- Tim Notier
I never thought that sitting down in the same position for nearly 24 hours would leave me feeling like I had just gotten the daylights knocked out of me after 12 rounds of Muay Thai boxing.
Our flight from Tampa to Georgia was a quick toss of a frisbee compared to the 14-and-a-half-hour flight to Tokyo. And by the time we landed in Haneda airport in Japan, I felt like Neil Armstrong stepping off from Apollo 11 onto a strange new world.
Marisa and I had been looking forward to our 7-hour layover in Tokyo, but our bodies and minds were on emergency reserve. We did manage to hop on the monorail and took a short hike to Zojo-ji Temple. We walked around trying to absorb as much Chi as we could in order to focus on the beauty that surrounded us. But my mind was Tokyo drifting to the thoughts of a warm bed with enough leg room to morph from Neil Armstrong to Stretch Armstrong.
Marisa insisted on having sushi before heading back to the airport for the final leg of the journey. I’m not a fan of sushi, but I wasn’t going to deny Marisa an opportunity that she had been waiting for ever since we knew we had a layover in Japan.
It was one last 7-hour flight before we landed in Jakarta, and all we had to do was sit down in a cramped chair to achieve our goal of reaching Indonesia. And even though my knees felt like the rusted joints of the Tin Man, I reluctantly sat back down knowing the pain was almost over.
When we finally landed, I was ecstatic to be back on solid ground, and even more delighted when all our luggage appeared on the conveyer belt. Marisa and I walked out of the airport and were hit with a wall of heat and humidity like the high pressure wave of a nuclear explosion. I was very thankful that we had brought our mesh Klim gear that would allow maximum airflow in such a hot and humid climate.
We were then greeted by William, one of the friendliest people we have met to date. William was our Indonesian contact that was picking us up from the airport and helping to tie all the loose ends together regarding the motorcycle in the upcoming months that we would be spending in this new country.
William had the energy of a hummingbird as he listed all the amazing places that we could visit while in Jakarta. But Marisa and I were only half conscious and wanted nothing more than to sleep for as long as we could. And that is exactly what we did. We spent the next 7 days slowly adjusting to the 13-hour time zone difference and got ourselves mentally and physically prepared for the adventure ahead.
On the 6th day, William drove us to the mechanic where our newest bike was waiting to meet us like a rescue animal. “Dorco” was a little beat up and had some deep scars, but the long scratches etched into the plastic guards looked like a treasure map of the adventures and places it had been. Our Bajaj Pulsar 220 was a few CC's and a couple horsepower short of our KTM 1190, but it had potential. There was about a quarter inch of suspension left after we mounted the bike with all our gear, but we knew that our journey across Java would be slow and steady.
With our gear packed and excitement running through our veins, we headed out of Jakarta in search of green rolling hills filled with terraced rice fields. I also hoped that the insane traffic would start to disperse once we left the city limits of Jakarta, but that 1st day was hot and slow going.
Frequent breaks were needed to rehydrate, and to dump water on our heads to keep cool. The good news was that I was getting the hang of crazy traffic, and we were making new friends by the dozen every time we pulled over.
After a long day, we pulled into a cheap hotel and reassessed our intended route. I desperately wanted to avoid the thick traffic, so we decided to head south through the mountains on thin little white lines that represented the secondary roads on Google Maps.
The following day we got exactly what we wished for. Long twisty roads with a cool breeze penetrating through our mesh jackets, and there was about ¾ less traffic than the day prior. And then I saw what appeared to be a roadside attraction as I pulled in and parked, hoping for some pretty views while we drank water. Our roadside pitstop turned out to be a hidden little nook that led to a small waterfall only 100 yards away from the parking lot. It was exactly what we needed after the hustle and bustle of the prior day's ride.
We knew then and there that we would be sticking to the little white lines on Google Maps to avoid major highways and ride through small villages instead of main cities.
Our short time in Indonesia has already been a fascinating experience. Every person we meet greets us with a smile. The food is tasty, and Marisa and I feel like rockstars walking around as people come up to us and politely ask to take a picture with us. We couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to explore such an amazing country filled with kindhearted people, and we have barely made it 50 miles from where we touched down in Indonesia.
We can’t wait for what is to come. Thank you for riding along with us, we hope that you enjoy the ride!
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