Thursday, June 7, 2012

perlis trip (day 1 of 3)

photo: the "old folk's home" from the 2011 malaysian movie "Great Day/天天好天"

this will be my second visit to perlis - the first was a day trip a few years back using the car. originally i had a different destination in mind, but due to the lack of base mile training rides recently, decided to change to perlis instead for a shorter, less taxing trip. and so, taking advantage of the longer weekend due to a public holiday, the new plan was to ride to perlis on saturday and overnight there, and spend sunday exploring around perlis before returning on monday. and once again, the rear rack and pannier is called into service.

only around 70km+ into the journey, around simpang empat, the front tire flatted out. and it was a fast leak. not a good sign now was it? seemed like there were many patches of glass shards along the road from vehicle accidents, just swept to the road side and left there, and i probably picked up one of those along the way that caused this. and so, here i was, experiencing my first roadside tube change...

photo: getting a puncture on the front wheel, just a few hours into the first day of the trip. sigh...

i couldn't seem to find the cause of the puncture though after running through the internals of the tire a few rounds with my fingers - although there's a ~1mm hole on the tube. anyway, the replacement tube held up fine for the rest of the trip, but note to self, next time don't buy a tube with short valve - it's a bit inconvenient to use...

not sure if it's the tire that's crappy or just due to the higher mileage that i'm doing this year, but i did not get a single puncture last year, yet this is already the second puncture for the year - the first was a slow leak on the rear tire that i only discovered after finishing the ride previously.

nearing mergong, the sky ahead appeared to have started drizzling, so i stopped at the next Caltex fuel station ahead for a short break. anyway, the drizzle lasted for mere minutes, but thankfully it helped to bring the afternoon heat down a little. the not so good side of this was that there were now water puddles around on the road to avoid.

photo: powerline stretching over wide paddy fields.

turned off from the main kangar-alor setar trunk road towards the coastal area a little too soon when i saw the signboard for kuala sanglang, and then recalled that the correct road junction should have been after the perlis border instead, which i have yet to cross over. anyway there were small roads linking across the river/canal towards the coastal road on perlis side, so it's fine.

a few wrong turns later, i finally saw the signboard for 'jalan pesisir pantai' which is the road running right beside the coastal area of perlis that i wanted to ride through. the sea was at low tide though, so the views were more of mudflats than seawaves crashing onshore. large rocks were lining the small space between the road and the sea, presumably to prevent erosions. sadly, it appeared that there are hardly any sandy beaches along the coast of perlis... but then, langkawi island is just nearby.

photo: cooling down under the shade of a tree.

photo: approaching kuala sungai baru fishing village.

riding on coastal roads like these also meant being exposed to strong winds, and unfortunately, it was a strong headwind for me all the way to kuala perlis. even trying to maintain 20km/h on an essentially flat route turned out to be a struggle. it would have been so much fun riding from the opposite direction instead...

photo: a restaurant building jutting out over the sea.

photo: more coastal road.

closer to kuala perlis, plenty of roadside stalls start popping up into view, their proprietors getting ready for probably another evening of weekend diners crowd.

photo: entrance to perlis combined-cycle power plant.

kuala perlis around the jetty area was a mess of long queues of cars and seas of people, likely due to the public holiday, school holiday and weekend combinations. decided not to stop here after all, and navigating out from the horrendous traffic here, i went in search of the so-called 'rainbow house' nearby. glad that i didn't plan to stay overnight in kuala perlis in the first place.

this 'rainbow house' - as it is referred online - is the colorful house used as a location for the malaysian movie Great Day (天天好天). the actual location is in the nearby seberang ramai village, further north across the river from kuala perlis jetty.

photo: paddy field at seberang ramai.

heading to arau, while trying to return the water bottle to its holder, i misjudged and dropped the water bottle onto the road instead. had to quickly dismount, ran over and kick it out of the way of an approaching lorry before the lorry make a pancake out of it...

accommodation for the night was at brilliant inn in arau, near the local fire station. $58 for a standard double. they're ok with me bringing the bike into the room. i had booked a room in advance this time around due to the holiday season, and rightfully so, as both this inn and the nearby metro inn are both full for the night. went for a walk at the nearby c-mart shopping complex to look-see before a late dinner at a nearby stall.

originally i had wanted to extend my stay here another night (i had booked for only one night just in case something came up and i couldn't make the trip), but the front desk girl seemed intent on making it hard for me to do so. twice i asked, twice i'm told that she'll let me know later at night as she needs to confirm the existing reservations first. the third time i went to the front desk to ask, she was gone for the day, and the night shift person can't make decisions on reservation matters. a quick check on agoda (where i made the reservation for the first night) showed 5 rooms still available for booking for tomorrow. duh...

and also, is a floor mat so expensive that there is none provided, causing me to have to leave trails of water all over the room's tiled floor everytime i have to go into the bathroom? but otherwise, the room (and the place itself) is fine, just disappointed with the poor service from the front desk with regards to extending my stays.

photo: in the motel room with the bike...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

day 1: kulim, kedah to arau, perlis, via lunas/padang serai (136) - gurun/simpang empat/mergong (k824/67/1) - air hitam (k139/7) - kuala sanglang (7/k102) - kuala sungai baru (r152) - kuala perlis (r152/81) - seberang ramai (r144/r100/r103/r105/r107) - arau (r103/194/7/186/r145/179/r3/r6).
total distance cycled: 183km

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