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Old 02-06-2013, 05:35 PM   #46
romafras OP
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Deliverance "The Movie"

Matteo has not lost his habit of waking me up early. The alarm o’clock is set by 7.30 AM. Dragging my feet I pack all my belonging and by 8.00 I insert the first gear on my KTM. We leave the old colony place of the night with the intent to cover 500 KM for the day. The main reason is that we are now approaching what has been known to be a pretty dangerous area for tourists. In the last three-month in different occasions, 3 bikers were killed while they were sleeping in their tents. In this part of Siberia there is absolutely nothing and we were told that it could have been dangerous for us to sleep outside. The only thing I can think while driving this road is the movie ” Deliverance”. The people we were meeting along the road could have all played the banjo in my mind. In order to find a sort of accommodation we have to get off the main road to a little town called Neverchinsk. Since we believe strongly on Karma during these trips, at about 7 KM from the village we encounter a local guy that had a problem with his Ural Motorcycle and decided we would tow him and his bike to the village. There we found a decent room to rest for the night.

Deliverance






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Old 02-06-2013, 06:33 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
You don't have the permission to change the title once there is at least one reply. Write a PM to GB and explain your issue, usually he will change it for you.

Just to let you know, I really enjoy your report and the pictures.
Thanks for the tip. Done.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:50 AM   #48
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Still an early departure for us since the dangerous stretch of road is still ahead. Just outside Neverchinsk, we find a cute little orthodox chapel where a baptism was taking place. We take a few pictures and speak to the priest for a short while before starting our long riding day. The plan is to cover another 750 KM in order to find some kind of accommodation for the night. We also fill our jerry cans with fuel, as there is no fuel for the next 300 KM. When we finally arrive to the gas station that was supposed to be half way we sadly notice that there is no gas available. Our minds started to play funny games since we were in the middle of no where and close to where those poor bikers were killed in three different occasions just three month prior. A car stopped us and told us that gas was probably available in a village in the interior at about 10 KM from where we were. Having no other options we decide to follow the car to the village where in fact some gas was available. All this guy wanted was some money to buy some Vodka, which of course we gave him. With our tanks filled, we got back on the main road and try to make up the time lost. No way we would stay in the woods that night in that region. Funny enough on our way back to the main road we meet Akira, a Japanese biker that left Oasis Coffee and Guesthouse in Ulanbataar 2 days before us. He was heading to the little village to get gas as well. We told him how to get there and told him we would wait for him on the main road and he was welcome to proceed with us if he wanted. He also was aware of the all situation and was relieved to have met us. We still had to drive for 450 Km to find some sort of safe accommodation in Never. From now onward we were a team of four to cross Siberia. Two Italians, one French and one Japanese. Sounds like an old joke to me. We hope it will have an happy ending.

Two Italians, one French and one Japanese


The Taliban and the Orthodox
















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Old 02-11-2013, 11:23 PM   #49
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Today we all feel a little tired and have a slower start. We are heading to Novobureyskiy. A 690 KM trip. The road is pretty boring all day following the Tran Siberian Railroad. The only interesting thing is that at times we can see the Chinese border. At lunch we start asking Akira to make some phone calls in Japan to see about a shipping company that will ship Mateo’s bike to Vancouver and mine and Thierry’s to Europe. In the evening we are supposed to stay at a Stayanka (sort of truck stop) but when we get there everything is full. We are not sure of what to do next. I suggest going knock on people’s door asking permission to place our tent in their garden. 99 % of the times people will invite you to stay with them, when a full dressed Russian biker shows up to the gas station. We immediately made him aware of the situation and ask him if there is any nearby accommodation. He tells us there is a something that might work for us at about 5 KM. It is already night and our number one rule is never to drive at night. Considering the short drive we follow Igor to the place. Of course we invite him for a bite to eat with us. Our conversation is interesting enough as he knows some English. During my trip through Siberia I am interested in knowing whether people believe that the old Soviet regime was in a way better then the actual situation. It is of course a complex argument but my impression is that many people prefer the way it was in many aspects. The situation right now is that there is extreme wealth in some part of this huge country but as well extreme poverty in other areas. The area that we are crossing right now is one of them and people don’t have much of anything. Igor explains us that during the regime everyone had a car, a house, and a small but enough money every month. Now everything is left in total abandonment and people left on their own. In this part of Siberia the rule of the strongest reigns. That of course explains why it is dangerous to stay out at night in this region.















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Old 02-12-2013, 09:37 PM   #50
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This morning we are heading to the city of Khabarovsk. The fact of arriving to a big city after many days of small villages makes our mood a bit better. At lunch we decide that for the evening we all deserve a nice and comfortable hotel for the night. While having lunch we are approached first by some Jehovah witness and right after a group of people that are traveling with a van from Moscow delivering bibles to the interior villages of Siberia. Arriving to Khabarovsk we cross the huge river called Amur. This river is important to Matteo and myself because it is much written about in the book from Tiziano Terzani ” Buonanotte Signor Lenin”, that originally gave us the idea to start this magnificent journey. The river Amur defines the border between Russia and China. Thierry finds a good hotel for the night with great Internet. In the evening we went for a quick bite to eat where we meet two Italians that are traveling with the Tran Siberian railroad across Siberia. It is unbelievable how the world is small. It turns out that one of them, Nicola de Marinis, a professional photographer knows very well a great friend of mine that in 2009 traveled from Argentina to Alaska on his Honda Transalp. His good friend Carlo Otta Brambilla, is a journalist writing many articles about the Tran Siberian railroad. The two were hired by the railroad to promote European tourist to do such a trip.



What a day today is for me. I basically sleep all day in a nice clean bed. Such a treat is allowed to me because Matteo’s, Akira’s, and Thierry’s bikes need some kind of tune-ups. They reach Max MOTO, a local bike shop where they plan to change Akira’s tires and also change the oil on Thierry KTM. Matteo on the other hands need to do some welding to his extraordinary 1989 Honda Dominator. For the first time we are noticing the change in the attitudes of the locals. They appear to be much more nice and amicable. The mechanics are so nice that they invite Matteo and the other for lunch. That would have never happened a few hundred kilometers before. The amount of people drunk in the City is crazy. People have hard time walking around us.













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Old 02-12-2013, 09:41 PM   #51
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Off early in the morning. Our plans is to arrive to Vanino which is at about 620 Kilometers from Khabarovsk. On our way out of the city Thierry, forgot his very important gel seat at the motorcycle shop. While we were going back to the shop a news crew from the local television stopped us. They read on the city’s blog that we were traveling through their town and wanted to interview us. Of course we were delighted to be interviewed and explained what we were doing. This was a great way to publicize our project for the abandoned children around the world. The impression we all had was quite a surprised one, as we never expected to be so out of the ordinary. Stopping to talk to the people and explain to them what we had done so far and what was lying ahead of us, made us realize that we were so far from our homes on our motorcycles and I can’t deny we all had a positive sense of accomplishment. After our good byes we take the “road” to Vanino when after about 100 Kilometers we notice that Thierry’s bike is loosing engine oil. Of course we get to work in order to repair the problem. It turn out that the oil was leaking from the oil filter. Thank God I had a proper o-ring that we used to fix the leaking but wasted lots of time and knew that we were not going to make it to Vanino.



















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romafras screwed with this post 02-13-2013 at 04:52 PM
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:02 AM   #52
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Amazing trip

Ride safe!

I'm in.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:33 AM   #53
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Cool guys! Great trip!
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:49 PM   #54
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We are about 360 Kilometers to the Pacific Ocean. The road to Vanino is a mess but the scenery is quite spectacular. The road follows a major river, which we have to cross many times on top of insane bridges. It rains all day, which makes it a challenging ride for all of us. I don’t even want to mention the times our bikes were dropped. On a particular bridge Akira takes a harder hit than usual but fortunately it did not hurt himself. I was riding far behind him and saw the crash. Sorry to say that from my point of view it was quite funny but at the same time it could have been much more serious. He was sliding across the wet bridge and could have fallen below in the freezing waters with big rocks pointing out. Arriving to Vanino we are all enthusiastic to finally see the Pacific Ocean. We try to make it to the port in a hurry to see if we have a boat to take us to the island of Sakhalin. An 18 hours crossing across the Sea of Japan. At the port, the president of the local motorcycle club ” The Black Unicorns” was waiting for us. He saw us on the news the night before. Matteo is starting to like being famous and enjoys having his picture taken every chance he gets. With the president’s help we understand that we have a boat departing at 10 o’clock the same evening but it is not sure that we are allowed on it. The captain has already signed all cargo documents and we may not be able to load our bikes on the boat. The president of the club invites us to the club “headquarters” where he says we would be welcome to stay if not able to board the boat that evening. We all wanted to make the boat but it was something that we did not have control over it. We all went to the club and waited for the phone call of the Captain whether he would allow us on the boat that evening. The good news arrived a couple of ours later. We were all relaxing at the club when a telephone call from the port told us that we had to be there by 9.00PM in order to board the boat that was supposed to leave at 10.00P.M. All the members of the club escorted us back to the port. Matteo and myself were laughing hysterically under our helmets. The boat left at 4.00 A.M. The wait was very long and we started imagining what would have been like being in this port 30 years ago during the Soviet regime. Also we were pretty tired and started making poor jokes among us and teaching Akira some words in Italian. What a funny disaster. Finally after waiting for hours we are ready to board the ferry. Remember the boat we took from Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan? That in comparison was a luxury cruise. We were showed what was supposed to be our cabin. It was at the bottom of the boat near the engine room. Impossible for me to sleep there. Really gross. I decided to take my sleeping bag and headed outside on the upper deck.



























