|06-05-2009, 09:33 PM||#1|
Joined: Oct 2007
Terranova Expedition (round the world...)
After about 1.5 years of planning, were getting ready to leave on our around the world trip....
Start Date: July 12, 2009
Who: Cory Hanson, Age 32
Tim Dzaman (me), Age 42
Background: Both of us have extensive competitive offroad truck and ATV experience. However, neither one of us would be considered expert offroad riders.
Support: none. :)
Sponsors: Ummm.... we got a discount on our First Aid kits.
Cameras: ContourHD Helmet Cam (1280x720), Vio 1.5 Bike Cam. Sony HD 1080 Camcorder, Canon 40D
Route: Ride from Calgary, Canada to Vancouver Canada, there we will fly to South Korea, then take a Ferry to Vladivostok, Russia.
From there we Ride north and then a long, long way West as we go through Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the UK.
From there we will fly the bikes back over to Eastern Canada, and finish by riding across Canada back to Calgary.
Time: We plan about 3.5 months for the trip.
Tim: 2007 BMW R1200GS Adventure
Cory: 2009 BMW F800GS
Please feel free to post up on either site (main site or facebook), we'd love to hear your thoughts, and any advice or encouragement you would care to give.
Please have a look at the route (most of it is up on the Live Map section of the website). If you are anywhere near the route, we would be honored if other ADVriders would be available to ride with us on any of the secitons.
We would also like to send a huge thank you out to everyone on the board for the incredible resource that is ADVrider. Planning this trip has been made easier because of the great people who have graciously shared their knowlege and inspiration. Thank you.
wolf359 screwed with this post 06-05-2009 at 09:51 PM
|06-06-2009, 07:12 AM||#3|
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Sounds like a proper adventure guys. Have fun and ride safe!
I am really looking forward to seeing how you think the F800GS works for long and hard riding like this.
2009 BMW F800GS.
|06-07-2009, 08:40 AM||#4|
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Ontario, CANADA
Congratulations on your adventure. Ride safe and keep us posted on when you plan on being in Vancouver.
Central America, South America & Africa on DR650's - BLOG
|06-07-2009, 12:36 PM||#6|
Joined: Aug 2008
The Alps 2009
South Africa 2008
|04-01-2010, 11:32 AM||#7|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Day 65 Lugansk, Ukraine
The roads in this part of Russia are very good, so the driving has become easier, and the mileage we cover better.
We made it in pretty good time to the Russia/Ukraine border, or at least within 5 km of it, this is when we got lost 3 times. Cory has the only working Russia Map in his GPS, and according to it, we were in the middle of the main road. The only problem was we were driving down a back alley past a dump.
After back tracking and asking 4 or 5 people, all who pointed in different directions, we got pointed in the right direction (although the GPS kept telling us to turn), and finally made it to the Border. This particular border, was actually pretty good, and the guards were friendly and helpful. We made it through in about an hour and a half, with no real issues, and were through to Ukraine.
We spent a few minutes at the border, speaking with a couple guys whose company is contracted by the US Department of Energy, who were at the border, installing US supplied radiation detectors. They are in the process of installing them at all the former borders to Russia to try and stop the proliferation of nuclear materials.
We call this the "MIG on a stick" monument. It's about the 5th or 6th one we've seen. I guess when the Cold War ended and you had all these extra Airplane parts, it made sense to make monuments out of them.
Of course there are also a ton of tank monuments as well:
|04-01-2010, 12:26 PM||#8|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Day 69: Chernobyl
Today was a different day than any other on this trip. Visiting Chernobyl and Pripyat is a powerful experience. I was 19 (Tim) when Reactor 4 blew up, and remember well the resulting fear and mystery, as it played out in the following weeks. This event helped shape the worlds attitude toward Nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
Coming here in person, you realize this is an ongoing disaster. The Radiation in the air, and the soil is ever present. Like a monster that you can't see, but you know it's there. It makes the hairs on the back of your head stand up.
As we approached the gates, we were watching a documentary on the history of the disaster, and the scenes on the TV mimicked what was going by outside our window. We were actually driving toward the Zone of Exclusion. It was an ominous feeling.
We reached the gates, where a guard checked our passports, against the pre-approved list. You have to get permission to visit. We were pre-cleared, so there were no problems, and the gate lifted and we entered the Zone.
We came first to the administrative town, which was built after, to sign our waivers and get a briefing on what to expect.
As we drove forward, abandoned buildings began to appear. There were many villages in the Zone that were evacuated, besides the city of Pripyat. Some were bulldozed after, most were left. The forest has started to reclaim them.
We got our first look at our dosimeter, which measures the level of radioactivity in the air.
This picture was taken on the road about 2 km from the damaged reactor. The reading is .120.
Normal background radiation is 0.015 or less. Kiev is 0.020, which indicates that 20 years after the blast, it is still more radioactive than normal. The administrative center at Chernobyl is 0.030. We left the center, and slowly, in the distance, the first reactors came into view.
We stopped here, to see first the unfinished No. 5 and 6 reactors, with their construction cranes still hanging in the air. They want to dismantle them, but everything has been sitting for 20 years, and they are afraid they will collapse. So it just sits there.
Unfinished Reactor No. 5, with derelict construction cranes.
