The Beginning...

This section commences on the island of Java.I have not found my diary of Bali so these entries are missing for now.

I was 24 years old when I set off on this bicycle tour. I managed to find three companions for the initial leg in Bali but shortly after that I would remain solo for the entire journey ending in Nepal. I had already completed a Bachelor of Science Degree and had only just graduated from nursing a few days before departure.

I did not have a whole lot of money with me but in the time of these travels a few dollars could go far. Sadly, that is not quite so true today.


























August 6 - September 24, 1985


Day 27 Sep 1 - Probolinggo, distance 10 km

We left David's home at Genteng and raced the 10 km to Kalsetail to meet up with the train leaving for Jakarta at 9:00 am. For 3,600 Rp (having to pay double for our bikes) we managed to squeeze our bikes on and spent the next 4 hours sweltering and getting sore behinds. We arrived at Probolingo, a busy coastal port, at around 1:30 pm and found a suitable colonial hotel for 2,000 Rp. I spent the remainder of the afternoon cycling out to the pier watching the boats. Later Graeme and I joined in a game of volleyball with locals who easily outclassed us.

Day 28 Sep 2 - Probolinggo

We spent the day relaxing, doing very little, catching up on some washing. I hunted around for a brake cable so that I can raise the handlebars slightly and sit a little more upright.
We packed the bare essdentials in the evening for an early mornig start to the active volcano, Mt Bromo.

Day 29 Sep 3 - Mt Bromo, distance 35 km

We left Probolinggo at 7:30 am after leaving most of our gear at the hotel. The turnoff to the volcano was about 4 km on the way to Surabaya followed by a very long straight stretch with a gentle bu continuous climb for about 15 km before rising much more steeply for the climb up to Sukapura, midway up the mountain. From there, after waiting out the hot part of the day, Graeme and I were fortunate enough to get a free lift in the back of a truck to the township just before Bromo. Mark chose to cycle the whole way and good luck to him! After signing in at the police office and leaving our gear at a rundown losman, we walked our bikes the rest of the way along the cobbled road to the crater rim. What a fantastic view of the desolate landscape far below and the volcanic mound off in the distance spewig out smoke and gases! We rode back to the village, found Mark and after leaving our bikes at the losman, we took our gear back up, walking this time, so we could be closer to the active volcano to catch the sunrise next day.

Day 30 Sep 4 - Probolinggo, distance 45 km

Up at 3:30 am and we were off to the Bromo restaurant for a quick breakfast with the hordes of other travellers with the same aim in mind - to see the sunrise over the volacano - and then the walk down to the plateau and across to the volcano. It was bitingly cold standing on the crater rim waiting for the sunrise which finally came over the mountain range as we coughed and spluttered on the sulphurous fumes. It was all over by the shouting . The bike ride back down was fast, dangerous and exhilirating, making it back to Probolinggo by early afternoon.
Now it was with careful consideration that I decided what to do next as Mark was leaving for the return to Bali tomorrow and Graeme was undecided on Java and not keen on the possibility of getting to Sulawesi. My alternatives were to travel on to Surabaya (100 km to the north) and consider getting a ship to Tanjun Pinaang and thence to Singapore or train it to Solo or Yogya e
route to Jakarta.

Day 31 Sep 5 - Yogyakarta

It took a long time to arrange for the sea mail package. First a long wait at the post office to find out what to do. Then a walk into town to buy some material (1000Rp). Then off to the market to find a sewer to make it into a bag (1000Rp). It weighed 2.5kg and cost 11,000Rp to post. Mark and Graeme raced away at 12:00 to catch a train back to East Java for the ferry to Bali, leaving me to continue on solo. I got to the train station by at 1pm and took the 2 pm train to Surabaya. From there I decided to keep going to Yogya. It meant a change of trains and waiting till 5:30pm. I finally got into Yogya at 11:30pm at a cost of 11,000Rp incluidng bike. Looking around for a cheap place to stay at midnight was not easy but I was eventually led to Losman Lima where I got a double bed with room to squeeze my bike in for 1500Rp/night.

