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Old 02-24-2013, 08:08 AM   #751
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Hi Sheldon, the Transfăgărășan Road is not such a big deal. It is a new road in great condition and you can ride fast on it. However, it is quite short. I went on it last October just before they close.
Hope everything is going well with your visas. Contact David Berghof at Stantours for letter of introduction and visa application for the Stans and Russia. His email address:stantours@gmx.net.

Thanks Channey, (thats you isnt it Andrew) I saw the whole ride is only about 90k's long but looks pretty cool just gives me an excuse to come back now. Ive been in contact with the guys from Stantours already and have sent me all the information I need to proceed with mine and Ewa's visa's, it may be that I have to send my passport back to Australia so will be doing that in Turkey so i can ride around there for a month thats if I dont just duck home for a quick break with it to see everyone and show ewa Australia while I have her with me.

I loved Turkey on my way up from Africa and left Instanbul Ankara and Cappadoccia and quite a few other things id like to see so it shouldnt be to hard to kill a month there.

Im actually still in Kotor, the girls today said your a Montenegro boy you live here now ahahahah I said yeah buit I have to go soon. Ive really enjoyed it around here its certainly a beautiful part of the world and ive been holed up in a nice apartment relaxing saving money waiting on Ewa to join me. we are meeting in Thessoloinkilinkiopolplopolous in Greece or what ever it is on March the 14th now as her sister has just had a baby and shes going to be the godmother and wants to spend a little time with them before she nicks off with me. She might be back with them in a week who knows time will tell its certainly going to be another adventure after travelling solo for so long but one im looking forward to all the same.

I've been saying that im off to Albania for weeks now but im pretty sure time is up as ive only left myself a few weeks to experience Albania and Macedonia which im sure are just as beautiful as everywhere else ive been, they do call Albania the hidden jewell of Europe so im guessing it must be fairly nice, other than the body organ traders ahahahaha ill be dissapointed if everyones not dressed in white waving a scalpel around.

Cheers for the tips and thanks for following the adventure starts up again in the next few days.

rideforsmiles screwed with this post 02-24-2013 at 08:58 AM
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:43 AM   #752
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Heres just a few pictures of why I have enjoyed my time so much here in Kotor Montenegro its certainly a beautiful part of the world, if your ever down this way do yourself a favour and drop in for a visit.







Looking directly back over to Kotor Montenegro.







And just over the hill behind me is Tivat Montenegro another beautiful town city whatever you want to call it.







The main walkway along the waterfront at Tivat Montenegro is full of nice cafes and restaurants, definalty worth a look at also.







And it continues right along the waterfront, Tivat Montenegro.




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Old 02-26-2013, 05:01 AM   #753
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Hi Sheldon, Yes it is Andrew here. Transfăgărășan Road is 90km long, but the exciting bit is only about 5 km long riding up the mountain. Not worth any detour for it. I also rode another famous road (can't remember the name - also call tran??? ) running parallel to Transfăgărășan Road. Also not worth the detour to it. I found more exciting roads in the south coast of Turkey, or the Pamir Highway in Tajitkistan.

I was also in contact with Armanda Wooders from travcour.com, a UK based travel company who can get all those visas for you. They had good reviews. I did not use them in the end, as they needed my passport to be sent to UK. They were also a bit more expensive than Stantour. But in your case, it might be cheaper to send your passport to UK instead of flying back to Australia.

Spending a month is Turkey while you are waiting for you visas is a great idea. Lots to see, friendly people, good food, etc.

Happy travelling! Real adventure starts when you head into Russia and Central Asia. Lots to look forward to.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:32 AM   #754
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Hi Sheldon, Yes it is Andrew here. Transfăgărășan Road is 90km long, but the exciting bit is only about 5 km long riding up the mountain. Not worth any detour for it. I also rode another famous road (can't remember the name - also call tran??? ) running parallel to Transfăgărășan Road. Also not worth the detour to it. I found more exciting roads in the south coast of Turkey, or the Pamir Highway in Tajitkistan.

