I had a great time in Bajawa. It was a beautiful place, and there was a lot to see.

But it was finally time for the last leg of my roadtrip: The drive to the volcanic lakes of Kelimutu.

There’s certainly more to see beyond Kelimutu, but I had to drive all the way back to Bali. There’s only one main road, so every mile I drove was a mile of backtracking.

If I had a bigger bike, I could take the more adventurous northern road. But not on my little scooter!

Flores is incredibly beautiful. But the drive between Bajawa and Moni may have been the most beautiful.

Volcano over the forest.
Volcano over the forest.

I went down from the mountains that Bajawa is on, through rice terraces, then along the coast.

There were some nice views of beautiful deserted black sand beaches along the coast. I drove through Muslim towns with mosques.

I got to the big town of Ende around 1, and drove around looking for a restaurant. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t get the friendly Flores vibe in Ende. It was just a big, impersonal city.

My scooter, my constant companion.
My scooter, my constant companion.

Bandits?

I never felt unsafe driving alone in Indonesia, and this should not deter anybody from doing it. But something weird did happen past Ende.

There were three guys with machetes cutting weeds along the road. One guy motioned to me so I slowed down. He asked for cigarettes.

Indonesia has a serious smoking problem. I hate to enable this disgusting habit, but it would be worth carrying a pack so you could offer cigarettes to guys you met. I didn’t have any, so I went on.

Except for that one guy, everybody was friendly.
Except for that one guy, everybody was friendly.

There was a nice view of a river, so I stopped for a picture. Nobody made me stop. The guy came over and asked again, and I indicated I didn’t have any.

Then he seemed to ask for 200,000, which is a lot of money. He didn’t look happy. He had a knife, but he wasn’t brandishing it.

Other bikes were going by. I decided to get back on my bike and go. He didn’t try to stop me. Was he some kind of incompetent bandit? Just beyond him were friendly people saying “hello mister.”

Bamboo delivery.
Bamboo delivery.

More Trouble

The road became deserted, with absolutely no traffic. It was nice.

Then I encountered a long line of parked trucks. At the front were a bunch of parked motorbikes, and waiting people. The road was blocked with bamboo.

I stopped and watched what was going on. The road is a narrow path along the hill. Heavy equipment was removing the hill above the road just beyond the roadblock. They were breaking up big rocks, which a couple backhoes were pushing off the road.

Deserted black sand beach.
Deserted black sand beach.

I arrived around 3 and waited. And waited. I ended up waiting until 6. I considered going back to Ende, since I would have to drive in the dark, but decided to push on.

I later found out that this road is closed from 8 am to 11, and from 12 pm to 6.

The drive to Moni in the dark wasn’t too bad. I was long over my fear of driving in the dark. I stopped at the first guesthouse I came to in Moni. That’s always a mistake, and the place was a dump. There were more guesthouse down the road.

Tomorrow I wold visit Kelimutu.

One of the many churches I passed.
One of the many churches I passed.
Terry
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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