Sulawesi diary, day 7, evening, motorbike conquest. Mountain crossing from Mamasa to Toraja, Sulawesi


If a main road can be bad, imagine how a secondary one that is not in the maps can be.  The world really keeps throwing worse and worse paths! (Mamasa – Toraja, moto conquest road, 2 hitchhikes)

If a previous post was motorbike kingdoms, as only motors could access some parts, this is motorbike conquest. The landscape refuses to be dominated but the motorbikes and only the motorbikes manage to pass trough.
Landslides, falls of hundreds of meters,  roads eaten by water, water ways, mud, a lot of mud, impossible slopes, lose rocks, all to hide one of the entrances to amazing valleys. This is the continuous conquest of these sturdy machines and their skilled fearless drivers.

In this conquest lands, without electrification and telecommunication system the news come at the speed of motorbike.

The story.

After getting a wrong way in a bifurcation I walk for more than 1h from the funeral place, on a good road but with no traffic.
I ask a moto coming the other way if that’s the way to Toraja, it isn’t. Fortunately he takes me and drives me back to the bifurcation.

After 1h walking on the main road, tired from the monotonous scenery and the noon sun i decide to hitchhike again. Strangely there are no 4 wheel vehicles passing…

The 3rd moto stops, it’s Natan, a 50 something year old man. The moto is a 20 years old Honda Win, like the one i owned in Laos! but not a copycat. He, before letting me on, checks the tire, chain and the suspension of the moto. Strange, that never happened before in any of my hitchs… I’ll have the reason for that soon after.

If a main road can be bad, imagine how a secondary one that is not in the maps can be.  The world really keeps throwing me worse and worse paths! And i know that probably  there is still a long way to go 😀

To hitchhike a motorbike in this kind of road is having a mixture of ignorance, heartlessness (your ride and his moto really have to do extensive extra effort to allow you to go through, even when walking in the bad parts), and having gone trough a lot of any kind (bad stuff).

It can be done… but really you need the right mindset.

Anyway there is always the option of simply hiking, is not the hardest trek ever, but also not the prettiest. There are 2 or 3 nice landscapes and few traditional mamasa/toraja houses, but that’s it.  The real wander of amazing roofed houses appears when getting into Ponding, where the good road just starts, to get into toraja. 

There is high chance of rain, as the clouds hang on the mountain, making striking views but wet muddy roads :P. The road itself has not seen any car in months, and maybe even years. Several landslides and trees cut the road making it only accessible to 2 wheel vehicles, and even these need Dakar level drivers to ride through… For walking the worst are the mud traps, and a lot of loose rocks on the steppy slopes. I dismounted and did these several times on foot, sometimes being faster than my ride, so no problem.

In the wikiloc profile the road  is described (with a small mistake on my part choosing way, that adds about 8km to the track). The terrible amazing road lasts for 50km at least (Mamasa to Ponding). Far from the 36km that lonely planet (2009, with buses on it) quotes, I wonder where they got that from, I guess there shall be another shorter trail through the mountains, or my GPS is terrible. Anyway only getting to the first pass is already 30km…

In any cade, as with my other English posts, if you want adventure, hardships, suffering, and you have the heart for it, this is your path!

Something to tell back home and a way that enlightens. Both what you see and what you think (at least in my case as I’ll show in the following posts).

To finish the day, the last 40km are in a perfectly paved way, but still reaaally  windy and steppy, not the best when carrying a 13kg backpack in a Honda Win with a small rack (I had to learn how to hold on the seat when going up, I almost fell twice before finding the trick :).

This road also has some spots with  landslides, limiting a lot the 4 wheel vehicle flow. But the scenery is even better than the 1st part: crazy river valleys, pine clouded mountains, and hundreds and hundreds of Toraja amazing houses and  ricefields.

Natan is a super cool guy who stopped on some scenic points for me to take pictures, and offered to host me at his house. It had a crazy roofed Toraja rice house in the garden 😀

Si escric res referent a aquest viatge s’haurà de dir mal camí, o bad road o jalan rusa, o en les altres llengues. És  en diferència on més he sofert i on millor experiències he tret 😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s