I met some guys from the Baku Bicycle club and they helped me find the people I needed to. We also walked around Baku and it was nice to meet some good people from Azerbaijan.
My new friends
I want one of these dudes.
A tired noah.
Oil in the water....
How to get on the Baku Ferry to Aktau.
First, you need to fill your empty tank of patience. Forget all the shit you went through with police and traffic trying to get to Baku. Take a deep breath. Ok now you are ready to start.
There are 2 ports in Baku, the “new port” and the “old port”. The ferry to Aktau can leave from either. There is no schedule. The ferry will leave when it is full of transport. If it is a rail ferry, you will not be able to go on it if there are petroleum cars or chemical cars. No passengers will. I am not sure about the ferry to Turkmenbashi and how to buy a ticket.
The link to Baku Port http://www.bakuseaport.az/eng.html
(It won't be much help)
You need to find the lady named Vika. She is Russian looking in her 30s. Sandy blond/brown hair. Speaks some English and she is the ONLY person who can sell you a ticket. There are 2 ticket offices and its a crap shoot where she will be. Email me and I will send you her number. The old port ticket office is located near the Boulevard area of Baku. After you enter the main road from the Boulevard, you will drive between a wall on the right and a building on the left. You will cross railroad tracks and see a gate. The first building on the right after the gate is the ticket office. The door with moto stickers on it is the one you want.
The ticket office is on the right.
Coordinates 40.376178277, 49.8650832704 (Old Port Entrance from Boulevard)
Coordinates 40.3744878209, 49.865611321 (Ticket office)
The New Port (RoRo Port) is about 8 km east.
Coordinates 40.3691628766, 49.9352689035 (Ro Ro Port Entrence)
Coordinates 40.3628328103, 49.9344234767 (New port ticket office)
The ticket office is the white building on the right side of the gate. There are 3 doors on the west wall. Left door is Ticket, middle door is passport control, right door is police/customs.
Call Vika every morning at 10:00 and ask if a ferry is leaving. She will probably say call back around 2 or no, there isn't one. When you call back around 2, the ferry will probably have chemical rail cars in which case you can't go. So you wait till the next day and call again.
When your 3 day transit import for your vehicle is up, you need to leave you vehicle or car at the customs office. Theoretically it is a “secure place” I had no problem with my motorcycle being messed with. I removed all luggage and locked my spare tires to the frame. You don't need to pay any money when you put your bike into custom. You will be able to remove your bike from customs when you have a ticket to the boat. They will let you ride to the new port if that is where the ship is leaving from. You should not have to pay any money to customs when you are leaving. You can leave your vehicle at customs in the new port also I think. But it will not be in a gated area.
Coordinates 40.3719194538, 49.865193405 (Customs office)
On the Ferry From Baku to Aktau. May 7.
I called Vika at 10:00 on the 7th. She said meet her at the old port at 11:00. I met a couple from Switzerland in a Landrover taking the same boat and we all went to the new port to get tickets. $200 later and I have a ticket to Aktau. Taxi back to the hotel to get the bags, Taxi to old port to get the moto loaded up. Ride back to new port to wait for ferry. Around 3:00 I was waiting with the Swiss couple. Document control while we were waiting and around 7:00 pm we were able to load the boat. The sun was setting before the boat left port. Soon after I fell asleep
On the boat.
Truck drivers on the boat
My Uzbek roommates.
Sunset and boat hasn't left.
The emergency picture is hand drawn. Along with the boat drawings.
Woke up in the morning in checked the GPS. We had traveled a whole 25km from Baku. That's twenty five. Not 250. 25. We weren't moving and when we finally started again, we were going about 19km/h. It would take another 26 hours to reach Aktau. I spend the day trying to communicate in Russian, talking with the Swiss couple, editing some video and watching some Futurama on the computer. The sunset that night was amazing.
Doors were wide open. You could go anywhere on the boat you wanted.
Sharing beer with my Swiss friends.
We woke up around 7:00 in morning with Kazakhstan in view off the right side. By 9:00 we were in port and by 11:00 we got to leave the boat. About 6 hours later we were through customs and I was on my way. The image below lists the details.
She demanded that she sign Kazak.
Later that night after about 204km it was getting dark as I was entering the town of Shetpe. Entering the town there was a modern petrol station that I passed up to fuel on the other side of town. I found an ATM and got some money. The petrol station leaving town didn't have an attendant so I rode across the street to a restaurant/bar. There were about 6 guys sitting and standing around a bbq. I started talking to 2 of them. I didn't even have a chance to take my helmet off when I hear glass break and I get hit with whiskey. They guy who threw his whiskey at me ran up an kicked my side with the bottom of his foot knocking my motorcycle over. I stepped off my bike as it fell onto the left side and he ran around to try and kick me again. He tried to kick my leg with the top of his foot and got the buckles of my boot which I bet felt good. My helmet still on and fists clenched I started yelling at him and got very big. The other 5 guys held him back and helped me pick my moto up. I have no idea why he was so mad but he definitely was drunk.
At the ATM. The traveler draws a crowd.
A this point I went back to the modern station and fueled up and got the FOOK out of town. I went about 30km and then 5 or 6 km out into the dark. I camped by the bike and kept opening my eyes whenever I heard a sound. It turned out I was about 1 km from rail road tracks on the other side of a hill so 4 or 5 times I heard a train thinking it was a car coming. The start were beautiful. There were no lights visible and no moon. I was glad when the birds woke me up at first light.
May 9 Into Uzbekistan.
I was packed up and on the road by 7:30 in the morning. The road from Shetpe to Beyneu is total shit. It is about 310km of 2nd 3rd and 4th gear stand up riding. Many times I thought I would have bent rims but the Dirstars are strong. I stopped at the only food place I saw for a breakfast of eggs, sausage and bread (sounds like Yetso, kilbasa y hleb in russian). The sign also said they had fuel but I didn't check. Hit empty on my stock tank 12L and RallyRaid tanks 10L about 40km from Beyneu. I still had 5L in my 4th tank along with 2L in plastic bottles. I found a petrol station in Beyneu and topped off. Sheshlik, cucumber salad and coke has become a staple of my diet. About 3:30 I was 20km from the border and got a flat in the rear. It looked like I picked up an office staple somewhere. Back on the road after a patch. At the border soon and I was standing in line in Kazak customs just before 5. The sun was going down when I finally got through. Both Kazak and Uzbek customs put me at the front of the line to get me through. The Uzbek form to temp import your bike is only in Russian so save the paperwork form the Kazak customs. You can figure out info from the Kazak paperwork to put on the Uzbek sheet. I rode about 50 km away from the border and found a place in the desert to camp. After a dinner of Asian noodles, crackers and sardines I went to bed. And slept amazing.
Good to see first light.
Camped next to the bike here.
The best the road was.
There are many tracks. Watching Tractor trailer trucks drive this would be like watching fully loaded trucks run the Baja, Mojave Desert, or Morocco. It was crazy. At one point I counted 10 different roads separate from the shitty main road. People choose the one where they can go the fastest.
rim full of dust/dirt/shit/powder
In Uzbekistan. looking back at the setting sun.
Making camp. Good night.
I'm loving life again. More to come tomorrow.