Friday, April 18, 2008

The Looooooooooong ride to Parapat

Mr & Mrs Parapat welcoming us. Horus!

Wheels taking a break after the 10km steep climb out of Harunggoal

The most beautiful and luxurious tea stop - Siantar Hotel 30km before Parapet

The view from the crater ridge - north of Samosir Island straight ahead

Hot water promised - yeah right!

Getting to Harrungoal was easy but getting out drained us completely. Our 10km climb started at 930am, was the toughest I've ever done. We were hoping to get a ride up from some kind soul but was unsuccessful. All the vehicles did not want to stop for 2 scruffing looking guys who smelled real bad from sweat. So we had no choice but to inch our way up. It took us 2 hours to get to the top but we did it! If ever I deserved a medal, this must be it.

Back to the crater rim road, we were back to cruising our regular 25-28km/h heading towards Parapat. Some parts of the road was pretty bad with huge pot holes but the flip side was that traffic was relatively light. We rode passed many churches and at about 1pm, came across hundreds of students spilling onto the road. Some of the them were on bicycles and were so excited to ride with us. I felt like the Pipe Piper with all the kids trailing behind on their tiny wheels.

The fun soon ended as we had to climb again. This time, it was about 40 km of long ups and fast downs. My legs felt really soft and we had no choice but to grind up slowly up mountain roads. At least the scenery was superb but it was hard to appreciate it breathless. I will confess with no shame, that I pushed my fully loaded bike up twice! The downs though exhilarating could not compensate for the hard climbs (Chris disagrees) and I wished I had an electric bicycle. We videoed our fast descents, clearing 3km in 5 mins!

Reaching Parapat at about 6pm, through wet weather and totally exhausted by all the mountain torture, I was so glad to hit our abode for the night. 149000 RP (S$22) with breakfast and hot water was promised. Unfortunately, the only hot water we found came in a flask with 2 glasses so an ice cold bath had to do.

Not a great way to end a long ride but at least we had a superb Chinese dinner. I'm still wondering why no one gave us a ride at the start of the trip but I have learnt that He who holds our lives in His hands knows what is best for us. Things can only get better from here...

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