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Old 04-19-2014, 02:14 AM   #1
Flyred OP
Who is John Galt?
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Woodinville, WA Whine Country
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Sokcho Joe

A year in the planning. And by planning I mean not knowing where the Hell I was going to go, just that I was going somewhere on my vacation this year.
I started by asking for 4 months off. You should have heard my boss laugh at that one. So instead I compromised by cutting the world into 3 pieces and Ill do my RTW in 3 years while still keeping a job that I love.
So after going through plans A-ZZ, I decided fuck it all, Its plan A which is an RTW
The logistics were formidable. Getting the bike to Seoul. Getting the bike home from somewhere. Visas for Russia and Kazakhstan. I wanted a Visa for Belarus but ran out of time.
War in Ukraine-right in my path.
Problems up the wazoo as we say back home.
So HNTGAF. Here I go.

So if you are thinking about an RTW off the West coast of the US. You need to get your bike to Russia. There are no flights to Russia from the West coast. So I used Pacific Motortsports in Richmond, BC Canada to crate my bike and LEI.CA in Vancouver as the freight forwarder to get the bike moved to Seoul, Korea.
That was a minor nightmare just doing that.

But the bike got there on schedule and then I dealt with Korean customs. 6 separate offices as I carried about 100 lbs of gear on my back walking several miles after sitting on an American Airlines jet for 14 hours. Nobody knew what to do with me importing a bike for 4 days.

So after 6 hours chasing paper and moving building to building to building and getting papers perused over and over again I get stamped and released into the wilds of Korea.
Motorcycles are not allowed to ride on the big Highways in Korea. Too many tiddlers fucking things up. So after all the BS I had to put up with, there is only 2 ways off Incheon airport. A ferry that calls it a day at 5:30pm or you order a truck and he hauls you and yours to where ever you need to go-for me, off that God damned airport and not an inch more.

The bike needs reassembled after removal from the crate and there are always Koreans that want to help. And by help I mean you will be yelling at them to slow the fuck down as one guy is releasing tie down and launching your precious bike unto a Korean trying to release a strap on the other side of the bike.
For my bike, the handle bars were folded down. Windshield off. Controls and hand guards moved. GPS and Spot mount moved. Not Rocket Surgery for sure, but when you have been awake 36 hours. you just are tired of all this crap.

So a cast of thousands rolls my bike unto a (very small ) truck. All the bags and stuff get put onboard. Everything gets padded and tied down and away into the darkness we go-its after 10pm by now. Nobody speaks English. phone doesn't work either. And it's battery is rapidly dying.

I just want to sleep.

So my Korean truck driver (great guy actually) wants to know where to?
Just get me to a road I can drive a motorcycle on legally.

Into Incheon City we go. After a couple of hotels that we stopped at that were full, we score.

I will highly recommend Hotel W on the mainland side near the ferry dock from Incheon Airport. Its a new hotel. Trying wayyyy too hard to be hip and cool.
But the rooms are really nice. Good price (KRW 50,000) and they let you park a bike in the valet area right in front of the hotel.

So aside from my handle bars being almost back where they needed to be, the trucker dumps me, the bike, and a bunch of parts off at the W. I spent an hour putting as many parts back as I could and then chaining the heck out of the bike before I passed out.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:33 AM   #2
Flyred OP
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Day 2

I'm up at 4am because that's like dinner time back home and I want to get the last pieces installed on my bike before the manager of the hotel tells me I cant have tools and parts scattered all over in front of his wayyyy too cool and hip hotel.
Actually the night manager loaned me some side cutters and made me a cappuccino while I was working.
Side note- The hotel is a concrete structure that us in the industry describe as Fulton Prison decorated by IKEA.
But the shower absolutely ROCKS.

So I get the bike all put together and the bits adjusted. Battery hooked up. etc. I ask the night manager where is the gas station? Petrol? Essence? Go Juice? No idea at all. He takes the bus.
So its foggy and smoggy in the morning and I cant tell where the Sun is to get my bearings.
My Garmin GPS has a Russia chip installed so it is worthless in Korea.

So I guess North is the way to get into Seoul. But Incheon City has water to the North. East works too.

3 1/2 hours of the craziest most dangerous riding through Seoul follows.
Taxi drivers will get an inch off your knee or cut you off. City busses will try to squish you like a bug. I have ridden all over the World. The Seoul drivers are both the worst drivers on the planet and the biggest ASSHOLES you will ever experience.

After 3 1/2 hours of terror, you bust out of Seoul and away into the countryside. Im not saying the Korean drivers get better. It's just that there are fewer of them.

I rode Hwy 46 to 6 to 56 to Chuncheon. There you will be forced off because the maps are out of date and its a no motorcycle road. But...The good news is great road to Oesampo that is a HOOT to ride. Its clean and fast and will you lead you to 44 and Sokcho.

I love Sokcho
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:44 AM   #3
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Day 3-4-5

Camping at James Blue Hostel in Sokcho. This another place I will recommend. The price is right-$20 a night. The rooms are very clean. James is a hard worker and his dad helps out from the shop next door. James dad actually let me park my bike inside his shop during my stay.
There is a Kimchee place right next door and they will stuff you full of the best food you have ever eaten (in Korea) for very little money.

