The best time of the week for most people and with a good reason why! For me, Friday nights after work are the best for chilling out since you can play and make merry with nary a care in the world since you have Saturday and Sunday. So Saturday should really be a great day to stretch your legs, have a carefree breakfast and unwind from the week………………………………….and so we thought.
The things we expected were delivered: food and shoot but not this!
With delusions of having cool wind in your face ride and an exciting shoot in mind, I gave up Friday night to have an early night. After all, I’m so looking forward to having a relaxing ride with stops in between to find out more about my new camera. So, while the day started rather well (largely because of breakfast! thanks to chow’s lousy alarm clock), the ominous cumulonimbus clouds up north doesn’t bode well. Out came the raincoats and onward, we headed to Tangkak, the town near to Mount Ophir, where we intended to visit for a little nature walk.
The rains were a big disappointment. I mean, if you had bothered to suit up and gotten ready to rumble, you would have loved to thrash it all out with a full blown class 5 thunderstorm or something like that. What we got was just a little wind that probably was only able to lift skirts up an inch and rain that would have tickled the hairs on my legs. So much for the bad ass clouds.
We reached Tangkak at approximately 1030hrs, just less than 2 hours from the time we set off from breakfast. We proceeded to have lunch. Yeah – this trip is certainly living up to to the “Eat” tag. The beef noodles were yummy. These are things you would probably have problems finding in Singapore. I wonder who said Singapore is a gastronomical paradise. An amalgation of michelin 5 star-ers don’t make Singapore a so called “makan” paradise.
The people here don’t need stars. They only need the 牛 sign.
With our stomachs filled to the max and cameras itching to catch some wildlife, we continued on our way. And things started to get a little more…….interesting.
The turnoff from the highway
The turnoff to the park ranger’s office was conspicuous enough all thanks to the red laterite trail. While some were getting concerned about the ground conditions, most of us were beaming. Beaming because our bum is going to get itself a big workout with the potholes, mud and crappy roads. The last time I experienced this was in the mountainous roads of Northern Thailand where roads were not maintained.
Isaac’s bike was the most ill suited for these roads and so were some of the bigger road bikes and they were clearly struggling in the mud banks and potholes. In fact, Isaac got so worried about the conditions of the roads that he called the park ranger down to lead us up, just in case we got into worse roads in the wrong direction. And by now, the rains threatened again. For real!
By the time we reached the ranger’s office, it was pouring…and we got news that the start point for the trek is a further 8 kilometres away. After ditching the helmets and registering our names with the rangers, we climbed with our bikes further with rain pelting into our eyes.
rangers registering our names, tangkak dam
By the time we started our climb, we were already cold and wet. What happened in the next one and half hours was pure agony. for the knees that is. We’ll leave it to the pictures here.
yea, it’s that steep for a relaxing climb….
Back down, we took a couple of pictures and washed ourselves up.
Looking back, we shouldn’t have because the next hour was even worse than the climb. The rains wrecked havoc on the trails we came in by and the potholes were all filled with water and no indication of its depth. It was no longer riding, it was gliding……
all these culminated into chow’s glorious fall..
All that junk is not gg to come off easy…
We just had to settle for dinner at Tangkak cos we were all tired, wet, hungry and have feet heavily laden in mud. time check: 1900hrs. It would be another 2 hours before we got our HUGELY deserved dinner but we couldn’t.
Ride.Eat.Shoot? It was only probably true in the morning but one thing you will learn if you travel frequently is not to expect things. There’s a big reason why many of us felt this was one of the best trips they’ve ever gone through. That’s because all plans went out the window at 1100hrs: adventure at its very best.