July 26, 2008

Kuala Terengganu Ride: Endurance at Test

26July 2008 / Saturday / 10.30 p.m.

As we bid goodbye to Anoi and her family, the drizzle was felt almost immediately but we were too busy with the goodbyes to really notice that drizzle. Suddenly, the realisation of that never stopping drizzle came to alarming despair when ever since we left Anoi’s house we were still riding in that drizzle. The drizzle seemed to be accompanying all of us throughout. That drizzle became coarser almost consistently that we had to made a frustrating stop at one of the available shelters – a bus stop nearing Dungun. We were about 160 kilometres away from Kuala Terengganu.

There, at the small but adequate shelter everybody was tensed. Nobody seemed to want to be talking or chatting. Everybody was wet all over again for the second time. Everybody was deep in their own thought. May be the idea to stay for the night at Anoi’s house was a good idea after all. But Halim and Nik were quite persistent to proceed the ride while Atin & Ani and K & Azah had to succumb to that idea.

Nik then made a suggestion if the drizzle continues we would make a stop for the night at any hotel in Dungun which was 10 kilometres away. However, upon reaching Dungun Halim, Atin and K just went on riding careless of the pounding drizzle. At this point the endurance of the riders in control of the machines seemed to be put at test by Allah the Almighty. The three couples on the bike was all in their own world vrooming in the night admist the drizzle. The drizzle was as if accompanying the couples on an already solemn wet night.

Suddenly, after beating a traffic light Atin & Ani was not nearly behind Halim & Nik and K & Azah. Cold as ever, the ten minutes waiting for Atin & Ani was getting anguish for fear of any mishap. As Halim decided to turn back for them, Atin & Ani came to our view. It turned out that the “key” handkerchief that Atin used to cover his face was blown away and got stuck in his bike’s chain. Since Atin was a very experience rider he made an immediate stop before the chain broke itself. We then continued our ride and at that time it was way past midnight. We were also as wet as anything in the cold breezy drizzling night.

We, the three couples soaking wet rode again as free and easy as it could be accompanied by the drizzle vrooming in the wee hours of the day. The drizzle, the cold and the wet clothing no longer a hindrance or discomfort as the six of us silently rode through the early morning to Kuala Terengganu. The drizzle, the cold and the wet clothing had become united with us, the three couple whose endurance were put to test by the act of Mother Nature. As we rode further the kilometres reducing we gained confident and strength to reach our destination, Kota Baru. Instead of planning to reach Kota Baru before midnight our ultimate now was to reach Kota Baru safely. The warm cosy bed waiting for us at the hotel that we had made the booking became the champion trophy for us.

Kuantan – Kuala Terengganu Ride: The Challenge Against Nature

26July 2008 / Saturday / 05.30 p.m.

The ride to Kota Baru was not exactly a free and easy ride in entirety. We were very lucky that up to Kuantan the weather was almost on mercy on all of us throughout the ride. Then, our luck of the weather made a turning point when the rain started to drizzle as we rode to Kuala Terengganu. We made ourselves as friendly as possible to the drizzling rain and tried to enjoy the ride amidst the drizzle.

Well, who are we to challenge the supreme power of Allah the Almighty. As we were nearing Kerteh where we planned to break the journey for dinner at Anoi’s house (Ani’s younger sister) the sudden hard pouring down of the rain had us surrendered and scattered ourselves for shelter. Again, we were very lucky because we were only a few metres away from a nearby cosy restaurant at Ajai. All soaking wet, Halim, Atin and K made a vrooming ride for that comfortable shelter. It was quite a frustration also because Anoi’s house is just 10 kilometres away.

Everybody was shivering cold especially Ani. While the guys attended to the bikes, the ladies made immediate order of hot drinks and food to ease themselves. We were stranded for more than an hour for the rain to subside. We took that opportunity to have our break and enjoyed the food and drinks. We also put our journey on table for plan of action with regards to the wet weather. At that point it was already passing 8 p.m. Our journey had come to a delay point and we needed to be more patient then.

We decided to proceed our journey considering the fact that the rain did not seem to stop at any moment. We rode in the heavy drizzle all the way to Anoi’s house. Upon reaching Anoi’s house we were already soaking wet all over again. Everybody made a run to the bathroom to get into warm clothing.

Though Anoi was kind enough to have some food ready for us but we were quite full at Ajai just then. Nevertheless we ate as much as we can for we had hundreds of kilometres of ride to make in the darkening night. The rain seemed to drizzle all the way through the night and there was no sign it would stop at any point of time. After much discussion we decided than to continue our journey and got ourselves ready for the ride. It was then 10.30 p.m.

Anoi & her family with Nik & Ani before leaving Anoi's house in Kerteh.

Kota Baru Ride – The Rendezvous

26 July 2008 / Saturday / 11.00 a.m.

Finally, it was time for Halim and Nik to start their much anticipated Kota Baru Ride. After communicating with K and Atin, they both made their way east through Mersing at about 11 a.m. Halim had set to meet up with Atin & Ani at Bandar Muadzam Shah while K & Azah at Kuantan. Atin was to leave an hour later than Halim and K was to set out its riding time accordingly for a timely rendezvous at the agreed places.

After an hour on the bike, Halim and Nik chanced upon the Kembara Mahkota Johor at Mersing. There was a long queue all the way at that Taman Wawasan area where the local people greeted the Kembara Mahkota Johor entourage. Every now and then Halim communicated with Atin and K for updates of their exact locations prior to the rendezvous.

At Rompin Halim and Nik had stopped for lunch while Atin and Ani had their lunch at Jempol. Both couples were about 60-80 kilometres away from Bandar Muadzam Shah. Well, it was really a perfect timing when both couples crossed each other at Bandar Muadzam Shah at about 3 p.m. However, K and Azah were already in Kuantan, way too early from the two couples.

Finally, all of us were together in Kuantan at 5 p.m. and it sure was a great relief to be together. We later started our ride as one intact team to Kota Baru and headed for Kuala Terengganu about 200 kilometres away from Kuantan. It was then 5.30 p.m. and we anticipated to reach Kota Baru before midnight.

Halim's Snapshots of Kembara Mahkota Johor