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Old 03-01-2013, 08:04 AM   #4201
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Yorkshire and London, England
Oddometer: 473
Last post of return trip

I'll condense my last part of the trip into this report as Geir's back tomorrow and doubtless he and Steve will have some great pics and text for us. The return from Moscow was pretty uneventful as you'd expect.
I'm off to Morocco in the morning so need to close anyway.

For those wondering how long it takes to get from the UK to Moscow, allow 4 days-you could do it in less but if you're riding on after that your taking too much out of the tank-in my opinion. 3 days to get from UK to the Russia-Latvian border via France-Belgium-Holland-Germany-Poland-Lithuania, and a decent day ride to go from the border to Moscow. You can go via Belarus but its another visa you'll need to get.

I set the Garmin for Riga -forever associated with The Odessa File for me- and followed it out of the city along Marshall Zhukev Avenue-it may be Boulevard but someone will correct me if they feel its important enough. There are references to this soldier-hero General all over the East and I saw a statue to him as far away as Ulaan Bataar.
Despite an outstanding war record going back as far as the Japan-Soviet war in 1939-being successful was almost as dangerous as NOT being as Stalin would suspect a threat -he and his wife were arrested for suspected treachery , his wife was killed, he was tortured and had his teeth knocked out with a rifle butt, but a new push on the front required a man of his drive and ruthlessness so he was released.
He went on to lead the Russians in the Battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle ever where hundreds of thousands died. The war in the east was fought with a terrible ferocity and total disregard for "normal " rules of engagement. It is still etched on the Russian psyche.

The journey Northwest towards Riga was uneventful and enjoyable, but a little melancholy as I could see the end of the great adventure.
I was still on my original tyres and chain set. I'd tried to get some rubber in Moscow but I hadn't given enough notice so I thought I'd have a go at getting home-it's as I remember about 1800 miles.
I'd only adjusted the chain 4 flats after riding across to Moscow so maybe the chain'd make it too.

I got to a bright modern motel just before the Latvian border about 7 in the evening and seemed to astonish the receptionist by wanting to stay.... Strange. The room was clean and modern-result but it was clear no one had stayed there for months.
I turned the shower puked stinking dirty water..JEEZ! and the lavatory bowl was almost effervescing with this brew ..double JEEZ.

Eventually it ran just about clean enough to take a shower but I've no idea what's wrong with this place's water supply. I dare not even clean my teeth in it.

I went down to the resto and had what I can confidently describe as the worst meal I've ever paid for. It truly was slop. FFS! No wonder no-one stays.
Next day I eschewed breakfast, (quel surprise) hopped on the bike and within 20 minutes approached an enormous stationary line of trucks waiting to enter the EU from Russia-great to be on a scoot so I just nipped all the way -about 2 miles-to the front and was waved straight in the the border zone. Result!!

The Russians were great, but the pretty Latvian Border bitch had let her uniform go to her head and was unremittingly, unnecessarily rude and almost abusive to everyone including me. In that situation you just have to bite your tongue and remember-1) I don't want to meet The Man With The Glove. 2 ) she'll still be doing that shit job when I'm home ...and she'll never get to do what I've just done or go where I've been. Good enough for and move on.

I crossed into Latvia which is very pretty and just grooved along -you just cross the corner of it and within a couple of hours you're in Lithuania.

All the road to myself.

Getting close to the end guys

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Old 03-01-2013, 08:41 AM   #4202
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Yorkshire and London, England
Oddometer: 473
Last leg

I crossed into Poland later that day and had an uneventful day but with changeable weather. Very cold and damp near Warsaw then feckin' baking in the evening. Such is life.

When I stopped that night I noticed the chain had stretched considerably and needed 8 flats to adjust it. Hmmm.

Across the next day I crossed Poland and down into Germany-Western Europe was pretty cold and I was very glad of my now embarrassingly filthy fleece.....a cloud of flies was always suspiciously near.... I'd worn my HG Tuareg riding pants for weeks now and if the bike broke down I was sure they could walk home on their own ...
I'd hoped to go to Heidelberg as it's apparently a beautiful city, but by now I had my "going home" head on and just wanted to get to the coast. Heidelberg will have to wait for a European jaunt.