I was also in contact with Armanda Wooders from travcour.com, a UK based travel company who can get all those visas for you. They had good reviews. I did not use them in the end, as they needed my passport to be sent to UK. They were also a bit more expensive than Stantour. But in your case, it might be cheaper to send your passport to UK instead of flying back to Australia.


Spending a month is Turkey while you are waiting for you visas is a great idea. Lots to see, friendly people, good food, etc.

Happy travelling! Real adventure starts when you head into Russia and Central Asia. Lots to look forward to.

Cool Andrew I'll send them an email and see what the deal is, would be much easier to send it to the Uk if that was possible. Im looking forward to hooking up with Ewa in Greece in a fortnight its going to be great to share the adventure with her for however long it lasts. Hope you had a good fortnight in Japan and got some good skiing in.


I was actually going through your gps points in Mongolia the other night how were the roads or trails you took there was it ok and do you think it would be ok 2 up to do them, not that im to worried about doing anything 2 up im sure I could take the bike anywhere she actually just gives me another set of hands to pick the bloody thing up if it goes down lol

Your not wrong about the soutern coast aroudn Turkey hey its amazing I rode along that on my way up from Africa makes our coast road The Great Ocean Road look a little cousin doesent it.

Ill talk to you soon mate and thanks for the tip.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:44 PM   #755
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There are two major routes in Mongolia. The northern route is more scenic, but could be muddy and tough going when wet. The Southern route is the easier route to travel on, it is in the desert, so it was hot and dry with lots of corregated gravel. If you stick to these major tracks, you should not have any problem - 2 wheel drive car travel on it. There are a couple of river crossings, and small stretch of deep sand. That's about it. My 8 days of riding there was very enjoyable. I think the BAM Road, and the Old Summer Road of the Road of Bone would be a lot tougher when wet.

I am not sure how well the F800GS shock would handle the weight of two people & luggage off road. I met a Brazilian couple on BMW 1150GS who blew their shock after a couple of days of riding.

Make sure you bring a couple of good maps of Mongolia. There are multiple tracks, and you can get lost if you go onto the wrong one. Garmin does not have map for Mongolia. You must download the open Street map onto your Gramin. We were lost when we tried to head to the Chinese border from the Southern route. (My Garmin did not show up any track!!) In the end we had to find GPS co-ordinates from the paper map and key into our Garmin as waypoints for navigation.

Link for open street map:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/

You will also need good paper map on Russia and Central Asia. I didn't have any map on Russia, and got lost a few times and rode into Chechnya! Apparently, the Russian had jammed the GPS signal all around Chechnya, and my Garmin took me to all the wrong places!

Cheers

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Old 02-27-2013, 12:46 AM   #756
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There are two major routes in Mongolia. The northern route is more scenic, but could be muddy and tough going when wet. The Southern route is the easier route to travel on, it is in the desert, so it was hot and dry with lots of corregated gravel. If you stick to these major tracks, you should not have any problem - 2 wheel drive car travel on it. There are a couple of river crossings, and small stretch of deep sand. That's about it. My 8 days of riding there was very enjoyable. I think the BAM Road, and the Old Summer Road of the Road of Bone would be a lot tougher when wet.

I am not sure how well the F800GS shock would handle the weight of two people & luggage off road. I met a Brazilian couple on BMW 1150GS who blew their shock after a couple of days of riding.

Make sure you bring a couple of good maps of Mongolia. There are multiple tracks, and you can get lost if you go onto the wrong one. Garmin does not have map for Mongolia. You must download the open Street map onto your Gramin. We were lost when we tried to head to the Chinese border from the Southern route. (My Garmin did not show up any track!!) In the end we had to find GPS co-ordinates from the paper map and key into our Garmin as waypoints for navigation.

