Day 124-128 – Gelang Patah
The journey is now over. There was still a lot we had to do to make sure our bikes were sent to Cape Town safely, but this was essentially just admin. As the days went passed, it became clear that it was going to be better to ship from Malaysia. The insurance alone that had been required at the border would have cost us around $200 per bike, even before looking into the ICP. That is a huge amount for just a few days. We began to phone around, but it turned out to be quite difficult to get people to respond to our queries, and often it was a back and forth exchange of information that clearly wasn’t going to produce anything in the time scale that we had available. The Taylor contingent had already booked tickets, and so one way or another, we would be flying out of Singapore on Friday evening. We said goodbye to Kath on Wednesday, when she caught a flight to Kuala Lumpur, and then on to Laos to join up with her siblings who were still backpacking for another month together. It had been fantastic having her along, and we would all like to give her huge thanks for how easily she fitted in with the group, and the fun and light-heartedness she brought with her.
By Thursday at noon, with no shipping prospects yet organized for Friday, we decided to make one last move, to get us one step closer to the shipping port city of Johor Bahru. By about 1:00 p.m., we were packed and ready to drive the last 20 km. Unfortunately, Shan’s bike shared none of our enthusiasm, and chose this moment to develop a fairly serious leak from the fuel tap, where the fuel leaves the tank, and is piped down to the engine. The next hour was spent removing the tank, and then taking the part around to some of the local garages to see if they could give us any advice. This proved to be more than a little frustrating, as at each place, attempts to explain the situation were immediately drowned out by emphatic statements that they did not have the part we required. The fact that we were not actually looking for a part, but merely some advice never managed to make an appearance in any of the conversations, and so we eventually gave up, and just decided to stuff it with gasket sealer and hope for the best. That seemed to do the trick, and we made our way to our hotel in Johor Bahru, having to make several U-turns in order to find our way. We finally managed to find the place, and settled in for our last night.
Late in the afternoon, Dad received a call from a guy that had been in contact with one of the shipping agents that we had approached for a quote. It turned out that this guy, Larry, was himself a shipping agent, and a biker, with lots of experience in shipping bikes out of Malaysia. He offered us a quote that would cover picking up the bikes from Johor Bahru, the closest city to us, and then sending them on to Klang, a port town right by Kuala Lumpur. From there, the bikes would be put directly into a shipping container, without any crating required, and then shipped off to Cape Town, where it would arrive three weeks later. This suited us perfectly, even though it was a higher quote than we had originally had. It was in fact the ONLY quote we had. Without so much as even signing a document we accepted his offer, with a sense of peace that we were going to be okay, after all the anxious moments.
And so when Friday morning came, we loaded up the bikes one last time (this REALLY was the last time) and drove them down to the pick-up point nearby. We offloaded the luggage that was going to go with them, and after saying goodbye to our untrustworthy steeds, piled into a taxi, with all our luggage, and were on our way to Singapore.
True to form, we had to go and speak to some high-ranking official to explain why our previous entry stamp had been voided, but once we had told him the story, we were waved through, and we were in Singapore. The taxi made its first stop at the hotel John had booked for himself and Carol, his wife, who was flying in the next day to spend the next couple of months backpacking around South East Asia with him. We said our final goodbyes, and then took the last drive down to the airport.
And that is where our story ends. As I write this, we are somewhere over Kenya, having covered in just over 24 hours the same distance that we have just taken four months to complete. It has been more than just an incredible experience; this will now be a reference point that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I will try and make sure that there is a final report given by each of the riders, to give each of us a chance to sum up our thoughts about this journey, but for now, it is the end, and we thank you for being a part of this with us, and for all the support and encouragement that has been given .