The massive cooling pond is highly contaminated. It sits about 40 feet from the road, which is safe. They dug down 1 meter here, and removed all the soil, before repaving the road. The readings here were over .100. Our guide walked 10 feet over the guard rail, put the detector close to the ground, we heard it start to buzz. He turned around and said "off the scale". Then calmly walked back to the road and handed me the detector. Cory and I exchanged horrified looks.
The cooling pond and grass is all highly contaminated
We asked at this point, what amounts of radiation were we absorbing on this trip. The limit for our guides is 2 million parts per year. When we were standing looking at the Sarcophagus, the reading was .500-.600, 500 parts per hour. Our guide had been (for not long) to an area that was 800,000 parts per hour. We felt a bit better after hearing this, and seeing the many technicians walking around us. There are over 4000 people working in the area all the time. They all wear personal dosimeters.
Next up was the damaged reactor itself. The Sarcophagus was built to last 30 years, and we are 23 years into that now. It is in dire need of repair and replacement. There is great concern it may collapse.
Damaged Reactor No 4. and Sarcophagus.
Reactor No. 4. and Dosimeter. Readings here were .450 to .700
There are plans for a "New Safe Confinement", that was originally to be completed by 2005. It has been pushed back to 2012 at least.
What most people don't realize is that after the first explosion, there was an immediate threat of another, much larger explosion. This 2nd explosion, if it happened, would have rendered Europe un-inhabitable. It was only because of the original firefighters bravery (they all died), that stopped it.
Memorial in Chernobyl to the firefighters. The plaque reads "They saved the world".
|04-02-2010, 09:40 AM||#10|
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: FLint Hills
French vacation house for rent! Great riding area!
450 KTM exc
950 Adventure S
|04-03-2010, 01:39 AM||#11|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2009
Day 69 Continued...: Pripyat
Pripyat was founded in 1970 to house the workers at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It is located 3 km from the Reactors.
In 1986, when Reactor 4 blew up, Pripyat was home to 45,000 people.
There is no one there now.
After the disaster, the entire town was evacuated. The people were given 2 hours to gather what they could. Everything else remained behind.
Now, 23 years later, the contaminated town is slowly being reclaimed by the forest. But it sits, frozen in time, a snapshot into life at the end of the Soviet Union.
Sadly, in spite of the radiation risk, the town has been looted and stripped of almost everything. What remains is debris, and the buildings. The contaminated trees are slowly reclaiming the buildings and roads.. The main road into town is now barely wide enough for our Van, the trees and leaves scraping the sides.
We come out into the parking lot in front of the town Hotel. Moss and grass and small trees dot the cracked pavement. The radioactive contamination here is quite low among the buildings. We go into the Hotel and climb the steps to the top overlooking the city. There is a tree growing out of the floor on the top balcony.
From the top we gaze out over the city. Reactor 4 with the ugly Sarcophagus is easily visible 3 km away on the horizon. The Cultural Center is straight down below us. We spend some time on each floor walking down the hallways littered with debris. We poke our heads into the tiny apartments, now stripped of everything. We are careful not to disturb anything. We are aware that each one was someone's home, and we want to respect that.
We walk over to the Cultural center, walk up the steps, and gaze at the crumbling, colorful mural on the wall. It seems out of place. We walk through the remains of the theater. All the seats have been stripped out, but the stage and some of the lighting is still there. We walk down hallways full of debris. Our dosimeter is almost silent. The radiation here is barely above background.
Outside we walk around a corner, and into view comes the famous Pripyat Ferris Wheel and the Bumper Cars. Abandoned and rusting, they are images I have stared at many times in the last 20 years. And now I am standing in front of them.
Cory and I are both as excited as kids, as we take pictures of the cars and then walk over to the Ferris Wheel. Cory climbs up on one of the smaller ones, and I snap a picture.
We are careful to run the dosimeter over everything before we touch it. The radiation is NOT consistent, and there are pockets of highly radioactive areas beside relatively safe areas. We are safe here, and I snap a quick pic of Cory.
We walk over to the giant Ferris Wheel. At it's base is a teddy bear laying on the ground, slowly being reclaimed by the earth. It was likely a child's toy, maybe dropped in the frantic time after the order to evacuate came. We imagine the children playing and riding the wheel, and laughing. It is quiet now except for the wind, and the beeping of our dosimeter measuring the radiation, which never stops.
We take more pictures. Cory and I sit on the Ferris wheel.
Afterwards, we walk over to the Super market, stripped of everything, except the aisle signs.
Finally, we venture down a path to the Pool. It is the cleanest building in Pripyat, with the dosimeter showing almost normal levels. We walk through the pool and the basketball court. There is a hockey net and a gymnastics springboard on the floor.
Cory bounces a few times up and down.
We exit the pool, and walk back to the Van, careful not to step on the moss (we were told not to).
We pile into the Van. On the way out, our guide takes the Dosimeter and holds it out the window. As we drive down the road, it starts to climb.. .300.. .400.. 0500.. 0700.. 1.00... 1.30... 1.700... 1.900.... then it changes to a steady 1.
"Off the Scale" intones our guide.
It then drops down as suddenly as it rose. We ask why, and he explains that this is where they buried all the radioactive trees, 2 meters down.
Cory and I wonder why they would build the road out over it, and whether we will be glowing for the rest of the trip.
We leave the Zone after having our Van checked by a technician, and being personally scanned by a machine that measures our radioactivity.
I can say without reservation, visiting Pripyat was one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime.
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