Day 394 Pasuruan – Kraksaan via Mount Bromo (Indonesia) / motorbike GS Dakar RTW overland adventure traveller

  • Left – 8.30am
  • 4th May 2015
  • Miles rode – 87 (139km)

Pasuruan is NW of Bromo and I was told everyone approaches on a road from the NE. As I saw a direct road from where I was I thought I would do as I normally do and not take advice but ride and see, it must be ok.

I felt good this morning the bike started first time although she coughed and spluttered again leaving the hotel car park. I am a new man with feelings of responsibility for my lovely Dakar, I treated her with care and gently twisted the throttle, no more aggression from me. She responded well and after 20 minutes perked up and let me know she liked the new Mr Dan with full power. I let the small local bikes pass me I was no longer that aggressive biker.

I was heading for Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Mount Bromo, an active volcano that last erupted in 2004. Only a fool would ride a broken motorbike up a mountain! After maybe 15 miles the road started to climb from just above sea level, my new style of riding was smooth and as I climbed and swept around the many tight corners I felt I was writing calligraphy in the mountain side, the new caring, emotional Mr Dan was in love again and treating my lady with respect.

Only a fool would do this – to Mount Bromo and beyond, Buzz has his wingman Woody restraining him from foolish behaviour, where’s my wingman when I need him – Trev, where are you?

At 1,200 metres I arrived at the cloud, I sensed and saw the odd glimpse of the fall away either side of me, I was riding along a ridge and had there been no cloud I imagined it would have been a spectacle to see. At 1,900 metres I stopped and put a warm top on for the first time in months and at 2,400 metres the cloud broke as I arrived at the main viewpoint overlooking Mount Batok, the larger of the volcanoes in the area. It was a fantastic view of the volcano surrounded by The Sea of Sand below me. I dropped down onto the plateau below me on the steepest hill. 

Maybe my route wasn’t the one most people use but I couldn’t imagine the other being half as exciting.

The Sea of Sand at an altitude of 2,100 metres is area of 20 square miles surrounding the two volcanos, as I crossed the bike tried to throw me off a couple of times but I made it ok. 

It was 11.30 when I started to climb what I thought was Mount Bromo, I assumed the path the few other people were climbing was to a viewpoint to see Mount Bromo, I soon realised they were climbing Bromo and I was climbing the much higher Mount Batok! I really shouldn’t be allowed out on my own! Anyway I decided to keep my riding boots on as they had a good sole and ankle protection, my worn out converse wouldn’t have been any good. I climbed the very steep volcano which which peaks at 2,470 metres over the following 40 minutes and it was so hard I can’t describe how out of breath I was, my heart was pumping so hard I thought if I don’t stop I’ll have a heart attack. I nearly turned around on many occasions, when I was only 20 metres from the top I was in such a state I really did nearly abandon the climb. I arrived at the top having climbed the 370 metres (1,200 ft) totally exhausted, it was the steepest mountain, well, volcano I had every climbed. The view was amazing looking down at the lower Mount Bromo.

Nobody else climbed Mount Batok and I understand why!

Coming down was great and after a coffee I had to climb Bromo which peaks at 2,329 metres a mere 129 metre (423 feet) climb. Whilst Batok was higher Bromo is unquestionably more impressive. As smoke rises out of the crater with extremely steep sides, wow. I have no doubt the photos won’t do it justice.

I descended and when I was only 100 metres from my bike the heavens opened and for the next hour I sheltered under a tarpaulin with my bike. The rain was so heavy. I had good weather for the past two days and sun today whilst on Bromo, how fortunate I was. I couldn’t wait around all day however bad the weather was so I put the wet weather gear on and rode across the Sea of Sand, up the surrounding mountain and needed to descend back to sea level. I was very tired, had back ache and hadn’t eaten anything all day (sorry mum x). The rain was so heavy the road down was a river with water, stones and mud which had been washed off the mountain side all over the road. An hour later having hardly got out of first gear I was down and the sun was shining.

A while later I arrived at Kraksaan and could only find one hotel, guess what was over the road?