Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 33 :Jeli - Banding island - Gerik

Date : April 4th, 2009
Distance travelled : 128 km
Time taken : 8.40 hours

We woke up really early this morning, about 5.30am, the earliest ever in our tour!! After having some bread with peanut butter, we got ready and started our journey about 7am. Jeli town was misty and cold in the morning! It was really beautiful though, the air was so fresh because of the mountains nearby :o)

We knew today's ride was going to be toughest ever as there will be lots of uphill and not much downhill!! We started riding out to gradual slopes and passed by this beautiful river. The view was just amazing!

This river looked much better in real life :o)

Opposite view from the bridge

My, you sure look wide awake for this early in the morning, my boy :o)

We stopped by a small stall and had some food before moving on. Mak had to have his coffee in the morning to perk him up before cycling :o) The view was so beautiful that we asked someone to take a picture for us while we were having our breakfast :o)

Having our breakfast in the mist :o)

After our short stop, we continued on with our journey. Since we passed by so many food stalls while riding out of Jeli, I made the mistake of assuming there will be more to come! Of all days, we forgot to buy extra water for today's ride! Well, I must say that wasn't very smart of us but things did work for us in the end :o) We were both running out of water after awhile and were wondering when is the next water stop!!

We stopped by a small waterfall and took a short rest there. Mak took out his multipurpose towel and wet it in the clear stream. He gave it to me to wipe my face and it was so refreshing after the sweat and grime! We met a few guys there who were eating durians and they invited us to have some. We declined as we were already running out of water and besides, durian was "heaty". We asked them about any shops nearby and they described where it was. We weren't too clear but at least, we had an idea that there would be a shop somewhere along the road! We then said goodbye to them and headed on.

We then came across this attractive signboard that said the next R&R was about 3km away! The pictures on the signboard depicted modern looking toilets, people on jet skis on the lake, restaurants etc...We were so happy to see that signboard and it lifted our spirits up! Yay, it was only 3 km more for us to refill our water!!

When we reached the so called R&R, we were in for a surprise as we came to an abandoned lot!! What??? Whatever happened to the restaurants, people mingling around???? Mak was so mad that he stopped to see the so called high tech toilets. I asked him after what he saw and he muttered "It's all a waste of money!!!" and I got the picture :o)

Well, never one to be down for long, we moved on and after cycling for another 2km, we came across a small shop!! Yahoo!!! A shop, a shop at last!!! We quickly went in and asked whether we could buy water and the shopkeeper told us that they ran out of mineral water but we could fill our bottles from their water filter tank. So thankfully, we refilled our bottles and had a snack while resting. We checked our map and realised that we only cycled about 20km so far and had about 100 km plus to go and it was already coming to 12 noon!!! Boy, it was going to be a LOOOOONNNNGGG day!!

Out of this world!!

Man, the hills are tough going!! We had to take a breather every 20 minutes or so!

and more to come!!!!

Yup, another stop!!

Wow, we are in Perak again??

Warning! Wild elephants on the run!!!

Hmm.....they were here!! Elephant dung :o)

As we continued cycling uphill towards the Titiwangsa rest area, we kept stopping and having short breaks,munching snacks and powerbars to keep our energy up as we didn't know how far more we had before reaching the rest area.

The sky too began to change from bright and sunny to dark and gloomy and we knew that a storm was coming! We hoped that we would be able to make it to the rest area before the heavens opened its gates and poured down on us :o) After cycling for a short while, the sight of the rest area in front brought much relief to us and before we knew it, we were there before the rain came down! Phew!!

We were very happy to have reached the peak and knew that it will be downhill all the way until Banding island! (or so we thought!) Initially, we planned to stay in Banding island but due to lack of accommodation, we decided to stay in Gerik instead.

Look at how fast the weather changed from bright and sunny to....

....dark & gloomy next!!

the view from the Titiwangsa rest area

After having a well deserved rest and food, we started our journey again about 3pm after the rain stopped. It was COLD coming down the hill!! Thank goodness for our rain jackets :o) After cruising down the hill, we came to another slope! Eh....what happened to all the downhills?? Anyway, it wasn't that long and soon we were cycling downhill again. The road towards Banding island wasn't downhill all the way but it was more like rolling hills. We reached the picturesque Temengor lake and Banding island about 4.30pm. The sight was beautiful! We stopped to take some photos before heading onwards to Gerik.

My dear partner in crime told me that a lot of people came here for fishing and that he used to come here as well. Apparently, you could only fish on one side of the lake as the other side is prohibited! You should ask him one day to tell you his story about the "other side of the lake" episode hehehe....

Finally, we have reached Temenggor lake!

Wow!! So picturesque !!

Have wheels will travel!!

While on Banding island, Mak kept telling me that Gerik was only about 25km to 30km and it should take us about an hour plus to reach. We asked a guy who was having a picnic by the roadside and he confirmed it too. So with renewed energy, we plodded on and I thought we would reach Gerik about 6pm the latest. From the map, we knew that there was going to be another 10km of uphill before the downhill but we didn't realise that it was going to be so steep and long!!!

When we hit the first hill, I had to stop and pushed my bike because they were doing roadworks and made it really impossible to cycle. Mak tried to cycle for a bit before he too, got down and pushed his bike! We pushed our bikes up and up and up the steep hill and I was really,really exhausted by then! I had to stop and have a rest.

Because of my sheer exhaustion, I took it out on my poor partner-in-crime! I told him that he pushed me too far this time and that I wished the elephants would come out and chase him!!! (Throughout the tour, this part of the route was the most worrying for him as he didn't wish to meet with any of the wild elephants while I actually wouldn't mind catching sight of one!! hehehe) Poor guy! He took it like a real gentleman and didn't even retaliate back! He told me he too was tired and that we both have been cycling long and hard as well.

I stewed for awhile but one good thing came out of this was that it gave me the extra strength to push on, no matter how tired I was! This was really the time to test my perseverance and I do thank my dear partner for pushing me on, even though at that time I was feeling less than appreciative of his efforts!!

The road was never ending and it was rolling hills all the way! We found out at the end of our journey that we actually cycled another 45km instead! It was getting dark and the roads began to be very quiet. Mak kept saying that he didn't recognise the roads or the signboards along the way (he has been been to Banding island and Gerik before for his fishing trips) I just kept quiet as I was really too exhausted to even care! All I wanted was some food and dry clothes!

It started to drizzle again when we got into the outskirts of Gerik town and Mak found a restaurant nearby before the real thunderstorm came in. We got to the restaurant just in time before it started to pour down heavily soon after!

I couldn't believe what a day it had been! We were on our bikes for about 8 hours plus and mostly uphills...the longest since our tour began. Even though I was hungry, I just couldn't eat because of sheer exhaustion! Mak tried to cheer me up but to no avail! I do marvel at his strength and perseverance and I thank him deeply for that!!

I told him that I would need at least 2 nights in Gerik to recover and he willingly agreed. After waiting for the rain to slow down to a drizzle, we cycled further into town to look for a hotel. We found a pretty decent one and began unpacking and bringing our bikes up.

That night, after a good shower, it dawned on me why I was so exhausted and I apologised to Mak for my outburst. He took in his stride and I told him that he was my shining star for being the awesome guy that he was :o) That must have made his day hehehe.....

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