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Old 02-14-2013, 08:48 PM   #55
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Sakhalin Island

After a terrible night on the boat and a very long cruising (The speed was 8 knots), we finally arrive in Kholmsk on the island of Sakhalin. At the port, Oleg, a very nice local guy that was called from the motorcycle club in Vanino was waiting for us and escorted us to a terrible hotel where we were supposed to spend the night. During dinner we made some plans to visit the north island but Oleg advised us not to drive north as the road conditions were pretty bad. He wanted to come riding with us and suggested we would all drive together to Yuzno-Sakhalin, a bigger city on the south part of the island. To go to Yuzno we opted to drive trough an old Japanese road that was build during the 2nd world war. In fact the Japanese were in Sakhalin at that time and fought against the Russian for the islands. The dispute between the two countries still is strong today regarding the Kuril Islands. The night before there was a big storm in Kholmsk that made the old Japanese road a nightmare to cross. We just had road tires to make things even worse. The road wines through sort of a jungle. I drop the bike several times but Matteo unfortunately has the worse when he lost control of his motorcycle. It turns out that he believes his meniscus was damage. Arriving in Yuzno we are taken to the local bike club when other bikers took care of us and showed us around. It is quite a new experience for us been taking care this way by local bikers. In this part of the world, where the distances are huge, you feel there is a communication link between people on the road. Especially on motorcycles. We are grateful to all our new friends that helped us during these days. Our boat to Japan is schedule in a couple of days therefore we take the time to rest and do a laundry day which we need badly.



Lenin




Young Lenin














Russian cowboy travelling with a gun on his belt


Matteo and myself
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:16 PM   #56
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Meeting with the agent in charge of the incredible amount of bureaucracy to get out of Russia at 7.30 Am. The agent escorts us and our bikes to the port where at 10.00 AM we should board the boat that will take us to Japan. The mood is very positive among all of us due to the fact that we have been crossing difficult Siberia without any major injuries and are very close to Japan, the land of the raising sun.

As soon as we boarded the boat we immediately notice a big difference. This Japanese boat is nothing compared to the boats we took in Vanino (Siberia) or Turkmenistan. Everything is spotless, the crew is very efficient, believe it or not, they even cleaned our motorcycles. We don’t really know if they want to be nice and professionals or if they have some kind of rules about importing in their country dirty vehicles. Arriving in Wakkanai, we encounter the same efficiency by the officials at the custom clearance control. Matteo and myself had plans to go to Sapporo in order to register our ” Carnet de Passage” before being able to temporary import our motorcycles to Japan, but we learned that this was not necessary and a simple ” Temporary importation” document was sufficient. Everybody we talked to said that a "Carnet de passage" is mandatory to enter Japan. If you enter from the north (Hokkaido) that is not true. With our paper and motorcycles on hand we follow the new “captain” of the group Akira, which leads us through the first kilometers of this new and fascinating country.



Thierry with the temporary importation document




Boarding the ferry from Sakhalin to Hokkaido


Complementary cleaning








Clearing Japanese customs.






Finally relaxing and enjoying Japanese culture with my gheisha
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:12 AM   #57
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This ride report is great... but you are putting so many bad ideas in my head!
PM sent.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:37 PM   #58
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Love the story and great pics guys..........I'm in
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:56 PM   #59
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This ride report is great... but you are putting so many bad ideas in my head!
PM sent.
I just sent you a PM. I am following your report.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:08 PM   #60
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How can you travel through Japan and don’t stop to admire what an ancient civilization such as the japanese one has to offer ? That is why we have developed an itinerary where we would have the possibility to explore the many sites available to us.
In this relatively small country the number of ancient Samurai villages is amazing. We therefore decide to stop at one of the best preserved according to the “lonely planet”. Kakunodate is where you can find the old Samurai residences and a pretty good museum collects many original costumes and weapons. After a beautiful drive we arrive in Nikko, a sanctuary town that with its many temples, is keeping the “Edo” eravery much alive.

Samurai




National Parks




Traveling south and keeping our preference in smaller roads we pass through many national parks like the Japan Alps National Park. After a few hours of beautiful scenery we arrive in Kyoto, which is known to be the centerfold of the Japanese culture. In Kyoto we only have time to visit a minority of things, but we try to do the best we can and decide to go visit some other great temples and neighborhoods. Kyoto is also famous for its traditional Japanese gardens. Matteo and myself can wander around the street of Kyoto forever as they are full of colors and delicious food smells.



You can’t talk about the Japanese culture without mentioning Mt Fuji. Since the 8th Century this sleeping volcano and the tallest mountain in Japan, has been considered a sacred mountain by the Japanese themselves. Still today thousands of people try to make it every year to admire this truly magnificent volcano. It is rare to see it full due to the poor weather conditions that most of the time covers the peak. Well guess what ? Not only we managed to drive from Italy to Japan without getting a traffic ticket but we were so lucky that we got to see it. We also put our tents for the night right in front of it. We both feel so fortunate.

Matteo and myself under Mt. Fuji


Fuji San




Sushi made by a Taliban.






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