The third day we got up a little later and this was totally forgiven as we had done a lot of serious kilometers. Today we’d drive uphill in seach for Mr. Jim Thompson in Cameron Highlands which was a 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. Our Malaysian lead took charge as usual, but the Thai crew always managed to break up into groups once again. Fortunately, the GPS coordinates saved the day. God bless the navigation technology! On this day our driving manner was very much a cruising style with a few pit stops for fuel and some grubs. The service stop areas were very nice to boot.
Once we were ascending the hills, the temperature began to drop by a few clicks – a boon for air-cooled machines. The curvy roads were entertaining and our cars absolutely enjoyed them. This fun drive, however, was a bit short, but it was more than made up by the nicer weather and the superb scenery along the way. It was here in Cameron Highlands that Mr. James Thompson – the late American businessman who revitalized Thai silk industry disappeared in 1967. His disappearance generated one of the largest land searches in southeast Asian history, and is one of the most famous mysteries in the region.
Just before we reached our accommodation, the lead car – Andrew’s 997 GT3RS had a tire puncture that was too big to patch up. Andrew decided to leave his car there and would later call a flatbed to transport it home while catching a ride in one of our cars. We were all willing to wait for his car to be transported before moving on, but Andrew wouldn’t have us all wait. Kudos to our leading man! We finally arrived at Strawberry Resort where we would spend the night. The rooms needed no air-conditioning as this area enjoys a low of 18-degree Celsius – some of the lowest temperatures in the country.
Grabbing our jackets and headed for dinner at the resort, we capped the night with our usual “Renn Drive – style” party, i.e. wild and crazy style that made searching for one’s own guest room a challenge, let alone searching for any missing person.
Once again, we had another lazy morning to get sober up for the drive home. The return journey saw the usual photo taking and fuel stops, but it was not uneventful as the blue backdate RWB car had rear wheel bearing failure. Believe it or not, our Service Team had a spare on hand and the team completed the job in 45 minutes while half the group waited. At this time the first half of the cars had already reached the immigration checkpoint at the border. They refueled and helped prepare immigration documents for the second group. The second group wasted no time and grabbed a quick bite while waiting for the repair. We felt no real pressure since the return flight home was scheduled to depart at almost 9:00pm. Eventually, with better idle time management and the splitting up of group, the second half of the party arrived at the border only 30 minutes later than the earlier group. We then all regrouped and continued our drive back into Had Yai where the trailer trucks awaited. Cars were quickly loaded, which left us just enough time for a dinner downtown before heading to the airport. Our first cross-border adventure ended here, but the spirits of Renn Drive and the camaraderie among drivers from different countries will remain for a very long long time. I am sure of it.