Just thinking about the marathon driver and guide were going to endure over the next two days exhausted us. They drove back to Senggigi last night, returned this morning to pick us up in Senaru; we’d drive to the Labuhan Lombok ferry port; take the ferry over to Sumbawa and spend two nights on the island. The drive would continue for another 7+ hours to Bima on the other end of Sumbawa. Driver and guide would drop us in Bima, and reverse the entire trip back to Lombok! What an ordeal! Nasip and Mr. Parhan would spell each other at the wheel; one sleeping, the other driving.
It was an interesting 2-3 hour ride from Senaru, around the flanks of Mount Rinjani, once generic Dramamine kicked in. (Twisty, turning, and rough mountain roads almost guarantee a fast case of car sickness.) The volcanic folds on mountain flanks were covered in soft green vegetation while villagers made the most of the rich soil, working in fields of garlic, rice and corn. The drive continued east of Mount Rinjani through Sembalun Lawang, situated in an ancient, and fertile caldera. Sembalun Lawang is the preferred access route for summiting Rinjani.
FYI: Mount Rinjani is an active volcano and seismic activity is monitored daily at the government, Rinjani Volcanology Center.
An overlook stop where monkeys came running, hoping for a handout. There was no hurry since ferries between Lombok and Sumbawa leave every hour on the hour, 24 hours a day.
The road didn’t become decent until we neared Labuhan Lombok. Whatever person prepares statistics on how often, and when ferries leave, is overly optimistic. Ferries do run 24 hours a day, but don’t count on the “every hour” bit; Labuhan Lombok is not the fastest moving operation. We waited for more than an hour, looking at different foods, fruit and vegetables for sale. I even bought “Snake Fruit” remembering how tasty it was. The sun must have made me delusional, and we threw them out after one taste. Snake Fruit was not what I thought it was. (How could a person forget how a fruit with skin like that tasted?)
At last, the ferry disembarked passengers, and smooshed on new passengers, cars, large trucks and locals who stayed on board selling items until the ferry was ready to leave. They roamed the decks with fresh chicken, soft drinks, fruit and junk food. A few people sang, hoping to earn a few Rupiah for entertaining while another man stood with a microphone and speakers selling toys! Nervous, I was told that this was the biggest ferry between Lombok and Sumbawa Islands; Indonesian ferries are notorious for overloading and sinking.
The passage from Labuhan Lombok to the port of Tano on Sumbawa Island took 1-1/2 hours, and unloaded a hell of a lot faster than it had in Lombok. Tano is a tiny port with nothing there except buses that cross-cross the island. Two more hours on the road until we arrived at Kencana Cottages, outside Sumbawa Besar; tired, crabby and already regretting the brainstorm to overland Sumbawa.