The Son of Kelud

Jul 30, 2012 View Comments by

The small town of Sarangan was busy, busy, busy! Loads of bikers were enjoying the mountain roads in this area but strangely we kept on being waved down and stopped… “Simon, Simon…Lisa!!  Take photo, yes?” Weird, they knew our names. Was there something in a local newspaper? We knew that the Indonesian TV guys we met on Borneo had placed up one of their videos recently…perhaps it was that.

One young guy ran towards us shouting an enthusiastic “yyeessss!!!—Two ride the world!”  When he reached the bikes he ran his finger over our web address on the pannier, practically kissing the pannier! Now that was weird. To have a young boy so excited to see the 2ridetheworld name—a name that we had thought up over 10 years ago one morning while lying in bed. How in the world did he know our website?

The hotels down by the lake of Sarangan were all quite expensive so we moved further up the hill and found a decent ‘suite’ with three beds. Well, Andy had to become my brother again and as my ‘brother’ there is no problem with us all sharing a room. Awww….come on, it does just make life a little easier. It’s better to say “brother” than “good friend” as good friend here can mean so many other things and western women don’t have a very good reputation throughout many Muslim countries. I don’t want to fan the flames.

We are now in East Java and heading to Malang. Our aim is to make Mount Bromo by tomorrow but on the way we decide to ride up to Gunung Kelud, one of Java’s most active volcanoes.  Apparently, it’s in a ‘near-permanent state of growl!’ We are on the right road and according to the GPS it should be directly in front of us. We can’t see it. Where the heck is it? How can a growling volcano 5,679 feet high disappear!?

Sheets of misty rain hung about as we reached the end of the road. This road only leads to the volcano and its new cone. In October of 2007 there was a rapid increase of the crater lake water temperatures with temperatures exceeding 165 degrees Fahrenheit. On November 5, 2007 a dome of lava formed in the center of the crater lake. This cone of hardened magma is now 100 meters wide and acts rather like a huge bath plug! It has an impressive nickname though: ‘The Son of Kelud’. You’ve just got to say that name in a deep Darth Vader movie voice!

We were soon back on the road heading south but became bored of the main route and managed to find a gravel and dirt road, much to the surprise of the locals. Ah, a river was in the way! This didn’t pose much of a problem though as, despite the rivers in the area being high and fast running, this one had a double dam creating two waterfalls with a concrete crossing in between.  Despite the concrete being slippery and algae covered, no mishaps took place. I’m pleased to say that none of us ended up in the river.

The day had been long and we hadn’t managed to cover many miles, but we had seen some great scenery. It’s never-ending here; there is always something more stunning around each and every corner.

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About the author

In May 2003, we left our jobs, sold everything, and on 2 BMW motorcycles, set off to see the world. Nothing but a motorcycle can get you to the places and in touch with the people we have had the pleasure of spending time with. We’ve turned what was once a weekend hobby into a way of life that we wouldn’t trade for anything, and have no intention of ending anytime soon.