Day 9: 86km Sungai Rengit to Kota Tinggi
tried to sleep in, covered head with pillow, hid under the blanket but at 7am i packed up and took off because the eatery where i stayed started the wok clanking, door slamming, coughing spitting olympic phlegm clearing hacking and having extremely loud conversations whilst standing about 5 feet apart, as early as 6am.
sun's up early, warm weather but the coastal wind was breezy.
drying out my laundry, the best way that i can. its not that i'm too finicky about being clean since you know i travel alone and i rarely do come into contact with any other person but i do think when im putting on a clean pair of clothing in the morning its like a get-go-spirit-uplifting way to start the day. plus i cant think when i start to stink. damn, that rhymes.
the first 10km exiting Sungai Rengit looks like this. very distracting, slowed me down.
trudging through the inner road - its quiet, scant of any houses and and cars. the scenery of wide open spaces, green golden fields stretches on for a good 10 to 20km. god forbid your bike should experience a technical glitch here because it would be terribly funny to push the bike back to 'civilisation'. since its the monsoon season and all, the clouds were low, thick and heavy - with a constant rumble in the distant.
it was a blustery day on the road due to the incredibly flat landscape, it's a vast sprawling plains and the monsoon clouds cover is so low it seems like the sky is just 10 feet off the ground. the grey sky and muted brown of the fields gave the featureless landscape a temperate, autumn feel. cycling during the monsoon yea sure you'd be cycling into heavy winds (and the heavy rains off course) but would you rather have extreme hot weather? also i cant imagine crossing the difficult 13 degree gradient Jeli-Gerik or the long hilly Mersing route in any other weather besides during the monsoon.
so the road gradually changes from flat big fields to hutan renek dua dua belah puny lanes no shoulder, so kena ride on the white paint. there's not so many cars so it's ok.
the route is relatively easy, just some slight hills, lots of flat riding and pleasant downhills on the other side. there's a heavy presence of tentera darat at this parts though. nothing hardcore, sighted a few assault jeeps mounted with an M2 .50 caliber and the AV8 light personnel carriers going up and down the road, then disappeared into the hutan.
at one point the wind just goes wild, sky gone darker than normal and the rumblings were paired with thunderclaps. reckon that's the sign where i should take shelter immediately. saved my laundry at the last possible seconds, pushed my bike under the shop and it poured cats and grindcore goats. kedai pak ali, 21 years in business. he sais only twice did he ever received malaysian cycletourers, maksalleh ramai. dapat free bananas though, i was a happy clam.
after an hour dah kena jalan. covered the Brooks with a bag and myself dengan rain coat
bandar Kota Tinggi yang comel and kecik. that big mall is empty and right beside it is an excellent corner eatery. had a delicious big fat chicken chop and pasta for something like rm10 with drinks. i remembered arriving here on a friday night because masa tengah makan then tetiba ada tarbiyah. hahaha. i find it disconcerting that im trying to enjoy my dinner but i can see the preacher's red undies under his jubah. kamonn..
Day 10: 97km Kota Tinggi to Mersing
i've been getting many foreboding warnings about this route from tourers who've gone this way before - supposedly tough and unforgiving, and all i can is, its all true. alas, 2nd hardest route in Malaysia - IMHO.
you'd get alot of these exiting Kota Tinggi - identical fruit stalls selling the same produce lining the roads with nothing much that would catch your interest and many empty kedai makan, tempting you with the possibility of nasi goreng or a hearty breakfast from a distance but tutup bila dah dekat. so make sure you're well stocked up in Kota Tinggi.
5km out, then you're on your own. no shops, stalls and petrol station along the way until Mersing. if you're not well prepared or well rested, didn't have carbo dinner or a good breakfast, low on water then you're fucked. in the ass. repeatedly. with a lamp. a glass lamp.
this is largely the main theme of the route, it goes up.
and up, no it doesn't stop.
hahaha naik naik.
half way, i came across this interesting animal crossing road signage.
like seriously? an animal would cross from a totally obliterated habitat across a 4 lane highway to a palm oil plantation?
there's nothing here to see. move along please :(
teruk punya hujan. got caught in the rain for the second time, had to stop as the visibility was terrible. plus weirdly enough my super expensive Brooks saddle is not water proof. so yea, mahal aje lebih. tapi ok menyelamatkan telor untuk kegunaan masa hadapan, just incase if i want some kids.
so after all that climb, the fun bit starts here. turun all the way.
turun turun, with a scenic route to boot.
Day 11: 70km Mersing to Kuala Rompin
Mersing ni takde apa apa. its mainly a jumping off point to Tioman and the whole place its pretty small and you can find many backpackers hostel less than rm30 per night. the food near the jetty is fuck expensive btw
you'd be riding through a forest, unlike the Mersing route there are many places to stop and makan. as the local orang asli banyak bukak kedai jual food stuff along the way. the route is quite flat with a slight incline, flowy and not too hilly or demanding.
this power line tower is situated mid smack on the highest hill in Endau, and there's a big steep climb you oughta make before you can reach here. but once you see this, right after - its all downhill all the way (ok not exactly all the way, but there's less climbs lah) to Bandar Endau Rompin.
Day 9: 86km Sungai Rengit to Kota Tinggi