Day 32 Sep 6 - Yogyakarta

This morning after being woken by the chooks, its turned out to be quite overcast though it has yet to rain. I walked down the main street and met a trishaw driver who cycled me around for a couple of hours - to the post office, batik factories, Kraton and museum (which was closed being a Friday). it was still good value being just 500Rp. After a bit of a kip I took my bike and cycled over the rail line looking for the swimming pool but I never found it. Well, to top off a non-day I seem to have been hit by the Bali Belly.

Day 33 Sep 7 - Yogyakarta, 38km
1000 km cycled!

This morning I cycled 18 km to a Hindu templecomplex at Prambanan, having left my gear at Losman Lima. It was impressive and much restoration was in progress - replacing weathered and crumbling stones. On the way back, despite the continued diarrohea, I did the wise thing of stopping at a bakery for a large fresh bun and then also at KFC - yes, they even wore red uniforms! - for an authentic snack pack. I found the olympic swimming pol after all and spend a couple of hours doing some laps and just relaxing. That evening I saw a wooden puppet showwayang but found it quite confusing and rather dull even causing me to nod off despite their obvious skill and dedication.

Day 34 Sep 8 - Purworejo, 76km

This morning I had a delicious conventialnal breakfast of banana porridge, tea, peanut butter toast and coconut banana milk. There is approx. 320 km to Pangandaran if I can get a ferry across the river and then another 365km to Jakarta. This means i have 9 days at 60 km/day to be in time for the boat to Singapore. After a late start I set off at 10:00am and cycled to the Buddhist temple at Borobodur, 40 km from Yogya. I spent a couple of hours wandering around the huge complex. I bumped into two Sumatran girls (sisters) who mistakenly thought I was handsome and wanted a group photo which I was happy to oblige. Eva Rumondang gave me her address in Padang, Sumatra, and some years later I did visit her family enroute to Nias Island. From Borobodur it was quite a climb followed by a long descent to a town of little attraction called Purworejo. The losmans were expensive so I dropped by a Pentecostal church and the caretaker, Markus Adinugraha, invited me to stay the night. Despite being a Sunday, there were no evening services.

Day 35 Sep 9 - Kroya, 98km

Having left arkus and his family, I got an ealry start and by 11am I pulled up at Kebumen, 43km along a long, straight flat road. There I had an early luch of nasi goreng (for a change). There was still 90km to my current destination of Cilacap and I was not feeling so keen. The road has been smooth with quite a few bridges under construction and consequently, bottle-necked detours. I feel there has been a slight downhill slope for long stretches and it has been overcast for most of the morning. I was talking to another traveller yesterday and he reckoned that the monsoon is due to reach the east coast of malaysia in a big way around mid-Ocotber. After luch I experienced a 'second wind' and cycled a further 60km to Kroya, still 35km short of Cilacap. However, I could go no further. At the losman I spent a pleasant couple of hours talking t a pretty Javanese named Tity Mei. I took her photo and promised to write though she reads little English.

Day 36 Sep 10 - Pangandaran, 53km

From Kroya, I cycled fast the 33km to the harbour of Cilacap (Perabuhan). The road was generally very smooth and a tailwind gave me a welcome push. Arriving at 1:30pm, it was just an hour's wait for the ferry. Cost for the 4 hour, 60km trip was 1350Rp including bike. The ferry actually goes to Kalipucang, 17km short of Pangandaran. Some sections upriver were quite precarious with mandgroves and mudflats either side and very close. Enroute I talked with a very cute Javanese girl named Ratna with whom I promised to write to (yet another one!). She was travelling with her brother and a friend and she was hoping to get into the police academy in Jakarta. I arrived in Pangandaran around 5pm and was escorted to a comfortable losman on the eastern side of the peninsular at 1500Rp with breakfast (of sorts). It looks like a lovely place to wind down for a few days.

Day 37 Sep 10 - Pangandaran

Having lef