The Autobahn in Germany needs 110% attention from anyone on something as vulnerable as a bike. I'd be doing my standard 70mph and would want to overtake a truck doing 60mph...this usually meant going into the overtaking lane. Sometimes it'd be clear, other times Porsches or BMWs would be racing each other or just really ripping it up at 140mph plus. Overtakes were done with great care and you move back in immediately. Lane discipline is something they exercise far better than we do in the UK-out of necessity .

In the afternoon I was near Nijmegen in Holland and stopped for a sandwich. The chain was hanging off and starting to destroy itself, covering the rear tyre in tiny metal shavings. I lubed it and adjusted it another 10 flats -but this wasn't going to adjust properly this time..I''d just need to nurse it the last couple of hundred miles to the coast-or find a moto-shop? Nah...let's give it a whirl.

With gentle throttle openings and a speed never above 60 I entered Calais a couple of hours later. I've never used the Channel Tunnel and was minded to get the ferry as usual, but I saw the signs for the "Tunnel Sous la Manche"...shall I/ shan't I ...?
Tony P has used it for years and waxed lyrical about it so bugger it I'll give it a go
I pulled up to the "not booked" kiosk and asked the girl how much. She told me-it was over 100 Euro but that's cos I'm just turning up on spec.OK-I'll do it. I Paid and pulled up to the French border post....he looked up....and waved me went into the designated lane and got off the bike. Well...that was painless.
As soon as I'd got off the bike that marshall told me to get back on..we were boarding. Fantastic! They screw you around for hours at the ferries. I followed the other bike on to the train, stopped, parked my old girl in the carriage and switched it off. The train is so smooth they don't even tie it down. Within 10 minutes we left-that was less than 20 since I'd arrived!!

25 minutes later we rolled off into England after 9000 miles and some of the best experiences of my life
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:42 AM   #4203
One Less Harley
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Location: Bowling Green, Ky
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9000 miles, that's a good little trip!!! Thanks for taking us along!!!!
2004 BMW R1150RS
1984 BMW R80G/S
(wrenching index)
2003 Suzuki DRZ 400S (TAT Prep)
One More DRZ does the TAT (Ride Report)

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Old 03-01-2013, 08:56 AM   #4204
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Nice Rod, thanks for sharing your ride home!

Enjoy Morocco.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:57 AM   #4205
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Yorkshire and London, England
Oddometer: 473

It took me an hour or so to get home to out flat in London from Dover and I dropped the bike in our back garden.

Well earned rest and due for a MAJOR overhaul and service

For anyone interested, this is the Dunlop RR208 tyre I'd questioned whether or not might make it to Moscow from'd done better than that and got me all the way home. 9000 miles is good going by any measure and you can see it's still got a little left.

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Old 03-01-2013, 09:06 AM   #4206
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Yorkshire and London, England
Oddometer: 473
Thanks to all.

This has been one of the most formative, informative, life-enhancing, self-examining experiences of my 57 years.
I will truly carry it with me forever and refer to it daily-I'm still overwhelmed by it frankly.

Thanks to everyone who's PM-ed, commented, helped me and to my SibEx 2012 companions Terry B, Bas and Linda, Hassan and Yana, Tony P , and especially to Walter for persuading me to get off my arse and do it.
That's it. X

Geir/Steve...over to you to bribe GB to delete all the Bongo pics.......

ROD CURRIE screwed with this post 03-01-2013 at 09:31 AM
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:23 AM   #4207
STILL Jim Williams
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Providence, RI
Oddometer: 7,566
Rod, and I mean this sincerely, if I'm as cool as you are at 57, I'll consider it a job well done. At 42, with a young family, I'm dreaming of the day I can do a trip like you finished. I've really appreciated your wit and humor. I'd love to buy you a beer next time I'm in London, possibly this summer. You really enhanced this report and I appreciate it! You've also made me reconsider the possibility of a 690 for my next bike
2015 KTM 690 Enduro R, 2008 Yamaha WR250R, 1971 Lambretta DL
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:25 AM   #4208
Factory Rambler
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Belgium, wrong side of the river
Oddometer: 1,059

Finally, a place where my bike has been as well.

