Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thailand to Singapore, via East Coast of Malaysia, Ride: Day 6

Go light. The real luxury is enjoying the ride, not carrying the luxuries around.

Journal entry

'Slept very little last night; the teenagers were up until 3 AM, Kathy and I talked till 4, and the adults started cooking at 4:30 AM. 'Woke up tired and hungry, but I knew I had to get moving.

Shot a few pictures as I prepared a meagre breakfast of Granola bars and instant coffee.

All packed and ready to go.

Leaving Awang's Resort at 10:20 AM.

Gravel and dirt slope. Not fun on panniers and 1.25" slicks.

Back on Highway 3.

What's on today's menu of suffering.

145 km (90.6 miles) to Kuantan.

Rocky outcrops by the road at Kampung Kuala Abang.

7.73 km (4.8 miles) and 28 minutes on, as I was charging up a hill, and wondering how many more of these no-food rides with panniers I could endure, a vision appeared before me. An operating Chinese restaurant on top of a hill?

Voilà! Brunch!

The lady whipped up a double-sized portion for me  :-)

Not this...

But this.

Later, her son pointed me towards a quiet village road which not only avoids the traffic on the highway, but also allows me to bypass a hill.

Fueled by a heavy lunch of carbs, I clipped along at a good pace. Making a conscious effort to keep well-hydrated, I drank often, and not only when thirst bids me. After passing the southern parts of Dungun, I noticed more and more Chinese eateries. Soon, I stopped keeping track of them.

Dungun is also the leap off point for Pulau Tenggul (occasionally misspelled as "Tenggol" in Singapore), where I fulfilled the requirements for my divemaster and assistant SCUBA instructor candidacy in 1996.

You can run / whine, but you can't hide. The hills will get you, eventually.

Taking a break from the sun at the town of Paka.

In non-world-class countries, motorcycle and bicycle users are not forced onto the road shoulder; they have their own lanes. Oh, and then, there's the road shoulder. A friend informs me that this happens in Taiwan too.

South of Kertih, I rode past the immense petroleum complex of Petronas. Flaming towers burning waste natural gas loomed everywhere.

Leftmost lane is for 2-wheeled vehicles only. It is rather interesting how, with giant gas and gasoline trucks, they still put into consideration the smaller vehicles on the road.

'Pulled over to the shoulder take more pics.

For Ahmad. Check out that tank of kerosene, dude!

Another part of the giant facility where waste natural gas is burnt off. I am about 400 to 500 m from the flames, so you can imagine how big it is.

Number 1 rejected sales slogan:  Only Le Fatte Butt has more gas!

3:10 PM.
40 km (25 miles) to Cukai.

Need to find a drain dry / deep enough (not too deep!) to pee in!
Need to find a drain dry / deep enough (not too deep!) to pee in!
Need to find a drain dry / deep enough (not too deep!) to pee in!

For Karen:  24-hour McDonald's!

Gee... they even allow motorcycles on the overhead bridges here. No $1000 fine for not walking your bike either.

I guess they don't need the gahmen to hold on to their panties here.

Help! I'm being stalked by the ghost gas of Le Fatte Butt!

This far down south, the petrol stations also stock food. (Eating stuff stored at a gas station is generally not a very wise choice, health-wise, but beggars can't be choosers.)

The gas station flavored hot dogs proved useful.

Strawberry Kijal Resort.

Wayne and Kristina Carpenter bunked in here in 2005.

I gave it a thought, but figured I'll spare myself the 12 percent grade climb in the morning.

6:50 PM.
More climbs.

For some strange reason, I was doing 26 km/h (16.25 mph) along this uphill stretch. Gasoline-infused hot dogs rule!

A bicycle shop selling Raleighs in Kemaman.

Kemaman was disappointing: dusty, hectic, busy. I rode past 2 motels and with 10 minutes left to 7 PM, I followed my intuition and made a detour east to Cukai, reasoning that there's better accommodation to be had nearer to the sea. The first 2 km of Cukai looked rundown. (The dirty wet market didn't help either.)

Just before 7 PM, I spotted a hotel that looked right. RM80.50 for the night.

Although they can't let me take my bike to the room, they will look after her in the lobby. Okay, all set.

What would have summed up to a great day was thwarted when I foolishly attempted to climb the stairs with all the baggage — all 25 kg (55 lb) worth. At the first landing (a tight corner), I accidentally torqued my left knee and the patella slipped off track (that's what you get for having torn ACLs), and my knee was screwed. Treating it aggressively now to bring the swelling down; put myself on 500 mg enteric-coated aspirin, 1000 mg paracetamol, and topical applications of Voltaren Emulgel.

'Was planning to enjoy an easy 60 km (37.5 miles) to Kuantan tomorrow. Hopefully, this doesn't throw a wrench in my spokes. Kind of bummed about it.
-11:49 PM

Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:

         (Hamlet  III.II.208-10)


Cateye AT-100
Elevation climbed  370 feet (112.8 m)
5 hours 1 minutes 35 seconds
Average speed  11.7 mph (18.7 km/h)
Maximum speed  27.4 mph (43.8 km/h)
Distance  59.1 miles (94.6 km)
Temperature  86° - 99° F (30° - 37.2° C)

Cateye Velo 5
Distance  95.28 km (59.55 miles)
Maximum speed  43.9 km/h
Cumulative distance  368.3 km (230.2 miles)

Translation:  "Muslims may not consume alcohol."


QQ*librarian said...

I'm enjoying your trip! Jia You! :-)

-ben said...

Thank you, QQ