The Malaysian Foldie 19, May/June 2015 - Page 9

We were at a mobile phone stall and asked if they had prepaid Data and Voice SIM card.

The stall owner had gladly obliged by selling us the Indonesian SIMpati package.

This is high-speed internet and we needed a data package to work with Google Maps to check our distance and location.

I had my Motorola Moto G for this task and by the time were able to pinpoint our location, we were three hours away from Duri.

As daylight was shorter in this part of the world, I told Mohd Radzi to mount his headlights.

We rode for another two hours before reaching the outskirts of Duri, a town that thrives on Petroleum.

Shortly before reaching the town centre, we pulled over at a roadside stall.

My water bottle was almost empty and we rode in the dark for nearly three hours.

Based on what I read, the distance from Dumai to Duri is roughl about 59km.

But it actually took longer than that.

My Garmin EDGE 800 cycling GPS recorded 79km.

Broke another rule in traveling..

"Never travel on weekends.." That was my written rule on bicycle touring.

Why? Hotels with vacant rooms are hard to find and rates are usually higher.

We rode into Duri to learn that most of the hotels there were occupied.

I can see the disappointment on Mohd Radzi's face and told him to keep on looking.

Later, we found a Wisma (Guest house) called Harapan Bunda and the rate's about IDR ((Indonesian Rupiah) 102,000 which is about RM32 per night.

Before we commit to renting the place for a night, I told Mohd Radzi to scout the room, see if it's clean.

The lady who offered us the night's stay said there's no hanky-panky at her guest house.

After checking out the place, I decided that it's a go.

We've bunked in for the night and purchased our drinking water from a hypermart opposite the guest house.

After doing my laundry and charging the GPS, it was time to hit the sack and prepare for the long ride to Minas the following day...

A long day ahead...

We had enough rest and packed up for the long journey to Minas, another oil town that lies about 100-odd kilometers ahead.

Up till this point, the roads have been bad.

Potholes everywhere, sunken road shoulders, dust and debris.

Mohd Radzi found it rather hard and asked if there's a highway linking the provinces in Sumatera.

"This IS the highway...," I told him.

Back at home, we don't know how good we are getting it.

The roads are wide and well-maintained.

Yet, people complain about this and that.

We rode out to a petrol station some 13km away from Duri and found a makan place.

The rule is simple: find a place with running water. We are in Indonesia where water is a commodity.

A ROUGH RIDE: Mohd Radzi observing the oncoming traffic along the route to Pekanbaru, Indonesia.