, we chose the best hotel we could find but it was only when we had checked in I realised I could hear the local mosque and ‘call to prayer’, I broke my new rule on the first night! Where are the ear plugs?

We’ve travelled nearly 700 miles (1,100km) over the last 3 days without once going on a main road over every mountain between Medan and here, it’s been hard work but amazing. Up early, ride all day, food and early nights!