There's something really refreshing about hitting the trail with the sole intention of just enjoying the ride. No destination. Nowhere to get to. Just the thrill of motion, and the buzz of the pushing one's personal limits. A few months ago I spent a couple of weeks driving a dirt bike across Java, Indonesia with a posse of wreckless friends. We only covered around 1800 miles (3000 kms) but that wasn't the point; finding the dirtiest, most challenging and varied tracks definitely was the main objective! It was decidedly tough, both physically and mentally to wrestle our resilient machines over such unforgiving terrain, seeing just how hard we could push it, to face our fears, and to go beyond.
We spun through a full spectrum of terrains...along pristine beaches where turtles come to lay their eggs, and past picturesque fishing villages, through swollen rivers, and on rickety rafts when the waters were too high and the bridges swept away. Through some amazing tracks in muddy forests with black gibbons high in the canopy laughing at us crazy monkeys sliding around below, where the last remaining Java tigers are reported to reside, between rubber trees and cacao plantations, across volcanic calderas and down into their smoking craters.
Of course, no adventure that rocks up here can be complete without some kind of mineral action. This time I was looking to hunt down and capture some of the rare 'Bumble Bee Jasper." While occasionally marketed under the name "Eclipse Stone," it's technically a mix of sulphur and silicified volcanic ashes, plus other hydrothermal minerals that are formed around volcanic fumeroles. The bands of color are due to the temperature and pressure rapidly changing where the minerals reach the surface.
We climbed down to the bottom of the crater where there was a small lake, fizzing and bubbling away; a sudden wind change sent me running away coughing with tears in my eyes. However, the locals were friendly and I managed to buy a few incredibly bright specimens from the calloused miners.
Following this fantastic find, we had to scramble back to Bali. I couldn't carry too much material on the bike, just enough to whet my appetite, to carve some Skullptures and to put in some jewelry, but now I knew where to get it, I would be back!
The whole trip was a amazing adventure into raw nature and I returned to base enlivened and full of enthusiasm.
Jewelry and rough material from BatuBatuBali.com
Skullpture from www.MercuriousDesigns.com
Bikes from www.Archipelago-adventure.com