But first you go past this Thrill Ride place

This is Downtown Sokcho North. My hostel is just there on the left. Downtown South is more tourist oriented because Sokcho Beach is down there. This is by the Fishing terminal and Ferry dock

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Old 04-19-2014, 02:48 AM   #4
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Just across the street from the hostel is the Coast Guard Station. This is one of their Cutters

Love that upper turret gun

Over there is the Stena Daea Ferry terminal. The boat is due in tomorrow

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Old 04-19-2014, 03:06 AM   #5
Flyred OP
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Asians in general like to make the simple ( a toilet ) complex ( a space station)

But the Boy and Girl squids are a nice touch

Sokcho is a fishing town. The most dangerous catch here refers to the Sea critters getting pulled in

But the Northern end of town is the coolest

These Jacks are used all along the coastline

And the street lights have a certain flair about them

But if youre a morning person like me, a few things will piss you off. Unlike Thailand, where the locals never sleep. The Koreans sleep in. You can walk down the middle of any street until 930am and not worry about getting hit by a car


Things are not "quite right " either. Low self esteem?

Not The Ritz Carleton

But its a fishing/ crabbing town so...

Everybody has a live tank out front

And Motorcycling is a little different too

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Old 04-19-2014, 03:26 AM   #6
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Does anybody now what these are?
It was trash day and almost every house had bags of these things for the garbage guy to pick up.

Home for the next 3 nights

The bath was typical Euro-Asia efficiency. ie too small to share

This is the Kimchee place next door. They will spoil you. They will stuff you

One of the guys from the shop where I am storing my bike. He has a couple sportbikes

A ride up the coast to the DMZ. Hanging out on the beach is difficult because of the NorKs sending sappers down every once in a while.

But past the wire, the beaches are beautiful

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Old 04-19-2014, 06:40 AM   #7
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Those cylinders with the holes might be spent fireworks.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:06 AM   #8
Back in S. Korea
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Too bad I didn't know you were coming through, I coulda helped you get outta Incheon and with your other stuff.

Those things are part of the charcoal bbq. :)
My TAT trip in 2014:
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:22 PM   #9
Flyred OP
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Going to see the DMZ

Those guys back there with the guns told me NO Pictures. So I rode 100m and stopped.

Interesting things going on up here that I have not seen in the US press ( no surprises there what with a Kardashian acting outrageous )
But along Hwy 7 up the coast a new big Hwy is being built. So maybe unification is right around the corner.

But the signs of war are all around still. Like this river filled with tank traps

And these road blockers -these ones worked- that are all along Hwy 7.

Here's a look at the road blockers ready to go. A concrete wall, topped at an angle has large blocks braced with only a thin cinder block. A small charge would shatter the cinder block and the blockers tumble onto the road. These are all along Hwy 7
Don't be under one during an earthquake.

The coast is all about fishing. Everybody sells fish or vegetables they grow

Ready to eat

Have you hugged your fish today?

Back into Sokcho and my ship has come in. That's the Stenadaea Ferry behind my bike that will take me to Zarabinu Russia on Easter Sunday.

Sokcho is a cool little town. I come from around Seattle and there is an area called Ballard that is a commercial fishing terminal. Sokcho is Ballard all grown up.

We need this in the US

I don't know what the swastikas are all about here, but they are plentiful

Again...not quite Rodeo Drive

The fish market town is fantastic. It is a full city block of aisles of everything that ever even looked at water. I ate many meals here. Just walking along and something has been cooked up.

This fish monger/ cook spoke perfect English

His helper didn't and was camera shy

This ferry moves tourists across the channel to sea the ???
It has a cable and a crewman who enlists helpers to drag the boat across.

My hostel is just North of the blue bridge

If you have been to Seattle, you will see Ballard in this picture

It is finally Springtime

Or Nectar of the Gods?

Flyred screwed with this post 07-20-2014 at 07:13 PM
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:41 PM   #10
Flyred OP
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Stickiest dog I have ever petted. But a complete lover

This is a Korean hot water heater

Still life with Mackerel

Not quite The North Face...

Im not sure what part of well made involves Indian

Not quite...WTF?

Its all about the fish here

Meanwhile back at my Kimchee place. I have made a friend. This is the owner (?)

She has joined me for dinner and has talked non-stop (except to drink my sake) and I do not understand one word. Not one

You can smoke indoors here. She grabbed my pipe and tried my Toasted Cav.

In fact both the waitress and cook came over to try my pipe.

I paid for dinner and she did a happy dance. the waitress was cracking up

And off to Russia I go

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Old 04-19-2014, 04:49 PM   #11
Be aware
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You're a real hit with the ladies.

Looking forward to the updates.

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Old 04-19-2014, 05:22 PM   #12
Encouraging Entropy
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Proud to have ridden all 50 US States. IBA #48773.
Check out my Motorcycle Courier Adventures or the Charlotte Ride Planning & 3rd Thursday Pizza-Meet

"I picked up a nice burlap thong. It makes me feel pretty." - BluRidgeRider
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:55 AM   #13
Flyred OP
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FlyRed-Rock Star

I was the only American on the ship. The staff was shocked and all came out to have a look where ever I went on the ship.
When we had reached Zarubino, while getting the ship secured, the reception staff came out to meet me. They were all oohing and aweing over me and then I showed them a picture of my 2 sons... Every girl yelled Give me their phone number!

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Old 04-21-2014, 06:32 AM   #14
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What a great start to what promises to be an amazing journey! All the best for a safe and memorable adventure.


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Old 04-21-2014, 06:55 AM   #15
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