Rod i Bagarap Moa Yet

This is an old sign but it was almost true at the moment.

Due to heavy rains the road leaving Madang is particularly bad.  There are work crews diligently trying to fix areas and make it passable but all it takes is another heavy rain to wash away their work or create a new muddy, practically impassable hill.  All of the pictures don’t do justice to the slippery ice-like conditions that are created by the clay-like mud.  Andrew was driving the red truck with Jesse.  And Lisa and I followed behind with William in a blue truck.  Both trucks had 4 wheel drive which made this trip actually possible.  And their Canadian driving-on-ice skills definitely helped too.  Lisa and I watched multiple times as the back end of the Toyota slid from side to side on the road.

A PMV stuck near the top of the hill.  Andrew pulled them the rest of the way as the work crew watched.  This was probably the worst hill because it was very bumpy in addition to the thick mud.

The steepness of some of the hills adds to the challenge.  This part of the road wasn’t too bad but it does have a 17% grade.  The scenery makes up for it though.  This road has lush sprawling jungle on either side.

I think the random places where the road just drops has more to do with the earthquakes and unstable ground in PNG then rain and poor weather.  But the mud certainly doesn’t help the situation.

These potholes were very very deep.  As we drove by I looked down and couldn’t see the bottom.  It’s a good thing the other side of the road was clear and we could just drive around them.

You can see all the tire tracks where other trucks and PMV have gone around the puddles and probably skidded too.

This is the beautiful view at the top of the mountain ridge before descending into the Ramu Valley.

But you have to get down the mountain first.  This required more sliding and maneuvering through mud.

There are parts of the road that are paved, smooth and easy to drive on.  Just watch out because even these roads aren’t immune to potholes.

And it doesn’t take much to knock out a bridge.  This is what the river crossing looks like on the Madang side of Ramu Sugar.  They have made it so cars don’t have to ford the river to pass.  But hopefully the bridge will be fixed soon.

Back in the highlands again.  This is the Yonki reservoir with storm clouds brewing.

Once we were on smoother roads Jesse enjoyed sticking his head out the window, breathing the fresh air and waving to the PMVs as we passed.

Despite the roads, we made it safely up to Ukarumpa in less than 6 hours.

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