Java 1

(abbreviated post)

The chart
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The first day’s track, including the ferry over from Bali and the ride from Goris.
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We’ve saved talking about this until now, but Indonesia and Java in particular are famed and feared by long distance riders for the density, speed and all around craziness of the traffic. Java’s been called 1500 km’s of stop-start, death-defying riding. Now that I’ve had a dose of it, I agree. It’s very difficult. Three of the recent riders through had accidents.

I heard that was no speed limit in Indonesia, but that’s turned out to not be true. It’s 80km/hr, blanket. But it’s completely irrelevant, if there’s a chance for people to make progress when possible by going as fast as is possible, they do. The overtaking is incredible, it’s happening all the time, by trucks, buses but mostly bikes. Overtaking is done on road width, with no regard to oncoming traffic. Bikes are ignored in the equation, you’re forced to the shoulder continuously by cars and trucks coming down your lane, fast and suddenly. Bikes all around you are shooting for gaps 100% of the time. It’s like a high stakes video game.

So the first day above was all-around lousy. It had been bad on the previous islands in sections, but now it’s getting serious. But as I approached Lumajang, our first destination, things quieted down and we could finally stop for a photo
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The town. Arrived exhausted
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The second day was a short ride up to Mount Bromo. Fortunately the last half, up the mountain, was quiet as it’s a more-or-less a dead-end. The first half was murder
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The climb up Bromo was excellent. Tight hairpins on a small road most of the way. The day’s elevation chart. Click for numbers
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Nearing the top
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The mountainside
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The final village just a couple of hundred yards from the cauldron
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Which looked like this. That cauldron in the middle is active and smoking
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It was fantastic riding on a kind of packed volcanic sand with deep loose pools
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4X4’s having a great time
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The next day we headed down to the start of what we hope would be a diversion around the worst of the traffic ahead
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But after getting off the mountain it was hell for 100 miles and took us most of the day to Tulugagung
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But there were small green spaces
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Mostly it was like this, a small road with cars, trucks and bikes racing flat out
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We stopped for lunch and met another group of Kawasaki Versys riders. Great guys, and I peppered them with route questions…
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The next day to Yogyakarta was the best day’s riding in Indonesia
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We’re determined to stay as west as possible
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Soon the traffic thinned and we headed across a final flat into the hills
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The villages were tidier here. It felt affluent
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Most flat areas were planted with various crops
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More here than meets the eye, the benefits of building over a riverside when possible
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Hot and humid
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A few of these
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And back to the ocean
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Yogyakarta felt very different: sophisticated, wealthy, interesting. We met some great people, riders. No idea what they do in the day, but I know what they do at night. Whoa, I’ll never forget. Crazier and crazier. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Since you’re undoubtedly reading this, thank you my friends.

During the day, we toured around in one of these
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Hilarious that they alone have the right to go the wrong way down one-way streets. You get to see rider’s faces close up
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We took a day trip to Prambanan, a huge1200 year old Hindu temple. To read about it, here’s the Wiki link, so no boring lecture
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Immense
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Restored in various stages from earthquake damage
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Each non-original block was marked with a steel stud
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Everywhere people were posing for photos. Everyone in Indonesia is beautiful
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Kids always on their smartphones everywhere. Facebook is as prevalent here as at home
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The temples were built for Brahma, Angsa, Vishnu, Garuda, Nandi and the biggest for Shiva, God of Gods
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In each of the temples was a room with the corresponding statue
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At the base of each statue was a Lotus motif
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And the outer walls were crenellated with Lotus shapes
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The second temple is the 9th century Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, about an hour outside of Yogyakarta
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Hard to get a great view approaching it
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Non-Indonesians (me, at right) had to wear a blue decorated sarong. Looked great with my Billabong shirt
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The temple. For the full story, here’s the Wiki link
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Steep climb up to the top
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Lotus, again
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Hot
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Buddha
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Kids were cleaning moss out of the cracks
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Kids, loving it
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A modern temple a few miles away
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And there waiting in the garden was a Lotus
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Bud
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Seed pod
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Indonesia so far, from the Delorme track
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Comments

2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Aditya d,

    Whats happend in vegas stay in vegas !!! LOL godd luck for the trip mate, stay safe

    • Hi Aditya!

      Yup, better not ever talk about it! You guys are crazy!

      Thanks for being such excellent hosts. Please thank ‘the Boss’ for me. It was very generous of him.

      Stay safe too, temanku.

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