Thank you, Rod, for sharing your adventure, and beyound that, thank you for the way you told it.
Honestly, have you ever heard of somebody looking back on his life thinking: "Oh, I should have travelled less and mowed the lawn more often"? (Pumpy)

want to save on Smugmug? use this code (VoUO8M1ukmnMY)

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Old 03-01-2013, 09:41 AM   #4209
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Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Two seasons: winter and road repair
Oddometer: 514
Lessons learned--

[QUOTE=ROD CURRIE;20839891]This has been one of the most formative, informative, life-enhancing, self-examining experiences of my 57 years.
I will truly carry it with me forever and refer to it daily-I'm still overwhelmed by it frankly.


Rod, and others on this epic journey--

Thank you for the efforts you have made to share your journey. It has been an incredibly inspirational and enjoyable read.

Now might be a good time to suggest some lessons learned
ie. "wish I had done that differently."
You have talked about a few things along the way; perhaps you could make a concise list.

I have also carefully read the bike build threads. A lot of good stuff there as well!

I believe I know one that is specific to the KTM bike:
Your bike kit should include replacements for a known failure/problem:
a spare fuel pump (or not) or at least the 'cure' if not caring a spare,
and a tow rope! and a tow plan.

Other items might be, such as,
I brought one spare tube, wish I had two. (if that is the case).
I bought/installed 2mm tubes, I wish i used 4mm tubes.
That sort of thing.

There is way to much to learn by oneself = learn from the experience of others; I for one, glean a lot of info from such post. Walter posted ~2 years ago, "I now specifiy the tire" = the bike will be up to a certain standard, or they don't go with me; or words to that effect. Michelin should be giving hime tires for life for his faith in their tires!
Methodist Circuit Rider
Iron Horse in the Sioux Empire

...fine is the line between foolishness and daring....Paul Vasey Rivers of America
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:17 AM   #4210
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
Oddometer: 2,006
YEAH Rod! Just freakin' fantastic!
If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem!
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:39 AM   #4211
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Where Continents Meet
Oddometer: 152
Grrreat report!

Originally Posted by ROD CURRIE View Post

Pretty deep puddle in the road


Now THAT is a puddle...I suggest you wouldn't want it much deeper...
I am following this thread which is journey of many riders all - in - one with a great surprise and joy. Thank you guys for sharing,

Now I have an F800GS how on earth did you get the bike on so much water? How did you avoied the water in the air filter?

Great work guys.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:24 AM   #4212
Ski Bum
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Whistler, Canada
Oddometer: 49

Thanks Rod for your version of this truly EPIC report!
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:36 AM   #4213
Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
Oddometer: 1,855
Originally Posted by ROD CURRIE View Post
This has been one of the most formative, informative, life-enhancing, self-examining experiences of my 57 years....
Rod, you brought a whole 'nother angle to this thread/report/amazing story and kept it very entertaining! thank you for taking the time!
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:57 AM   #4214
Frey Bentos
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Location: Fermanagh. Ireland
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Thanks for all the words and pictures Rod. When I grow up I want to be just like you.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:14 PM   #4215
Live from THE Hill
Joined: May 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Oddometer: 4,384
While this trip is truly impressive for it's scenery, stories, insights, and sheer distance logged, what really stands out for me and makes it different from many other incredible ADV RRs is that it was a team trip from beginning to end that added and changed team members (who all meshed without any issues) and who upon their return have collectively written the most incredible team RR that flows like its being directed like an orchestra. As so many others have said, thanks for taking us along
ADV'ing from America's fine Crapital...

DCrider screwed with this post 03-01-2013 at 12:36 PM
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