15,604 km so far.
A little more than 15 months ago Jane and I dreamed our trip would one day bring us to Bali. When we were in Berlin in September last year, the dream started seeming realistic enough for us to print “Beijing to Bali” cards for the second half of our trip. In October we arrived in Beijing and so began part two of the My Five Acres bike trip.
Today, we arrived in Bali.
The ride was long today, the road was less busy than we’d expected, and it was hotter than it has been for a week.
There were more monkeys on our route than we have seen since we left Malaysia. They hang out in family groups by the side of the road, and as soon we get close to them on our bikes they usually run up a tree, or into the edge of the forest, and watch us from there. A few brave or lazy ones sometimes hang out where they are, looking at us, blinking their eyes, and sometimes baring their teeth.
We stopped and fed them a few raw peanuts today, which they really seemed to enjoy. They’re so damn adorable it’s hard not to stop and talk to them. Sadly they don’t talk back in a language we can understand.
A few kilometres separate Java and Bali, and as we reached the eastern end of Java the golden beaches of Bali shone across the water.
There it is, I thought to myself. Somehow, we have made it! Almost.
There is a ferry that runs 24 hours to transport people to and from the island, and we joined a small group of Indonesians for the 45-minute crossing.
Surprisingly, we were the only foreign tourists on the boat.
Despite the excitement of almost reaching our big goal, we both fell fast asleep for almost the entire 45-minute crossing.
When we landed, a giant Buddha statue greeted us, letting us know we were not on Muslim-dominated Java anymore, although most of the people on this end of Bali still seemed to be Muslim. I wonder what they think of the big Buddha.
The road was no less busy than the highways of Java, despite what we’d read on other blogs, but for the most part it was newly paved, so that made a nice change.
Crap Roads + Crap Tire = Crap
About 9 km from our destination, the city of Negara, with the sun setting, we had to stop because Jane’s rear tire, the one that gave us all the trouble a few days ago, was making a weird sound. Turns out the tire sidewall had blown and was rubbing against her brakes. We loaded her panniers onto my bike to lighten her load, we let a bit of air out of her tube to decrease the pressure, and disconnected the rear brakes.
We crossed our fingers that this would allow us to finish today’s ride without getting an emergency lift from someone.
Jane’s note: The entire 9 km I kept up a mantra. “You can do it little bike. You can make it. Almost there. You can do it.” I thought if I stopped for even a minute the tire would completely go, and we’d be stranded a few kilometres out of town.
With the sun setting quickly, we slowly made our way into Negara. By the time we got there it was fully dark. After the first hotel was a bust (overpriced and in desperate need of a refurb) we followed signs to Hardy’s Hotel, a new, beautifully finished motel that would fit in perfectly in Palm Springs.
Now we just have to deal with a busted tire in the morning, before we ride the final 100 km to Ubud, bringing an incredible chapter of our lives to a close.
Soundtrack: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, B.R.M.C. | Radiohead, The Bends | The National, High Violet | Spoon, Gimme Fiction | Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood | The New Pornographers, Challengers | OK Go, Of The Blue Color Of The Sky ♥
Want to see the route map? View it on Ride With GPS. Here’s the Java leg, and here’s the Bali leg.