Link for open street map:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/

You will also need good paper map on Russia and Central Asia. I didn't have any map on Russia, and got lost a few times and rode into Chechnya! Apparently, the Russian had jammed the GPS signal all around Chechnya, and my Garmin took me to all the wrong places!

Cheers
I have never heard of GPS signals being jammed.
One of the disadvantages of using open source maps in Russia it is very difficult to enter addresses correctly while all street names appear on map while driving and routes can be calculated along them
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:04 PM   #757
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I have never heard of GPS signals being jammed.
One of the disadvantages of using open source maps in Russia it is very difficult to enter addresses correctly while all street names appear on map while driving and routes can be calculated along them
Yes, I found it hard to believe myself. I set my GPS to Tbilisi in Georgia from Astrakhan and headed south west. With no Russian road map, and no internet access. I was lost for 3 days. My Garmin was inconsistence. For example, it said I had 450km to go before camping for the night. Next morning, it wouldl show me a different route and indicated I had another 1,200km to go! I had no idea where I was until I spoke to a Russian guy in a Petrol Station. He told me that I was in Chechnya and that GPS signal was jammed by the Russian military, and that they had given up using GPS. I had to continuousely ask locals for directions as my GPS took me into the mountains where there were no road link with Georgia. Amazingly, everything was working fine as I got near the Georgian border - just as the Russian guy said. I now believe that the Russian can send conflicting signal to my Garmin to confuse it.

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:11 AM   #758
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Yes, I found it hard to believe myself. I set my GPS to Tbilisi in Georgia from Astrakhan and headed south west. With no Russian road map, and no internet access. I was lost for 3 days. My Garmin was inconsistence. For example, it said I had 450km to go before camping for the night. Next morning, it wouldl show me a different route and indicated I had another 1,200km to go! I had no idea where I was until I spoke to a Russian guy in a Petrol Station. He told me that I was in Chechnya and that GPS signal was jammed by the Russian military, and that they had given up using GPS. I had to continuousely ask locals for directions as my GPS took me into the mountains where there were no road link with Georgia. Amazingly, everything was working fine as I got near the Georgian border - just as the Russian guy said. I now believe that the Russian can send conflicting signal to my Garmin to confuse it.
My apologies for doubting your post
I have Googled it and its quite common in N Korea and for criminals in many parts of Europe so Russians jamming Chechnya is very possible
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #759
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My apologies for doubting your post
I have Googled it and its quite common in N Korea and for criminals in many parts of Europe so Russians jamming Chechnya is very possible
You know me Channey I was riding around using a compass to navigate before I met you, so as long as im heading in the general direction east it should be ok, ill have to hit water eventually ahahahah That was so funny I dont know how I did that for all that time but it certainly good for meeting people and getting strange looks when they used to ask where I was heading only to give them the thumb and say that way somewhere lol Paper maps ahahahahah I had one of them in South Africa
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:28 AM   #760
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Got up to the sunshine this morning and thought thats it im out of here, was going to leave yesterday but had some chocolate topping left for my milk and thought what the hell I might as well stay and use it up ahahahah big decisions in life use topping or get on a mortorbike and go to Albania.

Said my goodbyes to the girls they have all been really nice i didnt interact them as much as I probably should of, well I know I didnt interact with them like I should of lol but anyway i got my little Polish beauty Ev meeting up with me soon and im actually really looking forward to her getting here, 4 or 5 hour massages every day, never have to cook or clean again, dont have to pack the bike, wash my clothes nothing im just going to sit on my ass and turn the throttle, hey everymans got to have a dream ha ha ha

Anyway by the time I actually got on the road it was after 12 which was ok had a bit of a muck up with my Mastercard not working so just had to log back in and sort it out and all ok Im away. I wasnt in any hurry and I was only going a 150 k's or so if that im not even sure, wasnt going to take me long anyway. I had thought about going on down to Tirana but that takes me past the turn off to Serbia and Kosovo which Id like to go and ride through on the way to Macedonia.
The old guy next door came out and we had a chat about nothing again, we've talked every day for 8 weeks and havent understood one word we both say other than "vino"

So im on the road to Albania cruising along, the scenary down here is really pretty nice The traffic becomes really light as you get further south towards Albania which is good but there is still a few cops down here sitting around doing absolutely nothing, but if you are riding just be careful the speed limits are like 50kmh on good roads, you could push the bike quicker than that and the roads are definalty good enough to go faster, maybe its the quality of some of the shitboxes they drive in is im guessing the reason they keep the speed limit down cause there is some real rustbuckets on the road today and the cop cars arent much better by the looks of things.

