Thanks to Steve Roberts for his entertainling blog and photos from the Road of Bones Expedition...Steve has been blogging for one month now so the future posts I will be updating for 5 days in a row to catch up...Enjoy!
Road of Bones – Itinerary
Behold the 2012 ROAD OF BONES expedition, led by Compass Expeditions, London (May 20) to Magadan (Sept 1) by motorbike. 15 motorbikes, two 4WDs and 3 ride leaders. We will have about 75 nights in nice hotels and about 25 nights in bush camps.
Our route – subject to changes if we encounter problems – is:
London, Rouen, Lauterbrunnen, Salzburg,
Budapest, Timisoara, Sighisoara, Bucharest,
Nessebar, Istanbul, Goreme, Trabzon,
Sochi, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Moscow,
Suzdal, Kazan, Samara, Aqtobe,
Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Ferghana,
Bishkek, Karakol, Almaty,
Khovsgul, Tsaguun Nuur, Tsetserleg, Ulan Baatar,
Chita, Neryungri, Yakutsk, Magadan,
then fly to Vladivostok, and home to Melbourne.
The “Road of Bones” is the 1200-km stretch between Yakutsk & Magadan. We will do that over 7 days, much of it in bottom gear (I see it was “6 days” in the first draft of the itinerary).
So this trip is very like the “Long Way Round” trip done by Ewan Macgregor & Charley Boorman in 2004, but it has been made into a sort of guided tour by Compass Expeditions Ltd, who run it every 2 years. The journey is about 28,000 km in length, covering 12 countries, and thus giving rise to numerous hassles with visas, which Compass Expeditions have ably sorted out.
Apart from re-visiting Istanbul, Moscow and Ulan Bataar I will see very many wonderful new places: Sighisoara, Volgograd, Suzdal, Samarkand, Tashkent, Ferghana, Bukhara, the Aral Sea, Irkutsk, Chita, Yakutsk and finally Magadan, which lies resplendent on the northern shore of the Sea of Okhotsk (I’ve been on the southern shore, in Japan). I was in Moscow in 1970 for a few days, I have some rudimentary Russian, and I’ve already done the entire 13-day Mongolia segment on a 4WD trip in 2006, including the National Games on July 11-13 each year – an amazing spectacle.
Among hundreds of web pages about the places on this trip, you can search on “Magadan” or “Road of Bones” in Wikipedia. I will return home in mid September after a week in Vladivostok.
Um, yes, there is rather a lot of it – I have drawn most of it in the post “Map of Russia” – but I want to jam this trip in while I am still young. I will compose, and add to, a list of personal Trip Highlights as I go along.
Most of the 15 bikes are 1200cc BMW GS, but my own bike is a new BMW F650GS (800cc twin water-coooled engine), unmodified but with numerous accessories.
Day 1 of 104
May 21, 2012
So we had breakfast at the Ace Cafe, and took off at 9am – it was 10*C but 13*C at Folkestone. The Channel Tunnel train is interesting, very well organised and we were in France by mid afternoon – but it was 10*C and windy! We stopped for a late lunch, I was shivering with cold so I raided the long-term storage bag and took out some Siberian clothing. We stood there in full motorbike gear (warmer) clutching our sandwiches thinking that there will be colder lunches than this one … Spectacular new road from Calais down to Abbeville, then on to Rouen which has a magnificent cathedral. . Tomorrow 8am start, on to a little town in the east of France.
Day 1, here we are at the Ace Cafe ready to ride out: