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Old 04-20-2012, 09:22 AM   #1
laszek13 OP
laszek13's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Poland
Oddometer: 35
AURORA PROJECT - winter ride to Murmansk.

As I promis fiev monts ago I like to show you my RR.

It was in February this year.
5 good friends on 3 motorcycles - one XT350 with skis from Shwedish army and two old R100Gs sidecars.
First we wont to say THANK YOU for our sponsors !!!
If this is not legal - write me e-mail and I will delate.

OK lets start.
Over a year ago on our site of weirdos who fancy old iron junk, history, not necessery useful inventions, jokes and other not really trendy topics, Pastor posts a thread titled as above in bold.
It was inspired by our common friend Konrad from Sierakowice. He is a weirdo as well. Like us, he’d rather get his ass wet riding in the rain on his old MW750, ride byroads through decrepit villages and smell the hay than go on a motorcycling event, bumping through drunken bikers and watching if someone isn’t “watering” his tent.
So, the subject has been served – feel free to grab a bite.

Project details;

Goal – to see aurora borealis from as close as possible from a bike’s saddle. On the way there try to cross the frozen lake of Ladoga and eventually get as far as possible north of Russia – to Murmansk.
Astronomers say there will be unseen amount of sun activity since many years which influences directly to what we call aurora borealis. Therefore we’re about to see an amazing spectacle if we manage to get there and there will be no clouds.
Date: middle of february 2012
From Gdynia to Helsinki by a ferry. From there get north and continue to White Sea and Murmansk district until we run out of time (whole undertaking needs to be maximum two weeks long including the way back home).

Pastor calls me and asks:

-You’ve read the new thread? So? You coming?
-Weeeell, the plan is outstanding, but you know, all the work, responsibilities, not that much money and this trip won’t be cheap, considering the date – I say.
-Think about it mate – responds Pastor.

And I really thought about it.
I craved for something unusual. I really did.
My thinking was this: I don’t go, the guys will have a great adventure and in effect I will bash my head against the wall because I gave up so easily. On the other hand if I go it will demolish our home budget and I’ll have regrets the entire way that I spent so much money on a whim.
My significant other says:
-There’s still time, we gonna make it, it’s important to have something... that important in your life – says Agnieszka.

We’re going. I’m coming with you.

When I wrote back to Pastor and said, we’re going, but with my wife, the man grabs his head and says:
-Don’t tahe the woman, she’s still good, would be a shame to break her.

Sometimes things get clarified after a while.
Originally I intended to ride my own motorcycle, R80GS, but the guys advised against it. Not only is it a heavy juggernaut but also with a passenger it would be a misery not a joyful ride. On top of that I had an accident this spring on a patch of wet tar (greetings to road maintenance) which resulted in demolition of my ride, which I’ve been trying to fix an entire summer. I end up riding with Adam in his sidecar – Agnieszka is dissapointed, but supports me as much as possible with my trip planning.
In the meantime the squad clarifies.
-Pastor and Lupus, R100GS with a russian sidecar
-Me and Adam, also R100GS with a Velorex sidecar.
-Szparag on a XT350 with swedish army skiis, manual gear shifter and additional rear brake handle just above the clutch handle.

It appears that the biggest issue is completing proper gear, clothing, boots etc. Ordinary civilian motorcycle apparel isn’t much good in these conditions. You can’t wear too many layers underneath, it’s too tight.
It takes a loong time to gather all the clothing. Ofcourse one can purchase ridiculously expensive gear for snowmobiles or so called winter motorcycle winter clothing but there’s no time for experiments, we need something soon and for a reasonable price.
Miraculously I find a company online, Norfin and one of very few polish representatives of this contraption. It is clothing designed for fishing under ice (they do not dive into cold water, no noo, they stand on ice and put small sticks into a hole in the ice).
On that ice it is windy as hell. So it got me thinking – these people know what to wear to keep the bodyheat and comfort.
I’m negotiating prices. Guys join in – it’s not cheap.
Duh, it’s the most expensive purchase for this trip – pants and jacket made of geese down – over 500 usd but it was worth it.
Minor things like a russian fuel stove, sleeping mat from Lidl, aluminum canteens – those I had. I got some underwear from my brother working on a construction in Norway. They get only the warm merino wool stuff. Lupus believes that there is nothing better and he’s right about that. Only natural textiles, wool, down etc. – no synthetics.
Boots have been spotted by the guys in US of A on a closeout in a workwear store.
We buy three pairs (all they had, but proper sizes) pf canadian baffins, less than a hundred dollars each including shipping.
Szparag and Adam go for Norfins, not worse than canadian, but slightly more expensive. We’re going as cheap as possible anyway so why spend more when less is available.

We got something, we’ve got things set up, but we ran into problems with sleeping bags, one costs about 400 usd. I am trying to convince the guys to look for some sponsoring, but not all of them are keen on that idea. Especially Pastor resents media and publicity. But we’ve got ourselves the best sleeping bags this way, and probably he got over with it – am I right reverend?
A company Pajak Sport agrees to make us some at low prices, after long negotiations but it’s still a bit steep for us. To the rescue comes a company INDUSTRIVERKTYG IDG-Tools AB, which agrees to pay for the remaining cost of this equipment – a considerable amount of money.
Elwood gets us some lubricants from Variant. And last but not least, a real gem in form of a free ferry trip from Gdynia to Helsinki thanks to Finnlines and a very nice guy, mr Rafal Kwapisz. All that including cabins (usually I’ve sleepinging on the corridor floor).

It cannot get better I thought. get’s really interested thanks to Sambor and will gladly publish our accounts – that’s valuable as well.
Damn, we have to be doing something really stupid since it all works out so well.
Well, mabye almost all, Adam hassles with getting some screw-in tyre studs from Italy. He has them promised at a half of the price, we’re just waiting for the tyres to get a proper size for the spikes. Finally they arrive and we tell Adam to get them.
The italians are baffled, they insist that nothing was promised and it is not possible, they redirect us to their representative of some kind in Poland, where one stud costs one euro.
Considering the fact that one tire requires at least 250 of those it doesn’t look too optimistic. We decide to pass, generally cursing those damned italians and we get some third party replacements which turn out to be quite sufficient for those conditions, even though they dissapeared rapidly on tarmac since they had no cemented carbide cores.

One last thing that remained was the visas. Somehow it appears to be a huge problem for one company that should get them, so we clench our teeth and wait to get our passports back so we can take them to other fixers.
We get our visas shipped to us three days before the trip starts.
Since that moment not one of us slept well, not to mention sitting at work – there’s only one thing on our minds.
My packing a day before the launch isn’t going very well. I don’t want to take unnecessary things in order to squeeze all this stuff on the motorcycle, but somehow I keep thinking that all of it is just too much in terms of volume, since weight isn’t a concern for any of us – the beemers will haul it anyway.
Still – what the hell need I that blanket for, that additional fleece – I still have no idea.
As it turned out later things like shampoo, towel, cream, down boots for sleeping and various other stuff were never used.

On the 18th of february we slowly pack our stuff into a car and with Agnieszka and Nynek we drive to gdynia to Elwoods crib. The guys join us in the evening since they had a couple of hundreds to be done from Swinica.
On the way a small breakdown in Adams car – untried brake decides to do some sightseeing and screws off ripping apart the umbilical cord in form of a steel brake line. With help of locals we quickly fix it.
So, we sit at a late evening smiling and enjoying salads, courtesy of Elwoods wife, supporting polish brewery in the process. We lay down to sleep, wherever one can find place so that in the early morning we will arrive to the port at a proper hour.

And finally we’ve got long awaited 19th of february 2012.
It still does not sink in with us, that a great adventure begins, of five friends at proper age, ones that should be attributed with flipflops and newspapers rather than motorcycle trips.
Adam dissapears in the morning for a mass in Oliwska Cathedral and shows up quite late for the gathering by the garage. We pack quicklyin an untidy manner, we’ll get it all sorted out on the ferry anyway, rush to the port to get the boarding passes and be there for a nonexistent check in and customs clearance.
Upon the ferry entrance someone honks behind us and gives magical signs. We stop to find out that there is smoke coming out from a wheel of our sidecar. No time for adjustments – I get into the car to get some weight of that wheel – it is only a couple of kilometers after all. We’ll look into it on a cardeck.
We crawl onto the ferry, strap on our bikes and quickly undress since it is quite warm in Gdynia as if it was spring.
We gather what seems to be necessery for a 23 hours trip not forgetting Pastors moonshine and a couple of polish beers, which will not be available for us for some time.
We drop the stuff in our cabins and go to the deck called “sunny” to wave to our friends and families standing on the shore. After all the goodbyes, waving and nodding we look at ourselves, having the port dissappearing behind our backs and it finally dawns on us, that those months of preparations, hundreds of emails and phonecalls finally turn into real deal.
Alright, I’ll say it even though I probably shouldn’t – we hug each other, but in a manly fashion!

First simply map.

and this short moovie - I like it. It is not finisch but you MUST see.

and now I will go buy some beer and wait this evening for first part of 400 pictures

laszek13 screwed with this post 04-26-2012 at 01:12 AM
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