The good road ended in Bar Montenegro today and then i was up into the hills on back roads all the way to Albania, fantastic though, they obvioulsy dont get the money the other places in Montenegro get, its all run down and looks like a bomb has hit most of the joints and who knows maybe it has im not far from Kosovo, wasnt there a bit of trouble there in the war (google it) but everyone was really friendly and waving and everytime I stopped I was asked if I wanted to have a drink, I love being back in this type of place its amazing the less people have the friendlier they are, but in saying that everywhere ive been the people have been just amazing.Still havent seen any people dressed in white with scaplels from the black market body organ trade i was warned about, what a classic the impressions people have of their neighbours never ceases to amaze me

Kept on riding through the hills and eventually came up to the border, stamp stamp and 5 minutes later and away. I go to look for the Albanian border control ummm I didnt see anything im in Albania. I thought about just going on but meh better go back and see if I missed a little run down shed or something the last thing I need is to get to the other side of Albania and have an issue cause I wasnt stamped in.

One of the guys I met, Drew told me the 3rd party insurance was only 13 bucks so I went back and picked that up as well, ok i probably dont need it but whats 13 bucks to make sure your covered if I hit someone and you never know im not sure what the deal is on the other end ill have to go through some sort of police check when I leave and they will probably want to see it even if it is just to look at it to feel like they are doing something.

I arrived in Shkoder Albania not long after, now my first impressions were, "what the hell have I ridden into here" man seriouly it was oh my god where do you stay in this shithole, roads were all crap work going on everywhere all run down apartment buildings, washing hanging off every balcony standard stuff you know, but still everyone waving nodding friendly so as much as I was just going what the hell, I felt ok about it,its got nothing on the back streets of Port Said in Egypt but all good I found the nicer side of town and its actually really nice so I did what any good adventure rider would do after that, waited till it got dark and walked over into the seedy side of town to grab dinner.

Im all good now full tummy holed up in a pretty nice hotel in Shkoder paying probably more than I should in Albania but who cares its right in the middle of town, walking distance to everywhere and my bike is locked away safe and sound, I hope.

By the way the women here are pretty damn nice here too.



Finally left Kotor Montenegro what a great relaxing time in a beautiful part of the world that was. Got up and said my good byes to all the girls and the neighbour,ive talked to this dude everyday and we haven't understood one word other than "vino"




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Old 02-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #761
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The ride down the coast is still really spectacular I think this is St Stephan or somethign like like that, yeah islandy looking joint will do just south of Budva Montenegro



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Old 02-28-2013, 11:31 AM   #762
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Looking back north towards Budva Montenegro.



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Old 02-28-2013, 11:33 AM   #763
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Finally in Albania looking for the bordrer control and what, no border control stamped out of Montenegro and away you go, I guess they want you here.



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Old 02-28-2013, 11:35 AM   #764
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Arrived in Shkodra Albania, its a nice town but pretty run down, you have certainly left Europe behind, a mixture of muslim and orthadox and its not hard to see the two different lots. The villages are real villages people waving again its really nice to be in these countries where they have a little less they always tend be the friendliest. Dont be fooled by this shot this is the upper end of town ill get some more pictures around the corner to give you a real idea of this place tomorrow. Shkodra Albania.








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Old 02-28-2013, 11:36 AM   #765
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If this is what the cops are going to try and catch me on, all I can say is asta la vista baby, as if lol Shkodra Albania.



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