Saturday 5 July 2014. Reflections on Timor Leste

I've been back a week and its given me time to clean my gear, start back at university, post some photos to the blog and so on. Haven't had time to visit the farm yet and I'll have to do so soon. Its also given me time to reflect back on the trip and I hope that I can add some words to the pictures I've uploaded.

Before leaving I was often asked "why Timor?" and would reply "because its there, man". That is to say, why not Timor. The truth is that as a trip the timing was perfect, the cost was doable and it is about time I stop watching other bpeoples adventures and start some of my own. This trip was not just a trip on its own but part of a journey for more adventures. The next obvious questions are:

Did you enjoy it? Heck yeah! It was a scream.

What were the other guys on the trip like? Tour leaders like David Carlos are a rare breed and he was brilliant. My two riding comrades, Alan and Tim were excellent company, great riders and I hope will remain good friends. I think I lucked out to have such good company.

Would you do it again? As soon as time, money and circumstances permit, I will go. Timor Adventures has a 13 day tour option and David has some excellent ideas for larger adventures and I hope to find my way on to some of those as well.

Would you recommend it? Yes, but not to everyone. You do need to be able to ride off-tarmac OK and have a great sense of adventure. If you are after a nice BMW GS style adventure and be tucked away each night, its not for you. Conversely if you wnat to have some excellent riding over all sorts of terrain, happy to try a range of culinary delights then book now. ( ).

Here are some Youtube clips to help paint a better picture of what it is all about:

My own clip, mainly helmet camera footage and some photographs at the end:

Timor Adventures own Youtube channel:

 Caroline Pemberton from "Places we go" video:

Friday 27 June 2014, Timor Leste Day 9

Hatu Builico to Dili

Last day of the best tour EVER.

Back up the 18 km, one hour road to the main highway. Then turn left and off to Dili.

Another view of the famous Mount Ramaleu road. I've come off again and broken the headlight lens. Nothing too serious.

Parked outside our lunch stop, another series II Pajero. These things are everywhere in developing countries and in my opinion more trusted than modern Landcruisers. We have one of these at home and you only need look at the incredibly heavy duty ladder frame to see why.

Thursday 26 June 2014, Timor Leste Day 8

Same to Hatu Builico.

Its not a holiday, its an adventure (a favourite saying of motorcycle adventurer Kevin Sanders, Globebusters).

This was the day of my first 'off'. The road to Mount Ramaleu is somewhat challenging. Originally cut out by the Portuguese, the surface is a combination of mud, large stones worn smooth over many years, water and potholes. The 18 kilometres from the turnoff to Hatu Builico takes about an hour. Very exciting.

Anyhow, as my motorised Timor pony and I were exiting a fairly large pothole, the front wheel washed out to the right and I fell to the left. If I had the left side covered by a bent leg motorcross-style, or even if I had been standing up with my weight over the front wheel, I may have made it through OK. The damage wasn't too bad; a broken mirror and bent gear lever. The team first secured the scene, checked my minor gravel rash and covered it in iodine to prevent infection. They then bent back the gear lever and we were off again. Great stuff. 

A mighty Kawasaki Ninja?

This is the corner I washed out the front wheel and let the bike have a er, small sleep.The fine dirt creates a fairly slippery layer above the smooth rocks and it takes a fair bit of skill and attention to not come off. As well as a little bit of luck.

Our support driver, Edu. The Timor Stig.

Wednesday 25 June 2014, Timor Leste Day 7

Viveque to Same

Had to take the time to check if the marks on this roadsign were bullets. As it turned out, it was just rocks. Ironically though, this was the only roadsign in Timor other than the very distinctive distance markers.