Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Journey Continues

I am back in Bangkok, it seems all a little surreal, did I go to Dubai, did I run around like mad and organise to compete in a race, did I do it, now I am back just like that, I guess I was only gone 18 days, what a whirl wind trip I went on, I rode, I conquered, I returned! I arrived to a dirty old Africa twin which I knew needed some attention as the last day I rode it turned out to be just another adventure in The Hard Way Home or just another normal day I suppose, more on that later this is how I got to that day, the day I flew to Dubai.

After uncrating the mother ship, enjoying some much R & R in Bangkok and giving the vibrating toothpicks to a Thai family, I fair welled brother Dirk and headed the ship north again to Laos. I then headed the rest of the way south down Laos, this time in more comfort, the bike did not vibrate, parts did not fall off and the seat was like a sofa compared to the toothpick! The south was not as beautiful as the north but Laos is quite something. I arrived at the border with Cambodia late one evening and stamped out of Laos, rode the 1 k to the Cambodian side and was told that customs had gone home for the night and that I had to go back to Laos, this was not an option, after a discussion much to our displeasure the Cambodian officials said I could stay there in there hammock, so for the first time in 2 years and about 40 border crossing I was stuck for the first time at a border, that night the mosquitos nearly carried me away and the heavens opened up in a tremendous show of lightning and thunder whilst the rain hammered at the tin roof. The following day saw one tired person and onto Cambodia I rode.

About half way to the capital I decided to attempt a slight detour, yes I will never learn, that would take me to a remote village but half way there the sun was setting and it had just rained causing the front tire to build up so much mud between it and the mud guard that the wheel stopped turning, I fell once but escaped unharmed, it was very tough.
I were defeated, it was dark and I turned back to the last town I had passed, tried checking into a guest house but they all smelt rat infested and stale, then an angel appeared in the form of a young Cambodian girl who invited me to stay with her family, amazing could not have asked for anything better.

Onto Phnom Penh for a few days break where I had the pleasure of catching up with a mate that I had not seen for about 12 years, Jarrod Monaghan who is teaching sport in a school over there, the beers went down well and stories of old flowed. With time running out I then headed to Seim Reap where I bumped into Akis and Vula, the greek couple I met in Mozambique almost a year ago to the day, they are going around the world in a 4WD, its such a small small world. After taking in the splendors of ancient Ankor Wat it was west to Bangkok.

This brings me to the day I flew to Dubai, I left Siem Reap early with about 500 k's to do, cross a border in the middle, grab some left luggage from down town Bangers, then find Harley Davidson Bangkok to park the mother ship with Ross the general manger who I had been put in touch with through another mate, piece of cake, or so I thought! I set of and remember saying to the stead, just today don't let me down I need to get on this flight at 8.30pm. All was well the road was rubbish but a little last minute training I though as I had the big bugger air born on a few occasions, crunching down hard on the suspension with a smile under my helmet. But the of course it happened, 10 k's before the border my bike just stopped, hmm what the hell is this, I took my helmet of and instantly knew the problem and this meant deep shit! I could smell acid, sulphur, my battery had exploded, therefore the battery was been over charged byt the rectifier, I had it before so I knew. What to do, the strangest things happen, a guy, local looking rocks up on a chopper, dressed in leather, chains and rings oh and not to mention tattoes, he spoke with a deep American accent, and explained he lived in the US but was original from Cambodia, I quickly discovered he was rotten drunk, his breath almost making me sway, then he offered me a huge spliff, I declined saying "right now my friend I need to be as switched on as possible" maybe it would have taken the worry away, who knows. So he started to preach all about how us 'Bikers" stick together, then he suggested he tow me to the border, hmm I could see that ending in complete disaster, not the airport I would have been bound for but more like the morgue! I quickly decided to flag down a ute, eventually after a few minutes one stopped and we made a deal, I was desperate and they wanted money, so we loaded it in the back whilst my new friend worked on his giant spliff. Then he tried to ride off and his bike broke, shit I felt bad, he stopped for me but here I was driving of leaving him behind, I just said sorry mate I need to catch a flight, good luck, some how I don't think he will even remember I was there!

Now I was at the border, or at least in the border town on the Cambodian side still, time ticking away til my flight and with 350 k's to go I figured I had no hope, after asking about I found a battery from an old bike leaning against a workshop wall, it was not the correct size but it would do, in it went and away went the bike when I hit the button, great I was back in action. Off to the border after been relieved to much for a second hand battery again I was desperate and they had the battery. Now at the border I stamped out of Cambodia no problems, even skipped customs, figured I would not be back, then the Thai side, all of a sudden I needed insurance, aw this was not good, thinking quick on my feet, which seems to be something I have picked up of late, i showed him a piece of paper that had all the writing washed away as it had been in my pocket in the rain, I said this was it, sorry for the print, he studied it, I could see the little mouse in his head going a million miles an hour, then with a few baht he filled out a form and let me in, it worked, now it was off to Bangers, the road was good and I arrived there at 6pm, got my luggage from left luggage and then found Harley Davidson, met Ross, packed mt bags right there in the car park, sculled a tiger beer, jumped in a cab and shot to airport, just in time to check in and board the plane, it was a relief to be sitting on the plane, what a day, but again "in the end it will be alright and if its not alright its not the end"

So I spent the day at Harley fitting a new battery then testing the rectifier, yep it was done for, luckily I had been to Dubai and picked up my old rectifier from the bike that was stolen that the cops found, so I had a spare, I fitted that and hey presto it works, then riding home in the dark my bike stops, I rolled to a stop on the busy street of Bangkok and started to find the problem. Right there and then I experienced something that I did not expect, I was relaxed and calm, completely, I simply started to take all the stuff of and go through in my head what it could be, right there in the dark, not phased in the slightest, usually I might curse saying truck and poo a lot! I think with all the problems I have faced and again knowing that I will solve it it the end finally naturally came over me, there is never a problem to large. For the next hour I went over everything, cars whizzing by, found two wires touching which caused the main fuse to blow, got it going and rode onto the guest house.

Monks at Ankor Wat

Ankor Wat

I would really like to take some time to thank every body for the messages I received about the race, your comments are priceless and I will have them forever, they mean a lot to me. And not just for the race I always enjoy your comments, don't be shy now. Also I get a lot of people saying "they envy what I am doing" or "I would love to do that" plus I hear from some that they are inspired to get out there and do something, that gives me such a great feeling, if I can inspire one person well thats one more person chasing their dreams, dreams do come true and I have learnt that I can make my dreams come true, you can to, don't envy me, get out there and do it yourself, you can, all of you can, anything is possible, every day during the race I just kept telling myself to make it to the end, just keep going and I made it, I made it to the end second, how about that!

Thank you everyone for sharing my trip with me, so now begins the last leg to Australia, I am headed north to visit Vietnam, then I will head south down Thailand to Malaysia, cross to Sumatra, Indonesia and island hop all the way to East Timor and load the mother ship onto a boat to Darwin, then from Darwin it will be a short 3-4000 k's to the farm, Turriff. Along the way I hope to team up with Clint, there you go mate you have to come now, and another great couple of mates, Wierd Al and Magilla, yep Aussie boys with names like that and cross the Simpson Desert, one last desert crossing for me, I just love them! So I think the adventure is far from over although I feel very close to home, there is a lot to come yet, so enjoy the last few months of updates because once I am done your work day might seem a little dull after that! I know I am in for a shock to say the least.