I decided to leave Kuta on the 28th of September. I woke up early, ate breakfast and had tea, packed my backpack, left a small bag with my hotel, monkeyed my backpack onto my bike, and I was off.
I decided that I was going to make the long motorbike journey to the North West corner of Bali to go diving. Instead of going the quick route over the montains, I wanted to see more of the country. I had marked out the route on Google Maps, and then, using a handy bookmarklet, I downloaded that route as a GPX route I could see on my GPS. This ended up being completely crucial to get out of the Kuta and Depansar area.
However, once out of the big city areas, I was quickly into long sections of rice terracing tracing down from the mountains right up to the edge of the ocean. I wish I had taken more pictures, but there were too many times I just didn't want to stop. The ride was so peaceful and enjoyable, I couldn't bring myself to stop many times. Motorbiking along curvy, smooth roads as they traversed amazing landscapes through jungle, rice terraces, cliffs and breaks over the ocean, small villages and communities, made for a great trip. So even though it took me almost 5 hours to get to the North shore, it was worth it.
That whole trip wouldn't be complete though without at least two stops to eat though! A few hours in, I was pretty hungry. I stopped at the first village I got to, which caused more than a few locals to look at me with an expression of "what is he doing here?" I found a small warung with a single sign advertising "Nasi Babi Gulung." Babi gulung was made famous (for me at least) by Anthony Bourdain. His trip to Bali included a stop at the island renowned Ibu Oka in Ubud. Well, I wasn't there, but I had to try this place. I ordered a bowlful, and had the owner put some of everything in it. Oh man. This was easily the best dish I'd had so far in Bali. I enjoyed it next to a local police officer and a local who requested I take his picture on my way out.
Another stop for some bakso (a soup of chicken, beef, pork, etc sold in food carts everywhere), a detour where I got lost searching for a temple on the ocean (didn't find the temple) and I got to Lovina without incident. I found a hotel to stay at 200 meters from the water and I was set. After rinsing off all the road grime (and there was a lot of it on me), I found a place to take me diving in the local National Park at Pulau Menjangan the following day.