We took our motorcycle, a Suzuki 150, and David and Suzi from Sidewinder rented a slightly smaller 125. Two other couples--Leslie and Philip from Carina and Eddy and Glenda from Helena--went out riding on the same day but opted not to do the "round the island" route. Now we know why!
They are slowly paving the roads on Samal. While we were gone at Christmas they finally completed the portion near the marina, and carried on past. But the roads we had planned to go on our expedition were NOT paved.
We set out around 9:30 counter-clockwise around the island from the Marina. We quickly ran out of pavement (in about a quarter mile). From there it got pretty rough.
Our first stop was at Secdea Beach Resort. This is a very upscale hotel/resort on the water. Normally to visit Secdea for a day, it costs 750PHP (about $17) and this includes lunch. We talked our way in for a short look-see for free. They stop everyone at the entrance and take you in via golf cart. It's a pretty place but (IMHO) not worth the $17 fee for a day visit, and certainly not worth the $100+ per night hotel fee. We are told that there is a sandy spot just outside their harbor that's anchorable, but it's only a few miles around the corner from the marina.
After Secdea, we found our way to the coastal road along the east coast of Samal--a bumpy dirt track. We stopped in a couple of very small towns to rest our weary butts and buy a bottle of water.
In this picture is the main house, the TV room, the outhouse, and the pig place, plus a nice back porch.
As we wound our way down the coast, the road got rougher and rougher. Dave is spending all his time concentrating on keeping the bike upright, and not getting a chance to sightsee much. I am holding on for dear life (riding behind him). This trip quickly was falling into the "not so much fun" category!!
We had a fairly detailed map on our "Maps with Me" app on the Android cell phone (a version of mapping that works completely offline), and we could tell it was still a long way down the coast. We were starting to think "shortcut to the paved roads". But alas, the locals we met told us to keep going south.
Finally we met a hill that was bigger than we were. I wasn't leaning forward far enough and the bike got squirrely and Dave dumped it (narrowly missing going over a big drop-off on the side of the road!). Fortunately we had helmets on. Unfortunately we didn't have appropriate riding gear on. Both Dave and I ended up with messy scrapes on one leg and I a 3"x2" burn on the other leg. I nearly knocked myself out rolling backwards off the bike to get my leg off that hot exhaust pipe!! Ah, the lessons we learn... even at our advanced age!
David and Suzy (right behind us) helped us get ourselves untangled from the bike and, when Dave couldn't get it started on the hill, push the bike up the hill to a flat shady spot.
Dave and David then proceeded to dismantle the bike trying to figure out why it wasn't starting. They checked fuel and spark and it looked like the spark wasn't sparking, so they took the seat and the fuel tank off trying to trace the wiring. All the wiring looked good. They put in a new spark plug (yes, Dave had all the tools and spares we needed). I think the spark was there--but difficult to see when the plug was grounded on the frame. We nearly electrocuted David when we turned it over WITHOUT it being grounded, but relieved to find that there was spark after all. It was probably just flooded, but a good practice field diagnostic effort. It would have been a loooong walk to civilization had it not started. But finally we were off again.
Soon after, we finally made it to better dirt roads, and then FINALLY to some paved roads--we were finally back on the more populated west side of Samal. Whew! We were tired, sore, and hungry, and looking for food.
Taking guidance from a local, we stopped at the Farmer's V...a typical (slightly upscale) Filipino restaurant, where we had a nice lunch.
We had all had it on the bikes, so after our late lunch, we went straight back to the marina for a well-deserved nap.
But Dave is still planning our "Big Bike Adventure" around the Philippines.
I'll spare you the gross pictures of my (still healing 2 weeks later) bike blister.