05/07/2014 – 307 days/26632 miles

The final piece of business in Penang was getting the bike loaded on a boat to Indonesia. My buddy Ben, who I’ve been traveling on and off with through Malaysia, and I planned to use the same boat, which goes from Penang, Malaysia to Belawan, Indonesia, which is not far from Medan, on the island of Sumatra. The boat is not your typical roll on/roll off ferry, or a large cargo vessel. It’s a wooden boat, about 30m long, that hauls vegetables from Belawan to Penang. So on the return trip to Belawan, there’s plenty of extra space for random cargo, like a couple motorcycles.
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05/06/2014 – 306 days/26625 miles

I’m really loving Penang. I’ve got a flight scheduled out of here, but if it weren’t for that, I think I’d be staying for a much longer time. That’s not to take away from any of the previous places I’ve been that I’ve really enjoyed…I can look back and still really enjoy them, but Penang just seems damn near perfect. It has a nice laid back feel to it, and there’s a certain unique charm to the town, and to top it off, the food here is absolutely amazing.
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05/05/2014 – 305 days/26619 miles

My main priority when I arrived in Penang was to get some things sorted out with my bike. Most important was getting my starter situation taken care of. Although it’s been working fine for a couple days with the paperclip, that’s not much of a long term solution.
In some brief looking around online, I came to the conclusion that replacing the switch assembly with a BMW part would be pretty expensive (like into the hundreds of dollars expensive!). I figured I’d be able to build a simple setup with some basic wires and switches that mimicked my paperclip setup for far less money.
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05/02/2014 – 302 days/26446 miles

While fixing my bike yesterday, I noticed my buddy John (who I met in Laos a few months prior) walking by. Yet another random reunion with someone I’d met earlier.
The next morning, he and I hiked up to one of the big tea plantations in the area.
Our first big find once we got started hiking was this beast of a millipede…probably was almost a foot long.
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04/29/2014 – 299 days/26285 miles

Who would’ve thought that filling my bike up with gas in Malaysia could be so wonderful…
First off, it’s SUPER cheap…2.10 Ringit (about 70 cents) per liter. Thailand (and everywhere else I’ve ridden through) has been about double that. Pair the wonderful riding with cheap gas and you’ve got the recipe for happiness.
Next, you can pump it yourself (take note here Oregon!). I’ve never understood the idea of not doing it yourself…I’ve never had any issues with it due to lack of expertise. And moreso than just for this reason, I like to fill up my bike myself as everyone else seems to make a mess of the process. Every time someone fills it for me, I urge them (with simple speaking and hand signals) to go slowly, or fuel will splash out, and nearly every time, I end up with a bit of gas sprayed across my seat. My riding gear already smells like BO…I don’t need it to smell like BO and gasoline.
Third, there is no gasohol, ethanol, E10, E20, or Eanyothernumber. It’s all 95 octane gasoline/petrol/benzene.
Last, and most definitely least, is that you can pay at the pump with a credit card. I think this is the first time I’ve seen this since leaving North America, and though it’s not that amazing, it is a bit convenient.
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04/25/2014 – 295 days/26085 miles

Melaka is a nice quiet town (but has terrible mosquitos…if you come here, bring extra bug spray!), so I decided to stay a couple days longer than I originally expected.
As you walk around the city, it feels incredibly diverse, and very unique. It was founded by Hindus from Sumatra, shortly after that was protected by the Chinese, then taken over by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. Add to that the fact that it was such a major sea port and was constantly visited by traders from around the world and you’ve got a very interesting place. Depending where you are in the city, it can feel SE Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, or European. This can be seen both in the people and the architecture, and a perfect example of the architectural variety can bee seen in the Kampung Kling Mosque.
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04/22/2014 – 292 days/26002 miles

Well, I am really unemployed now…
When I started my trip, I had a year off from my job, and planned to travel for 10-11 months. But now that I’m well into the trip and pretty much addicted to it, I’ve given up on the idea of making it back home in time. So it looks like whenever I make it back, I’ll have to figure out what to do then.

I guess my future holds more parking in guesthouses than parking in garages, and more having a sore ass from sitting on the bike than from sitting in a desk chair…fine by me!
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