Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Northern Touge Road Trip - Cameron Highlands

Pre flight checks are a pre-requisite before any road trip to ensure your vehicle will get you there and back in one piece. So I popped over to Hyper Racing to check my engine and miscellanuous lubricants and radiator water displacement to ensure all's well. I got my wipers swapped out since my old ones were crap and I got these new model kinky blue ones from Fer! Nice!
We were blessed with a cooling morning sun and cloudy skies for a beautiful drive up to Simpang Pulai.
It was an awesome drive amongst smooth flowing traffic and everything was just in place.
We eventually reached the Simpang Pulai exit and turned off for some Kuey Teow Soup and lemon juice (to wake our minds) before blasting up the hills to our destination in Brinchang. We drove past some of the best roads I've ever had a chance to drive on, sweeping corners and smooth lanes. Met with Dennis from TKA, on a photography trip with his cam buddies, halfway up the highlands... Until we hit Kg. Raja, where there was a super massive jam, and Soon and Fer were stuck behind me.
We got past that with stinky clutches and worn left feet and arrived at Raju's Strawberry Farm (right opposite Equatorial Hotel) where we were pampered with freshly picked strawberries in cream and honey.. Sweet! I managed to meet with a former colleague of mine here.
We then retired to our pre-booked apartment style accomodation in Brinchang to cool off and refresh ourselves. We managed to squeeze three adjacent parking lots amongst the super filled parking bay.
And here's Soon doing some calisthenics to warm up and stretch out... Tom's Stickers Pg was kind enough to wrap my spoiler in 3M carbon look sticker for my trip and it looks awesome!
The crew and I were famished after such a long drive, we decided to have a simple lunch at the nearby cafe and adjourn to the star at Cameron Highlands, the strawberries... And Strawberry Moment serves up some of the best concoctions of this flavorsome fruit.
As we had our fill of desserts and could fill no more, the team decided to retire to the hotel room for a good rest before dinner. On the way to get our cars, Soon picked up something out of the corner of his eye. It was a pristine example of an AE86 front conversion on a TE72. Having driven one before, I have nothing but love for this car!
I finally got to taking a pic from our balcony and the view looks superb! Our room was overlooking the entire Brinchang area along with the pasar malam and all the food outlets. We rested well that afternoon, lounging about in the cool highlands breeze.
We then went for an awesome and fulfillingly hot steamboat (hot pot) dinner with free refill veggies (good for me, I'm quite the vegan) and mind you, these were hydroponic organic vegs! The night view from our room is just as nice, Soon and Charlton brought back a couple of beers for the cteam to enjoy and we just kicked back to some movies.
We woke up bright and early, got prepped and checked out from our hotel to catch the drive down in minimum traffic, but we were hungry and we had to fill our tummies first. Nothing feels better in the morning than the familiar, so we went over to the eatery next door serving wan tan mee and kuey teow soup where I spotted this beautiful Perdana finished in flat black.
I loved this eatery as they served up loads of chillies prepped in diff styles, and since the place was full, we ordered some hot Milo to keep us warm whilst they prepped our meals.
A little friend also visited me after my filing breakfast, this fella was huge but missing one leg. I would love to see the beetle that did that to it.
We left after our beetle charming breakfast and made way to Simpang Pulai in good pace. But not before refilling at the local petrol kiosk where I met Boy from Balik Pulau (this is turning to be an interesting trip meeting so many fellows along the way). As we descended, I managed to capture this Garrett bus! Imagine if it was actually powered by that... Hmm...
What visit of Cameron would be complete without a tour of its many tea plantations? Our team stopped by to check out what all the fuss was about our local black teas and it was a scene new to us all. Terraced earth and plantations as far as the eye could see.
We were once again keeping the touge spirit alive and as we progressed downhill, Soon's turbo was right on my butt with his wastegate screaming (I could only distance him with some daft LFB). As we passed a beautiful left sweeper, I spotted this wonderful area for a pic to remind us of the awesome trip thus far.
Soon's temperature rose suspiciously and found he'd got a burst water pipe, so Fer immediately swapped in a replicate hose to sustain until we got to Ipoh where Soon got it swapped out for a replacement. See my el-cheapo gloves? Those helped keep my hands dry in the heat, and warm in the cold during our highlands run.
The Northern Touge crew were blessed as we once again drove in cover from the sun on our return trip, someone up there must LOVE us!
We stopped by Soon's home town in Taiping but Silver decided to run away and keep in supercars' company... But we pried it away from the intoxicating bunch!
After Silver's ordeal, we drove around Taiping to take in the sights and its lake was a wonderful sight of man meeting nature... And to catch a glimpse of my kinky blue wipers :P
The trees here have been carefully nurtured and each creates an arch for drivers to pass under whilst taking in the views of the wonderful lake.
Soon then led us to the Bukit Merah Laketown Park, where he worked as a part timer in his younger, non-grinder wielding days, for a guided tour and shakedown of the area. I managed to ty my hand (no pun intended) at a panning shot with my handphone cam through a wonderful touge strip somewhere in Taiping.
We eventually arrived in the Bukit Merah Lake area and the park seems like a nice place to plan the next Northern Touge road trip! Soon will of course be the guide then as well :)
We went about the park and took in a few rides before closing time. Beated and bushed, the lot of us decided it was time to head home to a hot bath and some well deserved rest. En route, I saw another TE72 at the Jawi toll plaza and I just wondered... Could this be a sign of things to come? Stay tuned...
I got home with half my right arm sunburnt, which was pretty unusual in my book...
And a 568km trip that cost me RM110 of petrol, including touge-ing up and down Cameron. I love my fuel consumption on highway drives :)
Phew... That was a lot to digest... See you readers next time, check back for more road trips in the future.

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