So So today was my first real ride on my new 2006 TW and my first real ride in Papua New Guinea.
I got this motorcycle to drive into town and to get better access to remote tribes, but ocasionally it can be used purely for recreational purposes.
I have had way too much work on my plate the past few weeks, so this ride was just what the doctor ordered.
Bill (another missionary here) and I met at around 9:00 in the morning to head out. The merciful cloud cover protected us from experiencing the brutal heat that is typically seen here, and it never got over 90, so all in all, it was the perfect day to go for a ride.
We left the mission center and waved the dogs goodbuy. They were a bit let down because we never gave them the opportunity to mark our tires, but they will live.
Riding in Papua New Guinea is a very different experience. If you have an image in your head of about 1000 tribal kids running after you and shouting in excitement, you are not that far off. everyone wants to wave, and a lot of people even try to high five you as you go by. So you have to stay on your tows.
About five minutes into the ride the police pulled us over. They just wanted to ask us if the bikes were for sale, but after we told them they were not, we chitchatted for a few minutes before waving good buy and continuing on our way.
We followed the road that heads West to the indonesian border for about 20 minutes before turning off on a dirt logging road. The road was freshly cut and was covered in heavy dirt clods left behind by the tractor tracks.
parts of the road were muddy and other sections were nice and hard-packed.
at one point I was going slowly through a heavily rutted section and I almost went down. Back home I only road on nice safe asphalt, and had not been on dirt in years, so I was definitely feeling a bit of the inexperience. Fortunately no crashes or scrapes were inflicted on this trip.
I think I look a little bit odd with my skull cap on a dirt road, but it is usually so hot here, it is probably worth it.
We stopped at a section were the loggers were working on a section of the road, and we talked with a few of them. When you talk to someone in PNG, it is customary to try to figure out what acquaintances you have in common. As it turns out we were friends with one of the loggers cousins in town. They were really nice guys and I felt bad for them because their company has not paid them in a long time and they are out of food in the work camp.
We said good buy to the loggers and took the dirt road down to the beach were they load logs onto boats for shipment. I am not sure if they just pick trees here and there or if maybe they were just working away from the road but I was happy I never saw any real stripped out sections of the jungle
When we got to the beach we talked for a few minutes with some local kids who were fishing off the loading dock before heading back to town.
We said good buy to the kids at the beach and headed back to the mission center. We made it back just in time, because right after I parked the bike in the garage it started pouring rain.
The total trip distance was around 60 miles with about 30 of that being dirt road but it was fun the whole time.
the suspension on this bike is a bit stiff once you get on rougher roads and when I get it loaded up with a luggage rack and all the stuff I plan on carrying it will probably get a touch worse. I could probably benefit from improving the suspension, but I can definitely live with it as it is.
I am very glad the Lord provided me with this little two wheeled vehicle and I look forward to getting a lot of use out of it in the years to come.